Reigns, Mahal, Lesnar: WWE Wrestling Still Has An Image Problem Over Alleged Steroid Abuse
Fans of WWE wrestling will be aware that Roman Reigns is the latest WWE superstar to face allegations of steroid abuse. Reigns is one of the top stars on the WWE network, and as reported by the Daily Mail, he is the latest WWE star to be accused of steroid abuse. Reigns has been named as an alleged client of jailed steroid distributor Richard Rodriguez, who is believed to have made over $10 million from the distribution of illegal steroid drugs. Rodriguez named Reigns as a customer alongside Hollywood stars like Mark Wahlberg and Josh Duhamel.
As reported by Wrestling Inc., Reigns denies any involvement with Rodriguez and says that he has learned the lessons handed out after he was banned from the wrestling ring in 2016. At that time, it was widely reported that Reigns was suspended after testing positive for Adderall, a banned substance.
“I have never heard of Richard Rodriguez or Wellness Fitness Nutrition. I learned from the mistake I made nearly two years ago and paid the penalty for it. Since then, I’ve passed 11 tests as part of WWE’s independent drug testing program.”
At the time of writing, there is no indication that the WWE is considering suspending Reigns, however, the latest allegations are sure to be a blow for a company brand that sells itself as “clean” family sports entertainment.
Does WWE Wrestling Have A Steroid Abuse Problem?
Sadly for the WWE network, this is not the first time that WWE wrestlers have been accused of steroid abuse. Universal Champion Brock Lesnar returned to WWE wrestling after he was banned for alleged steroid abuse by the UFC. Lesnar’s 18-month drugs ban from UFC only expired last month, and to date, there are few indications that Lesnar is set to return to the Octagon.
As reported by The Heavy, Jinder Mahal was the subject of steroid abuse allegations when he returned to the company last year. Mahal had undergone a dramatic physical transformation during the latter part of 2016, and whilst Mahal is adamant that good diet and focused training was responsible for his physique, allegations of steroid abuse were made.
Mahal’s protestations of innocence were undermined by former WWE stars like Ryback who suggested that “Mahal has gynecomastia, a swelling of breast tissue that can be caused by the use of steroids.”
The WWE has a long history of steroid abuse scandals. As reported by Vice Sports, WWE superstar Triple H even told ESPN that if steroid use was banned, “so too should lifting weights and cardio exercises, as these are also performance enhancing.”
Forbes points out that in 2007 WWE acted swiftly by suspending a host of wrestlers in the wake of the Signature Pharmacy scandal. That said, most of those suspended were minor stars, whilst huge names like Batista and Randy Orton escaped suspension, despite being linked to the doping scandal.
It remains to be seen whether the WWE will take any action against Roman Reigns, but the latest allegations, when coupled with the allegations against Brock Lesnar and Jinder Mahal, suggest that the WWE still has a steroid abuse image problem to overcome.