Speculation sent the internet in a frenzy after Roman Reigns dropped the WWE Championship at the Money In The Bank PPV. Many fans saw Roman as untouchable, so seeing him pinned cleanly was rather odd. The sight of it just didn’t feel right. Rumors began to surface that he perhaps dropped the title because of buy rates, although this seemed rather harsh considering he had the title for a couple of months, also factoring in that John Cena, the company’s biggest attraction, was injured. Following Raw, the internet broke when it was announced that Roman would be suspended for 30 days, breaking the WWE’s Wellness Policy. The wrestling community was a buzz, and it suddenly all made sense.
It should be noted that Roman isn’t the first prestigious face to fail the Wellness Policy. In this article, we will go down memory lane and feature some of the more prominent stars that failed the test. The likes of Mike Chioda and Hornswoggle, who both failed the Wellness Policy at one point, unfortunately do not make this list. Let us begin; here are 15 WWE stars who violated the Wellness Policy, just like Roman. Enjoy!
Unlike the Roman Reigns’ suspension, this one flew under the radar, as most fans thought Konnor was put on the shelf for repackaging his failed gimmick but really he was suspended 60 days for breaking the company’s Wellness Policy. Konnor ultimately got double the amount of time for breaking the rule for a second time in his career. His first suspension came way back in 2006 during his earlier WWE days, wrestling for the developmental territory which was Deep South Wrestling at the time. Crazy to think that a decade later, this offense still follows him around and was used against him during his current violation of the Wellness Policy.
His timing couldn’t have come at a better time to be quite honest. As we previously discussed, fans thought the 36 year old was taking time off to repackage his failed Ascension gimmick. The reality of the situation is he kind of is, with so much success down in NXT, this might be exactly what the team needed in order to thrive at the WWE level. With a brand split coming up, it’ll be interesting to see exactly how the team gets booked.
14) Adam Rose
As many of us saw during ESPN’s E60 documentary on the behind the scenes with the WWE’s NXT product, the company gave Rose every possible opportunity to succeed. At the end of the day, his demise was simply his own doing.
Adam was called up to the main roster on May 5th interrupting Jack Swagger. His Exotic Express gimmick had some success early on but later began to fade into a lower-card role, which the company lost sight of. After some brutal gimmick changes things reached a new low for Rose who was suspended on April 16th for once again, violating the Wellness Policy. This was his second offense; his first came back in 2013 while on the NXT roster. Things would only get worse from there, as during his suspension, Rose was arrested in the Florida area for domestic violence along with tampering with a witness. He was later suspended by the WWE only to be released shortly after.
Even a long time seasoned veteran like R-Truth found himself in the dog house at one point in his WWE career. The 44 year old was suspended by the company for 30 days back in November of 2011. Unlike most of his colleagues, Truth wasn’t suspended for the use of performance enhancing drugs, he was instead suspended for smoking marijuana. Both he and fellow wrestler Evan Bourne, were suspended at the same time for violating the company policy and smoking the synthetic drug.
When you really think about it, it’s really not all that bad especially when you consider that Truth has been a part of the WWE since 2008. Known to provide comedic relief in the under-card, Truth is entering his eighth straight year with the company. His biggest accomplishment in that span include two Hardcore Titles, a United States Championship run and a Tag Team Title reign with Kofi Kingston. Asides from the small blemish, Truth has been a model worker for the company.
12) William Regal
Like the previously mentioned R-Truth, Regal has been around the block and back again throughout his journey with the WWE. He currently finds himself down in NXT as the acting General Manager for the developmental brand (if you still want to call it that). He is one of the most respected faces in the entire WWE today, but despite this Regal has had his fair share of problems in the past. In 2008, the WWE suspended Regal for 60 days breaking the Wellness Policy for the second time. The company wrote him off the show after he lost a match against Ken Kennedy, which had a stipulation of win or be fired.
Regal’s career wasn’t always as smooth as his technical in-ring abilities. His first WWE stint was a disaster, performing as The Man’s Man. According to Regal, he remembers absolutely nothing that went on during that time as his days were simply drug infused. This eventually caused his release and he would check himself into a rehab facility. After going back to WCW, Regal would eventually return home, this time as the Commissioner for the WWE. His role, which began in 2000, was tremendous. 16 years later and he is in a similar role down in NXT.
