Did You Know Louisiana Has A Government Commission For Pro Wrestling?
With Wrestlemania 34 coming to New Orleans this weekend, which gave everyone a chance to be reminded of one of the weirdest things the state government does in Louisiana.
It turns out, Louisiana is one of only a handful of states who still has a State Boxing and Wrestling Commission. That's right, a state agency to monitor and regulate pro wrestling.
Now look, a lot of states have Sports Commissions or some form of Boxing Commissions, but at this point in society, most states have moved away from have pro wrestling commissions. But not Louisiana.
This has kicked up some attention across the country, including the publication Deadspin, who explained it like this:
"Pro wrestling is, in some form or fashion, regulated by an athletic commission in just under half the states in the union as well as the District of Columbia. Exactly how much oversight those commissions have varies wildly from one state to the next, and the Association of Boxing Commissions has not established any guidelines for wrestling since they concern themselves mainly with legitimate combat sports. Some states do little more than collect extra taxes; others, like New York, add some safety guidelines and require licenses for promoters. Others still, like Louisiana, put controls on the in-ring performance. The system is an artifact of a bygone era, although clearly still capable of adding complications in this one."
According to many break-downs, Louisiana is the only state with a governing body who's still heavily focused on pro wresting. Especially when you pull up the "fees and bonds" section of the Commissions' laws. Which include the following bond for pro wresting events:
SEATING CAPACITY AND BOND
(1) - 0 to 999
(2) - 1,000 to 2,999
(3) - 3,000 to 5,999
(4) - 6,000 to 9,999
(5) - 10,000 or above
So that means Wrestlemania will have to carry a $50,000 bond.
The wrestlers, managers, announcers, referees, and more will all be subjected to fees for licenses as well. Most of them are lower amounts, around $25 each, but the fact that you still need a license to be an announcer for a pro wrestling event in the state still seems a little ridiculous.
But that doesn't even start to scratch the surface on what they're ready to regulate inside the ring. Here are the moves and "spots" that will be banned this weekend in New Orleans:
1. All variations of the Pile Driver;
2. All variations of the Power Bomb;
3. The “Moonsault”, “Shooting Star”, or “450 Splash” or any variation thereof which involves one wrestler, leaping or flipping off the ropes or turnbuckles to contact the head or neck of the opponent with any part of his body;
4. The “Stungun” of any variation thereof which results in the one fighter’s head or neck being dragged, draped or “closelined” [sic] across the ropes;
5. The striking of a wrestler’s head with any object, chair, trashcan [sic] lid, etc., and
6. No wrestler shall throw, push, shove or force another out of the ring or over the top rope.
Now if you're a pro wrestling fan, you're going to look over this and shake your head. Lets go point-by-point on this one:
1. Most pile drivers are already banned inside promotions like WWE. There are only a handful of guys trusted to perform the maneuver.
2. ARE YOU KIDDING? Power bombs are such a simple, often used move, this one seems dumb as can be.
3. They're trying to ban top rope moves? Again, what year is this? The moves listed here are executed across every promotion ever. Just not in Louisiana I guess.
4. This one is oddly specific. Not an often used move, but it's also a pretty easy move.
5. No chair shots? Well, it's a good thing promotions have gotten away from this over the last couple of years. This isn't something they really need to be worried about.
6. Come on man. There are TWO Battle Royals set up at Wrestlemania. How to you win a Battle Royal? YOU HAVE TO THROW OTHERS OVER THE TOP ROPE.
Now before you trash your Wrestlemania plans, there is a note to be made here. According to the Deadspin article we mentioned above, WWE will not be subjected to these rules. Additionally, Ring of Honor wrestling will also be allowed to execute the moves outlawed above. They spoke with John Green Jr., the lawyer serving as commission secretary, and here's what they got:
"Green quickly made it clear that WWE is not subject to the move bans, as the commission trusts the competence and training of their wrestlers. With Ring of Honor being a “major league” group now and running UNO Lakefront Arena the night before WrestleMania, he felt the same way about that promotion."
So who's at risk here? Well, there are no less than a dozen other pro wrestling events happening across the New Orleans region this weekend. From Impact Wrestling to Lucha Underground, there are going to be a lot of shows going on. In fact, probably too many shows for this "commission" to pay attention to.
You might have noticed I just put quotes around the word commission there. For a reason.
As I've dug deeper into this, with there terrible guidelines, lack of pro-wrestlers on their board, and willingness to lift their rules for the biggest promotions, this whole thing looks like a cash-grab scam.
They want their money, and don't want to actually police everything.
Louisiana should save the money on this one, close up the pro wrestling commission, stop requiring these licenses and bonds, and join the rest of us in 2018.