Stick a Needle Where?

Kevin Kelly


Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you all are safe, happy and warm and please remember those who aren’t.

The biggest story of 2007 in pro wrestling was the Benoit murder tragedy but the biggest issue affecting the entire industry is steroid use. But should it be? Is the use of performance-enhancing drugs in pro wrestling a problem and should the athletes be told what they can and can’t do?

In the National Football League, players move at the speed of light, it seems, as they ferociously deliver hits on the gridiron. Bigger, faster and stronger are the NFL players of today so imagine if the leagueâ<80><99>s drug policy wasnâ<80><99>t in effect. Roided-up human missiles serving as lethal weaponsâ<80>¦ If the leagueâ<80><99>s policy was transparent, every player would be on the juice as a matter of self-defense. As it is, the majority of players are clean but each of them looks for an edge.

In Major League Baseball, the fallout from the Mitchell Report has wounded a sport build on history and records. While no baseball player would risk injury to others by taking steroids as they would in football, the performance-enhancing assault on the record books through the late 1990â<80><99>s has forever affected the integrity of Americaâ<80><99>s pastime.

But how has steroid use negatively affected the wrestling industry? Before you say â<80><9c>look at all the deathsâ<80>, the combination of steroid use along with painkiller/recreational drug abuse has greatly increased the death toll. If every wrestler who took steroids died, there would be no one left. Morgues would be filled with bodybuilders, cops and East German swimmers if steroids killed.

Unlike football, wrestlingâ<80><99>s in-ring aggression is controlled. Unlike baseball, there are no record books. I believe that most big-time wrestlers have taken steroids but can you remember a match that fell apart because of roid-rage related anger? Are gassed-up juiceheads unable to do business in the ring because their brains are soaked in steroids? Hardly.

Since thatâ<80><99>s the case, can an argument be made to allow wrestlers in the WWE and TNA to continue to use steroids if they wish? They are taking the law in their own hands because steroids are illegal. They are risking side effects that can accompany steroid use. But if you can look like a million bucks and make a million bucks, is it worth the risk? Do entertainment companies like WWE and TNA owe anyone anything if they turn a blind eye to steroid use by the independent contractors they employ?

Perhaps. Everyone looks for an edge, a chance to get over. Have you ever fudged on your tax returns or a resume? Lied to a girl in hopes of getting laid? Athletes all look for the magic pill that will add muscle, endurance or speed. Quicker than policing agencies can develop drug tests, the drug makers come up with new formulas designed to beat tests. But the fact remains, as Vince McMahon said, you have to protect the talent from themselves.

The boys will take bigger risks looking for the formula that will make them leaner, harder and more muscular. If theyâ<80><99>ll ingest products meant for horses, theyâ<80><99>ll take anything. If you told a wrestler that a bee sting in the eye would increase mass, hives would be emptied at a momentâ<80><99>s notice and the shooting ocular pain and blindness would be worth it.

I agree with the WWE Wellness Policy and I understand the ban on performance-enhancing drugs. You have to protect the talent from themselves. While some get smaller, not everyone on the WWE roster has. So what are they doing? Just like every home run hitter in the majors, if your swatting the ball, you must be on the gas. Full disclosure of those who violate policy delineates the honest from the dishonest.

Iâ<80><99>m not saying use or abuse is good or should be condoned. I am simply looking at the other side of one of the strongest issues the wrestling industry has dealt with in its history.

I love discussions like this, articles on the philosophical side of wrestling. If you share my passion for thought-provoking â<80><9c>what ifâ<80> scenarios, email me at kevinfsu90@yahoo.com

Iâ<80><99>ve also posted a â<80><9c>what ifâ<80> question in my section of the forums as well and I look forward to reading your always-entertaining, intelligent responses.

Happy New Year!

Kevin

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