Professional Wrestling is a strange old world to observe. They often portray the larger than life athletes as someone to aspire to be, someone who is the ideal form of a man or woman. But we must question how they have achieved this impressive physique. Regular wellness tests and harsh suspensions have been introduced to the company to combat the use of steroids in the sport. Many who have competed throughout the years have taken steroids to compete with the harsh punishment that their bodies face from such a busy schedule.
There is a fine line between use and abuse and it is obvious that many have crossed the line when it comes to abusing HGH and anabolic steroids. A lot of wrestlers have spoken about their previous addictions and working in a company surrounded by steroids and drugs. The sad part about including the following quotes is that a lot of them come from superstars that are no longer with us now. Many of them have passed away due to their drug use and overdosing.
“In sports, the saying is: ‘The ends justifies the means.’ We are taught that since we were little. ‘Do whatever you got to do to win; to be the best; step over, step on and step through…’ That is how all these performance-enhancing drugs got into our culture. And that leads to guys wanting to take shortcuts. And then, cheat until you get caught. And then lie…”
“It was kind of a wave of what was the correct thing to do at the time. In the ’70s, 80′s, doctors would write you a prescription for a steroid; every sport in the world was doing it. The mindset was, ‘It was safer than taking sugar’…”
“I tried it. I and my buddies tried it back in the day when I was 18 or 19 [as a defensive lineman for the University of Miami] We didn’t know what we were doing…”
“A lot of people didn’t know about steroids then. Nowadays little kids go, ‘Oh [that guy’s] on steroids…’ But back then, nobody knew. What really prompted me was when I started noticing the attention that these guys got from women…like when they walked through the mall. you know, I’d be behind them and [girls would be whispering] ‘Did you see that guy…’ And I thought, ‘Wow…I want that…’”
“A guy in the gym said, ‘Buddy, these little blue pills are called Dianabol…’ I took four a day, five milligrammes apiece. You get on these steroids and you train better, eat more. And you retain water from them. So I gained 15 pounds in about two months. I jumped on it and it worked. And it is the same old thing: Once you do something one time, it leads to another. And then I started in the offseason, where I would do one cycle for 12 weeks. A friend of mine was an exercise physiologist. She monitored my blood [levels]. I never took it in-season. I’d just take it in the offseason to build as much strength as I could…”
“Talking about steroids is always a Catch-22. They aren’t all bad and they aren’t all good. Athletes are going to do them—or whatever else—to be the best at what they do. But, let’s face it, bodybuilding and wrestling are more circus-like—people want to see the ‘freaks’…”
“When I was full time in wrestling, people that used steroids, recreational drugs, and prescription drugs would convince themselves that they have their usage under control. When warning signs would pop up, the excuse was hereditary or diet. Everybody including myself was convinced there were no issues, despite co-workers having health issues when they got older. Many of us rationalised it as if we got a prescription, it was legal and ethical. We convinced ourselves that it was no different than getting any over the counter prescription. Deep down we all knew the truth…”
“There was a doctor Mario DiPasquali. He ran Vince’s drug testing policy. He was probably, in my opinion, one of the top two or three most knowledgeable people about performance-enhancing drugs…and how to beat the tests, by the way. He was great at his job. He was very understanding to us because he was an athlete himself. He understood what we were going through. But at the same time, we could show up one day, take a test, and then think we would be okay for a couple of days, and bam, the next day he’d hit us with another one. It wasn’t just where you walk in, they give you a cup, you go into the bathroom and you piss in a cup. The bathroom you go into to piss in, there’s a guy standing there. They watched the stream of urine leave your genitalia and go into the cup. I couldn’t think of a way to beat the test. I mean, not very many drug testing policies require somebody to actually watch it come out of you. Even when I was in rehab, you could go and have some privacy while you were taking the test. But nothing is unbeatable…”
“I think there’s too much they do not know about growth hormone and what kind of hell it plays on your internal organs. I saw an article on world class bicycles, and it was amazing to me how many of those guys have died. I never knew. And you’d think, your first thought is, that these guys would have really great hearts—and yet most of them died of heart attacks. The only conclusion you can come to is that they are doing some extreme things with drugs. Bottom line is, there are differences between use and abuse – and it’s obvious that many guys crossed the line…”
ANIMAL (ROAD WARRIORS):
“When we took steroids in the younger part of our career they were legal and we took them under doctor supervision. When they told us that we couldn’t take them anymore – that they were against the rules – we stopped taking them…”
“[Drug addiction] is something this business has to address. Sweeping it under the table isn’t going to fix it, and band-aiding it like offering the guys rehab after the fact like Vince has done – which is admirable – but it’s still band-aiding it. There’s just no way you can burn the candle at both ends and the middle like you have to in this business for well in excess of 250 days a year. You can’t beat your body up for prolonged periods. There may be a case here or there that doesn’t need it, but well over 80 or 90 percent of the time, when you do what we do to our bodies for the length of time that we do it, it’s inevitable that addiction is going to follow. If it’s not the pain pills, it’s some illicit drug – heroin, cocaine, crack, fill in the blank. It’s like I told the FBI agent that called me after the Chris Benoit tragedy, there’s no way you can run that schedule for a prolonged period and not eventually need something for the physical and emotional pain of being away from your family and loved ones and the mundanity of being on the road. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a limousine, a leer jet or a Motel 6, you’re still on the road and it gets incredibly mind-numbing. So for all those reasons, you need something to numb your mind from it, whether that means smoking something, popping something, snorting something, shooting something or drinking something. In this business, the real double whammy is that we beat our bodies to hell, and that leads to pain medication, which is incredibly addictive…”
“You can’t blame the wrestling business on the personal choices that we make. We all knew – all of us – the criteria having a job with Vince was. We all knew what the criteria for having a job with [Ted] Turner. Everybody knew. Especially after the steroid scandal. To roll a joint and smoke it, to put a pill in your mouth…that is a personal choice. I had everything and I threw it away. Everybody tried to help me. But the drugs won out. I made the choice, I paid the price…”
Drugs have almost been eliminated from the sport now. Steroids are pretty much unheard of now and the wellness testing shows just how much they have been eradicated. Wrestling has taken steps towards beating the steroid ethos out of the sport and have made a lot more progress than others.
SOURCES: ‘Wrestling’s Glory Days’ Facebook page, esquire. worldwrestlinginsanity, f4wonline, muscleandfitness, Rover’s Morning Glory radio show, Flynnfiles, camelclutchblog, inyourheadonline, canoeSLAMsports, WWE Radio, espn, elitefitness, ‘Hollywood Hulk Hogan’: 2003 Autobiography, ‘Pure Dynamite’, Chris Yandek, People magazine, The Sun UK, RF Video, Baltimore Sun