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The timeline of events below are taken from the archives of Wrestling-Online.com and Wrestling-Online Newsletter. All information was accurate at time of the date stamps below.
Timeline of story: 03/07/2007 to 09/13/2007.
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
҂ Kurt Angle’s name popped up in a story about a steroid sting which features other athletes including boxer Evander Holyfield, former MLB players Jose Canseco and Gary Matthews Jr. Last week, several law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies including the DEA, IRS, Justice Department and New York and Florida agencies stormed the offices of The Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center, a raid witnessed by writers from Sports Illustrated. The PBRC along with other similar companies are involved in a massive illegal distribution network that enabled customers to place orders over the Internet for performance-enhancing drugs, including steroids and human growth hormone (HGH). According to Sports Illustrated, Angle received two prescriptions for trenbolone and one for nandrolone between October 2004 and February 2005 while working for World Wrestling Entertainment. When SI tried to reach Angle for comments, messages left with his spokesman were not returned.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
҂ In late February, two Sports Illustrated reporters along with several law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies including the DEA, IRS, Justice Department and New York and Florida agencies stormed the offices of The Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center in a steroid sting. Kurt Angle’s name popped up at the beginning, but now, the same two reporters have revealed that other WWE Superstars received steroids from another facility that was also raided at the same time in Arizona. The late Eddie Guerrero ordered HCG and the steroid stanozolol from David Wilbirt, an Arizona doctor in early 2005. Wilbirt also allegedly issued prescriptions for the steroids nandrolone and stanozolol to Rey Mysterio. Randy Orton has allegedly received eight prescriptions for six different drugs – stanozolol, nandrolone, anastrozole, Clomiphene citrate, oxandrolone and testosterone – between March 2004 and August 2004 and Edge and The Hurricane received HGH. Mysterio, Edge, Orton and Hurricane declined to comment when contacted by Sports Illustrated. In late 2005, WWE introduced the Wellness Program that takes action against those individuals who abuse of any kind of steroids.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
҂ In a follow-up from yesterday’s Sports Illustrated bombshell about four current WWE Superstars receiving steroids, World Wrestling Entertainment has released a statement on WWE.COM regarding the matter. “All of the allegations set forth in a recent SI.com article mentioning WWE predate the initiation of WWE’s current Talent Wellness Program. This WWE program prohibits the use of performance enhancing drugs, as well as other prescription drugs which can be abused, if taken for other than a legitimate medical purpose pursuant to a valid prescription from a licensed and treating physician. For purposes of WWE’s policy, prescriptions obtained over the Internet and/or from suppliers of prescription drugs from the Internet are not considered to have been given for a legitimate medical purpose.”
Monday, July 2, 2007
҂ A news report on WAGA-TV in Atlanta yesterday reported that from the medical records that the DEA confiscated from Dr Phil Astin’s office it resulted that seven former WWE, WCW and ECW Superstars received steroids and pain killers prescriptions from the doc over the past few years. These are Lex Luger, Marcus Bagwell, Johnny Grunge, Mark Jindrak, Bob Holly, Rey Mysterio and Chris Benoit. Nancy Benoit’s name was also on the list. Astin’s attorney said numerous times on television and on print that the doctor never prescribed anything illegal to Chris Benoit. The doc is also being investigated in the death of former Public Enemy member Johnny Grunge, who passed away on February 16th at his residence in Peachtree City, GA. Astin pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned last week. His attorney said that depending on the outcome of the investigation he might change it to a guilty plea and bargain with the federal government.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
҂ AOL-owned TMZ.COM is running a story about WWE wrestlers making use of the drug Soma, a powerful muscle relaxer. Former WWE Diva Terri Runnels – ex wife of Dustin ‘Goldust’ Runnels – told the website that the boys in the back “eat Somas like candy.” She added, “I’ve personally seen a WWE Superstar nearly die right in front of me after taking 13 Somas…while still behind the wheel of his car!” WWE eventually replied to the posting on the TMZ website saying that the abuse of drugs and steroids in WWE is unacceptable however the company cannot account for the “poor personal decisions a small minority may make outside the workplace to undermine these efforts.” WWE also made note of their drug testing program called the Talent Wellness Program.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
҂ A new steroid scandal might hit WWE very soon. 36 year old Dr. Claire Godfrey pleaded guilty to a felony drug count yesterday in connection with a nationwide steroid distribution ring. According to the Times Union newspaper, clients of the former Mrs. Florida contestant include at least two WWE wrestlers who were not named. Dr. Godfrey is the seventh to plead guilty in this case for writing steroids prescriptions for athletes. The prosecution is building up the case against Signature Pharmacy, an Orlando company owned by husband-and-wife pharmacists Stan and Naomi Loomis. Authorities say that if the case against Signature ever goes to court, Dr. Godfrey would be one of their star witnesses. The Times Union newspaper also confirms that Chris Benoit obtained steroids that allegedly were signed by Dr. Gary Brandwein, a South Florida doctor also under indictment in Albany in the same case. The prescriptions attributed to Brandwein were delivered to Benoit in 2005 and 2006, according to shipping records reviewed by the newspaper. Authorities are continuing to examine how many pro wrestlers may have received steroids from Signature Pharmacy.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
