In late 2005, WWE suffered one of its most tragic moments in the history of the company. The night before a big television taping Eddie Guerrero died on the bathroom floor of his hotel. After years of suffering from drug addictions Guerrero had cleaned himself up and had held the WWE championship. At the time of his death he was scheduled to win the heavyweight championship yet again.
This tragedy hit WWE hard. Having a performer die while working for you does not look good for public relations. As a reactionary method WWE decided to start a wellness policy that would involve drug testing the wrestlers so that abuse would not kill yet another employee of theirs. WWE’s wellness policy was seen as a step in the right direction but early on there were many issues.
The biggest issue was in June of 2007 when the worst moment in wrestling history took place. In June of 2007, Chris Benoit, a good friend of Guerrero, killed his wife and son before ultimately taking his own life. Even though the wellness policy had been in place for a year, when Benoit’s autopsy took place it was discovered he had large amounts of steroids in his system. While steroids had been banned Benoit had been given an exemption. Due to years of steroid abuse, Benoit had been given an exemption because his body could not produce its own testosterone.
Only a few months after this horrible tragedy WWE’s wellness policy showed how flawed it was when the Signature Pharmacy scandal happened. In the fall of 2007, it was discovered that roughly a dozen wrestlers were getting steroids and prescription drugs over the internet from a pharmacy in Orlando. This got real media publicity since stars such as Randy Orton, Edge, and Booker T were involved. Most of the wrestlers were suspended but not all. In a business based on stars there are always a few who get special treatment.
Over the past decade there have only been a few instances in which wrestlers fail drug tests. Recently wellness policy failures have been very rare. However, that does not mean that every single wrestler in WWE is drug free. By watching WWE programming you will see many guys whose bodies could not be achieved through diet and exercise alone.
There have been many debates as to whether WWE’s wrestlers use some form of performance enhancing drugs. Recently, Triple H’s nutritionist, Dave Palumbo was on a wrestling podcast discussing how he helps Triple H get in shape every year for Wrestlemania. While asking about H’s supplements the host ended getting a very interesting answer out of Palumbo regarding the usage of HGH in WWE.
Palumbo’s comments about how the guys in WWE are allowed to use hormone replacement seems to clash with WWE’s public image. WWE over the past few year had a complete public relations overhaul. Their works with various organizations seem to be spotlighted more than some of their top wrestlers. The wellness policy has been one of the cornerstones in trying to rehab a negative perception. It is not good to have someone close to Triple H, who is currently a top executive, show how weak this drug testing policy may be.
Before 2005 there were many wrestlers in WWE who had absurd physiques and Triple H was always one of them. The transformation his body made from 1997 to 1999 is one that must have had taken place with some assistance. Palumbo’s statement at the end of the clip proves that Triple H may be a former user when he said “I’m sure he would love to do it.”
While there may be usage of testosterone replacement and human growth hormone there seems to be a limit as too how much they can take. Palumbo even said that some guys take small doses. After Benoit’s death they obviously do not want people taking large amounts of HGH but wrestling is a appearance based business. While there have been many guys with average physiques who are stars the people with the superhuman bodies will always have an easier path to success.
There may be claims that WWE’s wrestlers are clean but when one sees Jinder Mahal’s physical transformation over the past year and Cena’s rapid recovery from injuries there has to be something at play. Brock Lesnar’s drug test failure around UFC 200 is a public example of a WWE wrestler being outing for using some form of steroid. While Palumbo’s comments are not very shocking it does open up a discussion about accepted drug use in WWE.
These comments by Dave Palumbo may end up going under the radar but they bring up a big issue. WWE has had many issues with drug use of the past 30 years which has lead to many premature deaths. While the use of drugs such as HGH may be small there may still be a negative effects that happen to the wrestlers. Hopefully this will not lead to yet another scandal that shows how weak WWE’s wellness policy can be.
Since posting this article WWE has commented on Dave Plaumbo’s claims of WWE wrestlers using human growth hormone (HGH). WWE said that “he was misinformed on the subject and the drug policy does not allow for use of those substances unless an endocrinologist and the WWE’s medical staff approved of it for legitimate medical need.”