Thursday, January 8, 2009

DO YOU SCRIPT CHAIR SHOTS TO THE HEAD? Thankfully, I haven't had a Dead Wrestler of the Month post for some time, but on his way out the door of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, outgoing Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman has released the results of his committee's investigation into steroids and professional wrestling following the death of Chris Benoit. In his letter to Office of National Drug Control Policy Director John P. Walters (PDF), calling for ONDCP to become involved in the issue, Waxman notes:
  • In the first year of the WWE's testing program, which began in March 2006, 40% of wrestlers tested positive for steroids and other drugs even after being warned in advance that they were going to be tested. Six months after the WWE announced its 2006 steroid testing policy, it relaxed the policy to allow wrestlers suspended for steroid abuse to participate in "selected televised events" and "pay-per-views."
  • The WWE hired four of five wrestlers who tested positive for steroids in "pre-contract" testing conducted in 2007 and 2008.
  • According to WWE officials, Chris Benoit was tested four times for steroids prior to his death. He tested positive three times, but each time he received only a warning or no penalty at all. The Committee obtained no evidence that efforts were made to discourage his steroid abuse.
But really, where you can kill hours is by reading the transcripts of interviews by committee counsel of Vince, Linda and Stephanie McMahon (all PDF). Let's hear it, Vince:
Q: What led you to make, you the company, to make the magnanimous gesture of offering counseling services to current or former employees or contractors?

A: Two words. Public relations. That's it. I do not feel any sense of responsibility for anyone of whatever their age is who has passed along and has bad habits and overdoses for drugs. Sorry, I don't feel any responsibility for that. Nonetheless, that's why we're doing it. It is a magnanimous gesture.
And then they ask Vince about his own steroid usage. Read all this and more in the transcripts, if only to find out which McMahon states for the record, "Hulk Hogan was a terrible wrestler, and he still is."

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