Sports Illustrated Links Pro Wrestlers to Steroid/Drug Ring

Earlier this week, Sports Illustrated continued writing on its investigation of an illegal steroid distributing network. SI reporters Luis Fernando Llosa and L. Jon Wertheim spoke to the sports magazine powerhourse about the latest string of allegations. They allege several professional wrestlers while working for WWE orderered and/or received drugs from this network.

The names have come out after a seizure by federal agents in locations of the illegal network. The problem the federal government has with them is they illegal provide provide prescriptions for steroids and other drugs such as human growth hormone (an undectable drug which is favored among professional athletes).

Dr. David Wilbirt of Arizona has been investigated for providing nearly 4,000 prescriptions in 2004 and 2005 for people over internet. It’s alleged one of his “patients” include former WWE (current TNA) wrestler and 1996 Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle. Other pro wrestlers connected to Wilbert are the late Eddie Guerrero, Oscar Gutierrez (aka Rey Mysterio), Randy Orton, Adam Copeland (aka Edge) and Shane Helms (aka Gregory Helms).

Several weeks ago, Kurt Angle issued a public statement denying the allegations and said any prescriptions he acquired were legal and due to his numerous neck injuries (his neck has literally been broken numerous times over the past decade). None of the current contracted WWE wrestlers issued public comments.

This report comes at a bad time for WWE as they are priming for their biggest show of the year in a couple of weeks. Wrestlemania 23 will take place on April 1st in Detroit, Michigan.

One of the first names mentioned, Eddie Guerrero, passed away in November 2005. A death that surely hit the wrestling world as hard as you can imagine. The official coroners report dedicated the cause of death to heart disease and an enlarged heart due to years of steroid abuse. In fact after Guerrero’s death, WWE wrote up a health policy or testing policy for their contracted talent. The “Wellness Policy” as they call it did not go into effect until months into 2006. It’s been reported by wrestling journalists (such as Dave Meltzer) that several wrestlers have been suspended due to their tests in conjuction with the policy. Kurt Angle was one of those people, prior to leaving WWE in 2006. Andrew Martin (or Test) is believed to have failed a drug test before being fired about a month ago.

Gutierrez (Mysterio) is allgeded to have requested prescriptions for two steroids, nandrolone and stanozolol.

Orton allegedly received several drug prescriptions from the same doctors who are connected to Anaheim Angels outfielder Gary Matthews Jr in this same investigation.

Copeland (Edge) and Helms are alledged to have received human growth hormone. The undectable HGH is viewed as being as dangerous, if not more, than anabolic steroids on the human body.

Edge and Orton are wrestling in one of the headline matches at Wrestlemania in April. Mysterio is currently rehabbing from surgery several months ago. He’s expected to make his in-ring return some time in the Summer.

According to the SI report, eleven professional wrestlers are connected with the investigation. The names mentioned above are believed to be the most popular. Others are said to be retired or on the independent circuit.

It’s important to note that it’s likely nothing will come of the individual evidence related to the wrestlers. First of all, the federal government has made it clear they’re not interested in “small fish” but in the distributing facets of the network. On a smaller scale, as far as WWE is concerned, prior to February 2006, there was no steady drug testing done.

It will be interesting to see where this story goes and if any implications come out of it.