҂ Two congressmen who pushed to open steroid hearings into MLB have requested that WWE provide its Wellness Program records and results for the Superstars that have been tested. Vince McMahon, Chairman of WWE, was given until August 24th to turn over all records. The move was pushed by Rep. Henry Waxman, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and Tom Davis, its ranking minority member. WWE will need to provide documents to the committee and the investigation team. This was reported by ESPN earlier today in the aftermath of the Chris Benoit double murder-suicide last month. “The tragic deaths of World Wrestling Entertainment star Chris Benoit and his family have raised questions about reports of widespread use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs by professional wrestlers,” the congressmen wrote. “These allegations – which include first-hand reports of steroid use by prominent former wrestlers – have swirled around the WWE for over a decade. Investigations by journalists have described a culture of performance-enhancing drug use in professional wrestling, high fatality rates among young professional wrestlers, and an inability or unwillingness of WWE to address these problems.” WWE spokesman Kevin Hennessy said, “We are reviewing this letter and will respond accordingly.” You can read the three page letter submitted by the Congress here.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
҂ The United States Congress contacted TNA Wrestling regarding the use of steroids and other illegal drugs by professional wrestlers. The company joins WWE who are under the microscope and ordered to submit information regarding the drug testing and what measures are taken to ensure the safety of their wrestlers. Congressman Cliff Stearns has joined the subcommittee’s chairman, Bobby Rush in overseeing this topic. In their letter to TNA President Dixie Carter, it was asked if the company implemented something similar to the WWE’s Wellness Program and if so, to submit all related documents. You can read the letter sent to TNA here.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
҂ World Wrestling Entertainment today issued a reply to the letter the company received from the Congressional Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection late last month that requested WWE to turn over all documents related to the Wellness Program for review. The letter published by WWE, drawn up by WWE’s leading attorney Jerry McDevitt, does not disclose any information regarding results and is only the cover letter. WWE states that most records are in the hand of Dr. Black, the administrator in charge of the Wellness Program, and they have asked him to prepare a response of his own to provide records as requested. You can read the letter here.
҂ The Associated Press today ran a story about WWE officials meeting with New York prosecutors that are investigating illegal steroid sales. The meeting was held on Tuesday after the company was invited to join along with representatives from the NFL, NBA and other sports and entertainment companies. WWE spokeswoman Jennifer McIntosh declined to comment on what was discussed. The company which is being investigated is Signature Pharmacy which is based in Orlando, FL. Signature is at the center of Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares’ investigation into illegal steroid sales in upstate New York. It was revealed that Chris Benoit was a client of Signature according to the DA’s office. Signature’s owners have pleaded not guilty.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
҂ WWE has replied to the second letter it received from the US Congress, this time to the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Sent by the Chairman Henry Waxman and Ranking Minority Member Tom Davis, the letter was similar to the one that WWE received from the Congressional Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. In their reply, WWE agreed to provide all the drug testing results dating back to September 21st 1998. There are no records prior to that date. In the letter it was also requested that WWE submits any reports on investigations regarding the deaths of its pro wrestlers, injuries and illness. WWE stated that there are no such investigations since the company is in the entertainment business and there are no personnel qualified to carry such work.
Friday, August 31, 2007
҂ The investigation about Signature Pharmacy from Orlando, FL., by New York prosecutors had a major impact on WWE and the company announced that it has suspended 10 of its Superstars following independent information from the prosecutor’s office in Albany County, NY., which has been investigating illegal steroid sales. While the company did not mention who was suspended it issued a notice to everyone saying that those who fail starting from November 1st, their names will be made public. Judging from the list released by Sports Illustrated and taking out those who passed away or are not with the company anymore, it leaves exactly ten people.
҂ Sports Illustrated obtained documents about those who received steroids and illegal drugs from Signature Pharmacy and shows 14 current and former WWE Superstars as clients. These drugs were purchased from the Internet, something which the company does not allow. Chris Benoit received nandrolone and anastrozole in February 2006; Eddie Guerrero received nandrolone, testosterone, and anastrozole; Shane Helms received testosterone, genotropin and nandrolone from November 2003 to February 2007; Chavo Guerrero received somatropin, nandrolone and anastrozole between April 2005 and May 2006; Randy Orton received somatropin, nandrolone, stanozolol from September 2004 through February 2007; John Morrison received somatropin, anastrozole, testosterone, stanozolol and chorionic gonadotropin between June 2006 and February 2007; Mr Kennedy received anastrozole, somatropin and testosterone between October 2006 and February 2007; Funaki received somatropin in March 2006; Charlie Haas received anastrozole, somatropin, stanozolol, nandrolone and chorionic gonadotropin between August 2006 and January 2007; Umaga received somatropin between July and December 2006; William Regal received stanozolol, somatropin, genotropin, and anastrozole; Edge received somatropin, genotropin, and stanozolol between September 2004 and February 2007. Former wrestlers with the company including Crush and Slyvan Grenier received nandrolone, testosterone and Somatropin in December 2006 and somatropin, nandrolone, genotropin and stanozolol, starting in February 2005 through July 2006 respectively.
