WWE Superstar Rey Mysterio has been suspended for 60 days for a second violation of the company’s Talent Wellness Program, the company reported on its corporate website Thursday.
Mysterio was suspended for 30 days in 2009 for an initial Wellness violation, but his name had already been connected with performance-enhancing drugs. He was among the athletes linked to Dr. Phil Astin, the personal physician of Chris Benoit.
Benoit killed himself, wife Nancy Benoit and their 7-year-old son, Daniel, in 2007, with “‘roid rage” widely speculated as a contributing factor in the crime. Astin pled guilty in 2009 to improperly prescribing prescription drugs and is currently serving a 10-year prison term.
Mysterio (real name Oscar Gutierrez) was linked in 2007 to a Sports Illustrated investigation involving the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center, which was raided by state and federal authorities for conspiring to fraudulently prescribe performance-enhancing drugs over the Internet.
Mysterio’s WWE future is unclear. He’s made the company millions of dollars over the years, as his 5-foot-3 frame has made him a favorite among WWE’s youngest fans, which scooped up his T-shirts and replicas of his signature mask.
But he’s been sidelined numerous times by injuries, and a second steroid violation may make parents wary about having their children support Mysterio.
After the Benoit tragedy, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon appeared on "The Today Show," and was pressed by Meredith Vieira about the premature death of pro wrestlers. McMahon responded that he could only speak to the five wrestlers who passed while “under contract” to WWE.
In recent years former WWE talents Test (Andrew Martin in 2009 at age 33), Umaga (Eddie Fatu in 2009 at age 36) and Lance Cade (Lance McNaught in 2010 at age 29) have died. WWE has avoided excessive scrutiny concerning any of these deaths largely because they weren’t under contract when they died.
If anything happens to Mysterio while he’s even technically employed by WWE, the fallout would be Benoit-esque. If WWE already feels like it’s dodged a bullet in the previous cases, then it may make sense for the company to wave goodbye to Mysterio -- no many how many masks he can sell.