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By Mike Johnson on 2007-07-06 16:54:22

CNN Headline News' Nancy Grace show featured a strong back and forth between former WWF stars Marc Mero and Steve Blackman during last night's panel discussion of the Benoit tragedy.  Mero (who noted that he currently need a heart valve replacement and he doesn't know if steroid use may have been a contributing factor) was explaining the hazards of the wrestling industry and the stress that the business brings to its performers.   He discussed the use of GHB and steroids in the business.

Later in the discussion,  Blackman noted that Benoit was allegedly getting a ten month supply of steroids every 3-4 weeks and noted that he'd like to see a toxicology report before "we jump the gun here."  He noted it was possible that Benoit wasn't using all of them.  When asked about rampant drug use, Blackman said "there is a fair amount going on" but Benoit's situation was a "variety of drugs and circumstances that caused him to go on that rampage."

Mero immediately responded, saying, "Steve, I've got to step in. Steve, you've got to get off the fence. We've got a platform here to make a difference in many lives. Do you know how many lives have been destroyed through professional wrestling deaths?  Wives and husbands and children. We've got an opportunity now to make a change. If we don't say there's a problem in professional wrestling and keep sugar coating it - 'well, it was bad', No - we did steroids and pain killers.  We took all kinds of drugs, we did whatever it took to make it to the show to keep our spot on national television. Let's be honest just once, please!"

Blackman said that Mero can't deny that he's been honest during the appearances he's made.  Mero told him he was too worried about people pointing the finger at him when no one cares what he did.  Mero said, ". Every time, you talk about how you don't do steroids. Who gives a damn. People are dying. Let's do something about it."

Blackman was asked if he ever did steroids in WWF and he said that he never did.  Mero then asked him if he ever took steroids ever in his career.  Blackman admitted to use from 1987-1989 before an allergic reaction and "I never took anything since."  Mero said that they can all agree that they used steroids and now they can move on.   He said he didn't use steroids in WWF as he started there in 1996 and the last time he used them was 1994, but his point was that they needed to start making changes in the business.  

Blackman agreed that the sport needed to be regulated.  Mero told him to stop being on the fence while they were making their appearances, saying, "You've been given this TV, this opportunity to make changes in people's lives. In life it's about stepping up to the plate to do the right thing."

Blackman responded,"Yeah, a lot of the guy's families have been destroyed. I agree it does need to be regulated but everyone in there is still an adult and we do suck it up and we all live in pain and live on pain killers trying to make it through this horrible business, but it doesn't change that everyone is an adult here and they're making their own choice here. Nobody's putting it on a platter and shoving it down your throat, so you have to take a little bit of responsibility for yourself."

Blackman commented that he does know what Mero is saying because many of those he broke into the business with in the late 1980s in Calgary are no longer with them, naming British Bulldog and Owen Hart.  He said that some of them weren't in WWE and that he lives in pain daily from being in the business for so long.  "However, as an adult, nobody is putting it on a platter and shoving it down your throat - the steroids, the pain killers.  You have to draw the line and not take as many or not take them at all."

Mero responded, "There are so few spots on television.  You are going to do anything and everything to get them  Whether it's taking tons of the anti-inflammatorys that we would have to take,  we would do what it took to make those few spots.  It's gotta be regulated.  There's no retirement for us, no health insurance, there's nothing.  We're on the road 300 days a year, doing 250 venues.  There's no off-season. You talk about the pressure of keeping your body going, just to make it to the ring."

When asked about domestic abuse in wrestling, Blackman said that he doesn't see a correlation but does feel that drug use needs to be monitored better.  Blackman pointed out that wrestlers build up will build up immunity to pain pills and after five or so years, they will sometimes need to take an amount that would "kill a normal person in a day."    The mixture of drugs and the stress of the road was brought up.  Mero said that when you mix everything, it's a problem.  Blackman said it doesn't mean that wrestlers go home and beat their wives. Mero said that there needs to be proper, mandatory testing like there is for the Olympics.  

Later in the show, Mero called for other wrestlers to make a stand towards forcing changes in the business, noting that many won't for fear of losing their jobs.  Holding up a list of performers he's worked with that have died, he said, "We need to do something about it. We need other wrestlers to stand up and say enough is enough. We need this sport regulated. There has to be an off-season."  He suggested two months off the road after Wrestlemania (which is traditionally when WWE heads overseas).

The family of the late Nancy Benoit announced that they have formed a foundation in the memory of Nancy and Daniel Benoit.   The family is asking that in lieu of gifts or condolences, donations be made to the foundation.  Donations can be sent to:

The Nancy and Daniel Benoit Foundation for Battered Women and Abused Children
c/o Decker, Hallman, Barber and Briggs
260 Peachtree St. Suite 1700
Atlanta, GA 30303


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