Since Randy Orton’s 60-day suspension for a violation of WWE’s Talent Wellness Program in May 2012, only one talent has been officially punished for a drug-related infraction—Ricardo Rodriguez in July 2013. Although no WWE talent has been suspended for a Wellness violation in over a year, that does not necessarily mean that the roster is completely drug-free.
On Tuesday, UFC announced in a statement on its website that 42-year-old fighter Cung Le tested positive for an excess level of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) following his fight at UFC Fight Night in Macao, China on August 23 and was being suspended from competition for nine months. However, after revisiting the evidences against Le, the UFC suspended him for a year. Dave Meltzer reported on the story on Wednesday in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, where he addressed the current state of drug usage in WWE.
Meltzer has cast doubt on the WWE talent roster being completely clean. In March, he was asked on his radio show whether the lack of drug test failures in recent years means the WWE locker room is now substance-free and responded, “You shouldn’t believe the roster has been clean for two years…I wouldn’t even believe two weeks.”
Although WWE bans the non-medical use of HGH, talents aren’t tested for it. HGH can only be picked up in blood testing, not the standard urine testing, which is why athletes in most sports use it with impunity. According to Meltzer, that is also the case in WWE as some talents circumvent the drug testing policy by using high dosages of HGH combined with low dosages of Testosterone (also prohibited).
Within the bodybuilding world, this is known as a stack; two or more supplements are taken at the same time in order to increase their overall effectiveness (compared to the effectiveness of one supplement alone).
“For those who are using [performance-enhancing drugs] to beat WWE testing, the standard stack is to use low doses of testosterone and higher dosages of HGH, because HGH, as far as enhancing a physique and gaining strength, works far better in synergy with a steroid to enhance its effects, and low doses of testosterone can keep one below the 6:1 T:E ratio,” Meltzer stated.
Meltzer received this information from sources within WWE after attending the February 7 live event in Oakland, California headlined by John Cena vs. Randy Orton and being “struck at how obviously enhanced more guys were than I had noticed on TV.”
He noted on the F4WOnline.com message board, “Asking around, I was told exactly how they beat the system (GH with low dosages of test, usually taken on Wednesday, that’s out of the system within a few days to beat the tests).”
Last year, WWE quietly changed its policy to allow therapeutic use exceptions for banned substances and introduced a redemption program that would enable performers who have violated the policy twice to get one of their two strikes removed. In addition to Orton, currently employed talents who have been suspended due to one or more violations are Booker T, Darren Young, Dolph Ziggler, Heath Slater, Mike Chioda, Rey Mysterio, R-Truth, Ryback and William Regal.