Sunday, November 04, 2007

Chris Benoit drugs 'unusual' amongst WWE wrestlers, by Howard Kotton - Herald Sun - 4th November 2007

The recent death of World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Chris Benoit has forced the organisation into damage control again about alleged drug abuse among its performers.

Benoit strangled his wife Nancy and son Daniel, 7, and placed bibles beside their bodies before hanging himself from a cable on one of his weights machines in June.

Police have said anabolic steroids and other prescription drugs were found inside the house.

Claims of illicit drug use in professional wrestling have been around for many years.

William Regal, who is general manager on the WWE's RAW program, is keen to dispel the widely-held belief that professional wrestlers are nothing more than drugged-up lunatics.

"We have strict (drug) testing going on," Regal said.

"It's just unfortunate that everybody is jumping on the bandwagon and making us out to be the creatures that we're not."

Regal, 39, said WWE's popularity had not been affected by the murder-suicide in Georgia.

"Nobody in the WWE could have helped what happened to change the unfortunate ending to Chris Benoit's life and his family's life," Regal said.

"If anybody would have known any different, we would have helped him.

"There have been a lot of live events since that tragedy and the same amount of people are coming in. "They're sticking by us because they know this is not the norm."

Regal, from Blackpool in England, has done it all in professional wrestling since starting out as a teenager in the UK.

He has held numerous championships and wrestled all over the world. He has lived in the US for the past 14 years, but said he has never felt at home there.

He has been to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and admits he feels more comfortable in Australia than his adopted home.

"I'm a big Australian fan," he said. "It's the only place outside of England I've gone to that I've felt at home in."

Regal breeds lizards as a hobby and is fascinated by Australian reptiles. "You've got the best lizards in the world," he said.

He said the audience at the Rod Laver Arena this weekend should expect a hell of a show.

"People come to our shows knowing that we're going to entertain them and ultimately give everybody something that they can enjoy and go home happy," he said.

"You're going to get every able-bodied RAW superstar there and we're going to have a lot of fun and hopefully everybody else will as well."