Ultimate Warrior on the Deceptive Way Wrestlers Obtained PEDs

In an unearthed interview from 2008, the Ultimate Warrior impassionately shared the pros and cons of using performance-enhancing drugs, how they used to run rampant in professional wrestling, and the deceptive means wrestlers used to obtain them.

Before his passing, the Ultimate Warrior opened up about the use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs in wrestling.
Before his passing, the Ultimate Warrior opened up about the use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs in wrestling.

Ultimate Warrior Opens Up About Steroid Use in Wrestling

Ultimate Warrior:


Talking about them is always a catch-22. They aren’t all bad, and they aren’t all good.

Athletes are going to do them—or whatever else—to be the best at what they do.

But, let’s face it, bodybuilding and wrestling are more circus-like—people want to see the freaks.

The guys today are definitely gassed to the max. Wrestlers AND bodybuilders.

Have you picked up a bodybuilding magazine lately? They are like recipe books on how to commit suicide using steroids.

And they have guys who’ve lost kidneys and had organ transplants writing the articles giving advice.

Like killing yourself with the juice is a badge of honor!

I really think the thicker look of past wrestlers really has more to do with how people used to train and eat—the basics and good food.

The skin on guys today is thinner. Nutrition and even training have been so broken down into little, itty-bitty specializations. I really think it’s created different looking physiques.

I still believe in the basics and just good eating of healthy foods.

Not the machines so much or the endless supplementation programs that are out there.

It’s just a bunch of junk to waste money on. But it’s hard to get a young kid who wants instant muscles to grasp that.

Then you throw in all the exotic steroids there are today.

Almost all the guys use growth Hormone."

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The Steroid Loophole That Benefited Wrestlers in WCW

"When I was at WCW, the guys were flying to the Bahamas to get physicals to cover some legal loophole allowing them to get Growth Hormones, then getting a whole year’s supply Fed-Exed to them, all under the guise of anti-aging.

I think there’s too much they do not know about growth hormone and what kind of hell it plays on your internal organs.

I saw an article on world-class cyclers, and it was amazing to me how many of those guys have died.

I never knew.

And you’d think, your first thought is, that these guys would have really great hearts—and yet most of them died from heart attacks.

The only conclusion you can come to is that they are doing some extreme things with drugs. ‘Blood doping’ is what the article alleged.

Well, again, as I said earlier, it not so much the lifestyle itself; it’s the way the guys go about mishandling the lifestyle and coming to abuse it.

If I had to relate anything to the lifestyle, it would be to point out how the demands of being a pro-wrestler differ from the lifestyle of other organized sports pro-athletes.

There is no ‘season’ – you go year-round. If part of your gimmick is your physique – your body look – then that demands a different approach than a big fat guy who can sleep and eat pizza all day and doesn’t have to worry about scheduling workouts or getting good food.

But, still, a cheap excuse is a cheap excuse.

This is probably a big contributing factor to how guys get messed up—other than the relationships you have with other talent you want to be around—you basically travel alone. As long as you make it to the building to have your match, you don’t answer to anyone about what you do.

And with the travel you do, you can fall into a bad habit of burning the candle at both ends.

You are in many different, often fun, and unique places almost every night, and you can come to see work as well, like being constantly on vacation. And, hey, we all cut corners on sleep, recuperation, and healthy living when we are on vacation.

I don’t know if that makes sense, but that’s how I’d describe it.

To cover up for lackluster energy, it’s easy to fall into the habit of abusing stimulants and painkillers.

What is also different is that there are no guidelines for how, as a representative of a company, you should conduct yourself.

Oh, Titan [WWE] will ‘say’ they have rules.


There are no rules. Not that I’m saying there should be any, but the truth is some guys don’t have the discipline to keep their act together.

Neither are there chaperons like other organized sports organizations would have to keep the guys in line, keep them out of trouble.

Another factor is that pro-wrestlers are ‘known.’

They get huge exposure off the TV, and that has people who watch it fawning all over them wherever they go. It’s easy to give in to the temptations on the road.

Many of the guys screw around, even those with families. Soon enough, you start believing because of what you are and who you are. You should be able to live both lifestyles, have your cake and eat it too.

And when you go home, and things aren’t as exciting as they were on the road, you start laying the blame on someone else and criticize them because, in your mind, they don’t understand you.

It becomes a vicious cycle, and all the ups and downs – natural and pharmaceutically induced – can really throw your life out of whack unless you have great self-discipline.

I’ve gone on in my life in a healthy way.

I mean, in no way whatsoever can anybody say, ‘The guy has let himself go, he’s fallen apart, he’s an absolute total wreck,’ which doesn’t fit in with the mischaracterization that I was a steroid addict, that I took steroids for years, that I’m continuing to take steroids…I mean, if I were still taking steroids today, I’d have to have a damn dump truck right around beside me just to hold my liver! (laughs)

Overall, I really think the difference in the look of the guys from the past has more to do with how they trained and ate. The bottom line is, there are differences between use and abuse, and it’s obvious that many guys have crossed the line.

For some, it will take getting to know the inside of a casket before they come to terms with that."

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Matt Pender is an old-school wrestling fan who currently lives in New Zealand. He is also a musical performer with his band OdESSA who can be investigated at the link above.