U.S. Senator Henry Waxman submitted a report on the state of steroid use and abuse in wrestling to the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s Director, John P. Walters. Along with the report, Waxman provided a letter he wrote, which details somewhat shocking, and most certainly embarrassing facts about steroid use in both WWE and TNA.
To read the complete letter, in pdf format, you can CLICK HERE
Some highlights (or lowlights?) in the letter, pointed out by Mike Johnson of pwinsider.com:
*Chris Benoit tested positive three times for steroids by World Wrestling Entertainment prior to his June 2006 murder/suicide of his family, but was never penalized by the promotion beyond “only a warning.”
*40% of WWE talents tested positive for steroids and other drugs despite being aware they would be tested when the company instituted their “Wellness Policy.”
*25% of TNA’s talent roster tested positive for steroids during the promotion’s first baseline test while 11 talents tested positives for other substances. Waxman went on to note that while the company has instituted a policy, there are “significant weaknesses” within the TNA program.
*Waxman was critical of WWE making changes to their Wellness Policy several months after instituting it to allow wrestlers to continue to perform (without pay) on TV and PPV events in order to maintain storyline consistency after they were nailed with suspensions. In an interview with Aegis Science’s Dr. Black (who oversees the WWE Wellness program), Black noted that change was instituted, “because it was becoming difficult to deal with the talent who were being suspended”. Black also noted he was “unaccustomed to programs that suspend and you’re not suspended.”
*WWE hired five of eight wrestlers who tested positive for steroids and other drugs during pre-hiring tests, despite their positives. It should be noted that according to material given to the Committee by WWE, those talents were only hired after later receiving negative tests at a later period.
*Waxman noted that WWE was allowing “therapeutic usage” of steroids from talents who were using a “testosterone replacement therapy” to combat issues brought on by previous steroid use in their past.
*Despite being a performer within his own company, Waxman noted WWE’s Vince McMahon is not subject to the WWE’s Wellness Policy testing procedures. Waxman noted McMahon would not comment on his own steroid use and claimed not to know of the damages brought on by long-term steroid use, claiming he was “not a doctor.”
The letter includes transcripts of interviews with Vince and Linda McMahon, Stephanie McMahon-Levesque, Dixie Carter, as well as the doctors who created and oversee the WWE’s Wellness Policy. I strongly suggest reading the letter, before everybody else (WWE, TNA, Media Journalists, etc) takes the facts out of context.
Nick Perkins’ Personal Opinion
I have to admit, I haven’t closely followed every news update about steroid use in wrestling. I guess I consider myself to be ever the optimist, but this letter has made me sick to my stomach. It’s made me so sad, and maybe even a little embarrassed.
Wrestling has always been one of my best friends, and I mean that in the most literal way. There have been times when I’ve been sad, or angry, and I would turn on a wrestling show, and for two hours, I could escape reality. When even my closest friends couldn’t make me laugh or smile, The Rock could with one of his multitude of comments about pie or strudel. Wrestling has been one of my favorite things for as long as I can remember.
Just like any relationship, I will immediately jump to the side of who or what I care about. I will defend professional wrestling against anybody. But honestly, it’s hard to defend against facts. And the facts say that professional wrestling has, at the very least, been incredibly irresponsible with drug use, specifically steroid use, within it’s companies. Lives have been lost because of steroid use, and regardless of whose fault it was, (the individuals, the companies, whatever)that is unacceptable. Plans have been put into effect to help make sure this doesn’t happen again, but it still will. And that’s a sad fact. I’m sure you, dear reader, will hear dozens upon dozens of opinions, facts, and opinions made out to be facts, but in the end, just know, that though our super heroes may seem invincible, they are not. Though our idols may seem like gods, they are not. They make mistakes. They make decisions that have negative consequences. They are human. Is it our place to judge them? Absolutely not. But we should be aware. And maybe, some day, this industry that you and I love so much can be something that we don’t have to defend as strongly as we do now, and will have to do even more in the coming weeks, months, and years.