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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Engaged In Roid Rage
December 7, 2005 by Keelan Balderson


With the recent controversy surrounding WWE's re introduced steroid testing policy and the shocking, untimely and tragic death of wrestling legend Eddie Guerrero I feel almost compelled to put hands to keyboard. People cope in many different ways. Some discuss what's on their minds, others bottle up their emotions. I like to sit back have a bud. Well a coke, maybe a bud if I was eighteen, and type out a good old fashion column. People reading it is not an issue. Sorting through my mind and putting my feelings on the page is the focus.

For those that don't know, WWE released a statement the other week before the Raw and Smackdown shows in Sheffield England explaining they will in fact be bringing back regular steroid, performance enhancement, recreational and prescription abusing drug tests. They were so open about it that they filmed the backstage meeting Vince had with both the Raw and Smackdown brands and put the video on WWE.com for the world to see. This came just a few short days after the death of Latino Heat and could be interpreted as WWE preventing a media backlash considering Eddie's death was closely related to years of drug abuse and alcoholism.

If done correctly and efficiently this could save a lot of future stars from dieing at young ages and could quite easily change who the top guys in the business are. It could lengthen careers and prevent unwanted media embarrassment. So to put it shortly, it's an industry changing policy. IF! It's done correctly. Vinnie Mac usually follows through with something once it's started though. My personal opinion is mainly, for the idea, although recent things I've found out may question my decision. My only qualm is that TNA needs to follow suit. Many see TNA as being the perfect new promotion that can do no wrong while WWE is the big monster causing wrestlers to die. TNA is now a big part of the industry which houses a big segment of steroid abusers from the X Division to the main event. I read that at one point in time 80 percent of all wrestlers were on some form of performance enhancers and numerous wrestlers have gone on record saying, "everyone has used steroids at least once in their careers." So don't be fooled, this is happening in all promotions with all kinds of performers. You can't tell just by looking at someone. I mean if everyone around you had a performance advantage, would you not want that same advantage" WWE and TNA need to set an example.

As many of you know back in the era of 1992-96 Vince McMahon implemented a drug policy following in house Dr. George Zahorian's testament against WWE in a court of law, he had previously been convicted eleven times for illegally dispensing steroids to WWE wrestlers. (He had been supplying wrestlers with drugs if and when they needed them, with Piper a big focus in the trial.) WWE replied with an actual drugs policy, showing they were indeed concerned about the well being of their wrestlers. Vince wasn't scared to blow his trumpet, boasting about how WWE was clean whilst other sports were not. The concerning thing being, as soon as the heat died down Vince secretly dropped the policy and the drugs were a flowing. WWE was found not guilty in 1994 with the policy slowly dieing out over two years. I won't sit here and bash Vince. In his mind he had his reasons. WCW didn't have a policy so they had the advantage and since the policy cost $1 million plus annually at the same time WWE were losing money due to the loss of Nash and Hall etc, it just wouldn't be feasible for much longer. You can say, is there any price on a person's well being, but were these drugs actually harming people" There were many flaws in the original policy whether it was the policy itself or the corrupt people running it, people were beating the system and getting round the tests. First of all it was ran by the WWE and not an independent company, so a swift wad of cash might of given them a fresh sample of piss clean of incriminating evidence. Wrestlers would go to incredible lengths to appear clean. Sean Waltman who was a frequent marijuana smoker along with other colleagues worked out when and where they could take the drug. WWE couldn't manage to test wrestlers on out of US tours, TV shows and PPV's and Fake penises had been invented with actual pumping systems so the "cock watcher," thought you were peeing your own urine when in fact it was your buddies. The latest policy is a little different as its run by an independent company who not only does the regular random urine tests but also tests wrestler's cardio vascular endurance. This is mainly due to past causes of wrestling deaths with heart failure being a common factor.

With this being said, are steroids actually that harmful" I can understand other sports wanting rid of performance enhancers and steroids but Pro Wrestling is not a regular sport. There isn't necessarily any competitive work done inside a wrestling ring. Some might see steroids as an advantage, the better shape everybody's in the better business will be. Has this been forced on the WWE because of peoples ignorance to the industry" Or are steroids life threatening drugs" Many people who use them believe them to be perfectly safe, a great way to get over injuries and in a wrestling sense a great way to hang with the big boys. Taken in moderation they are an effective way to reach your physical peak both strength and look wise and when you reach your mid thirties and testosterone begins to go down, steroids can help you stay on tip top form. It is 100 percent confirmed that no deaths are linked directly to using steroids and many believe that wrestlers should be allowed to take supervised doses of steroids rather than getting them illegally. If everyone is allowed them and monitored then there would be no overdoses or dangerous alternatives taken, wrestlers wouldn't feel at a disadvantage causing them to feel depressed and take other things such as high drugs or alcohol. I leave this point of view with a segmented recap from recent interview with Sean Waltman on pwtorch.com. Waltman states that he wouldn't be alarmed or say no if his 18 year old son wanted to take steroids to build up his body. He stresses that his son must be fully grown and fully educated on the situation but he sees no problem with it. "I can probably tell you that I know more than most medical doctors about it because most medical doctors are pretty ignorant to it." That quote tends to be a popular argument towards doctors and critics who say steroids are deadly but have had little or no contact with them and have done no research to support their claims. Doctors know a little about a lot and quite often never use that little knowledge on a subject during their whole careers.