11) Carlito Cool
In a rare instance, Carlito breaking the Wellness Policy caused his eventual release from the company. He received his first offense back in May of 2010, where the WWE demanded Carlito enter a rehab facility after he showed up to a Raw taping in Toronto in terrible condition. A surprise to most of us, Carlito turned down the rehab option, and after doing so he was immediately released by the WWE in one of the more shocking departures (considering he was quite the Superstar during his WWE stint). It was later made public that Carlito had a reported pain killers addiction and was showing up to WWE events in terrible condition.
Since departing from the company, Cool has continued his work without missing a beat. Wrestling under the name of Carly Colon, the wrestler has spent most of his time on the indie scene, and he is also working with WWC. With brand extension in place and the need for more veterans, Carlito’s WWE return is a big possibility.
10) Darren Young
His status with the WWE is quite high; the Superstar is seen as quite the professional behind the scenes. Though we forget that Young broke the Wellness Policy back in October of 2011, when it was announced that the Jersey native was to be suspended for 30 days for smoking marijuana. It was also later revealed that his fellow stable member Heath Slater, was also suspended by the company for the same reason.
Despite this little blemish, the 32 year old has managed to stay nothing but professional during his WWE stint which started way back in 2005, with the company’s old developmental system Florida Championship Wrestling. Fast forward a couple of years and Young would make his WWE debut as a part of The Nexus faction. He then transitioned into a Tag Team wrestler alongside Titus O’Neil. This was his most impressive run capturing the Tag Team Championships. He is currently being repackaged for a singles career alongside WWE Hall of Famer, Bob Backlund.
9) Evan Bourne
Similar to Carlito, the talented Superstar’s run came to an end after he violated the Wellness Policy one too many times. Bourne was initially suspended by the company for Marijuana usage, and this came at a time which saw several others get suspended for the same reason. The list included Darren Young, Heath Slater and R-Truth. Only a couple of months later, Evan was once again in the dog house, this time for 60 days because of his second violation of the Wellness Policy. Once again, he was suspended for Marijuana usage.
His suspensions hurt his career dearly, causing him to lose so much momentum. He missed 90 days total in a span of only a couple of months. His first suspension came in early November. After coming back for a little over a month, he was once again suspended in mid-January, this time for 60 days. After returning from his suspension, Bourne had a match against Sami Zayn down in NXT, and sadly was later released from his WWE contract.
8) Dolph Ziggler
At the time, his suspension could not have come at a worse time. Ziggler was the only survivor from the Spirit Squad faction. After years of repackaging down in developmental, Dolph finally made his re-debut under his new and current name, Dolph Ziggler. After a backstage segment which reintroduced him to the world, Ziggler was suspended for 30 days by the company for failing the Wellness Policy Program. The timing could not have been any worse, however this didn’t faze Ziggler who returned in a backstage segment with WWE powerhouses Rey Mysterio and Shawn Michaels.
The suspension ended up being a small blemish which had no effect on his career. He would go on to capture the World Heavyweight Championship on two separate occasions. He would also enjoy four Intercontinental Title runs along with a United States Championship to add to his collection. He became the 22nd Triple Crown in WWE history.
7) Jeff Hardy
Drug use certainly set back the career of Jeff Hardy in various instances. His worst came in TNA when Jeff showed up completely out of it for a high profile matchup against Sting at Victory Road, in 2011. He would experience similar misfortunes in the WWE. In May of 2008, the WWE suspended Hardy for failing the Wellness Policy a second time. This came at a horrible time, which caused Jeff to not only drop the Intercontinental Championship to Chris Jericho, but in addition he was pulled out of the Money In The Bank matchup set for WrestleMania XXIV.
Asides from suspensions with the WWE and TNA, Hardy found himself in some major trouble outside of the promotions, this time with the law. In September of 2009, Hardy made headlines for getting arrested. Hardy spent 10 days in jail after he was arrested for charges of possession. Police found various prescription drugs, along with cocaine and anabolic steroids. This was a new low for the wrestler. Now older and wiser, Hardy seems to have cleaned up his act. He is currently rumored to make a WWE return during the brand extension. We hope to see him back in a WWE ring soon.
6) Booker T
When you think of Booker T, you can’t help but to think: “professional”. He’s been a model employee since his involvement with the company in the midst of a WCW Invasion. Booker was the only survivor of the angle and remains a prominent part of WWE programming till this day as a member of the WWE’s PPV panel.
