In 2006, WWE took the smart step and implemented an exam known as the Wellness Policy in order to dissuade their employees from using performance enhancing drugs as well as possessing, distributing, or using illegal drugs. The opening of the policy states, "The “non-medical use” and associated abuse of prescription medications and performance enhancing drugs, as well as the use, possession and/or distribution of illegal drugs, by WWE Talent are unacceptable and prohibited by this Policy, as is the use of masking agents or diuretics taken to conceal or obscure the use of prohibited drugs."
As fans, we could not agree more with the "unacceptable" part of that excerpt. The last thing we want is for our heroes to risk their lives by participating in drug activity (be it for recreational use or in order to bulk up fast), and we definitely do not want the children in the audience to ever think that actions like that are okay. These are role models and they should act and be treated as such, so it only makes sense that the WWE would implement a policy that harshly punishes those who do.
Unfortunately, it seems as if a lot of the WWE talent either think they can beat the system or feel like they are completely immune to this rule. Surprising enough to them, neither of these proved true for quite a few of the Superstars, and over the years we have seen suspension upon suspension relating to the violation of the WWE Wellness Policy. Of course, we know that not every Superstar has been suspended every time that they failed a drug test. But given WWE's past full of favoritism, a lot of us are honestly surprised that some of the most popular wrestlers have not only been suspended, but that their suspension was announced to the public.
WWE's most recent list of suspensions has had us going back over the past to recall all the bigger name wrestlers who have fallen victim to some sort of association with drugs and whose careers were momentarily affected by it. In honor of that, as well as the fact that the policy celebrated it's 10-year anniversary in February of this year, we wanted to take a moment to remind all of you wrestling fans out there of the 25 most popular wrestlers who violated the wellness policy.
25 Eva Marie
Although she is one of (if not the) most hated female wrestlers in WWE right now, that still makes her one of the most well-known, and popular for that very reason. Her suspension came across on the most recent list of violators, and things have been getting rather interesting. Originally Eva claimed that the only reason for her suspension was due to not turning paperwork in on time. What she neglected to mention — which we naturally found out — was that her suspension was due to Adderall that was found in her system. What is so interesting about this is the fact that when she originally released her statement, she made it sound like she simply was in the process of filling paperwork for the policy out, but she was a little late to hand it in. Eva Marie is still standing by her statement that it was in regards to paperwork, claiming that she is prescribed Adderall, but she simply forgot to turn that particular part of her paperwork in. Strange, isn’t it? The most important part of the paperwork regarding their drug policy was not turned in on time.
24 Evan Bourne
In 2011, Evan Bourne became one of those wrestlers who apparently thought that they could beat the system in regards to the Wellness Policy. He was clearly very wrong seeing as how on November 1st, WWE announced that he was suspended for 30 days due to a violation. To top it off, it was less than three months later when the WWE let us know that he violated the policy a second time and would be suspended for 60 days (which is the required length of a second violation). Several of us were surprised not only by the first violation, but especially by the second one for following the first so quickly.
23 Mr. Kennedy
Within his wrestling career, Ken Anderson has been primarily known for his first-rate microphone skills. There's no denying that he spent the majority of his career within WWE as a rising star; and when a lot of us looked at him, we saw the future of the company. However, that future started to become a bit bleak in 2007 when his involvement in the Signature Pharmacy scandal was announced. For those of you who don't know (and we imagine there aren't too many of you), Signature Pharmacy in Orlando, Florida was raided and busted in 2007 for distributing prescription drugs and steroids to clients without the consent of a doctor. When the scandal emerged, so did a list of WWE wrestlers who were clients of this pharmacy. Anderson (then known as Mr. Kennedy) was one of those wrestlers, along with a few others that will be mentioned a little later on this list.
Reports state that Anderson had received several different prescriptions between October of 2006 and February of 2007. Those prescriptions included Anastrozole, Somatropin and Testosterone. In an interview with SLAM! Wrestling, Ken was quoted as saying "I'm going to say that I made mistakes. I will probably make more mistakes in the future. The thing is that I just try to learn from my mistakes, and admit wrongdoing when it's necessary or when it's prudent, and just try to move on, man. I've tried not to live in the past," in regards to questions about the incident that was followed by a 30-day suspension.
22 Gregory Shane Helms
"The Hurricane" Shane Helms was another WWE wrestler whose name appeared on that list of clients from the Signature Pharmacy scandal. His involvement in the scandal has been questioned a lot though, considering the fact that he was out of action not long before this incident due to an injury that required surgery on his neck. When we look at that as well as the comments he has been reported as saying in regards to the incident, it makes us wonder whether he was actually involved or not. Either way, his name is typed up clear as day in every list of Wellness Policy violators that you can find, so we decided to include him anyway.
