This article’s purpose isn’t to demonize, harm, or make fun of anyone who’s going through an addiction. The literature is quite the contrary, as it’s supposed to give people hope as well as warn them of the dangers of addictions. Even though most of the Superstars on here have or still are battling hard drugs, prescription medicine, or alcohol, it doesn’t mean those are the only addictions out there. You can be addicted to fast food, too much television, or Harry Potter fan fiction tales. Whatever the case is, it could become an unhealthy lifestyle.
This article is also a reminder to us, the fans, that these Superstars have one of the most physically and mentally demanding occupations in modern history. We’re not trying to compare them to the police or military, however, it would be naïve to think that the wrestling industry is all hunky-dory. The pressure on these Superstars is real and it’s a major reason why some of our most beloved heroes aren’t with us today.
We appreciate the WWE stepping up their Wellness Policy initiative and rehabilitation center. TheSportster hopes the program continues towards the right path. Some of these wrestlers found their way after rehab didn't work, so there's even some more positive stories hidden in the stories where rehab failed.
If you or a person you love is dealing with an addiction, please visit these websites for more information and help.
17 Relapse - Sunny
Tammy Sytch blew away the WWE Universe when she first started appearing as the manager for The Bodydonnas in the mid-90s. Her character was the type of person who liked to use her sexuality and good looks to manipulate wrestlers so she could get want she wanted. Now looking back on it, the character was probably more true to her personality than most of the talent in the locker room at the time. Sunny would leave the WWE on bad terms, but would end up in the Hall of Fame in 2011.
At the expense of the WWE, Sunny has been in and out of rehab several times for alcoholism. Many people take a rehab deal in court to get time off their sentence, which has also been the case for Sunny. She checked back into rehab earlier this year due to a DUI offense. Sadly, at this point, we doubt anything will change.
16 Sober - Goldust
If you told wrestling fans in 1995 that The Bizarre One would still be on the WWE roster two decades later, we’re pretty sure you would have gotten the same reaction if you informed those people that Donald Trump would be the 45th President of the United States. We believe Goldust’s longevity is due to sobering up after years of abuse to his body.
In his book, Cross Roads: Goldust, Out of the Darkness, he tells the readers about some of his worst moments in his life. As he spiraled out of control, he reached out to his father, Dusty Rhodes, for help. Fortunately, Goldust has been sober since 2008 and can still jump off the top turnbuckle. With many Superstars from the Attitude Era gone from the ring, it’s always sweet to see Goldust still performing, especially knowing everything he's gone through.
15 Relapse - Matt Hardy
There is no doubt that the “Broken" Matt Hardy transformation is one of the greatest transformations of a wrestling character in this century. We guarantee when it’s all said and done, Hardy’s alteration will be talked about in the same breath of Sting’s “Crow” gimmick, Vince McMahon is now Mr. McMahon, and Hulk Hogan’s epic heel turn in ’96. Of course, all these examples are obsolete and should be deleted.
To become such a character, you have to have gone through some rough times. In 2011, TMZ reported that Hardy was kicked out of a WWE-sponsored rehabilitation center after being arrested in September of that year. It took about two months before he was kicked out due to failing a breathalyzer test. Hardy may not have sobered up then, but he sure seems focused on his new character and seems to be doing great now. Good job Matt!
14 Sober - Joey Mercury
Who didn’t love seeing J&J security on a weekly basis last year? If you don’t have the same feelings, eat a bowl of Booty Os. Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble both paid their dues in the ring to be part of the WWE Universe and we hope to see them back soon. At one point in Mercury’s life, he almost didn’t get a shot to be involved with The Straight Edge Society, NXT and a henchman for Seth Rollins.
In 2007, he admitted to the public that he had been a drug addict and alcoholic since he was 15 years old. He also claims to have overdosed three times before finally getting help. Vince McMahon got directly involved in an intervention and helped Mercury through rehab. We may hate a lot of things about the WWE, but this story is a beautiful tear-jerker.
13 Relapse - X-Pac
He's a distinguished member of The Kliq, so you know the guy could party and wrestle. The only wrestler to make a contribution to the success of both the nWo and DX before the WCW and WWE merged, he will always be a fan favorite. You may wonder why he wasn’t at the infamous “Curtain Call” at Madison Square Garden in 1996. It was because he was in drug rehab.
X-Pac would clean his act up for a short while, but would then relapse again. This time, Triple H saved his life and paid for his rehab from a meth addiction in 2002. In 2008, it was reported X-Pac attempted a suicide before being helped by Kevin Nash. X-Pac is no saint, but he has tried to stay sober. We hope he stays clear of any serious harm to his body.
12 Sober - William Regal
As Americans, we usually think we are the party animals of the world, but let us not forget our brothers and sisters across the great pond. Regal is a real man’s man because not only did he realize he had a problem with drug and alcohol abuse, but he did something about it. Even though it took a few rehab attempts in the ‘90s to get him clean, the man has been sober for a very long time.
Maybe waking up in an Alaskan jail cell without any recollection of being there can do the trick. Regal is now the authority figure of the hottest product on the WWE Network, NXT. He has contributed so much to the success of the brand that we guarantee he will be a future Hall of Famer.
10 Relapse - Sean O'Haire
He may not have been the most popular Superstar to come over from WCW after the merger with the WWE in 2001, but he did have an intimidating look and could hold his own in the ring. You can question his talent, but you can’t question his success at making it to the big leagues. He worked with the top guys in wrestling, such as The Undertaker, Kane, Roddy Piper, and Eddie Guerrero.
