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WWE suspends Orton 60 days for Wellness violation
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling


Randy Orton is about to hit his draping DDT on Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez at the Over the Limit PPV on May 20, 2012 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea

WWE suspended former World Heavyweight and WWE champion Randy Orton for 60 days on Wednesday for his second violation of the company’s Wellness Policy.

The WWE announced the move with a simple statement on its website:

"In accordance with its Talent Wellness Program, WWE has suspended Randy Orton for 60 days effective today for his second violation of the company’s policy."

With this being Orton’s second violation of the policy, he is now one failure away from immediate termination, something no WWE performer has hit since the Wellness Policy was ennacted following Eddie Guerrero’s 2005 death, becoming company policy on Feb. 27, 2006. The policy came under scrutiny in 2007 following Chris Benoit’s suicide and a rash of performers being found on internet pharmacy lists.

Orton isn’t the first notable wrestler to encounter his second strike. Jeff Hardy had two strikes before leaving the company in 2009 and Rey Mysterio picked up his second strike last month. Among others, Evan Bourne picked up two quick strikes in the past year.

WWE's policy states the following for a second violation: "In the event of a second positive test for substances prohibited by this Policy other than marijuana and alcohol, the WWE Talent shall be suspended for sixty (60) days, fined an amount equal to sixty (60) days' pay deducted from the WWE Talent's downside guarantee on a weekly basis and WWE will publicly disclose the WWE Talent's name and duration of the suspension and indicating a second violation the Policy."

WWE's policy states also states the following: "The Substance Abuse and Drug Testing Policy prohibits the use of drugs by WWE talent for other than a legitimate medical purpose pursuant to a valid prescription from a licensed and treating physician. The use of masking agents and/or diuretics to conceal or obscure the use of prohibited drugs is also forbidden."

Orton was on the docket to face Chris Jericho at No Way Out before Jericho was suspended himself for 30 days for throwing and kicking the Brazilian flag last week.

This is obviously a huge blow to WWE, as Orton always is a major player in whatever the company has going on, especially on the Smackdown brand, a show he’s carried ever since being moved there last year. This also derails, for now at least, any plans the company had for a feud between Orton and World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus, a match that actually had a little bit of steam on it.

RELATED LINKS

  • Randy Orton bio and story archive

    Matt Bishop can be reached at bishop20@gmail.com. Please include your name and hometown. Click here to follow Matt on Twitter. Should be a good one!.