This week, the wrestling world was shocked to hear the news that RAW General Manager, and King of the Ring winner William Regal was suspended for violating the WWE Wellness Program. Regal will serve 60 days for his second infraction.
WWE serves a 30-day suspension for first-time offenders, a 60-day suspension for a second violation and termination from the company if suspended a third time.
Fans knew something was up when William Regal lost a “Loser Gets Fired” match on Monday Night RAW against Mr. Kennedy. Indeed, the next day Regal’s suspension made headlines. In midst of a huge push with a King of the Ring victory, and a power heel on RAW as the General Manager, Regal’s suspension put an abrupt end to all that.
This is just coming off of Jeff Hardy’s return from his own 60-day suspension for his second violation of the WWE Wellness Program. Jeff Hardy’s suspension came right before the biggest show of the year Wrestlemania. He was one of the most popular superstars during his quest for the WWE Title, and had just qualified to compete in the “Money in the Bank” match at the Citrus Bowl.
However, on RAW, Hardy lost the Intercontinental Title to Chris Jericho, and the next day the news came out that he was suspended, putting an end to his major push.
These two major suspensions have had a lot of mainstream coverage. It has even gotten some much-needed positive reaction to the WWE’s willingness to go through its own Wellness Program and suspend anyone who violates it. Even top superstars in the middle of a major push are not exempt, as Jeff hardy and William Regal know very well.
In August of 2007, the WWE made the decision to suspend 11 superstars who were linked to substances in violation of the Wellness Program. The list of superstars linked to this scandal included top guys like Edge, Randy Orton, Mr. Kennedy, John Morrison, Chavo Guerrero, Booker T and more.
But there are still critics of the Program. What if top Superstars such as Triple H, Batista, The Undertaker or John Cena tested positive, would they get suspended too? Or would it be swept under the mat?
Canadian fans are quick to point out the situation involving D.H. Smith. Smith, who is the son of Davey Boy Smith and related to the Hart family, made his much-anticipated WWE Television debut on Monday Night RAW on October 22nd, 2006. But on November 2nd, it was reported that D.H Smith was suspended for 30 days for violating the Wellness Program.
With news of Smith’s suspension, fans in Canada were disappointed. But disappointment turned to confusion and anger when it was learned that Smith actually failed his drug test BEFORE his TV debut on RAW. This meant that the WWE knew about this and brought him up anyways, just to suspend him after.
Since his return from suspension, Smith has been stuck on “Heat” or doing jobber duty on RAW. Was D.H Smith just a way to set an example?
As we see, the WWE Wellness Program is doing a lot of good. It is screening wrestlers for drugs and now doing mandatory physicals to make sure the superstars are healthy. It is thanks to one of those physicals that MVP got diagnosed with the heart condition Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. MVP got treated and now is still BALLIN’ on Smackdown!
However the program is surely not perfect and has flaws. It has still room to improve and to protect the health of the WWE Superstars. But it is taking a step into the right direction.
What do you think? Is the WWE Wellness Program passing the test?