After he left wrestling, O’Haire tried to dabble in mixed martial arts and went 4-2. According to TMZ, O’Haire went to WWE’s rehab center six times for alcoholism before he sadly took his own life in 2014 at the age of 43. The three-time WCW World Tag Team Champion allegedly suffered from depression, a disorder that is connected to most people with severe addictions.
9 Sober - Lex Luger
"If you snort it, spray it, shoot it, inject it, I did it, buddy. Or I was around it. That was my life. Alcohol? I abused it all, buddy. I took a lot of pills. I was a pill popper."
Luger was supposed to be the next Hulk Hogan during WWE’s New Generation Era, but it never came to fruition. After decades of abuse and the death of his girlfriend, legendary valet, Miss Elizabeth, in 2003, Luger needed to change. Elizabeth died from ingesting a mixture of painkillers and vodka which resulted in acute toxicity.
8 Relapse - Test
He never won the WWE Heavyweight Championship, but Test would always be a classic mid-card guy that the fans loved. He was an Intercontinental Champion, European Champion, two-time Hardcore Champion and WWE Tag Team Champion during his tenure with the WWE. He was a Paul Heyman guy and had some pretty smoking managers like Stacy Keibler and Trish Stratus.
Even though Test wasn’t on a WWE roster, reports say he went to the Hanley Center Rehabilitation Facility in West Palm Beach in 2008 for an addiction to painkillers. Allegedly, Test was very hesitant to enter any rehab and many friends tried to help him. In 2009, Test was found dead due to an accidental overdose of oxycodone. His brain was examined and was diagnosed as having a form of brain damage similar to Chris Benoit.
7 Sober - Kurt Angle
Many fans are hoping Angle returns to the WWE, but some remain doubtful. Angle could have been with the WWE his whole life but he even admits that his abuse to alcohol and drugs led to the relationship being ripped apart in 2006. His addictions would follow him to TNA, however, and Dixie Carter would contribute to Angle getting serious help in a rehabilitation center in 2013.
Angle has been sober ever since and has said on the record that he wants to help those who believe they have no way to overcome their addictions. We all hope that with his sobriety, Vince can extend a peace branch and bring the Olympian back to his rightful home, the WWE. This summer, it was announced Angle would contribute to a phone app that can help those with addiction called Angle Strong.
6 Relapse - Chyna
One of the most polarizing individuals to ever step foot in a ring, Joan Marie Laurer passed away at the young age of 46 earlier this year. Her death was ruled an accidental overdose of a prescription sleeping pill and a tranquilizer. Some say her last video blog showed signs of her slipping into a darker place and TMZ reported in November of 2015 that she was found passed out drunk outside her home.
Sadly, she apparently could not handle her demons and ultimately succumbed to them. In 2008, Chyna was seen on the VH1 reality show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. We doubt she took her addictions seriously when the goal of a TV show is to get ratings and make money. She is just another example of how many people are hurting and die from their addiction to prescription drugs.
5 Sober - Randy Orton
Seeing Randy Wyatt at the bidding of Bray Wyatt is awesome and epic. We can’t wait to see how their story turns out. There was once a moment when this story might have never existed. After becoming the youngest WWE Champion ever (probably because Brock Lesnar left and Vince didn’t want him to hold the record) in 2004, Orton started to show up late to work and treat some co-workers like cow manure.
He would eventually violate the Wellness Policy and be suspended. It wouldn’t be the first time and, in 2016, Randy finally went to rehab to get a strike removed from May of 2012. Allegedly, McMahon was very happy with the voluntary move to rehab and Orton has been awesome since coming back from his long stint on the shelf.
4 Relapse - Scott Hall
Scott Hall had a positive resurgence in 2013 when the wrestling community found out he was getting help with his addiction to drugs and alcohol from colleague and friend, Diamond Dallas Page. You can watch the documentary, The Resurrection of Jake the Snake, to understand how detrimental Hall’s addictions were to his body. Before 2013, Hall was in and out of rehab several times.
Once in the ‘90s, while working for WCW and in 2010, the WWE assisted him with their rehab facility. Nothing worked until DDP got involved, however, Hall would relapse at an airport in September. It’s encouraging to say Hall is sober since the incident, but it’s a firm reminder of how hard an addiction can be.
2 Sober - Shawn Michaels
If anyone could be considered the Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, or Eminem of wrestling, it’s Shawn Michaels. Just as all three performs were loved, worshiped, and praised as the best of their craft, they all had their own addictions. When you research stories about the party life of wrestlers in the ‘90s, the same theme always pops up. The theme was an unchecked abuse of every drug imaginable on earth.
In 2015, Michaels published a book called Wrestling For My Life and he explains how he was taking 35 pills a day and wouldn’t leave the couch. In 2002, he became a Christian and credited God for saving him, similar to Lex Lugar’s journey. Shawn Michaels would then come back to the WWE and put on some of the most epic wrestling matches ever. He also repaired a lot of relationships that were tarnished due to his actions.
1 Relapse - Jake The Snake Roberts
An infamous video is floating around the internet showing Jake in the worst condition imaginable at an indie promotion in 2008. Pretty much everyone thought his story would end terrible after that event. He swam in alcohol and removed himself from any contact with his family and friends. He could barely walk due to his excessive weight and severe injuries he sustained because of the punishment he endured for decades. He went to a WWE-sponsored rehab in 2007, but sadly, it didn't work out.
Jake decided to change and got in touch with the only man who could save him, DDP. As we mentioned with Hall, the documentary of Jake the Snake’s recovery is a must watch tale on Netflix. Jake did relapse in the documentary, however, he’s been sober since. Reports are going around that he wants to participate in one more Royal Rumble.