Roman Reigns, the current WWE Intercontinental Champion, issued a statement on Wednesday evening to deny a claim that he received steroids from a jailed drug dealer. It garnered some news on Tuesday, but this kind of thing is a lot of speculation and normally we don’t want to cover that sort of thing here. However, since Reigns released a statement on it, I felt like it was worth mentioning in this news update.
Here’s a summary of the story and the allegation from the Daily Mirror.
Hollywood stars Mark Wahlberg and Josh Duhamel, along with WWE’s top superstar 33-year-old Roman Reigns have been named as alleged clients of jailed steroid distributor Richard Rodriguez, who is being investigated by the DEA.
Rodriguez named the three men in an interview with filmmaker Jon Bravo and has also named them in a lawsuit filed in New York state.
Rodriquez is now in prison and with his freedom curtailed has decided to snitch on the A-list celebrities. With seemingly with nothing to lose, Rodriguez spoke freely about the people he allegedly used to supply steroids.
In a revealing telephone interview from prison, Rodriguez explained how on many occasions the famous actors would have the drugs delivered under a different name to prevent any direct identification.
You can listen to the interview clip on Youtube here if you want.
This is the statement that Reigns issued with his denial.
“I have never heard of Richard Rodriguez or Wellness Fitness Nutrition. I learned from the mistake I made nearly two years ago and paid the penalty for it. Since then, I’ve passed 11 tests as part of WWE’s independent drug testing program.”
The mistake from nearly two years ago that Reigns is talking about is when he was suspended for violating WWE’s Wellness Policy leading to his 30-day suspension in June 2016. The reports came out from the Wrestling Observer shortly after that it was Adderall that likely caused the suspension. That suspension was shocking, but since then there hasn’t been any indication of Reigns having a similar issue.
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, “WWE’s drug testing program is outdated compared to those in Olympic sports or USADA testing. Even that testing, while far better, it isn’t close to foolproof either.”
As for this story, it’s a matter of what and who you want to believe. People that don’t like Roman Reigns are probably going to think that Mr. Rodriguez is telling the truth and that Reigns is denying it because that’s what most people do in this situation.
The story could go away after this Reigns statement or there could be more to it. Considering Reigns’ spot as a top guy in WWE and the likely WrestleMania headliner against Brock Lesnar (a guy who failed UFC drug testing leading to no suspension from WWE), it could lead to plans being changed if there is proof that Reigns did receive drugs for Rodriguez.
I choose to believe Reigns because guys like Rodriguez may be willing to lie to get attention for themselves. However, if Rodriguez can provide proof of this contact with Reigns then that’s going to make Reigns look really bad and could even lead to him getting suspended for it.
The question of PEDs and if they even matter in pro wrestling is a whole other topic. Some fans probably don’t care if wrestlers use PEDs because it’s not a real, competitive results-based sport. Others would get mad about it because WWE does do drug testing and we are supposed to believe that they don’t allow performance enhancing drugs. It doesn’t bother me that much either way, but I am glad WWE is testing their superstars. We want to see the superstars live, long healthy lives and getting tested regularly by doctors will benefit them long term, so that’s what matters more than anything.
Update on Raw 25 Special Guests
Here are the list of names advertised for Raw 25 on Monday in Brooklyn and Manhattan, NY.
Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Ric Flair, The Dudleys (Bubba Ray and D-Von), The APA (JBL and Ron Simmons), Scott Hall, New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn), The Bella Twins (Nikki & Brie), Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Jeff Hardy (currently injured), Mark Henry, Christian, Chris Jericho, Trish Stratus, Jacqueline, Michelle McCool, Torrie Wilson, Kelly Kelly, Terri Runnels, Maria Kanellis (pregnant), Eric Bischoff, Gene Okerlund,Sgt. Slaughter, The Godfather, The Boogeyman, Brother Love, Teddy Long, John Laurinaitis, Ted DiBiase and X-Pac. Jonathon Coachman also tweeted that he’ll be a part of it, so that’s another name.
All current Raw talent will be there including Brock Lesnar and John Cena and most of the Smackdown roster will be there because they aren’t booked on Monday although WWE hasn’t mentioned Smackdown talent being there.