You have to look at this in one of two ways. Is Vince generally worried about his superstars" (Should he be") Or is it just a way to prevent the media hype that was against him in the 90's" He seems to already be blowing his trumpet like he did the first time round, I mean did any of you catch Edges promo at Survivor Series" He ripped in to baseball making comments on amphetamines. I can't help feeling it's a little too soon for those types of shots, especially when we haven't heard any more about the subject since the recorded statement. He promised more on the situation in the coming week but we have nothing. The only thing we know is that Nick Dinsmore or Eugene as he's better known has been admitted to rehab after passing out in a hotel due to an overdose on prescription drugs but reports state he went there on his own accord, not because he was forced to.

Maybe we haven't heard anymore because Vince thinks it isn't actually feasible. What happens when a major star is suspended for drug abuse or a substantial portion of the roster loses a humorous amount of muscle mass over the next year or so" These are all things we all need to think about. Is this going to help the industry or hurt it" All I know is not all drugs testing is flaw proof and we'll have to wait a good few months before we see if it's a joke or it's efficiently working.

I've been Mr. Freelance Keelan Balderson and I hope I've educated and opened your eyes to this industry-changing situation.

by Keelan Balderson ..


Ryan J. Boyle wrote:
A recent column posted on Online World of Wrestling caused me great anger and I feel it is my place to respond to this column and its writer who apparently knows next to nothing about the reality of the wrestling business. This writer said to me in an email that the only reason Vince McMahon instituted a new drug testing is because of what happened to Eddie Guerrero. In fact, to quote it exactly:

"I am saying that he knows about whats going on backstage and that he does not do anything about it. I know about his drug tests and i also know that he is only doing this due to the fact that Eddie Guerrero's death has raised red flags through out our wrestling community".

Eddie Guerrero's death while tragic is no different than the death of the British Bulldog, Curt Henning, Road Warrior Hawk, Crash Holly, and Yokozuna. Eddie is another wrestling hero that passed on and a man who will never be forgotten. I was a huge fan of Eddie Guerrero and I will truly miss him but for a columnist to use the death of a great man as an excuse to launch a full-scale attack on Vince McMahon is s slap in the face to the legacy of Eddie Guerrero. The harsh reality of Eddie's passing is simply this. It didn't matter if Eddie was on the road with WWE, competing for NWA: TNA, wrestling in the indy promotions, or sitting at home watching television drinking a glass of soda because all the years that Eddie was addicted to drugs had caught up with him. I think the same happened with Road Warrior Hawk. To blame Vince McMahon for the death of Eddie Guerrero is an absurd and is in need of an apology. To quote once again from this "brilliant" columnist "Never seeing your family, taking steroids and working your body like you are in a slave camp will never add up to a life that's going to end on a good note. At the end of the day a new name is added to the list." I will make it clear to everyone reading this. Every man from Triple H, John Cena, Randy Orton, the Undertaker, AJ Styles, Jeff Jarrett, Lita, Trish Stratus all the way to fallen hero's like Eddie Guerrero and Owen Hart were never forced to become a professional wrestler. They laced the boots up, went out in front of millions of people, and kicked each others asses until someone won and someone lost. They knew the risks that the business would deliver over the years. The knew these risks and they accepted these risks. They get hurt, they keep going until they cannot go anymore. Why do you think Vince McMahon has seriously limited the moves that the cruiser-weights do because he wants to protect them from serious injury. Below are a list of wrestlers that suffered injuries or needed to deal with personal issues:

Triple H Chris Benoit Rhyno Steve Austin Big Show Kane Shawn Michaels Gene Snitsky Randy Orton Trish Stratus Lita Booker T Edge Kurt Angle Shelton Benjamin Rey Mysterio Matt Hardy William Regal Scotty 2 Hotty Carlito Steven Richards Rob Van Dam Paul London Torrie Wilson