21 Chavo Guerrero
Chavo Guerrero is the third wrestler on this list to be tied to the Signature Pharmacy scandal (only five more to go after this one!), but this entry mixes things up a little bit because it wasn't until this incident that we found out he had a previous violation. As we clarified with Evan Bourne, a second violation of the policy is met with a 60-day suspension — whereas the first is only met with a 30-day suspension. Well Chavo Guerrero was reportedly hit with a 60-day suspension following the release of this information regarding the scandal, meaning that he had another strike that took place prior to WWE openly announcing the suspensions that relate to the policy. Interesting, isn't it?
20 John Morrison
Yet again we have another wrestler who was involved in that scandal. John Morrison's one and only violation of the policy occurred when his name also popped up on that list, stating that he had received Somatropin, Anastrozole, Testosterone, Stanozolol, and Chorionic Gonadotropin between the times of June 2006 and February 2007. Those particular medications are used by athletes in order to do things such as increase muscle mass while keeping their bodies looking the way they feel they should and improve their athletic abilities. Considering that some of those medications are steroids and all are performance enhancers, taking them (prescribed or not) is strictly against the WWE Wellness Policy.
Carlito's violation of the Wellness Policy was a very special situation. The policy clearly states that a performer who is in violation three times will be released from the WWE. However, in Carlito's case, May 21st, 2010 brought about the announcement of his release along with the following statement: "Carlito's termination was due to his first violation of the WWE Wellness Program and his subsequent refusal to attend a rehabilitation facility." But wait, the situation gets even more interesting.
R-Truth's suspension caused a lot of controversy among fans. Remember how we talked about Evan Bourne's first suspension back in 2011? Well as it turns out, R-Truth was not only there when Bourne smoked the synthetic weed, but he joined him in the act as well. However, Evan's suspension came a few weeks before R-Truth's. The reason for this is that Truth was set to appear at Survivor Series in the main event with The Miz, John Cena, and The Rock. Reportedly, WWE did not want to spoil that main event so they made the decision to fine him and then wait to suspend him until after the episode of Raw that took place the day after the Pay-Per-View.
Dylan Postl (Hornswoggle's real name) has stated that his suspension actually had nothing to do with failing a drug test, or becoming addicted to pain pills, or even not turning in paperwork on time.
Postl's suspension came about due to a failure to deliver his urine in a timely manner. Section 8 of WWE's Wellness Policy states that the Program Administrator is meant to "Ensure that the specimen(s) is/are collected within the time period designated. Normally, collection shall be made within two hours or less of the notification of WWE Talent that testing will be conducted, unless a different time is designated based on the circumstances."
16 Adam Rose
Adam Rose has had one hell of a time regarding his policy violations. That's right, he was suspended not once, but twice for failing the drug test. However, the second incident is the only one that a lot of fans know about — mainly because he made such a big deal about it on his Twitter account. In case you aren't fully up to date on all of that drama, let us take a moment to fill you in.
Rose's first violation actually came about during his time with WWE's developmental program NXT. Due to that fact, the suspension was never publicly announced by the company, which is probably why we didn't see Rose make an ordeal about the situation. It was brushed under the rug and we probably would have never heard about it had he not ended up with a second violation.
The second violation was due to Adam Rose testing positive for Adderall and it came about on April 16th, 2016. This one came with a public announcement which was soon followed by a clarification from Adam on his Twitter. The tweet contained statements such as "I can say right now I did not do anything knowingly wrong and was taking prescribed medication that my Dr and I followed all the correct protocol on" and "the administrators over the WWE Wellness policy were just simply not right in taking this action". A couple weeks later, Rose also posted a note (which you can see above) from his doctor that basically states he was prescribed Adderall to treat his ADHD and so on and so forth.
15 Kurt Angle
Our Olympic hero is definitely one of the wrestlers on this list that would not likely be expected to appear. However, in 2006 Kurt was slammed with a 30-day suspension for his first and only violation. That isn’t saying much though, considering the fact that it was only about two months later when WWE announced that they had granted Angle his request to be released. Angle has stated that the reason for failing the drug test that landed him with the suspension was because he was being forced to work injured. The pain from all of his injuries caused him to have to take the pills in order to continue wrestling through the pain. WWE has a different story, claiming that he refused to attend rehab for his pain pill addiction.
