In April 2006 World Wrestling Entertainment suspended one of its top stars, Randy Orton — now involved in yet another public altercation, explained in the previous post — for chronically erratic and unprofessional behavior. Incidents ranged from harassment and abusive treatment of women to loud and inappropriate public profanity.
Orton served out the suspension back home in suburban St. Louis. Some time that spring his fiancee — who the next year would become his wife, and the following year the mother of their daughter — rushed Orton to an area hospital emergency room. He had either willfully attempted suicide or accidentally overdosed on prescription drugs.
A WWE executive, John Laurinaitis, did an internal investigation and cleared Orton to return. But only fans and industry insiders in serious denial could fail to understand that Randy Orton had scary issues.
This was all a little more than a year before Chris Benoit went on the weekend-long rampage at his Georgia home that left his wife, their seven-year-old son, and himself dead.
Not long after that, the list of customers of Internet steroid dealer Signature Pharmacy was released, and Orton was on it. Other WWE wrestlers on the list got suspended under the company Wellness Policy. Orton did not.
To Congressional investigators later that year, WWE’s drug-testing administrator, David Black, would allow, “Oh, sure, I would agree that that’s not good.”
For background on the Orton suicide attempt (including corrections of a couple of relatively trivial errors in my original reporting), see:
“Did Randy Orton Attempt Suicide?”, September 18, 2007, http://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/archive-91807-did-randy-orton-attempt-suicide/
“Orton ‘Legend Killer’ Reference Was Overstated,” September 18, 2007, http://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/archive-91807-orton-legend-killer-reference-was-overstated/
“Orton: Further Notes,” September 19, 2007, http://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/archive-91907-orton-further-notes/
“Benoit & Orton & Drugs & Suicide … Let’s Go Over It Again,” October 28, 2007, http://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/archive-102807-benoit-orton-drugs-suicide-%E2%80%A6-let%E2%80%99s-go-over-it-again/
“Clemens’ Fake Records, Wrestling’s Real Deaths,” February 16, 2008, http://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/archive-21608-clemens%E2%80%99-fake-records-wrestling%E2%80%99s-real-deaths/