A look at the possible ramifications of CM Punk's words
Now that both editions of Colt Cabana's podcasts with former WWE superstar CM Punk have been released, we can now take a look at the full scope of what was said.
In about three combined hours of audio, CM Punk, in his mind, simply told his story. He simply told his version of events as to what led up to his abrupt departure from the WWE last January.
What he also may have done was open multiple cans of worms that could have ramifications long after a listener hits the stop button on the podcasts.
Let's go through what the potential ramifications of CM Punk's words could leave:
Re-opening the issue on unionization in wrestling
This is not a new issue, but it's one that remains unresolved for many wrestlers in the industry.
Like Jesse Ventura and many others before him, CM Punk said that there should be some type of union for wrestlers, so that they can collectively bargain their terms, especially for those in the WWE.
Whether you're a fan of CM Punk or not, he's right. The WWE has somehow gotten away with calling their performers independent contractors, who have to worry about their own health insurance and travel expenses among other things that would cost the WWE money, while treating them like employees.
Why are they employees? It's because they cannot work elsewhere. A true independent contractor can essentially work for whomever they want. They can collect any endorsements they want.
That is not the case with the superstars of the WWE. Virtually everything they do on a business level has to be cleared by the WWE. A true independent contractor does not have to do that.
The WWE also includes no-compete clauses in their performers' contracts. What does that mean? It prevents a certain performer from working for a promotion the WWE deems as its competitor for a fixed length of time.
A true independent contractor should not have to adhere to such a clause. Former WWE superstar Alberto Del Rio fought against that clause and won.
Some blame could be placed on the performers themselves for agreeing to such terms. They do sign the dotted line, after all.
But with the WWE being the biggest, and some ways the only, game in town, wrestlers are just happy to be able to make a comfortable living from the business. They typically worry about the details later on.
And who could blame them? They're not going to earn the type of living nor the type of notoriety the WWE could provide anywhere else in wrestling.
The WWE has managed to keep it both ways without the outside world putting pressure on it to change its practices. It's essentially flown under the radar unchecked.
CM Punk's words alone may have brought light to the issue, but they won't really make any headway in actually changing the circumstances.
It's going to take pressure from mainstream media types, which includes myself. It's also going to take the wrestlers themselves to stand up for themselves, even the ones currently employed by the WWE.
One guy isn't enough either, as he will simply be pushed to the side by the machine that is the WWE. It will take essentially the entire locker room to call for some form of change.
That change is to either allow the performers to be true independent contractors or allow them to form a union, so that they could collectively bargain things.
With the WWE being as corporate as it's ever been, enough pressure from the outside world and from within its own could force the WWE to change, if for nothing else to please its stockholders.
Time will tell.
An in-depth look at WWE's medical staff and its protocols
Every major sports league has a clear policy when it comes to reporting injuries to the media. The only possible exception would be the National Hockey League, which is notoriously vague when it comes to reporting injuries.
I've never heard of so many lower-body injuries in my life.
But the WWE has no such policy. Now, some may argue that the WWE isn't a normal sports league and to the company's credit, it has improved in that area over the years.
But CM Punk's tales of being mysteriously cleared for injuries and carrying around a staph infection that went undiagnosed for months may force the WWE to be more open in this area.
The opposition may say that if the WWE reported every single injury from every single event, but list would be a mile long. Wrestlers are constantly banged up.
But if that doesn't get accomplished, maybe more clarity from its medical staff could.
According to CM Punk, it seemed as if the medical staff felt the pressure of making sure a top-level star such as CM Punk was in the ring.
That's a culture that exist in almost all sports — feeling compelled to get the star player back on the field — but it's not good for traditional sports and it shouldn't happen in wrestling either.
Opening the discussion of an offseason for wrestlers
The year-round schedule for wrestling is nothing new, but it is dated.
Back in the day, a wrestling promotion/territory had to run shows as much as possible, as its main source of revenue was ticket sales.
The WWE has kept up that tradition at the expense of its wrestlers, who are on the road, away from their homes and families for close to 300 days per year. That's quite the grind for any line of work, let alone one where you're falling down for a living.
The WWE may never take a full three months off and shut down its touring schedule. There's no way the company is going to attempt to put the proverbial toothpaste back in the proverbial tube.
But maybe it could implement some form of a rolling offseason for specific wrestlers, whereby wrestlers could be afforded two or three months off on a rotating basis.
Implementing this would accomplish two things in particular. First and foremost, it will give the wrestlers a chance to heal their bodies and live a normal life like other professional athletes do.
It will give the wrestlers a chance to get away from the grind for a while, so they don't become burnt out like CM Punk was.
The second thing this could accomplish is that it keeps the television product fresh. If there's one thing that hurts the WWE's business is the over-exposure of its talent.
When you see the same wrestlers two or three days every single week, they begin to become stale. They're no longer special and the attraction is lost.
It's almost as if Beyonce came out with a new album every week. I'm sure there would be some die-hard fans of hers that would love it, but there wouldn't be anything special about it. It wouldn't have the same impact.
But the reason why an unannounced album from her could break the Internet is because she doesn't even put out an album on an annual basis, let alone a weekly.
People like John Cena, Big Show and Sheamus could be much bigger attractions if we didn't see them every single week.
The crazy thing is that the WWE knows this. Vince McMahon himself admitted on Steve Austin's podcast that it wouldn't behoove the company to over-use talents such as Brock Lesnar and Sting.
The same should be done for everyone on the roster.