Each one of them were given the deserved amount of time off without argument in order to heal their injuries or get whatever they need to in order. Each man is taken care off. Men like Darren Drozdoff, who sits in a wheelchair, isn't bitching because he got hurt. He signed up. He put on wrestling boots. He wrestled a match. And he got hurt. You don't wish it to happen but it does. You don't wish not to see your family but you don't. You don't wish to get banged up every night but you do. It is the business. it is a business that you sign up for. Lita gets hurt, it is Vince's fault" And it DAMN sure isn't Gene Snitsky's fault. It wasn't his fault. It is the business. You want a great speech, watch the first season if tough enough and listen to a speech Triple H gave. You see Vince McMahon is not the most evil man on the face of the Earth which is exactly how this columnist made Vince seem to be. This is tough business so stress is a factor but stress is also a factor when you job is an air traffic controller and you sit in a little booth for eight hours a day. By the way, an air traffic controller has been classified as the number one job that leads to suicide but I don't see you writing columns about air traffic controllers. What if an actor gets seriously hurt preforming a stunt for New Line Cinema. Should we write pointless columns to New Line saying that they don't take care of their employees" Write about issues you know about. You claim that all Vince McMahon cares about is money well let me let you in on a little secret, a human being goes into business to make money. That is why we work every day of our lives. Vince didn't but the World Wide Wrestling Federation from his father just because he was bored. He bought it in order to make it a financial success. When Eddie passed onto the next life, Vince McMahon, without hesitation, halted his business for a week in order to pay proper respects to the life of Eddie Guerrero. I applaud Vince for doing so. He showed true class and professionalism with that act.

Don't get of Vince's case because of the death of Eddie Guerrero and don't write about a topic you know nothing about. I don't love Vince McMahon but I don't see him as Satan either. If a new name gets added to the list, it will be added with honor, dignity, and love.
Tre L. wrote:
As I saw Eddie Guerrero come to the ring on his lowrider, he's a man that didn't look like who took steroids. But when you compare him to other WWE wrestlers and former WWE wrestlers, examples like Batista, Scott Steiner and others. Eddie was not a body builder. I'm happy he passed away knowing he was off drugs and alcohol. Viva la Raza!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jesse Lee wrote:
Lets put it this way Balderson... Vince may be an ass sometimes. Hey may be a hypocrit at times. He may contradict himself in less than a three year peiod. He may not always care what the fans think. You may just have decided to write that column because your panties were filled with an icky substance that I dare not mention. I don't know, I don't have all the answers. Neither does Vince and neither do you. Just as Mr. Boyle put it, wrestlers sign up to wrestle and they accept their risks. Wrestlers are different from sport athletes and actors, they don't get $15million per movie nor do they get $90 million per homerun. They don't get off seasons nor do they get retakes nor a happy ending all the time. When was the last happy ending you've ever seen in a prowrestler's home life" All I can think of is Mick Foley. Even then, I bet he suffers from all the pain of his glory days. Eddie always said "viva la raza" which means "I live the race." Wasn't that a foreshadowing in a way. Could he have subconsciously fortold his struggle to the world" Once again, I don't have all the answers. Next time, when you try to fire an AK-47 at Vince by writing a column on the internet, be sure to check that all the bullets are loaded, because with what you wrote, it was only enough to make him go "eh."
David McClelland wrote:
Too many times steriods are blamed for the death of public figures like Eddie Guererro or the poster-boy for anti-steriod use: Lyle Alzado. No drug has even gotten as much bad press as anabolic steriods. No disrespect inteded to either man, but steriods in both cases are being blamed with both these gentlemen were know to have used much more serious and deadly drugs. Steriods have been proven to increase cholesterol, and so steriod use on top of using other drugs that are hard on your heart may be the straw that breaks the camels back. In Eddie's case let us not forget that he crashed a car going 120 mph while on liquid ectasy, which has been known not only to cause immediate death, but does severe damage to the heart. Lyle Alzado stacked 10x as much steriods as any sane person would give a horse and had a pretty healthy cocaine/herion addiction as well that also lead to him contracting HIV. Not to say that the WWE shouldn't have a drug testing policy in place, but in my opinion the things they should be testing for are recreational drugs, not elevated hormone levels (to a certain point). Superstar Billy Graham said it himself: his health problems stemmed from him "abusing" steriods, there's a difference between using and abusing.

Let's mourn Eddie Guererro and Lyle Alzado, but not forget that drinking, heavy recreational drug use is what killed these gentlemen... steriods probably didn't help but certainly were not the culprit. Vince is smart to implement a drug testing policy with congress on a steriod "witch hunt" right now, WWE would be an easy target for them to make and example out of rather then going after MLB or the NFL.
Damien Bain wrote:
Just to clear up some misstated facts by some users that have commented to this article... "Viva la Raza!" does NOT mean "I live the race!" It means "The race lives!" as in the Latino race. No subconscious foreshadowing there... Also, Eddie did not wreck his Trans-Am while taking liquid X... He had been drinking and took five capfuls of Renutrient, a then legal form of GHB, a drug that promotes fat reduction and muscle building by stimulating growth hormone release
wrote:

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