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Do WWE Wrestlers Use Steroids? (The Truth Exposed)

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Last updated: October 30, 2022

Like many pro athletes, there has been a lot of speculation lately about whether or not WWE wrestlers use steroids.

It is not uncommon to see wrestlers suspended for misusing steroids, even though it can put them at risk. Common side effects of steroid use include high blood pressure, heart attacks, and increased risk of cancer.

I spent two weeks analyzing multiple body transformations among prominent wrestlers in an attempt to find a  way to tell if they are on steroids before we make any assumptions.

Here’s what I’ve found out.

Quick Summary

  • The only accurate way to determine whether WWE wrestlers use steroids or not would be to run a drug test.
  • Many famous WWE wrestlers have been accused or charged with the use of steroids.
  • The WWE performs random urine, blood, or hair testing on its athletes.
  • Using steroids can lead to a number of severe health risks, including heart disease, liver damage, and cancer.

How to Tell if WWE Wrestlers Use Steroids?

Man boobs and swollen jawline

While there is no 100% accurate way to determine if WWE wrestlers are using steroids or not, there are some things that can indicate steroid abuse.

Gynecomastia

When a man has extra estrogen, he can experience a build-up of fat under the skin, which causes abnormal breast enlargement, commonly referred to as “man boobs” or gynecomastia.

This can occur because testosterone can be converted to estrogen through aromatase [1].

Steroid users experience breast enlargement during the time they’re on steroids.

In some cases, the condition may persist even after discontinued steroid use. The only solution is to undergo surgical intervention.

Jawline Changes and Swelling

Using steroids will have a physical effect on the jawline bone structure, creating a more square and masculine look.

Many WWE wrestlers on steroids also experience a “moon face,” a term that refers to a round, puffy, and full face, after taking high doses of steroids [2].

The swelling should end after you stop taking steroids. However, some individuals reported puffy cheeks and square jawlines even after they stopped taking these substances.

Eyes

An eye with a yellow mark

Research has shown that steroids may cause infections and yellow eyes after a few weeks of usage [3].

The same research reveals that Angioid streaks were observed in both eyes of heavy androgenic steroid users.

Angioid streaks are abnormal, greyish lines that envelop the optic disc and extend radially outwards.

In addition, some people may experience an increase in eye pressure only an hour after using steroids [4].

Acne

Acne is another critical indicator of steroid abuse, especially in young men 18–26 years old.

Research has shown that both acne conglobata and acne fulminans occur in 50% of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) abusers [5].

Steroid users may experience severe and scarring acne all over the face and body, similar to what a male teenager experiences during puberty due to the spike in T levels.

This happens because anabolic androgenic steroids increase the amount of skin oil generated in skin pores, which causes acne [6].

Mood Swings

A person having a mood swing

Studies have indicated that anabolic-androgenic steroid misuse causes anxiety, major depression, mania, hypomania, paranoia, anger (roid rage), and suicidal tendencies [7].

One study recommends that the mood and behavioral effects seen during AAS abuse may result from secondary hormonal changes [8].

A study has also revealed that some users resort to drugs like heroin or opioids to ease some AAS adverse effects.

Most announced that they used these drugs to counteract depression, insomnia, and irritability from steroid withdrawal [9].

Deeper Voice

Studies have shown that AAS abuse causes the development of male characteristics, including a change in voice whether you are a male or a female.

The vocal folds increase in length and thicken, which causes the natural frequency of their voice to lower [10].

While the changes to the voice may be permanent, the effects of AAS on the female voice could change by receiving androgenic steroid therapy [11].

Excess Body and Facial Hair

Excess body hair

One of the most well-known side effects of AAS abuse is the development of excess body and facial hair, also known as hirsutism.

Both anabolic steroids and corticosteroids can affect women as they might experience hair growth on their body, face, and areas where it usually wouldn't grow.

They might also experience changes in texture, thinness, and the natural color of their hair which is one of the signs that someone is using steroids.

These are one of the many indicative signs that someone is using steroids.

Baldness

Most men and women who take steroids may experience hair thinning on their scalp, especially from their hairline, or complete scalp hair loss.

These changes mainly occur after a year on steroids. This differs from one person to another.

The AAS dosage and time length using steroids all contribute to the changes in scalp hair. Other factors are your family history and age.

The primary cause of hair loss has to do with the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

However, it’s important to note that these external indicators discussed above are not enough to judge whether a person is on steroids or not.

Why Do WWE Wrestlers Use Steroids?

A huge bicep muscle

Wrestlers use anabolic steroids to increase and build lean muscle mass in noticeable ways and improve their athletic performance and appearance.

Most users claim that they began using steroids when weight training alone was no longer sufficient for them to continue getting bigger.

The Human Growth Hormone (HGH),  also known as gonadotropin, is another widely used substance. Some wrestlers stack steroids with human growth hormones to obtain a sculpted body.

However, this can cause addiction and other undesirable long-term effects, including cardiovascular complications, liver disease, reproductive organ damage, and severe mood swings [13].

“In small doses for short amounts of time, when their use is monitored by a doctor, anabolic steroids have a lower risk of harmful side effects. But using high amounts of steroids or using them for a long period can lead to numerous side effects.”

– Tim Jewell, Editor at Healthline

Are WWE Wrestlers Allowed to Take Anabolic Steroids?

No, WWE wrestlers are not allowed to take anabolic steroids, which include androstenediol, androstenedione, bolasterone, and boldenone.

They must pass drug tests in order to participate in wrestling events.

That said, WWE randomly chooses athletes to perform drug tests, which usually consist of urine tests. However, blood tests, saliva, and hair testing may also be required.

If a wrestler tests positive for steroids, they will be suspended and might even be banned from wrestling altogether.