Some names that won’t be there and the reasons why:
Bret Hart – He won’t be there because he has an appointment with his hand surgery on Monday in Calgary and his doctor is flying in from Paris for it. Bret doesn’t want to cancel the appointment since the doctor is coming a long way, so Bret texted Vince McMahon to explain the situation. (Wrestling Observer)
Mick Foley – According to the Wrestling Observer, Foley doesn’t want to be a part of it (even though he lives in nearby Long Island, NY) because he was storyline fired last year and doesn’t think it makes sense for him to be on there being happy with everybody. I really hope he changes his mind because fans want to see him.
Edge – He’s going to be out of the country filming stuff I believe for the TV show Vikings. I listen to his podcast with Christian often and I think he mentioned that, but not sure.
Kevin Nash – He was originally advertised for it, but he tweeted on Wednesday that due to knee replacement surgery he’s not going to be able to make it. Nash does plan to be in New Orleans for WrestleMania festivities.
Was so looking forward to being a part of RAW 25. It's nearly impossible to travel on our down sized airlines healthy. With a total knee replacement it would be self inflicted torture. See ya everyone at Mania
— Kevin Nash (@RealKevinNash) January 18, 2018
There will probably be more names there that aren’t listed above, but for now that’s all we know.
IN OTHER NEWS
– Good news for WWE in terms of ratings for this week’s Raw with 3.22 million viewers. That’s the highest average audience on USA Network since August 22. The reason for that is this was the first week since the second Monday in September where WWE didn’t have to face NFL or college football competition.
The first hour of Raw led the way with 3.57 million viewers, hour two did 3.36 million viewers and the third hour had a huge drop with 2.81 million viewers. It’s pretty huge to see over 600,000 viewers stop watching from hour one to three. It’s also good news for Braun Strowman since he dominated the first hour due to the ridiculous firing angle that led to several segments featuring Strowman destroying things backstage and tossing Michael Cole onto a bunch of security goofs. Strowman was re-hired by Stephanie McMahon via phone call about an hour after he was fired by Kurt Angle.
I fully expect next week’s Raw to improve on that number since it’s Raw 25 with a lot of huge names advertised. They may get closed to 4 million viewers as an average, but that’s just a guess on my part.
– Several Smackdown superstars took part in some photo session cosplays of some famous Raw moments. Here’s Xavier Woods tweeting about what I think is the funniest picture of the bunch.
— ?Austin Creed? (@XavierWoodsPhD) January 18, 2018
You can check out the whole gallery, including Natalya and Charlotte as Edge and Christian, on WWE.com right here.
– Braun Strowman has a new t-shirt available on WWEShop that he tweeted about.
— Braun Strowman (@BraunStrowman) January 18, 2018
I don’t buy wrestling shirts, but that one looks pretty basic to me.
There are some other news items I’m going to cover in separate news posts in the next day or two and tomorrow’s update. I like to spread them out a bit.
THE VIDEO SECTION
Here is a video of alternate angles of Braun Strowman’s destruction on Raw. Of course, the angle they don’t show you is the other side of the truck where they likely had ropes to help him tilt it over. The magic of television, my friends.
Here’s a video from Total Divas of Big Cass and Carmella moving into their house. This was filmed in the summer. The couple recently broke up, so hopefully they sold it for a lot of money!
Here’s a video of WWE superstars recreating famous Raw moments that I mentioned earlier.
THE PLUG ZONE
– The first episode of Mixed Match Challenge aired on Tuesday night and I reviewed it right here. Very good match. I don’t know if any other first round match will be as good as that one.
– Our NXT review guy Kurt Zamora checked in last night with his review of this week’s NXT show. The card for NXT Takeover Philadelphia is coming along nicely.
I’ll leave you with this funny clip of AJ Styles hitting Rusev with a Stone Cold Stunner following the Smackdown/Mixed Match Challenge/205 Live taping this weekend. The sell by Rusev was pretty funny.
That’s all for now. I will try to be back tomorrow for another update. Have a good day.