"Every man is the builder of a temple called his body. We are all sculptors and painters and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones. Any nobleness begins at once to refine a man's feature, any meanness or sensuality to imbrute them." -Henry David Thoreau
There's been a lot of talk among the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC) about The Rock since he found time in between movies to return to WWE and battle John Cena (again) in the main event of WrestleMania 29, booked for April 7, 2013 at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Most of that talk revolves around how fucking huge he is.
It should come as no surprise then, to learn what most people were debating when Brock Lesnar made his long-awaited return to the squared circle in early 2012. It's the same thing that had fans abuzz earlier today when Triple H was sharing pics of how JACKED he is.
What do these three headliners have in common?
Steroids. Not that I'm suggesting they all do them, because quite frankly, I don't know. And unless you're doing the injecting -- or the prescribing -- you don't either. Are steroids a problem in sports entertainment? Depends on who you ask. Are they prevalent, or just merely present?
Again, we don't know for sure.
One thing I do know, is that it doesn't take much to get accused of being a performance enhancing drug (PED) user/abuser. In fact, after the promotion's house of cards collapsed in the early nineties, when Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan were under the government's microscope, it's been all downhill since.
And it certainly didn't help matters when wrestlers linked to steroids started turning up dead.
I think it's safe to say the public's perception is that big, scary muscles are an irrefutable link to steroid abuse. It doesn't matter whether it is or it isn't, because perception is reality. The image of the professional wrestling "universe" has been forever tarnished by the sins of yesteryear, judging by our first reaction to The Rock's physique.
Hence, the allegory of the cave no longer applies. We're now The Croods!
Chasing Vince McMahon's diabolical vision of the perfect body is like sitting in a cornfield, waiting for aliens to leave decorative crop circles. That shit was debunked 20 years ago. Audiences are no longer in awe of massive men who can bench press a Volkswagen -- probably because they're too busy wondering how said monsters can successfully circumvent the WWE "Wellness Policy".
We talk about The Rock like it's a foregone conclusion that he'll "blow up" during his WrestleMania match.
That can happen with or without steroids. Lots of muscle requires lots of oxygen, which is why big men are limited in their skill sets. Could Ryback make it as a pro wrestler without his massive physique and power moves? Probably not, but how would you offset the roster imbalance, a consequence of eliminating muscular madmen?
Recruit more performers like Antonio Cesaro, who can work a strong style without being shaped like a Challah bread.
In the meantime, we'll still get an influx of incredibly muscular wrestlers like Mason Ryan and Big E. Langston. But part of me wonders aloud why any wrestler would choose to be The Ultimate Warrior over The Million Dollar Man. DiBiase was right, ya' know. Everyone has a price.
And everyone's gonna pay.