Therefore, it is very important for WWE wrestlers to stay away from steroids if they want to pursue a career in the pro wrestling world.

WWE’s Wellness Program

A female researcher and WWE logo

The company administered a wellness program on 27th February 2006 in response to accusations concerning widespread AAS abuse, particularly after the decease of Eddie Guerrero.

The WWE Talent Wellness Program is independently conducted by a team of medical professionals and covers the following:

  • Substance abuse and drug testing – WWE prohibits using performance-enhancing drugs, stimulants, pseudoephedrine, narcotic analgesics, etc.
  • Cardiovascular testing – All WWE wrestlers undergo a cardiovascular test before being hired and twice yearly while under contract.
  • ImPACT testing – All wrestlers undergo brain processing speed, memory, and reaction time tests.
  • Healthcare referrals – WWE offers wrestlers referrals to top-notch healthcare experts who can provide help with any potential problems.

Drug Policy

WWE’s wellness policy shares a list of prohibited substances frequently used to bulk up and boost performance, including anabolic steroids and non-medical use of diuretics and muscle relaxers.

WWE also prohibits its performers from owning, using, and distributing other illegal substances, such as cocaine and marijuana.

There have been accusations stating that some athletes found ways to manipulate test results with masking agents such as probenecid.

This latter is a drug that decreases the urinary discharge of steroids from the body.

With that in mind, it is also prohibited to contaminate the urine sample with chemical products or chemicals, provide false urine samples, and use diuretics to dilute urine samples.

Additionally, the company is clear about the consequences athletes will face if they tamper with their tests; that is, they will be treated as if the test was positive and will face penalties.

It is not uncommon for WWE wrestlers to break the Wellness Policy rules. Few had had to be suspended in numerous instances in the past when they tested positive. 

In addition, there have been numerous comments up to this point about WWE superstars abusing drugs. Chris Benoit, for example, passed away too soon and had performance-enhancing substances discovered in his body. Many believe that WWE is turning a blind eye to the problem.

If there was a way to test all the wrestlers for illegal drugs, it would be easier to say for sure whether they were using prohibited drugs or not. Until then, there is no way to certainly know.

WWE Wrestlers Who Have Used Performance-Enhancing Drugs

Hulk Hogan close up image

Because steroid use is illegal and doing so would put their jobs at risk, most athletes do not admit to using them. Some WWE wrestlers, though, confirmed it.

The retired professional wrestler Hulk Hogan witnessed the peak of wrestling in the entertainment business.

He denied extensive steroid use for a long time. But the WWE Hall of Famer later testified he was taking steroids for 14 years of his pro wrestling career after a big steroid media buzz.

Scott Hall is another professional wrestler who confirmed using steroids during his career.

Other notable names associated with steroid misuse include Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, the Ultimate Warrior, and Eddie Guerrero.

Many people have accused other WWE stars, including Vince McMahon, John Cena, Dave Bautista (Batista), and Ettore Ewen (Big E), of using performance-enhancing drugs. However, they have never failed a drug test.

While it is impossible to know for sure how many wrestlers have used steroids, it is clear that the problem is widespread.

FAQs

Does WWE Prohibit the Use of Steroids?

Yes, WWE prohibits the use of steroids. They have a Wellness Program which tests for steroids and other banned substances. If wrestlers are caught using steroids, they will be subject to disciplinary action, which may include fines, suspension, or termination.

When Did WWE Start Testing for Steroids?

WWE started steroid testing in 1991. However, they only did a limited number of tests, which were not very rigorous. It wasn't until 2003 that they implemented a more comprehensive testing program.

How Long Do Steroids Remain in Our System?

Steroids can remain in our system for up to 14 days if taken orally. However, how long the effect will remain depends on how much you’ve used, your size, and what other substances you might have taken.

What Are the Penalties for a Positive Test?

The penalties for a positive test in WWE are suspension, fines, withheld pay, and being forced to leave WWE. Suspension can range from 30 days to a year, depending on the substance and the number of times the athlete has failed a drug test.

What Are the Main Signs of Steroid Use?

The main signs of steroid use are acne, paranoia, hyperactivity, rapid muscle gain, enlarged breasts in men, and facial hair growth in women.

Final Thoughts on Substance Abuse in the Wrestling Business

Steroid usage has been a severe problem in the world of professional wrestling for many years.

However, there have been signs that things may be changing for the better in recent years. Promotions like WWE and Impact Wrestling have instituted stringent drug testing policies.

That said, steroid abuse can cause serious health issues, and I always encourage my clients to use only the best legal steroids.

These products contain ingredients such as zinc and fenugreek, which can help you reach your fitness goals while being safe.


References:

  1. https://www.mymed.com/health-wellness/fitness-and-exercise/the-facts-on-steroids-for-muscle-building/what-are-the-side-effects-of-anabolic-steroids
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1755-3768.2008.01238.x
  3. https://www.verywellhealth.com/prednisone-facial-mooning-1942983
  4. https://www.acne.org/do-anabolic-steroids-cause-acne.html
  5. https://www.healthline.com/health/steroids-and-vision#risk-factors
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17274777/
  7. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/steroids-other-appearance-performance-enhancing-drugs-apeds/how-does-anabolic-steroid-misuse-affect-behavior
  8. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/steroids-other-appearance-performance-enhancing-drugs-apeds/references
  9. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/steroids-other-appearance-performance-enhancing-drugs-apeds/how-does-anabolic-steroid-misuse-affect-behavior
  10. https://web.nmsu.edu/~lleeper/pages/Voice/workman/effects.htm
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6509898/
  12. https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2006/02/97820/anabolic-steroid-use-increases-heart-attack-risk-and-causes-liver-damage
  13. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/steroids
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