WWE suspends wrestlers for steroid abuse; a nation mourns its lost innocence

The Cowardly Lion looks terrible.

Island Packet – Last week, the WWE suspended ten of its wrestlers for violating its policy on steroids and other drugs, a bombshell of a story and a serious blow to fans of pro wrestling, who were forced to deal with the shocking revelation that the WWE had a policy on a steroids and other drugs.

Just to reiterate, that was WWE, suspended, drug policy, steroids. What’s the word where the irony and hypocrisy is so plump and meaty and all-encompassing that it causes your body to go into anaphylactic shock while your head does seven or eight full rotations on your neck? There isn’t a word for that? There should be. How about: bloogle.

See, as a proud wrestling fan whose most valuable possession was once a fully poseable Hillbilly Jim action figure, who once participated in a fantasy wrestling league during time other kids used to learn how to talk to girls, who can tell you what Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka’s finishing move was and who once — this is true — watched the whole of “Wrestlemania V” on scrambled pay-per-view (in my defense, you could hear everything OK), I can claim with the utmost honesty that even as a tender pre-teen, I knew wrestling was drug-addled and fake. It was pretty easy to tell, and not just because when Hulk Hogan punched a guy, he either opened his fist and sort of half-connected with his shoulder or fully whiffed by about four and a half feet. There was a Wrestlemania in which the climactic main event between Hogan and King Kong Bundy, who resembled the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man in a woman’s athletic bathing suit, was made noteworthy when Bundy began bleeding profusely from the forehead; the truth, of course, was that Bundy “bladed” himself, cut his head with a hidden razor, which he did while hiding in the turnbuckle for something like 16 minutes. I’m sure it’s harder than I think to cut yourself with 50,000 people looking on, but I’ve had dentist appointments that took less time than it took Bundy to nick himself.

Anyway, the WWE’s announcement is, of course, simple PR, boardroom spin timed to make it seem as though they’re doing something in the wake of the tragic murder/suicide tale of Chris Benoit (no criminal charges have been filed and the WWE didn’t release the names of the suspended wrestlers, though starting Nov. 1, they’ll begin doing so).

The WWE last year instituted a highly entertaining policy that requires wrestlers to be tested for steroids and other drugs; first violation gets you a 30-day suspension, second violation a 60-day suspension, and a third violation gets you a smacked in the back with a folding chair. The fourth violation involves sponging down Hillbilly Jim head to foot, but after the fifth violation, the offending wrestler can get the crazy bug-eyes and start shaking, seemingly impervious to any further disciplinary action, and no matter how many more violations the WWE throws at them they just keep shaking them off and shaking them off, before finally reversing a clothesline and dropping the big leg on them.

The Benoit case has prompted the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to require the WWE to hand over any intelligence it has on drug abuse in pro wrestling; no hearing has been scheduled on the case, but I demand that when that hearing happens, it features testimony from the Ultimate Warrior (“WHEN THE WARRIORS COME DOWN FROM THE HEAVENS ABOVE THEY’LL BRING WITH THEM THE FIERY CHARIOTS OF A THOUSAND SUN GODS, CHAIRMAN WAXMAN”) and, of course, that every wrestler who testifies enters the House chamber to entrance music by Motorhead or P.O.D. Frankly, I sort of wish representatives and senators would do that too.

Bonus Link: If you have not seen this brain-scrambling compilation of the Ultimate Warrior’s greatest hits, I urge you to stop everything that you are doing right now and absorb it



About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official BruceSpringsteen.net, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

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