In response to allegations of widespread drug abuse in the wrestling industry, the WWE implemented a Wellness Program in 2006, but are wrestlers really being tested and how effective is this? Read on to discover the real truth behind the WWE's Wellness Policy.
The WWE instituted their Wellness Program on February 27, 2006.
Many felt that the WWE instituted a Wellness Program in response to the negativity that the company received after the death of Eddie Guerrero, who was one of the most beloved wrestlers ever.
The WWE Wellness Program is comprised of two different programs. One program tests for drug abuse, while the other programs tests for the actual physical well-being of the performers.
The Substance Abuse and Drug Testing Policy
The WWE Wellness Program prohibits wrestlers from abusing prescription drugs and performance enhancing drugs.
Several of the wrestlers who have died "early" have been found with prescription drugs in their system.
Performance-enhancing drugs have also been linked to the cause of death of several wrestlers.
The WWE Wellness Program also prohibits wrestlers from possessing, using and distributing other illegal drugs (marijuana, cocaine and other recreational drugs).
Cardiovascular Testing and Monitoring Program
This program requires WWE wrestlers to undergo an extensive cardiovascular stress test. The test is done to ensure that wrestlers are in the proper condition to continue working the physical wrestling matches.
The WWE recently made headlines when the Cardiovascular Testing and Monitoring Program discovered a heart condition in United States Heavyweight Champion MVP. He was able to get the proper treatment for his heart condition before something serious happened.
WWE wrestlers are subjected to random drug tests throughout the year, but the staff may test a wrestler if there are suspicions of drug use.
Obviously, the WWE Wellness Program prohibits the wrestlers from using masking agents to manipulate the drug test results.
Wrestlers are not punished for failing the baseline testing. However, failing subsequent tests will result in punishments for the wrestler.
When a wrestler fails the drug testing the first time, he or she is suspended for 30 days without being paid. Management can choose to utilize a wrestler on TV shows, but the wrestler will not be allowed to work house shows. House shows are a large portion of a wrestler's annual salary.
When a wrestler fails the drug testing the second time, he or she will be suspended for 60 days as opposed to 30 days. The same rules applies for TV shows as the first failure.
After the second failure, the medical staff may place the wrestler into a substance abuse facility.
A third failure is an automatic termination.
In my opinion, however, is that if you hold main-event status within WWE, it does not matter if you are caught with drugs in your system. Many might point fingers at RVD and how he was transitioning into the main event when he got suspended, but the truth is, he wasn't a very big part of the WWE main-event scene when he was suspended.
In a way, WWE seems to be protecting their bigger names from drug allegations by occasionally suspending a wrestler lower on the card who isn't of much value to the company. Every now and then we do see a name appear that makes people raise their eyebrows (Evan Bourne, Sin Cara, etc.), but when you have a closer look, these guys aren't that important to the roster.
By occasionally suspending a wrestler who is a little bit higher on the card than usual, WWE successfully keeps their main-event employees protected.
The WWE Wellness Program is almost a joke as the real main-event players never actually get suspended, but this is an excellent way to keep the media from constantly pointing at the WWE to blame them for the death of pro wrestlers as a result of steroids/drug abuse. The Wellness Policy helps protect the company and, potentially, their main-event performers.
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