In the past 24 hours, three WWE superstars have been suspended for 30 days for violating the company’s wellness policy.
This is the section of a pro-wrestler’s contract that stipulates that they must pass random drug tests throughout their time with World Wrestling Entertainment. They generally receive about four of these tests per year, according to the WWE’s website. These athletes must also pass regular cardiovascular stress tests.
The WWE forbids the use of any recreational or performance enhancing drugs. In general, most wellness policy violations come after performers were found to be using recreational drugs, although the WWE never officially makes public what substance was being used.
Here’s everything you need to know about the WWE’s wellness policy.
1. It Was Implemented After the Death of Eddie Guerrero
The WWE’s wellness policy is a relatively recent addition to pro-wrestlers’ contracts, added in 2006 after the death of Eddie Guerrero.
Guerrero was found dead in November 2005 in his hotel room, having experienced a heart failure. He had been suffering from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
This is why a part of the wellness policy is that superstars must pass cardiovascular stress tests, which in theory could have found that Guerrero was unfit to wrestle.
While sports teams test athletes in part to make sure they are not getting any sort of unfair advantage from performance-enhancing drugs, with the WWE, it’s more about ensuring their superstars are all healthy enough to perform and that they are not addicted to any substances.
2. Drinking Alcohol is Not Permitted
WWE performers are not only barred from using illegal substances and performance enhancing drugs. They also can not consume alcohol, at least within 12 hours of a WWE show.
“WWE Talent are expected to be free of the influence of alcohol when performing for WWE,” the policy reads. “Accordingly, WWE Talent are prohibited from using or consuming alcohol at any time within a twelve hour period prior to any WWE event or WWE scheduled performance.”
Considering the number of WWE events superstars perform at every week, this gives them a relatively limited window during which they are allowed to drink.
Also banned is the use of any dietary supplements that could theoretically test positive as being a prohibited drug.
“WWE Talent are advised that any product sold with a warning advising non-use if the purchaser is subject to a drug testing program is prohibited by this Policy even though such product may be available without a prescription,” the policy reads.
3. Over 40 Superstars Have Been Suspended for Violating the Policy
At least four dozen WWE superstars have been suspended for violating the wellness policy since it was introduced in 2006.
The majority of these resulted in a 30 day suspension, although some received a 60 day suspension for a second violation, and others had their contract suspended due to their third violation.
Via Pwpix, here is a list of the WWE performers who have been suspended for violating the wellness policy:
- Adam Rose
- Afa Anoa’i, Jr. (Manu)
- Alberto Del Rio
- Andy Leavine
- Balls Mahoney
- Charlie Haas
- Chavo Guerrero
- Chet Douglas
- Chris Kay
- Chris Masters
- Darren Young
- Derrick Neikirk
- DH Smith
- Dolph Ziggler
- Drew Hankinson
- Eva Marie
- Evan Bourne
- Heath Slater
- Gregory Helms
- Jeff Hardy
- Jimmy Wang Yang
- John Morrison
- Kid Kash
- King Booker
- Kurt Angle
- Mike Chioda
- Mr. Kennedy
- Neil Bzibziak
- Randy Orton
- Rene Dupree
- Rey Mysterio
- Ricardo Rodriguez
- Rob Van Dam
- Roman Reigns
- Ryan Reeves
- Sin Cara
- William Regal
4. It Doesn’t Apply to Part-Time Superstars
In July 2016, the UFC revealed that Brock Lesnar had failed a drug test, according to ESPN. At the time it was reported that Lesnar had tested positive for clomiphene, an anti-estrogen blocker.
But Brock Lesnar has appeared on Monday Night Raw since failing that test, and he will wrestle at SummerSlam as previously scheduled. Why is that? Well, the policy only applies to regular performers, not those who only wrestle part-time like Brock Lesnar.
“WWE’s talent wellness program does not apply to part-time performers such as Brock Lesnar,” a WWE spokesperson told TMZ.
Indeed, this language is present in the contract, which notes it applies to WWE talent who “regularly perform in-ring services as a professional sports entertainer.” Lesnar does not regularly perform with the WWE, having 19 matches over the past three years as opposed to the 200+ matches of a typical superstar, TMZ reports. Therefore, the policy does not apply to him, or to any other superstars who only appear occasionally like The Rock.
5. After Returning From Suspension, Superstars Are Tested at Least 12 Times
Even after a superstar returns from suspension, things don’t exactly go right back to normal. They must continue to undergo tests to ensure they are no longer abusing substances, and although normally they’re only tested about four times a year, after coming back from a suspension, the WWE entertainers are tested at least 12 times over the course of the next year, according to the WWE’s website.
One strike results in a 30 day suspension, two strikes results in a 60 day suspension, and three strikes results in a termination of the performer’s contract. However, those who have their contact terminated can theoretically return after a period of one year. But they must go through an extensive drug test before signing, and they return with two strikes on their record.