The Peacock Press

Stories produced by St. Peter's Journalism Students

Steroids: A Wrestler’s Worst Best Friend

BY ISAIAH HARRIS, ClASS OF 2013 —

Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero

Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero

The bright lights, the cheering crowd, the adrenaline rush and most important, the main event. This is what professional wrestlers live for. The WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) has more than 10 million viewers and is broadcast in over 125 countries. What makes it so popular?

According to the WWE, 66% of their audience are males. This is mainly because almost every boy and man wants to have the traits wrestlers possess such as the chiseled body, colossal muscles, great mobility, and extreme confidence. Young boys are told when they grow up they are going to big and strong, and nothing fits that description better than a WWE superstar. You will never see a skinny wrestler or your regular average Joe trying to be a wrestler. In some ways, they portray superheroes. The same way kids act like they can fly or have superpowers; they act like they have super strength and can do the same moves their favorite wrestler does.

Saint Peter’s junior, Malcolm Alexander, remembers how much professional wrestling affected him as a child. “I used to see The Rock and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and would want to be just like them.”

Alexander started watching wrestling at the age of seven and thought it was one of the greatest things ever. “I used to try and walk just like Steve Austin, I even chugged soda the same way he did beers when he would walk out.”

On the outside looking in, being a professional wrestler appears to be a fun job, but many people do not know about the demons hundreds of professional wrestlers face every day.

The amount of pressure some professional wrestlers put on themselves can be extremely overwhelming. They must always be in top physical condition and have massive muscles because that is the description of a typical wrestler. Sometimes gaining muscles the old fashion way takes too much time and effort, this is when steroids come into the picture.

Steroids are synthetic male testosterone that is used to build muscle or enhance performance. The drug helps the body retain protein, which is needed for the growth of muscles. It even has some effects that make you more masculine. It deepens your voice, gives you more facial and body hair, and it make you more aggressive. Some people take it so they would have a better body and look better to females, but others take it for a competitive advantage. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, over one million Americans have used steroids. Statistics from the National Institute On Drug Abuse show that 1.5% of 12th graders had abused anabolic steroids at least once in the year. The majority of people who use steroids are young, male athletes looking for that edge.

Some sports known for steroid use are football, baseball and boxing. The 2012 MLB All-Star MVP, Melky Cabrera, was suspended 50 games for testing positive for increased testosterone levels. He admitted to using a substance he “should not have used.” In 2006, San Diego Chargers linebacker, Shawne Merriman, tested positive for human growth hormone, which resulted in a four game suspension. After the suspension however, he went on to have a breakout year. This incident made NFL commissioner, Rodger Goodell, implement a rule that forbids a player who tests positive for steroids from being selected to the Pro Bowl or winning any performance awards in the year in which they tested positive. This rule is sometimes referred to as the “Merriman rule.”

Steroids are illegal, but there are other ways that you can help build your body, such as taking protein. A member of the Saint Peter’s University track team, who asked to remain anonymous, said he takes protein to help build his body naturally. “I’ve noticed that I got bigger and more cut up.” Being on a good diet and weight lifting combined with taking the protein allowed him to get built without the use of drugs. “I would never take that stuff and besides, it’s illegal.”

Eddie Guerrero was a famous Mexican-American wrestler for 18 years. He was born into Los Guerreros. Los Guerreros is a Mexican-American family that has been involved with professional wrestling since the 1930’s. His entire family has been involved with professional wrestling for three generations. Guerrero was a household name and loved by nearly every wrestling fan around the world. When news came on November 13, 2005 that Guerrero died in his sleep due to heart failure, the wrestling world was shocked and heartbroken.

Even though his death was surprising, it was something that some people saw coming. According to his autopsy, his blood vessels were very worn and narrow from years of substance abuse. It was bad enough he had an enlarged heart and other enlarged organs. His wife, Vickie Guerrero, said  in interviews, her husband struggled with alcoholism, steroids and an addiction to painkillers. She remembers the last week she spent with her husband and she knew that something was not right with him.  She shared her memories with WWE.com. “He was home and kept saying he wasn’t feeling good…” She also added that her husband had a crazy work schedule and was working out 24/7. The only way Guerrero could keep his body up sometimes was by using steroids. This made his heart grow bigger and work harder until it failed on him. Even though now he is now in the WWE Hall of Fame, notoriety came with a great cost.

