As reported earlier today, Vince McMahon has announced a new WWE drug policy that will test for steroids, recreational drugs, and prescription drugs. McMahon said that the tests will be frequent and random and that there will be no exceptions.
WWE did have a drug policy from 1992 to 1996 but ended up dropping it due to the fact that business was horrible in 1996 and they no longer wanted to pay for the costs of maintaining it. That policy also became a joke because management would turn a blinde eye to some wrestlers who got busted while fining or even firing (such as the British Bulldog and the Ultimate Warrior) others.
A major difference in the policy this time around is that it will be handled by an outside firm and Vince McMahon will not be the first to know the results. In the old policy, Vince would be told who failed a test and he would then decide what to do about it. Now, the firm will know before him which should result in a more ethical study.
WWE did not discuss the punishments for people who fail the tests yet because there is a very real chance that up to half the talent roster could fail the first test if given within the next month or two. Obviously WWE cannot suspend half the roster, so they will have to make a decision regarding how to handle workers who fail the test. It is believed that even if workers stop using today, they will still fail tests that are given to them within the next two months.
If WWE does strictly enforce this policy, it will mean a massive change for the entire business. The massive bodies that we see today will shrink pretty quickly and it will also result in less high spots since workers will no longer be able to mask the pain with tons of painkillers and other drugs. This in turn will likely result in a more mat-based, story-driven product and will also likely result in pushes based on promo and mat skills rather than size. In the past, WWE has often pushed talent soley on body size.
One potential problem that remains is the use of Growth Hormones which still cannot be tested for.
Wrestling, just like in baseball, has promoted the use of steroids and painkillers for years by pushing people with massive bodies and people who take huge bumps often.
The entire policy will be based on how serious Vince McMahon takes it. Obviously right now everyone is serious due to Eddie Guerrero’s death, Eugene’s drug problems, and the fact that WWE is ripe to get the mainstream media spotlight for steroid use if they aren’t careful. That could be followed up by a congress-led investigation just like baseball was forced to deal with. However, as time goes by and the pressure to maintain the policy decreases, if a major star in the middle of a major storyline fails a drug test, it remains to be seen if WWE will actually enforce the test result or just ignore it like they have done for years.