September 4, 2007

I received a lot of criticism for my “Supporting Wellness” commentary, most of which was likely deserved, so I thought I should clarify what I wrote. Looking back at the commentary it certainly came off more positive and supportive of WWE, and their Wellness Policy than originally intended, and I may have been wearing, at least to a certain extent, rose coloured glasses while writing it. I think in light of all the negative press this industry has been receiving (and justifiably so) I needed to write something positive for both my own sanity and the industry as a whole, and saw an opportunity with the current suspensions.

I did not intend to imply that WWE’s Wellness policy is perfect or that WWE is putting 100% effort forth in attempting to rid this industry of drugs, but the current suspensions, whether they were the result of outside pressure and investigation rather than the effectiveness of the actual policy, have to be seen as a positive for the health and welfare of the industry.

Suspensions are a punishment, and anytime talent is punished for using or purchasing drugs (even if it is minor punishment) there will be a little more incentive to clean up than there was before. I was also not attempting to imply that all current pushed talent are drug free, or all drug using talent have been banished, but I think a case can be made, especially with C.M. Punk that a drug free wrestler has directly benefited from one of these suspensions, and that supporting him as Champ is crucial. If ratings and crowd response to Punk are strong, now that he has his opportunity, there will be additional incentive for WWE to continue pushing him, especially considering he is one of the least likely guys to face Wellness suspensions in the future.

I guess the point I wanted to stress with my commentary, which I still believe in, is that things are a little bit better than they were a couple weeks ago, and any progress at this point needs to be looked at as a positive. While these suspensions did expose that WWE’s Wellness policy was either extremely flawed, or poorly enforced, perhaps even both (a lot of guys were on a lot of drugs and passing tests after all), they did show that WWE is being put in a position where things are having to be done and they are at least being done. With a 3-Strike rule still in effect, and WWE announcing that names of talent failing Wellness and facing suspensions will be publicly released as of November 1, there is going to be a lot more pressure on talent and WWE to clean up. Even if talent can circumnavigate Wellness, fear of exposure through other investigations into doctors and suppliers, should make everyone rethink the risk of steroid and drug use.

We are still a long way from prefect but, by hook or by crook, these suspensions happened and are a small step in the right direction. The two next steps that should be taken are: the removal of the prescription loophole in the policy, and the lowering of the positive test thresh-hold on testosterone to match that of the negative test mark. I’m not sure why below a 4:1 is a negative yet you aren’t an outright positive till 10:1.

Lance Storm