The JBL-Joey Styles incident
Here’s a headline that looks like something you’d find on satirical Web site theonion.com: "Joey Styles punches out JBL in Iraq"
Well, you know what they say about truth being stranger than fiction. According to pwinsider.com, the former voice of ECW knocked down JBL with a punch to the face during WWE’s trip to Iraq last week for the Tribute to the Troops show. The story is that JBL, who has a reputation for hazing and bullying people, was relentlessly picking on Styles, who finally reached his boiling point and confronted JBL.
Styles (listed at 5 feet 8, 165 pounds on Wikipedia) dropping JBL (6-6, 290, according to wwe.com) blows away Paul Orndorff knocking out Vader and Chris Jericho taking down Bill Goldberg as far as shocking results to real-life physical confrontations. I am guessing that Styles has gained a new measure of respect in the locker room and is probably a hero to others who have been hazed, while JBL’s reputation as a tough guy has taken a hit – literally.
Hazing and pulling ribs have been an accepted aspect of the wrestling business forever. Some of it is rather harmless, but it can also be quite mean-spirited. Such behavior would be grounds for termination in a traditional workplace, but it’s often dismissed in wrestling as boys being boys.
In the past, there have been instances of WWE talent citing hazing as a reason for quitting the company. In the case of Styles, who is WWE’s director of digital content, instead of putting pen to paper and drafting his resignation letter, he put fist to face.
It shouldn’t have had to come to that. Now that WWE is a publicly traded company and wrestling is no longer the equivalent of a secret society, the lawlessness and frat-boy mind-set of the old territorial days need to end.
It will be interesting to see if any action is taken by WWE in regard to Styles and JBL, but since both were on Raw last night, I wouldn’t expect any.
What makes this latest incident even more embarrassing is that it happened during a feel-good event – entertaining the troops in Iraq – that was originally JBL’s idea.