Concussion Lawsuit - Making the case for Ahmed Johnson
I was looking at the concussion lawsuit details this week and saw that the count is now up to 50 wrestlers who are suing WWE.
Some of the complaints are difficult to pin on WWE, such as Axl Rotten. He barely wrestled in WWE, and just because the company purchased ECW's intellectual properties I don't think that this would open them up to the liability of having to pay for the concussions sustained in their matches.
But moving past them, a chief complaint is that someone like a Road Warrior Animal or a Paul Orndorff only wrestled part of their career in WWE. Which is true. But if you were to take their career and gauge how many matches they wrestled while in WWE versus their overall career, the lauded heavy schedule (300+ days a year) of the past will have accounted for a high percentage of many wrestlers. And the hard rings pre-1998 will be a factor too when judging the effects of how many matches were held in them.
We can use Ahmed Johnson for example. Excluding independent shows, let's divide his career into three primary phases: Global Wrestling Federation, World Wrestling Federation, World Championship Wrestling
GWF (1993-1994): 37 matches
WWF (1995-1998): 283 matches (39 in 1995, 129* in 1996, 115 in 1997, 4 in 1998)
WCW (2000): 25 matches
results from historyofwwe.com and profightdb.com
An example of the schedule - Between May 26th and June 1st, 1996 (7 days), Ahmed wrestled in eleven separate matches. The last three nights of that run, he wrestled twice on each card.
Of course this does not include time on the independent circuit. But the three organizations above make up the bulk of his career, and of all the matches he wrestled in GWF, WWF, and WCW, the World Wrestling Federation accounted for 82.03%.
You'll likely find very similar stats with wrestlers like Bryan Clark, Boris Zukhov, Jim Brunzell, Mike Enos, Henry Godwinn, Warlord, and Barbarian. They did not wrestle all of their careers in WWF - few wrestlers do - but the majority of the matches that they wrestled took place in WWE rings.
That said, what is the ramification to WWE? I think it is entirely plausible that they are hit with a substantial judgment - or notwithstanding that - they are forced to settle for a very large sum of money. And for a company that is currently enjoying record revenue levels, but not record profitability, this could be a very, very big blow for them with a rippling effect throughout the wrestling industry.
Curious what your thoughts are.