Dr. Guy Francis, a family doctor in Maplewod, NJ, pointed out how steroids affect the brain. “You’re definitely going to be more agitated and aggressive than usual, but you’re going to be like this towards family and friends.” You will also be in a bad mood and it sometimes causes people to get violent. “It also can cause depression, along with some suicidal behavior in some cases,” Francis added. In addition, Rosalind Moses, a nurse at Saint Barnabas Hospital, mentioned that it also stunts growth, cause loss of hair, shrinks testes and affects your ability to reproduce.

Former WWE wrestler Chris Benoit was a fan favorite and once the World Heavyweight Champion. Everything seemed to be going well for Benoit on the outside, but on the inside he was being torn apart. It was known that Benoit was taking steroids. Benoit went through two divorces. His second wife, Nancy claimed that he would break and throw furniture around.  She even had a restraining order against him, but it was not enough. On June 22, 2007, Benoit killed his wife, Nancy, and his seven-year old son, Daniel before committing suicide by hanging himself. The autopsy showed he was using steroids at the time he committed the murders. Many people say “roid rage” was to blame, but others say it was due to multiple concussions. Either way, the combination of both left him mentally and emotionally unstable.

Being a wrestler is not as fun as it looks. Having to keep getting bigger and stronger everyday can definitely take a toll on your body. Especially when you are taking drugs that tear down your body faster than it builds it. There is also the fact that younger, bigger wrestlers will try to replace you, as you get older. The use of painkillers is also an issue. The blows wrestlers take to the head can be mind-blowing at times so they overdose on painkillers to numb the pain.  This is what goes on daily in the world of professional wrestling. You are either the best or you are not, but what would you do to get and stay on top?

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3 comments on “Steroids: A Wrestler’s Worst Best Friend

  1. john steel
    June 16, 2013

    I think it “typical” and unfair that in the case of Chris Benoit you purposely leave out two facts.
    1) The autopsy, specifically the toxicology report showed that in addition to the use of anabolic steroids that Benoit was also using large amounts of alcohol, narcotic pain killers, and benzodiazepines…

    2) When the media asked the doctors about “roid rage” the doctors connected to this case denied any proof that steroids caused roid rage in Benoit. The man clearly had a lot going on with him including marriage problems and other stress normally associated with marriage problems. Anabolic steroids do not cause the average person to kill or commit suicide and to pretend they do is irresponsible reporting.

    Are steroids a good idea? NO of course not. But instead of “parroting” what you hear others say, try some open minded research and you will find that the average steroid user is white males age 18-30 years old, working middle class Americans that hold a job and support their families. The case of Chris Benoit is a sad one, and yes, in HIS case Im sure steroid use dint help matters, but lets not demonize the use of steroids and blame that one single factor out of the many for his death and murder of his family. This man obviously had problems that reached far beyond his steroid use. Out of the “one-million” people that have used steroids in the USA how many roid rage and suicides stories are there? I am positive that alcohol is the cause of far more family violence and depression than steroid use.

    • jim
      March 16, 2014

      You need to check your facts. Yes, he had problems but taking steroid made his problems seem more magnifying since he had mental issues. Anyone mentally ill should not be consuming alcohol and drugs especially steroids which causes rapid mood swings and one taking it can become suicidal.

  2. john steel
    June 16, 2013

    I would like to follow up by stating that no man or woman under the age of 21 should try using steroids. Your body at that age is in great shape and hard work, and whey protein supplements will carry the day. But more important is that under the age of 21, especially in males, you are risking growth stunting and problems with your endocrine system. So this coming from a man that has used steroids in the past, DO NOT USE THEM AT ALL IF YOU ARE UNDER 21 YEARS OLD!
    You have your whole life ahead of you. Steroids can build tremendous muscle if you know what your doing, but most of that muscle doesn’t last. In fact, the truth is that the stronger the steroid, the more likely you will loose most of the muscle you gained. Before you consider steroid use, you must first work hard in the gym, study body building so you understand HOW to build muscle, and eat a high protein diet.
    You should push yourself to the max for at least three years and if you do it right you probably will no longer feel the need for steroid use.
    We at http://www.anabolic-warrior.com allow steroid talk but we also advocate natural body building. Please join and ask any questions you like.

    We invite Mr. Harris to join and post his thoughts about working out, steroid use or natural body building.

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This entry was posted on December 16, 2012 by in Arts and Entertainment, health, Sports and tagged , , , , , .
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