My name is Steve Corino and I am a magician.
Not in your normal David Copperfield-way, but in the pro-wrestling way.
If you are reading this on WorldOfCORINO.com, there is a 99.9999999% chance you know that professional wrestling is simulated violence. A fighting illusion. A live action play filled with drama, comedy, characters, danger, and athleticism.
In April of 2012, I will celebrate my 18th year in this industry that I have loved since I first started watching in 1981. In 18 years I have had 7 documented concussions and probably at least 7 more undocumented concussions.
I am NOT proud of any of them.
I have scars on my face, arms, and chest that will remain there forever. Battle scars. I've suffered a broken jaw, three broken teeth, my hearing in my left ear taking away, compressed vertebrate in my neck, separated shoulder, separated AC joint in the other shoulder, a fractured elbow, fractured vertebrate in my lower back, and I think my right hip is degenerating.
Damn, I wish this wrestling was 100% fake.
Unprotected chairshots have become taboo in the wacky world of pro-wrestling. And for good reason. The advances in concussion education has shown what combat sports, including pro-wrestling, can do to the brain. Its scary.
But chair shots can't take all the blame. There are kicks, bumps, clotheslines, etc that can jolt the skull.
The Balls Mahoney chair shots that I took in ECW were stupid. I was a kid trying to make a name for myself. I tried to be tough. It was so dumb and naive. I urge you to listen to this weeks Extreme Odd Couple Podcast
and I go into this subject more in depth.
Fast forward to last Friday. Ring Of Honor's Final Battle 2011. I'm in the fight of my career vs. Kevin Steen. Each of us took a shot each to the head with a chair. But neither of us got a concussion. Why? How? Magic?
As much as I, along with Steen and I'm sure the Briscoes, wanted to put on a great match and show our toughness, there was no way we were going to put ourselves in danger. Without exposing the whole process, adjustments were made to make things safer.
Could things have gone wrong? Of course. But they would have been accidents, not irresponsibility that myself and others displayed in ECW (and other companies).
My match was brutal. There were chairs, tables, trash cans, and a rail. Looked dangerous. It could have been. But we are professionals. I think what we did more then anything was build drama. The story was so good going in. The suspension of disbelief was higher Friday then I have felt since the Chicago Street Fight in 2010.
The most painful thing that I took at Final Battle was when I hit the post with my shoulder in the first minute of the match. It was a miscalculation on my part. I thought I had one step left and I ended up eating the post. My fault.
Pro-Wrestling and Sports Entertainment can be dangerous. It is dangerous. People get hurt everyday. But you also need to know that most of us, with what we know now about head injuries, can modify the dangerous elements.
Pro-Wrestling is Magic and when done right you should believe what you are seeing is real.
In NO way am I going to justify unprotected chair shots. If you are a wrestler and are not taking precautions before that shot, then you need to. Anything that causes damage to your brain needs to be modified. You owe to yourself, your family, and your fans.
LOOK dangerous. Don't BE dangerous. Be a magician.
To the fans that were upset and are upset, thank you. Thank you for caring enough to express your concern. As a guy that has always felt unappreciated, it is nice to know people care. There are times when wrestlers feel like the fans could give two craps about their health.
I don't want to see any more premature deaths in this industry and I also think the fans are sick of it.
Most of us hate to admit it but Pro-Wrestling IS Sports Entertainment. We are athletes, actors, stunt men, travel secretaries, and more. Being a Pro-Wrestler is a hard, but freaking awesome job. Its time we take care of ourselves.
If you see me do anything like I did at Final Battle, know that I know what I am doing and took every precaution to help the risk of injury minimize.
I am the proud father of a 15 year old son that I love with all my heart. He doesn't want to grow up without a dad or with a dad that is "bump drunk". No one does and I won't allow it.