҂ According to the New York Daily News, the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection will be holding a session about the use of drugs in wrestling at the end of September. WWE spokesman Kevin Hennessy said that WWE would comply if they are asked to attend the hearings but so far no request has been received. WWE received two letters in late July with the other one being from the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the company was asked to submit all documents related to their Wellness Program including testing procedures and results.
҂ The news of WWE’s suspensions made it on most major media outlets. CNN, FOX News, Yahoo!, Associated Press, CBS, USA Today, New York Times, Sports Illustrated, New York Post, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and many, many other local and foreign news outlets all posted the story. The coverage of this news was the biggest wrestling-related since the Benoit family double murder-suicide back in June. While usually any kind of advertisement is good advertisement, this kind of publicity is something that WWE wants to stay away from since the news basically made the Wellness Program look useless as most of the online purchases of the drugs by the Superstars were done after the testing was initiated. The company has defended its Wellness Program vigorously both in print and on television after the Benoit case and everything they said about their program was basically destroyed by these findings.
Saturday, September 1, 2007
҂ There is one casualty in this steroid case so far and Mike Bucci, otherwise known as ‘Simon Dean’, has been fired from the company. Although Bucci’s name didn’t surface in the Sports Illustrated list, the New York Daily News released his name yesterday as one of the clients of Signature Pharmacy, the company under the microscope by New York prosecutors. Bucci decided to hang his boots and get involved with the management side of the company and first was assigned to Deep South Wrestling as booker and then was promoted to the talent relations department.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
҂ WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt has confirmed that another suspension was handed out in connection with the Signature Pharmacy drug ring investigation. McDevitt added that one of the eleven will be having his second suspension, meaning he will be out of action for 60 days without pay. According to the Wellness Program, there are three chances: first time you get suspended for 30 days; second for 60 and the third is a contract termination. The other ten will be suspended for 30 days without pay. There will be no more suspensions in connection with this case.
҂ Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer is reporting that all those that received suspensions were flown to Stamford, CT., for a meeting with the Chairman Vince McMahon at the WWE Headquarters. All ten reported to the meeting except for the eleventh Superstar – whose name wasn’t mentioned yet – because apparently he missed his flight.
҂ The folks at PWInsider.com are reporting that a meeting was held with the Smackdown! and ECW Superstars yesterday before the television tapings. Stephanie McMahon and John Laurinaitis – who are in charge of talent – informed the wrestlers that the company will be testing for marijuana use as well and if they get caught they will fined at least $1,000. They will also test for anti-estrogen drugs which is usually taken to decrease the after-effects of human growth hormone and steroid use. And finally they will also be testing those individuals who would be hired prior to the actual signing.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
҂ Former World Heavyweight champion Batista has issued a statement on his official website about the reports of his name being listed as a client of Signature Pharmacy. ESPN.COM was the one who originally listed his name. “I categorically deny a report on ESPN.com, and repeated by other media outlets, that I am or ever have been a customer of Signature Pharmacy of Orlando, an on-line pharmacy company that is a target of an investigation by the Albany, New York District Attorney’s Office. I am being tested regularly by the WWE, and I am in full compliance with the WWE Wellness Program. I regret the inaccurate reporting, and I will do all I can in the future to stop any publication or anyone from making such false accusations.” Batista is said to be looking into legal action against ESPN and the others who falsely reported his name.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
҂ Several readers sent us a link to an article by the Palm Beach Post that covers the Signature Pharmacy investigation and those who got busted for purchasing illegal drugs through the company. In the article it was revealed that an employee of the clinic named Misty Waldo sent overnight packages to both Paul ‘Big Show’ Wight and Ric Flair. Wight and WWE did not respond to a request for comment according to the article. Investigators also did not specify what items where in the packages. If the report is true, Big Show and the Nature Boy would be the latest two wrestlers tied to the clinic which is under investigation by New York prosecutors for illegal distribution of drugs and steroids online. Wight left WWE late last year while Flair gave notice to the company last month. You can read the article here.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
҂ There have been a lot of discussions lately suggesting that Booker T and Sharmell have both quit the company after Booker T’s name surfaced on the clients list of Signature Pharmacy. After McMahon ordered a meeting with all the Superstars who were suspended, Booker T failed to show up after missing his flight to Stamford. Booker is rumored to be the one who is being suspended for sixty days. Dave Meltzer of the Observer reported last week that Booker has quit the company along with his wife although no official confirmation from any of the two sides was announced. Both of their profiles are still visible on the WWE.COM website and usually that section is the first updated when a wrestler is fired or released. The 42 year old former five time WCW champion has enjoyed a nice run lately and wrestled Triple H in his return match at SummerSlam last month. If Booker and his wife were to comeback, their return would be sometime in November.