Booker T has called on the wrestling industry to evolve in how it looks after and deals with the welfare of it’s biggest and most marketable stars.
The subject of burnout and wrestler welfare has once again reared it’s head following Toni Storm’s unexpected departure from WWE. While no official reason has been given by either Storm or WWE for the Kiwi Superstar’s exit, a new report suggested that “burnout” could have a played a significant part.
Furthermore, Storm reportedly asked for her release from the company, flying herself home after her final appearance at a WWE live event.
Speaking on his Hall of Fame podcast, Booker T addressed Storm’s surprise departure. The former World Champion admitted the he didn’t know the details behind the story, but did take the opportunity to make a wider point about wrestler welfare.
Booker T said that if Storm was indeed burned out, stepping away from WWE was a wise decision, pointing to the company’s notoriously tough and demanding schedule.
“WWE’s schedule is the hardest thing you’re ever going to go through in life. It’s harder than any football schedule, baseball, I don’t care what sport, WWE schedule is harder or just as hard than any of them. If that’s the reason, taking a step back might be a good thing.”
Expanding further, the Hall of Famer explained that the wrestling industry needs to evolve in how it deals with stars taking time off and any struggles regarding mental health.
“I do think the business is going to have to evolve sooner or later. As far as the guys that’s making the money, the guys that are drawing the dollars. Because it has always been a thing, time off is your worst enemy. But I do think the way the world has changed with mental health being at the forefront now of so many, not just sports but Hollywood, everywhere is coming into play. It’s got to be addressed and it has got to be addressed seriously. I do think sooner or later that part is going to change. I don’t know when, but I think it has to.”
In closing, Booker revealed that he had struggled with his own mental health during his lengthy career. The former WCW star admitted that he ended up becoming a loner so that he could focus on getting the most out of his career.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.