Wrestling is a brutal sport. The constant abuse wrestlers' bodies take and the intense road schedule has led to many a pain pill popped. Take a look at most wrestler’s books to read the accounts of the scary amount of pain medication taken by some of the more tortured stars. Bret Hart’s book in particular recounts him watching certain stars downing pills like candy.
Wrestling today is under much more scrutiny, what with the WWE’s Wellness policy and their shift to PG programming. An informed opinion would recognize that marijuana is fantastic option for the pain-filled lifestyle of a wrestler. Numerous studies have shown that compared to heavy pain pills and alcohol, marijuana is the healthiest way to go. With medicinal marijuana sweeping the nation and the forward thinking of Colorado, it seems to be only a matter of time before wrestlers using the drug won’t be facing fines and suspensions.
But the WWE of today still frowns heavily on marijuana. Issuing those fines and suspensions and instituting thorough testing on its superstars. Some of the wrestlers on this list have seen their wrestling career slowed down due to the WWE’s stance on marijuana. Others have received slaps on the wrist and continue to flourish.
The WWE needs to catch up to the times. Many non-fans of wrestling are quite aware of the dark paths taken by former stars like Jake Roberts, Scott Hall, and others. This creates a negative perception towards wrestling as a “sleazy” sport, something the WWE obviously wants to get away from. (To their credit, the WWE did donate to DDP Yoga, contributing to the rehabilitation of their former stars.) But the wrestlers suffering from substance abuse are not concerned with marijuana. It’s the hardcore pills like Oxycontin washed down with alcohol that are the real issue. The sooner the WWE realizes that medicinal marijuana can help steer injured wrestlers away from terrible pills the better.
But on a lighter note, let’s take a look at the wrestlers who have a shown an “interest” in the ol’ wacky tobaccy.
10 Rick Rude
Paul Heyman joined Steve Austin’s podcast and like always, entertained with great stories. They got onto the topic of the late great Rick Rude, and both had some great anecdotes. Firstly, they both had great respect for Rude, especially mentioning his underrated promo work. They both had worked closely with Rude and Austin even went on a fishing trip with him. Rude decided that Austin would clean all of the fish they caught so he could go inside, roll a joint, and watch Scorcese’s Cape Fear. Rude would also reprimand Austin for swearing while calmly rolling joiints.
9 Randy Orton
It's rumored that Orton's 60-day suspension came from smoking pot backstage during the WWE's attempted image cleanup. Orton himself has said he went through some tough times around that period, battling his own personal demons.
Orton actually answered a Twitter question about his pot use. He responded with the misspelled "I can neither confirm no(r) deny". That's probably as much of an admittal as we'll ever get on a social media platform, but definitely leads one to believe he partakes.
8 Sean Waltman
He ran with the bad boys and it's been written that pot was the least of their discrepancies.
X-Pac's choice of words in a few promos certainly suggest that pot was on his mind or perhaps was the inspiration. For example, he lit into Shane McMahon saying "Your ass is grass, and I'm gonna smoke it!"
Waltman took to Twitter in 2013 to announce his feelings on the drug. He tweeted "While I advocate for the med marijuana cause, I currently do not use it & haven't for a while. I get tested & I'm too old to try & cheat."
7 Jack Swagger
Swagger’s mugshot is infamous. He was pulled over for speeding in Mississippi and arrested for suspicion of DUI. The police stated they found marijuana in his car (though the possession charge was later dropped). Swagger was eventually found guilty for the DUI however.
The clever crowds of the WWE quickly modified his signature catchphrase to “We(ed) the people!”. But instead of the increased fan interaction helping his career, Swagger found himself far away from the heavyweight championship picture. After the arrest and a few failed drug tests, Swagger was pushed far down the ladder. He avoided termination, but has been exiled to lower-card status with zero direction.
6 The Godfather
It’s obvious that Charles Wright enjoyed his Godfather gimmick the most. He admitted that he did hate the Papa Shango character, but only because he took the voodoo idea so seriously, and had to get very dark to pull it off. Charles had said the Godfather is much closer to his real personality of a happy-go-lucky guy, coinciding with a real-life friendship with 420-friendly group Cypress Hill.
As the Godfather, Wright made numerous references to pot on live television. His friends in Cypress Hill were shocked at what he was able to get away with it. Wright’s trick was that he would use terms unfamiliar to the USA Network’s censors. As long as he called it a “fatty” or a “blunt” he avoided the wrath of the higher-ups. Ironically, his character would pull a 180 and evolve into the censor character the Goodfather.
5 Rowdy Roddy Piper
A certain publication reported that Piper had been seen smoking pot on stage at an Insane Clown Posse gathering. Yes that’s right, an Insane Clown Posse gathering. Piper smoking weed is easy enough to believe, but I had no idea he got down with ICP. The whole scenario sounds like a weird dream. A mishmash of memories put together in an “insane” way.
Regarding this strange sighting, Piper had this to say: “I am not an advocate of using drugs, however due to the lack of appropriate medicine, this alternative treatment was recommended to alleviate the symptoms associated with cancer”.
4 Kevin Nash
I’m sure Nash, Scott Hall, and Shawn Michaels got into all kinds of fun stuff in their prime party years, but I’m not here to talk about that. Instead I wanted to highlight comments Nash made about medicinal marijuana and it’s benefits for pro wrestlers. Nash has always been a well-spoken guy who gives a great interview and this was no exception. He expressed his belief that medicinal marijuana is a much more logical choice for pain-relief than “pharmacy-grade” painkillers like Oxycontin. Nash has seen firsthand how addictive and destructive pain pill can be.
3 Honky Tonk Man
The Tonk Man let loose on a Kayfabe Commentary, holding nothing back. When it comes to pot, I’ll let Honky Tonk do the talkin’.
“ We were doing $200 a week in pot, when pot was...$20 a bag. That’s a lot of ^&$# pot...It was non-stop...every twenty minutes.”
Honky elaborated on the differences between his era and today’s current wrestlers, specifically mentioning the lack of pot today.
“They don’t do that now, that’s what’s wrong with the business. They play video games.”
The Tonka truck couldn’t believe that wrestlers could focus on a video game when someone like Trish Stratus was walking around. A fair point.
2 Evan Bourne
His suspension from the WWE for failing a drug test has been well documented. The funny thing is that he was suspended for smoking synthetic weed. After already being caught for smoking the real stuff, Bourne had used synthetic weed to pass the drug tests. Bourne has accused the makers of the synthetic weed of changing the “recipe”, resulting in it showing up on the test. He noticed a severe drop in the taste and effect right before he tested positive.
1 Rob Van Dam
Mr. 420. RVD has never been shy when speaking about his love for the green. In fact, his gimmick is centered around being an alternative, care-free stoner, delivering spectacular “high” spots. RVD is open about his pot use and a quick google search brings up multiple videos of him discussing it.
RVD is aware that his weed usage has positive and negative effects on his career, but he also believes it is a worthy cause to fight for. He’s mentioned that a promotion like TNA enjoys the “edgy” attention they can get for his 420 association. But he also recognizes that his Ohio pot bust for possessing 18 grams stalled his progress as a star. The Ohio incident caused him to not only be suspended, but lose his titles as well, which RVD admitted “knocked me off from the track that I was on”.
RVD is a hero for the 420 crowd and he’ll continue to fight the good fight. If years from now, wrestlers all jump on the medicinal marijuana train, we may look back at RVD as a revolutionary.
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