On the latest episode of “Something TO Wrestle”, Bruce Prichard revealed that the WWE’s decision to drug test their talent stems all the way back to the arrests of “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and The Iron Sheik. Here’s what he had to say:
Oh my god. You know, you’re coming off the success of WrestleMania 3. 93,000 people, and setting records, and doing all this s**t, and that’s in March. And now here you are in May, and Duggan — he’s just gotten started. And they’re looking for big things out of Hacksaw Jim Duggan. And Sheik had been around for a while, and it was — it was devastating. It was devastating to the company, it was devastating to those guys.
You know, not that it wasn’t devastating to Sheik, but just so much more to Jim because he had just gotten started here … I think people were looking for Hacksaw Duggan to be the next Hulk Hogan in many respects. So it’s just all going down, going down the toilet at this point. And this was during the time that we were still working with Paul Boesch, and making the trips up. I don’t even think I had even officially moved to Connecticut yet at this point. And getting this news, and having to deal with it was not a lot of fun. And that was something that people all used to — the old story, ‘Oh my god, wrestling’s not real! They travel together!’ For no one that has anything else better to do, that was the lead. And I went into it like no one knew that wrestling was entertainment. And [sighs] yeah, it was a miserable time.
Vince was pissed…it was, you know, at the time there was a feeling that cocaine was running rampant. And it was like okay, the perception from the audience was — not just from the audience, but good God. You had people in the White House, and D.A.R.E. programs. Where was a war on drugs, there really was. So cocaine was beginning to be frowned upon.
And I think that Vince looked at this as an opportunity. ‘If we have an issue, we have a problem with drugs in our locker room, then we need to look at it and we need to address it.’ So, this was the impetus of the first drug tests. And it was confusing, because I don’t even think that as a company, they really knew what the extent of the drug tests were gonna be and what-have-you. And they knew that, ‘Okay, guys if you’re doing illegal drugs, we can’t do illegal drugs.’ Steroids weren’t illegal at the time, and obviously prescribed painkillers and s**t like that. Those things weren’t an issue. The forefront was ‘Cocaine’s this horrible drug! Cocaine’s bad.’ And that was mainly what they were testing for, mainly what they were looking at at the time. And that’s what resulted from this whole arrest, was that, ‘Guys, you can’t be doing cocaine and going out and performing, and s**t.’
You can listen to the podcast below:
Credit: Something To Wrestle. H/T 411Mania.