Jaxon Ryker & wrestling’s need to better remove its skeletons


Jaxson Ryker is a stark reminder that wrestling needs to do better handling problematic talent.

Jaxson Ryker’s name is once again in media cycles as his interview on the Wrestling for the Faith podcast reminded professional wrestling fans of another example of how deeply ingrained hate can become. As his WWE non-compete clause ends, he’s a reminder that professional wrestling as an industry needs to work harder to remove skeletons from the closet.

The story behind why the Forgotten Sons (which was immediately recognized as a problematic gimmick) were removed from television doesn’t need rehashing. Ryker’s comments on social media cost not only him a push, but also cost Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake their jobs. Even as fans openly pushed back against the idea, Ryker continued to get opportunities in WWE, remaining on the roster well after Blake and Cutler were released. It was clear that those in leadership positions in the WWE didn’t see a real issue with his actions.

Ryker’s opportunity to take bookings is near, but promotions should hesitate when looking at his presence on their shows. Straight out the gate, this conversation isn’t about a difference in political opinion. There’s always a place for individuals to have a civil disagreement about policies and stances. But Jaxson Ryker’s (Chad Lail) own words show that not only does he not have any remorse, but he’s willing to double down in his stance that is marred in bigotry.

Even beyond that, Ryker went as far as to insinuate that if he were in his twenties, he would have used violence against coworkers who opposed his racist and hateful commentary. That stance should be enough to keep him out of professional wrestling.

Problematic performers do not deserve a place in professional wrestling

But the industry continues to willingly make the wrong decisions around booking and creating opportunities for people that cause harm. Just look at the Speaking Out movement as a glaring example. Victims of sexual assault, misconduct, and other forms of mistreatment opened about the harm they experienced in close proximity to professional wrestlers. Some individuals were held accountable for their actions, but there are several names that were accused who still hold on to prominent positions in the industry.

Ryker and others like him may want their supporters to believe they are being chased by the hypothetical boogeyman that is cancel culture, but in reality, the call is for these individuals to be held accountable for their actions.

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If professional wrestling is truly to become the diverse outlet that is a representation of its fanbase, individuals like Jaxson Ryker should not be welcomed back. Sure, there’s a road to repentance, but often these individuals double down with every excuse they can find to avoid being accountable for their actions. Those people should not be forced out of the entire professional wrestling industry.