There are usually two sides to every story. But as far as I’m concerned, this particular story is the same on both ends. The difference is not the events that took place, but the way the events are viewed. There have been numerous reports of abuse against former NXT head trainer Bill DeMott in the last couple of years, yet nothing was done about the issue. WWE has issued a statement claiming that they’ve found no evidence to support the accusations, yet DeMott has resigned anyway. One would believe that a company with a public stance against bullying could have handled the entire situation better than simply dismissing it entirely. But it seems like they were more focused on distancing themselves from the recent controversy by allowing DeMott to take the main focus of the criticism while quietly parting ways with him. So my question is not whether WWE knew about claims, my question is if they considered them worthy of addressing or not.
It seems like the attitude towards the claims from certain past and present WWE names are more negative towards younger talent than DeMott. The newer generation of performers are viewed as softer than the generation that came before them. That they are weaker than the previous generation due to the times they live in compared to the stars of yesterday. From the years of the WCW Power Plant all the way up to now, professional wrestling schools have a history of being brutally tough. The idea has always been to separate the dreamers from the ones determined to make it an reality. So a lot of wrestlers of the past may feel that this is a case of old methods being too difficult for a pampered new breed. For example, lets look at some of the comments made by both Chris Jericho and Jim Ross.
“Hey @BillDeMott is a good friend & great trainer. If u can’t handle it then quit. My training at #HartBrothers camp was 10,000 times worse!” – Jericho via Twitter
“This whole matter of the allegations against DeMott somewhat reminds me of how Adrian Peterson disciplined his child by using a switch on the child that got AD in major trouble. Obviously, times have changed because my Mom & Dad would both have gotten in big time trouble if spanking or using a switch on their only child was treated as it is today. I’m not condoning child abuse in any form whatsoever but one has to wonder just what is the proper method to discipline children in today’s society? One thing I know is that most parents who want to be their children’s best pal often times regret that philosophy later in life. But I digress.” – Jim Ross via blog
“Younger people are noticeably different than the same age individuals were not that many years ago. This generation of 20 something’s often times bring with them complex personalities and at times a feeling of entitlement and a certain level of defiance. These traits often times complicate the training or coaching in a variety of sports as well as in sports entertainment.” – Jim Ross via blog
Let’s take a look at Jericho’s comment first. The Dungeon, as the Hart’s training basement in their home was referred to, was one of the toughest schools to attend. It had a reputation for being brutal, but I doubt Stu Hart would ever refer to his students as “faggots” and racial slurs. Plus Jericho’s comment did not dismiss the allegations, it only suggested that he believes that his experience was worse. So basically, he’s suggesting that the accusers should stop complaining. He did delete the tweet afterwards. However, he still remains a supporter of Bill DeMott and his training methods. J.R., on the other hand, obviously believes that this current generation is too soft to handle the older methods of training and discipline. Like spoiled brats whom are not accustomed to being spanked when they misbehave, the current generation of superstars are throwing a fit accusing DeMott of misconduct because this society frowns upon the old fashion means of discipline.
As ridiculous as that sounds, you have to wonder if others within the WWE feel the same way. It would make a lot of sense if WWE’s “investigation” consisted of like minded individuals dismissing the claims in the same manner as Jericho and Ross did. And I can relate to their views a little. Society has changed. The days of really tough men have passed. Our society encourages weakness to the point that people are so easily offended by anything they don’t agree with. And this lack of testosterone and feeling of self importance and entitlement will only be passed down to the next generation afterwards. So I understand where the criticism of the younger generation could come from. However, using racial and homophobic remarks in a business workplace should never be tolerated.
The accusations against Bill DeMott should not be considered effective training. Abuse and ignorance shouldn’t be considered just a part of the process. And this sort of thing may have been acceptable back in the old territory days, but it should never be accepted by a publicly traded company. If the excuse is that this was an old way of thinking, then NXT has no place for a man who is incapable of adapting to the times around him. And as far as J.R.’s comments about disciplining the new generation goes, the up and coming superstars at NXT are adults. They’re there to launch a career. So if someone doesn’t want to cooperate due to their self entitlement to the point that something needs to be done, then fire them. There are plenty of independent wrestlers hoping for a shot at the big time. Hell, WWE doesn’t know what to do with the roster they have now. So it’s safe to say that letting a few difficult superstars in training go will not have an effect on the company.
The bottom line is that DeMott abused his power and handled a lot of up and comers without respect. WWE knew about it and did nothing to change it. Now that all of this has come to light, WWE has to back him because it would look bad for them to admit that his actions under their watch was wrong and they allowed it to continue. However, his “resignation” was their way of distancing themselves from him. Because a company that has a history of punishing their wrestlers like children doesn’t want the public to know how much they’re contradicting themselves. If you really want to know where WWE stands on bullying, just ask Triple H about how he was treated after the curtain call at the MSG and ask if that particular treatment influenced how he punished Dolph Ziggler. Because it seems like WWE found nothing wrong with DeMott’s actions because bullying has been built in to their system for years. And that is an old way of thinking it’s time to let go of.