Evan Bourne’s suspension for his first violation of WWE’s Talent Wellness Program has generated a great deal of controversy amongst talent as some feel a double standard is in place.
Bourne, who’s real name is Matthew Korklan, was suspended for thirty days on November 1, 2011 after testing positive for Spice, a synthetic marijuana brand. Wrestling Observer editor Dave Meltzer reports Bourne and another wrestler higher up the card smoked the marijuana substitute drug at a party, yet he was the only one of the two to be suspended. The other wrestler was told he had failed for marijuana, which results in a $2,500 fine, as opposed to a thirty-day suspension for synthetic marijuana.
According to the Wrestling Globe Newsletter, the wrestler in question is a participant in tonight’s Survivor Series match featuring John Cena and The Rock against R-Truth and The Miz.
This has led to questions about whether WWE’s drug testing procedure is flawed or whether talent are treated differently depending on their status in the organization.
This would not be the first time in which WWE reprieved a top-level talent who had violated their Talent Wellness Program. On August 30, 2007, Sports Illustrated named Randy Orton as one of fourteen contracted and former WWE performers to have purchased pharmaceuticals from an online pharmacy (Signature Pharamacy), a violation of the Talent Wellness Program. Specifically, Orton received somatropin, nandrolone, stanozolol between September 2004 and February 2007, which occurred after the “no drugs from online sources” rule was instituted. However, Orton was the lone contracted performer not to be suspended by WWE. Wrestling Observer editor Dave Meltzer reported that WWE did not suspend Orton because he had already been suspended for a drug policy violation in August 2006, resulting in double jeopardy. The ruling, however, appeared nonsensical since Orton continued to receive pharmaceuticals following the suspension. WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt claimed last year in a letter to Irv Muchnick 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.”