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Dr. Death

WWE Talent Wellness Program and its effect on the Roster.

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With Evan Bourne failing his latest drug test, I thought it relevant to bring this subject matter up. Let's see exactly what the 'E expects from its talent and current Roster.
WWE Talent Wellness Program
{The current WWE program consists of two components :}

1.
An aggressive substance abuse and drug testing policy.
2. Cardiovascular testing and monitoring program.

The Substance Abuse and Drug Testing Policy (“Policy”) prohibits the non-medical use and associate abuse of prescription medications and performance-enhancing drugs, as well as the use, possession and/or distribution of illegal drugs by WWE Talent. The use of masking agents and/or diuretics to conceal or obscure the use of prohibited drugs is also prohibited.

Under the Policy, WWE Talent may be tested on a random and/or reasonable suspicion basis. The initial test of all Talent will be considered "baseline" testing. No discipline will be imposed for a positive test on the baseline test. The results of the baseline test, if positive for any prohibited substance will be utilized thereafter by Dr. Black to determine if use has continued. After the baseline test, subsequent positive tests for non-medical use of a prohibited substance will result in disciplinary action. For testing positive the first time, a Talent will be suspended for 30 days without pay. A second positive test results in a 60-day suspension without pay or, if Dr. Black so determines, in-patient care at a substance abuse facility, during which the Talent also will be suspended without pay. A third positive test results in termination.

Under the cardiovascular component of the wellness policy, all WWE Talent will undergo an extensive cardiovascular stress test. Examinations and treatment will be conducted thereafter as warranted.
{The preceding paragraphs are from WWE Corporate}
http://corporate.wwe.com/documents/T...-06CORPweb.pdf

It seems pretty cut and dry. So why do superstars such as Evan Bourne, R-Truth, Heath Slater, the former Chris Masters and Sin Cara, just to name a few, consistently fail the test and break policy? We all know that the WWE travel and work schedule is very demanding and takes a toll on your body. Stress levels are high and unfortunately many of the wrestlers are also. It's an exhausting business for performers and the need to relax is is a top priority for them. After all the in ring performances, autograph signings, charity appearances, travelling, paparazzi, and behind the scenes work, these people are flat out tired. Who doesn't like to unwind after work? Don't these people deserve the right to choose what methods they use to unwind? After all, what a person does on their own time is their business, right? Not so much in today's society. The need to be safe while performing in front of a crowd is a must. Pro-Wrestling is a tough business and many accidents happen without the need nor the want of a superstar(s).

What exactly is the 'E's stance on this subject other than the obvious? Let's take a look. World Wrestling Entertainment first opened its office in 1983 with 13 employees. Today it employees approximately 600 people and pays out $60 million in salaries for those based in Connecticut alone and their main roster talent work and travel four and a half days a week with annual compensation ranging from $250,000 to millions. WWE provides a comprehensive benefits package to all full-time employees including medical, dental, vision, 401(k) and employee stock purchase plans. 110 employees have been with WWE for more than 10 years. WWE has 140 Superstars and Divas currently under contract as independent contractors. The average active roster WWE Talent earns more than $550,000 annually, with WWE covering 100 percent of all costs associated with any in-ring related injuries and rehabilitation and also offers current and former talent who may have substance abuse problems complete drug rehabilitation at no cost to them. WWE is the only entertainment company that provides this type of assistance and ongoing support to its former performers. WWE has a longstanding commitment to give back to communities through literacy programs, support of the military and their families, and a more than 25 year relationship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.So here we stand with a dilemma, a person's right of free choice on how to unwind on their own time, and a companies right to protect itself - it's employees - and its stockholders. In light of current company standards,the salary amount being paid and along with the benefits, it seems that these young stars are letting fame and fortune go to their heads. However instead of being termed on the three strikes rule, why don't the 'E send the employee who failed the test for the third time to treatment since they pay for it anyway? If after treatment they still continue to fail, then of course future endeavor them. A lot of young talent is being tossed around from company to company to indies all because no one is taking the opportunity to educate and help these young stars before their substance abuse gets too out of hand. Just look at the Hardys, I know that Jeff seems to have straightened out, and Matt is working on it. But lets face facts here, neither is going to soar to that place of super-stardom held by the likes of Jericho, HHH, Austin, etc... And it looks like Evan Bourne is headed down that path, so why doesn't the 'E send him to treatment while he is on his 60 day suspension? I think a revision in the WWE Wellness Program is in order to meet the rising need for help instead of discipline.