In a rare blemish, Booker was suspended 30 days by the WWE for violating the Wellness Policy back in 2007. Things would surprisingly get worse after he was once again put to the side, this time for 60 days back in August of 2007. Things took a controversial twist when Booker requested a release from the company when he argued that he had not been taking any drugs, but instead he was purchasing legal antibiotics at a Pharmacy. The WWE would end up granting his release, and Booker would later debut alongside his wife Sharmell, with TNA. After a couple of years away from the company, Booker would return at the Royal Rumble match in 2011. He would later transition into a color commentator.
“Loyal”, is a word that sums up Edge’s long lasting run with the WWE, which spanned from 1996 all the way to his abrupt retirement in 2011. What a run it was for the Rated R Superstar, who managed to become the seventh Grand Slam Champion in company history. His resume is legendary, to say the least; four-time WWE Champion, seven-time World Heavyweight Champion, five-time Intercontinental Champion and 14-time Tag Team Champ. At one point, it seemed like he always had a title throughout his long WWE run.
Like countless others, Edge sustained a rare blemish in his career after his name surfaced in a Pharmacy scandal linked to WWE wrestlers. A company out of Orlando, was found to be distributing illegal steroids and prescription drugs to their clients. Among the plethora of WWE names included Booker T, John Morrison, Chris Masters, William Regal, Randy Orton and much to everyone’s surprise, Edge.
4) John Morrison
Morrison was another prominent WWE star’s name to come out of the Signature Pharmacy Scandal which happened in 2007. His 30 day suspension came at a bad time, as Morrison was involved in an upper-card Championship feud with CM Punk. The two were trying to raise the prestige of the ECW brand at the time, and his suspension not only hurt his card status but the brand as well.
In a surprising spin, Morrison would return to the ring following his suspension by teaming up with The Miz. The rivals would end up winning the Tag Titles from Matt Hardy and MVP on an episode of SmackDown. Following his ECW run, Morrison would make a World Heavyweight Title attempt facing Jeff Hardy. He would ultimately fall short and never become a big player. This would eventually cause the talent to leave the company. He would go on to work some fantastic matches on the indie scene and later with Lucha Underground.
3) Rey Mysterio
Mysterio was arguably the biggest name to break the Wellness Policy multiple times. This wasn’t good for his career, especially when you think of the demographic Rey was mostly appealing towards. His first suspension came in August of 2009. Mysterio was suspended for 30 days. The situation was complicated and caused the company to delay his suspension due to the fact that he was carrying around the Intercontinental Championship. This was similar to the recent Roman Reigns case, which caused the company to delay his suspension because of his card status holding the WWE Championship.
Rey would eventually suffer the same faith, as years later in April of 2012 he was suspended 60 days for failing the Wellness Policy a second time. Mysterio tested positive for amphetamines, and he later made a claim that he tested positive because of a nose spray he had been using which he had a prescription for.
2) Randy Orton
Randy Orton is one of the only current WWE stars to have failed the test twice, but still managed to stay with the company years later. His first offense came way back in August of 2006, and it saw him suffer a 30 day suspension. This came after he recently served a 60 day suspension in April of 2006 for unprofessional conduct. Not sure that there are many wrestlers who survived as many suspensions as Randy.
In 2012, the master of the RKO was suspended for 60 days due to it being his second offense in violating the Wellness Policy. As disappointed as Orton was for his suspension and the perceptions fans had of him, he saw it as a bit of a blessing due to the fact that he hadn’t taken any time off in years. The suspension was a blessing, as it allowed him to finally recover and get some rest after so many years of road and in-ring work.
1) Kurt Angle
Rightfully so, Kurt Angle tops this list of wrestlers that failed the WWE’s Wellness Policy. His first suspension came way back in the summer of 2006, when Kurt was suspended for 30 days by the company. In various interviews, Angle admitted to consuming anabolic steroids during his run with the WWE, claiming he needed it for his well being at the time. Angle’s name was also prominent in a Sport Illustrated investigation of wrestlers taking performance enhancing drugs. According to rumors, Kurt’s WWE demise happened when he refused to enter a rehab facility, despite the WWE asking him to do so on several occasions. Angle was noticeably in a bad place and needed help. The company feared that he’d suffer the same faith as the late great Eddie Guerrero, whose heart eventually stopped working. This situation ultimately caused Angle’s WWE relationship to suffer.
Years later, Kurt is now being linked to a return very soon. Speculation ran rampant when it was announced that Kurt said it was a matter of “when” and not “if”. We look forward to seeing this great athlete back in a WWE ring very soon.