Several months ago I wrote a column detailing what I felt to be the hypocritical stance of wrestling journalists regarding the issue of steroid use in professional wrestling.
It garnered the biggest response of any column I have written on this site, which is surprising considering how little the issue of steroids has come up so far in 2001.
In essence, there is often criticism of those who use steroids, but there is no real slack given to wrestlers about their physique. Critics feel that fans and promoters should be outraged about steroid use, but in reality no one really cares except the writers themselves. Most fans don’t care how the wrestlers get into great shape, they just don’t want fat slobs in the ring.
The result has been a quiet epidemic in the WWF, where there are many performers who are using some sort of performance enhancing drugs to supplement their workout routines.
After the injury suffered by HHH on Raw on Monday, I expected the steroids critics to once again emerge from the woodwork to bring this Ã¢â‚¬Ëœmajor issue’ to the forefront of wrestling discourse. Helmsley was simply running in the ring and he tore his quadriceps muscle in an injury that medical staff describe as Ã¢â‚¬Ëœone of the worst they’ve ever seen.’
Having watched the Raw main event a couple times and watched the clips again on Smackdown, there has to be serious question about why this injury happened. Those who are using steroids are much more prone to injuries, especially freakish and otherwise unexplained injuries such as a major muscle tear with no abnormal motion or stress on the leg.
I won’t presume to state definitely that HHH is using steroids, or that anyone in particular in the WWF is. However, there is ample evidence, with the state of HHH’s physique and the peculiar and severe nature of his injury, to suggest that he is doing something to help him maintain his amazing body.
Because he is such a big star at this point, and is generally regarded as one of the top workers in the world, HHH has seemingly gotten a pass from wrestling critics who love to bring up the steroids issue. Sure, HHH has done a great job in the ring, and seemingly has a great mind for the business in general. Does this earn him a pass when talking about wrestlers who abuse steroids? Apparently so.
The argument that steroids are bad and wrestling fans should be outraged about their use is one that is often dredged up, but rarely given any credence by fans. And while fans continue to look the other way, there is substantial evidence that WWF wrestlers are using steroids. Fans might not care about the future health implications of steroid use, they certainly do care if a top star is going to miss six months of action, like HHH is due to.
Critics were very vocal about steroid use in WCW, especially directed at guys like Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell. For some reason, these same critics barely touch the issue when it pertains to the top WWF stars, and the notion of steroid use being a contributing factor to HHH’s injury has not even been broached anywhere.
Steroids continue to be an issue that is used by critics only when it’s a convenient way to put something in a negative light. Whether there is fear of criticizing the WWF (because of its status as the only major promotion) or its wrestlers (for fear of alienating themselves from news and interviews), writers who used steroids as a hot topic last year have been silent so far this year.
Let’s face it- this faux concern for wrestlers’ health is simply a veiled way to further a negative argument. Next time there is a major column about the evils of steroid use, remember this week and how no one seemed to mention steroids because the WWF TV product was so strong.