Substance abuse is common place in the entertainment industry. Hollywood is full of stories about talented people being destroyed by alcohol, cocaine, and whatever else they are offered on lonely nights away from home. Professional wrestling is no different. In fact, the wrestling business may have produced more drug addicts than music, TV, and film combined.
Because wrestling is such a physical business and performers are encouraged to work while hurt, pain killers are pretty popular in the locker room. Wrestlers take high doses to deal with the pain, which increases as time passes and unresolved injuries worsen. Pro wrestling also requires performers to travel long miles in between shows, often visiting several countries in a week. This results in talent turning to various “uppers” in order to stay attentive on the road and in the ring. In their down time, many wrestlers consume large amounts of alcohol, which is a tradition as old as the pre-match test of strength. Then there is the constant looming temptation of sex, as ever-willing fans provide the perfect distraction during time away from one’s family.
Yes, there is no shortage of things for the traveling professional wrestler to become addicted to, and if history has thought us anything, it is not uncommon for a performer to risk their career, and sometimes life, to satisfy their cravings. WWE has a number of rules in place today in order to deal with former superstars who are experiencing problems with drugs, and as a result many of the worst drug addicts in the history of the company have gone on to live relatively normal lives. Others have not been so lucky and despite WWE’s intervention, still struggle to abstain from drugs and alcohol. In this article, we’re going to be examining the post-WWE lives of superstars from both categories.
Here are 15 retired WWE drug addicts and what they are doing now.View article on one page
Buff Bagwell achieved his greatest fame in WCW, a company which is said to have had a worse drug problem than WWE, even during the infamously sleazy Attitude Era.
Bagwell claims that he suffers from sleep apnea and has for much of his life, though he didn’t realize it during his heyday. Because the condition takes such a toll on the body, Bagwell would wake up feeling drained and have to sedate himself just to go about his day. He would self-medicate prior to going to the gym, prior to wrestling, and prior to going to bed, which caused him to develop a massive dependance on pills.
After the condition was discovered and diagnosed, Bagwell was able to ease himself off those drugs in favor of prescribed sleep apnea medication.
Since leaving the wrestling business, a rejuvenated Bagwell has achieved a degree of success as a male gigolo, which is probably the career he was meant for all along. He charges a hefty fee for his services, which includes the option of a full week with the former WCW superstar for $25K.
Rockin’ Robin was one of the finest female wrestlers of her time, which should come as no surprise considering the fact that she is the half-sister of WWE Hall of Famer Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Unfortunately, wrestling skills aren’t the only thing that run in the family. Like her brother, Rockin’ Robin has battled drug and alcohol addiction for much of her life.
When she left the wrestling business, she brought with her a dependance on drugs which she probably didn’t realize she had as substance abuse was such a run-of-the-mill issue in the industry.
Robin’s troubles worsened when her husband was sentenced to 81 months in prison for filing false tax returns. The desolation of her marriage was another in a series of personal problems for the former WWE Women’s Champion and alcohol and drugs were her only means to a moment’s freedom.
Fortunately, Robin has managed to overcome her demons and get her life back on track – or on track for the first time. Today, she owns and operates a successful real estate appraisal company in Hammond, Louisiana.
13Duke “The Dumpster” Droese
It has been said that Vince McMahon hired Duke “The Dumpster” Droese to prove that he could make a star out of anyone. This is one of many examples of McMahon’s ego getting him into trouble. Though he failed to make Droese a bonafide star in the wrestling business, he did play a hand in turning him into a raging drug addict.
Droese competed in the then World Wrestling Federation from 1994 to 1996, at a time when there was virtually no system in place to ensure performers stayed clean and sober. While there were a couple of wellness rules, they were rarely enforced and so superstars often built up dependancies on pain killers and whatever else they could get their freakishly sized hands on.
After leaving the wrestling business, Droese began working as a special education teacher in a Tennessee elementary school. However, this fell apart in 2013, when he was arrested for selling oxycodone and buprenorphine to an undercover police officer.
Perry Saturn is one of the most tragic cases on this list. In 2004, while driving his girlfriend to work, Saturn witnessed two men attempting to rape a woman and decided that he could not stand by and let it happen. The former WWE superstar succeeded in fighting off the attackers, but was shot once in the neck and once in the shoulder during the altercation.
The pain from these wounds was so intense that Saturn was forced to turn to drugs for relief; and I’m not talking about pain killers. Saturn’s drug of choice was crystal meth and, like it has done to so many others, it pretty much destroyed his life. Saturn wound up losing his home and fell off the grid for a number of years, with not even his family knowing his whereabouts.
Saturn reemerged in 2010 a changed man. He had resolved his addictions and was ready to get back to work, which lead to him spending a couple of years on the indie scene. He has since stepped back from the ring due to what he described as a “traumatic brain injury,” but still appears at signings and on podcasts.