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Are WWE playing fast and loose with their Wellness Policy again?

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Evan Bourne far from the only synthetic marijuana user in the WWE locker room.  Photo via <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/53/Evan_Bourne_.jpg">upload.wikimedia.org</a>.
Evan Bourne far from the only synthetic marijuana user in the WWE locker room. Photo via upload.wikimedia.org.

A strange occurrence happened soon after Evan Bourne was suspended for 30 days due to a WWE Wellness Policy violation, which is believed to have been a drug test failure for synthetic marijuana.  Bourne used his official WWE Twitter account findevan to retweet the latest damning article by author and freelance journalist Irv Muchnick about Dr. Joseph Maroon's and Dr. Mark Lovell's flawed ImPACT neurocognitive testing system:

This exposes how aggressively, misleadingly, perniciously ImPACT "concussion management" software is being marketed.  http://concussioninc.net/?p=4911

For those that don't realise the significance of Bourne retweeting this, Maroon is WWE's medical director and Lovell is their neurological expert.  Clearly Bourne was trying to suggest that if their concussion management software can't be trusted, then why should the WWE drug testing procedures that Maroon presides over be trusted either.

It turns out that Bourne might indeed have good reason to be upset, as further information about the circumstances around his suspension in the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter suggest that WWE maybe playing fast and loose with their Wellness Policy again, and that there could be a double standard where WWE headliners get punished much more lightly for the same transgression than everybody else.

The scuttlebutt of the WWE locker room is that Bourne was at a party with other WWE wrestlers, some of whom were higher up in management's pecking order, where they all smoked Spice before being drug tested, yet he was the only wrestler that was informed that he had tested positive for synthetic marijuana and was suspended.  At least one of the wrestlers involved was told he had failed for pot instead, which comes with the much lighter punishment of a $2,500 fine and also means that the wrestler in question wouldn't miss WWE's biggest foreign tour of the year in Europe and their key pay-per-view Survivor Series.  That might not be a coincidence.  Some may not have even been punished at all.

However, it should be noted that drug testing is not infallible and it could just be the inherent flaws with any drug testing program that has led to such a discrepancy.  But if that was so, then one would think that just due to the laws of chance, that at least once it would be a top guy who finds himself sh*t out of luck at the hands of the drug testers.  It is true that WWE has in the past suspended major stars like Jeff Hardy, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara for failing drug tests, but in all those cases it seems like WWE management were really irate with them and wanted to send them a message, often for something completely unrelated to the failure.

It wouldn't be the first time that WWE seems to have made an arbitrary ruling about suspensions that favours the chosen few at the top of their promotion.  Sports Illustrated publicly named Randy Orton in a list of fourteen wrestlers that illegally received steroids and human growth hormone from Internet company Signature Pharmacy, yet he was the only performer still employed by WWE that wasn't suspended by them for a clear infraction of their Wellness Policy.  At the time, Dave Meltzer reported that WWE failed to suspend Orton because he had already been suspended for a failed drug test in August 2006 and this would be a case of double jeopardy, which was an illogical ruling as Orton continued to receive packages of bodybuilding drugs for several months after that suspension.  When asked about this incident in an interview with WWE Congressional investigators on September 25th, 2007 Dr. David Black admitted that "Oh, sure I would agree that that's not good".  WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt has since claimed that "no action was taken against Randy Orton because he was not on any customer list for Signature pharmacy ever provided to us by District Attorney Soares", which doesn't add up either as he never threatened legal action against Sports Illustrated for publishing such a lie.

Further breeding resentment with the growing numbers of mid card talent who have suffered the public humiliation of being suspended by WWE for a failed drug test, is the jacked Mason Ryan's secure position on the roster, someone Vince McMahon is very high on and wants to push hard despite his clumsiness and inexperience.  There's a lot of head scratching going on backstage at how a more muscular clone of Batista is able to pass all of his mandated drug tests.  It's one thing for a long established headliner who was around when WWE was still granting therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone to maintain his physique better than he should do as he ages, quite another for a newcomer to the promotion to look like The Incredible Hulk.