AS I SEE IT 9/18: "Non-suspension suspensions"?

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

So much for the WWE "Wellness Policy".

After several wrestlers from the Smackdown roster were suspended for outright drug test violations and announced "elevated liver enzymes"...and more importantly after a recent test of the RAW roster, WWE has changed the first offense punishments under its still new Talent Wellness Program. Rather than 30 day suspensions for a violation, the penalty for a drug test failure is a loss of pay and PPV bonuses for thirty days (with wrestlers only receiving expenses). The wrestlers will continue to work television and PPV during that period, but will not be booked on most house shows.

WWE apparently made this change so long-term booking plans wouldn't be affected (see Rob Van Dam). It's been widely reported that Randy Orton is one of these "non-suspension suspensions" (to use Dave Meltzer's phrase) for a dirty test. I also have to wonder how many other "non-suspension suspensions" will come from the RAW roster (the only announced non-Smackdown WWE talent thus far is Orton and Balls Mahoney) since the timing of the policy change is only weeks after a reported WWE test of the RAW roster; and if that influenced the need to change the Policy.

So much for trying to protect the welfare of the roster. I wonder what Vicky Guerrero and the remainder of the family think about this change, after it seemed that Eddie Guerrero's death might actually result in a new and effective Wellness Policy for WWE.

The recent firing of Kurt Angle for violations of the Wellness Policy seems more the exception than the rule. The Angle firing seems to reflect a genuine fear over obsessive behavior by Angle, as well as an admitted addiction to prescription pain killers, behaviors which were reported in disturbing detail in a recent Wrestling Observer. Paul Heyman once made a remark about the release of Louie Spicolli from ECW that "he didn't want [Spicolli] dying on his watch", after Spicolli continued with heavy public use of somas (including an evening where he came into the Philadelphia TraveLodge barely able to walk). It seems that WWE had similar fears in this case.

But until or unless these behaviors and addictions are exhibited by a star on the level of Angle...or until another wrestler dies... it seems that these "non-suspension suspensions" will be the practice within WWE.

In other non-WWE news...

You are all needed to show your support to a friend and wrestling fan who has fallen ill.

Brian Butler, a long time friend and wrestling fan, especially Liberty All Star Wrestling, who has been going through some serious medical issues the last few months needs your help & support. Here is his Myspace page. He would love to hear from everyone.

His family is having a Beef and Beer Benefit to help with the cost of his growing hospital bills, which will be held September 24th from 3:00-7:00 pm at Murray Stuart Post, located at Glenn and Boon Avenues in Glenolden, PA. Tickets are $15 per person and can be purchased at the door, or contacting via email or Myspace. Many of us know Brian, and now is the time to show your support during this trying time for him and his family. Brian is making remarkable progress, going through rehab and could use all the support we can give. He's been there as a fan and now is the time to give him the support in return. Please spread the word about this benefit. Not only is this a good cause, to help someone who supported indy wrestling as a fan.

Also...The Wrestling Voice, which carries As I See It, has its Wrestling Hall Of Fame starting up again (last year was it's first year) on the 15th with voting open to anyone who wants to and staying open from September 15th to October 15th.

Last year, their Wrestling Hall Of Fame got about a thousand votes, but I'm really hoping to at least double that this year. The link is here with the voting link live now. Please participate.

Until next time...


If you have comments/questions, or if you'd like to add the AS I SEE IT column to your website, I can be reached by e-mail at