WWE suspends 10 wrestlers for "wellness policy" violations **UPDATED**
World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. announced today that 10 of its performers had been suspended for violations of the company's "wellness policy."
The company said the suspensions were based "on independent information received from investigators from the Albany County, NY D.A.'s office."
The WWE declined to reveal who had been suspended, but did say that policy would be changing. "It has been WWE's practice not to release the names of those who have been suspended, but notice has been sent to all WWE performers that names of anyone who is suspended under the Wellness Policy as of November 1 will be made public," read the press release.
The current WWE drug testing policy was instituted after the November 2005 death of Eddie Guerrero.
At the centre of the suspensions is the release of a client list from Signature Pharmacy in Orlando, which was raided by Albany County and Florida law enforcement agencies in February. Authorities allege that Signature Pharmacy illegally distributed steroids and other prescription drugs to clients who had not by examined by doctors.
In an article on ESPN.com, Shaun Assael reported that the following current WWE wrestlers were named as clients of Signature:
- Shoichi Funaki
- Dave Bautista
- Adam "Edge" Copeland (currently on injury leave)
- Chris "Masters" Mordetsky
- John "John Morrison" Hennigan
- Shane Helms
Other current WWE wrestlers on the client list, as reported by the New York Daily News on its website are:
- Randy Orton
- Charles Haas, Jr.
- Robert "Booker T" Huffman
- Mike Bucci, aka Simon Dean
- Anthony Carelli
- Darren "William Regal" Matthews
- Ken "Mr. Kennedy" Anderson
- Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Also named in the ESPN article as Signature clients were Eddie Guerrero, Brian Adams (a.k.a. Crush) and Chris Benoit.
In today's edition of the New York Daily News, the newspaper reported that the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection will hold a hearing in late September into performance-enhancing drugs in professional wrestling.
The chairman of the committee, Illinois Democrat Rep. Bobby Rush, told the Daily News that witness lists have not been compiled. Letters requesting information were sent to WWE, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling and the National Wrestling Alliance.
Through their website, Sports Illustrated released further information on the WWE wrestlers that, as noted in the article, "have received steroids and/or human growth hormone through the drug network."
In the article which was published and updated before 8:00pm Thursday evening, current wrestlers Copeland, Matthews, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Helms, Hennigan, Anderson, Funaki, Haas and Edward Fatu (Umaga), along with Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Adams and recent WWE releasee Sylvain Grenier were named as having received prescriptions.
As reported by SI, prescriptions included a variety of drugs such as anastrozole, somatropin, nandrolone, stanozolol and others in a time period that ran as early as November 2003 and as recently as February 2007. The types of drugs and dates of the prescriptions varied by wrestler.
Ken Anderson, who wrestles as Mr. Kennedy, had told reporters as late as last week that the WWE Wellness Program had gotten him clean off any type of drugs and steroids since early 2006. According to SI, he had received a package as late at February of this year that contained Somatropin, a growth hormone, and testosterone, an anabolic steroid.
SLAM! Wrestling will have more on this story as it develops.
-- SLAM! Wrestling