Wrestling Rumblings #18
June 5, 2009
By: Jose Marrero of WrestleView.com
It would seem one of the more controversial talked about topics in wrestling is drug use. Usually when you think about drug use in wrestling people tend to think of steroids but drug use is more than just steroids in professional wrestling. In late 2005 after the death of Eddie Guerrero WWE instituted a wellness policy and last year TNA was to have instituted testing also. While no one that we know of has been penalized under any TNA policy we have seen talent suspended and released under WWE's wellness policy and here we are almost 4 years later and that policy has been changed and updated but well I ask myself is that policy working? You?re reading ?Wrestling Rumblin gs?.
If all accounts are true Chris Masters should be back in WWE very soon and it is no secret that Chris Masters first stint with WWE came to an end as a result of his violations of the wellness policy and while he has been gone from the company for about 2 years now here he is on his way back into the company more than likely in a high profile position. I don?t want to feel like I am picking on Masters since I do believe everyone deserves a second chance but at the same time shouldn?t one prove himself worthy of a second chance. In the 2 years that he has been gone from WWE I have not heard of him going to rehab to deal with what in WWE was deemed a painkiller addiction how does WWE know that this is not an issue for him anymore? Because he passed one drug test; what assurances does WWE have that he will pass others? If you have listened to past interviews with Chris Masters and take him at his word he will tell you he has gotten past his demons and is currently drug free but what he will also tell you is that the pressures of the road is what led to his problems. How does WWE know that Chris Masters is mentally and emotionally equipped to handle the stress of a WWE schedule without having to turn to other20vices? I am not saying that Chris shouldn?t get another chance at WWE but what message does it send to others on the roster when you can be a young talent like Chris Masters and apparently earn another shot at the big time without having done anything to prove you deserve it?
Jeff Hardy has been a very popular wrestler as of late and a big part of it is due to many feeling that he has become a great comeback story having pretty much ran himself out of WWE at one point due to not being able to deal with the WWE schedule and succumbing to other vices to handle the stress. During his time away from WWE he went to TNA who did not hesitate to pick up what they felt was a very marketable star despite his obvious personal problems. I oftentimes find it humorous how when a drug story comes up concerning wrestling everyone immediately points fingers at Vince McMahon and no one thinks to bat a eye towards Cary Silkin or Dixie Carter. While it is true that Vince McMahon runs the biggest pro wrestling company in the world how much longer could that last if he jettisoned every talent that failed a drug test only for a TNA or ROH to pick them up and steal all his business away from him? You could make a argument that if WWE didn?t have dru g testing in the early 90's that maybe WCW wouldn?t have had the chance to become successful later on in the 90's as WCW had no drug testing and while it can never be proven it has always been widely suspected that many within WCW had steroid and recreational drug problems. It has been no secret that ECW was also a party locker room and there were many within its employ who sacrificed the fame and fortune of WWE and WCW for the right to party in ECW while making a pretty decent living. How can any policy be a success when your competition is much more relaxed in its rules than you are and more than willing to take on your cast offs?
Of course one of the biggest problems that many have with the WWE wellness policy is whether or not it is truly a biased program. If HHH failed the wellness program would Vince have the ?grapefruits? to suspend him even though he is family? If John Cena failed the wellness program would Vince sacrifice the golden goose for the good of company morale? I genuinely do not think so after all while I hate to bring the name up Chris Benoit was hardly the biggest star in WWE at the time of his demise and to say he was abusing steroids and other prescription medicine at the time of his death is an understatement. I refuse to believe that WWE was not aware of the problems with drugs he was having and yet they chose to keep him on the road to further their bottom line. I don?t like to blame wrestling for the Benoit tragedy but at the same time it can be reasonably said that if the WWE would have caught and reacted to Chris Benoit's drug use than maybe Nancy and Daniel Benoit would still be alive today. The fact that they are not alive and there were so many drugs recovered from the Benoit estate will always have me wondering whether or not WWE was actually aware and dismissive of Benoit's problems since in their eyes he was a piece of the puzzle they could not do without.
As you are probably aware of after reading all of this I don?t think WWE's wellness policy is really working but of course to just say that is to repeat what everyone else is already saying when the big question is what can be done to make it a legit policy? Well in all honesty I don?t think it falls on WWE and WWE alone to police its athletes but the whole wrestling industry in general. Everyone WWE, TNA, ROH and any independent organization running should have one single uniform policy and it should be across the board respected.20I personally think there should be a commission similar to state governing bodies that legislate Boxing and MMA in every state that make rulings and respect the rulings of other states. This way if a wrestler was to test positive for a banned substance he can be properly and fairly dealt with in a way that is fair to both the wrestler and the company for which he is performing. Of course the problem then would be what it is with MMA and Boxing in that some athletes tend to forego working in the US to work in Mexico and Japan where there is no testing and standards are different but even still it would be safe to assume that out of the thousands of wrestlers that work in the US there are not that many that would wish to live out there active career in a foreign country just to make it as a wrestler.
I guess the truth of it is we should just be happy there is a policy that exists at all and hope it doesn?t go to the wayside as the drug policy of the 90's once did. While there may be 10 wrestlers who are able to cheat the system and get away with it maybe we should be happy for that 1 wrestler who does get caught by the system and is forced to make a change in his/her lifestyle. Maybe we don?t save everyone but=2 0at least we save someone and if one person can have their life changed well that's one person who was not in a position to have their life changed before 2005. The U.S Government can rule however they wish but truth be told there are some things that are beyond even their power to control and this is truly one of them. Drug use is, was and always will be a part of the wrestling landscape and there is nothing anyone can do about it.
On that note it's time to wrap up this week's installment as usual if you like or hate the column you should feel free to let me know by hitting me up at [email protected]
and well that's it for this week next week I will try to do better and until then I am out.