When Ryback was wrestling in Ohio Valley Wrestling (WWE’s former primary developmental program), he wrestled under his real name Ryan Reeves. He entered in the beginning of 2006 and just a few months later found himself suspended for a violation of the Wellness Policy. Not much detail is known about his violation. In fact, given the fact that he was in OVW at the time and because WWE did not start releasing the names of suspended Superstars until 2007, not too many people even know that he was ever suspended. However, Ryback has been reported saying that the suspension happened because he had taken some over-the-counter supplements that presented a false positive. The drugs were later taken off this market due to causing incidents like this, but his suspension continued.
13 Sin Cara
Before we talk about this particular suspension, we’d like to ask one question. If one Sin Cara is suspended for a Wellness Policy violation, does the next one already have a strike on his record? I mean, given WWE wants us all to believe that we have the same Sin Cara, it only makes sense right?
12 Heath Slater
His future in the WWE was questioned a bit back in 2011. He had been working as a jobber ever since the demise of The Corre and then, on October 17th, his violation and suspension were announced by WWE.
This looked like it could potentially end his career with the company strictly based on the fact that the WWE seems to be quick to drop jobbers when they step out of line. Luckily they didn’t. He came back and is still part of the company. In regards to his violation, Slater released a statement that said “I am truly sorry to have disappointed you. I made a simple mistake… everyone does once in a while. But trust me when I say I will NOT be making this one again.”
There isn’t a whole lot about Paige’s suspension that can be said with confidence. All we know is that she was suspended for violating the drug policy. Aside from that, everything else we’ve heard is simply speculation. It has been said that the suspension was more about her relationship with Alberto Del Rio than anything. It has also been said that Paige may very well be leaving WWE after her suspension. Although the last point isn’t all that likely considering the fact that her contract is nowhere near ready to expire any time soon.
So, we don’t know what substance she tested positive for (although it’s generally assumed it was marijuana), nor do we even know if it was a failed drug test that brought about the violation. There is a chance that we might get some clarification on Paige’s suspension given her rebellious nature; however, until she is no longer working for the WWE, we’re not holding our breath. Though there are rumors that she's already quit:
10 Alberto Del Rio
Speaking of her boyfriend, Alberto Del Rio was also suspended for a Wellness Policy violation. It has been stated that WWE is not the biggest fan of the pairing and their choice to announce their suspensions on the same day was a public declaration of their feelings about it.
Although this is simply speculation, there is no denying that Del Rio and WWE have had quite a rocky past — making the rumors a little more believable. Paige is one of WWE’s most popular divas and having her romantically linked to a wrestler they’re not particularly fond of isn’t an ideal situation. There have also been rumors circulating since the suspension regarding Del Rio leaving the WWE, which likely sparked the ones about Paige leaving with him.
My business relationship with @WWE has come to an end in good terms...thanks for the opportunities they gave me.— Alberto El Patron (@PrideOfMexico) September 9, 2016
Termine mi relación con WWE
9 Rob Van Dam
Anyone who follows wrestling knows how big of a star RVD was in 2006. He held the WWE Championship and the ECW Championship at the same time and fans absolutely adored him.
Unfortunately for Rob, the worst possible thing happened to him at the worst possible time. On July 3rd, RVD and Sabu were pulled over and police found eighteen grams of marijuana and five Vicodin pills. The duo was then arrested for possession.
8 William Regal
With this entry we find ourselves back in the list of wrestlers suspended for the Signature Pharmacy scandal. William Regal was reported as having received prescriptions such as Stanozolol, Somatropin, Genotropin, and Anastrozole. This was not Regal’s only violation, though. On May 20th, 2008, WWE announced that Regal would be serving a 60-day suspension following yet another Wellness Policy violation. We aren’t exactly sure what it was that lead to the second suspension, but it isn’t all that surprising to us considering he has been known to have issues with sobriety, especially early in his wrestling career.
7 Booker T
Booker T is another wrestler with two strikes on his record in regards to the Wellness Policy. He’s also another who was tied to the infamous scandal, but he outwardly claims that he had absolutely nothing to do with it at all. In fact, Booker has even gone as far as to say that the WWE actually had a hand in his name being made a part of the incident in an attempt to sway the public’s opinion about the WWE after the Chris Benoit incident. This was his stance because he was a bigger name, he was targeted so that the fans wouldn’t be able to say that the company only punished the “no-name guys.”
Edge’s one and only suspension came about along with the scandal as well. Between September 2004 and February 2007, it was noted that Edge received Somatropin, Genotropin, and Stanozolol. Surprisingly enough, that’s all we know about Edge’s suspension.
The WWE Hall of Famer has not gone on record to talk about it what-so-ever. He did comment on another Superstar’s suspension, but even then he didn’t mention his own. We definitely can’t blame the guy. With WWE not releasing the names of the Superstars to the public, his suspension is still technically classified as speculation — with the only indicator being the list of names that he appeared on. Since he has had no other suspensions due to a drug violation, it’s best for Edge’s image to let the assumption be just that rather than solidifying the connection between his name and the use of illegal drugs of any kind.