1. ​First offence = A non-paid 30 day suspension in which the employee must volunteer at a methadone clinic or homeless shelter.
2. Second offense = A non paid 60 day suspension in which the employee must attend at least 30 days in a drug and alcohol treatment facility paid for and chosen by the company. Also they must volunteer at a methadone clinic and a homeless shelter.
3. Third offence = The same as the first two offenses, except this time add a hefty fine and have the employee donate a portion of their income to programs designed for the treatment ad prevention of drug and alcohol abuse. Also a public apology to the fans, their co-workers and employer is in order.
4. Fourth offence = Immediate and irrevocable termination without the benefit of a job reference. Also to be reconsidered for employment in the future, they must get and stay clean for at least 1 year and successfully complete drug and substance abuse counseling on top of treatment. As another requirement, if they sign and work for a different company, they must not downgrade their previous employer.

It's sad to see this kind of drug abuse happening in any sport let alone pro-wrestling. It's time to take a stand against this type of abuse and to educate as well as be fair in the education of this to the young people who are thinking of a career in wrestling. The work schedule, the bumps, the high flying moves, and the all around toughness of the sport is going to cause the need for pain medication and recurrent doctor bills. The addictiveness of some of these meds is a consistent problem for the men and women who work for any promotion, let alone the WWE. The abuse they put their bodies through for the sake of entertaining us all is tremendous and they deserve our help in any way we can. Applaud them for entertaining us, support your favorite promotion, applaud their efforts, and above all commend them for being human and the ability to rise above the abuse.

This will end my rant on the subject and hopefully we all come away from this blog with a little more understanding and why we should take a stand. Lets let the wrestlers and divas know that we support them through thick and thin, but we draw the line on repeated substance abuse, especially when they joke about it via twitter or any other social means.

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Updated 01-19-2012 at 09:27 PM by Dr. Death

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Comments

  1. The Phantom Menace's Avatar
    I've never wrestled a day in my life but after watching most of my life I'm guessing that when your in the ring with somebody you life is literally in their hands. How many men & women have been hurt or crippled in the ring from regular competition. Now imagine the person your working with is high on weed or whatever. Imagine Paul Wight(Big Show) body slamming you & he's F#@ked up, I don't know about you but that thought scares me. Our Beloved Eddie Guerrero died from cardiovascular disease & no one saw it coming. Chris Benoit snapped & murdered his wife & son in the middle of 'roid rage. I'm glad that these policies are in place today, i also wish that it didn't take the death of two of the greatest wrestlers of the modern era for it to happen.
  2. Theicon's Avatar
    Good blog although i dont agree that Jeff Hardy wont reach the heights of Y2J i think he is way more popular & if he stayed with the E long term he would surpass Y2J easily
  3. Dr. Death's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Theicon
    Good blog although i dont agree that Jeff Hardy wont reach the heights of Y2J i think he is way more popular & if he stayed with the E long term he would surpass Y2J easily
    Jeff Hardy is very popular, I'm not trying to take away anything from him. It's just that his last stint on drugs left a sour taste in a lot of peoples mouths. Of course he can overcome that, my son loves Jeff Hardy and gets irate with me if I bring up his conviction. I really hope I'm wrong about Hardy and he does soar to new heights, it's just a hard thing for people to live down is all. And thanks for the thumbs up on the blog.

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