5 Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler suspended for 30 days http://tinyurl.com/43oxnf— WWE (@WWE) October 10, 2008
Dolph Ziggler has been another one of WWE’s fan favorites. The favoritism didn’t come until after he turned in his cheerleading uniform and was reformed into the Dolph Ziggler we know today, but it still came. Which is slightly surprising considering the fact that within a month of this new character being revealed, he was suspended for his first violation of the Wellness Policy.
4 Rey Mysterio
Out of every wrestler who has come into the WWE, Rey Mysterio has always been their “token good guy.” When we say that, we mean it in a sense that he’s a fan favorite (especially with the children) and he just seems like he could do no wrong. Whether it’s the way he handles himself in the ring, in promos, or in interviews; he seems like he doesn’t have the ability to do anything “bad.” Well these illusions were shattered when you look at his history of Wellness Policy violations. Rey has been suspended twice for incidents relating to failed drug tests; both of which he has publicly denied, saying that he never actually violated those rules.
The first suspension resulted in high levels of testosterone in his system. Rey claims that he thought his doctor had provided the paperwork for the prescription in time and that the drug was given to him in order to help with a knee and arm injury. We probably would have written that off without much hesitation had he not ended up with the second suspension. For this incident, Rey tested positive for amphetamines. His excuse for this violation wasn’t so much an excuse as it was a complete denial. Rey claimed that there is no way he should have tested positive for anything that would have resulted in a violation.
3 Jeff Hardy
Looking at everyone on this list, the one wrestler that was likely expected to appear more than anyone else is Jeff Hardy. The guy has been very well-known for his history of drug use. He was suspended twice during his time with the WWE.
July of 2007 brought on his first suspension and March 11th, 2008 brought on his second. These cases definitely tainted his name a bit, but the memories of the violations disappeared relatively quickly. That is, until September 11, 2009 when Hardy was arrested following a drug bust. The search turned up with a total of 262 Vicodin pills, 180 Soma pills, 555 milliliters of anabolic steroids, powder cocaine, and drug paraphernalia. Yikes. From that moment on, Hardy’s name was forever linked with drugs in the minds of both fans of wrestling as well as people who didn’t watch the show. Knowing all that, it isn’t all that surprising that Jeff hasn’t been asked to come back to the company just yet. No matter how popular he was at any point (or even how popular he is now), the chances of WWE asking him to come back are tainted a bit because of this matter.
2 Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns' suspension came about earlier this year and it was a major shock to everyone. It was such a shock that it has become one of the most talked about suspensions in WWE history. Tons of wrestlers have been asked to comment about it (including Edge, which we mentioned a little earlier on the list), and there are so many different places to read fans’ opinions on the internet.
His violation is reportedly related to a drug test showing Adderall in his system; however, there have been no official comments regarding exactly what it was that landed him with his first offense. Aside from the announcement made by the WWE, the only verifiable response that has been made was by Roman himself when he posted on his Twitter apologizing for the incident.
I apologize to my family, friends and fans for my mistake in violating WWE’s wellness policy. No excuses. I own it.— Roman Reigns (@WWERomanReigns) June 21, 2016
1 Randy Orton
We end our list with the one WWE Superstar who seems to have the most controversy in regards to his policy violations.
Randy Orton was noted as another client involved in the Signature Pharmacy scandal, but he also has another strike on his record. The second violation was announced in May of 2012. The issue with Orton is that there are more than just the two instances that we are aware of and who knows how many that we aren’t. There was an incident in April of 2006 where Orton was suspended for rolling marijuana at a SmackDown taping (Orton actually admitted this himself in an interview for WWE Magazine and only showed disappointment to whoever told on him), but this was written off as a “conduct violation” since WWE was not testing their performers for marijuana at the time.
Four months later was when he ended up with his first Wellness Policy violation. A year later his name was linked with the scandal, but we were informed that his previous suspension was regarding his involvement with Signature Pharmacy, so he was actually not suspended when everyone else had been.
Then there was the 2012 incident. That makes four occasions (three if you actually believe that his first suspension was related to the scandal), which means that he should have been released from the company several years ago. So why is Randy Orton sliding by this policy? Why is anyone within the WWE sliding by — be it not being punished at all or having a delayed punishment? There’s a simple answer that fans can agree on: favoritism. And Randy Orton is seemingly at the top of the favoritism list when it comes to the WWE turning a blind eye in regards to drug use.
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