wrestling / News

Bruce Prichard Recalls Iron Sheik & Jim Duggan’s Arrest For Drugs, How It Lead to First WWE Drug Tests

January 10, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Hacksaw Jim Duggan

– On the most recent Something to Wrestle With, Bruce Prichard discussed the Iron Sheik and Jim Duggan’s drug possession arrest that got both men fired from WWF. The arrest happened in May of 1987 when they were stopped in New Jersey on the way to a WWE event on suspicion of DUI after Duggan was observed drinking a beer while driving. A search of the car revealed marijuana and small amounts of cocaine, and both were arrested. Duggan and Sheik were released in the aftermath of the incident, which was a big scandal especially since the two were in the midst of a feud with each other.

The two were brought back not too long after, but the incident was at least partially responsible for the company not getting behind Duggan for a push during his WWE run. Highlights from the discussion and the full podcast are below:

On the reaction to the arrest: “Oh my god. You know, you’re coming off the success of WrestleMania 3. 93,000 people, and setting records, and doing all this s**t, and that’s in March. And now here you are in May, and Duggan — he’s just gotten started. And they’re looking for big things out of Hacksaw Jim Duggan. And Sheik had been around for a while, and it was — it was devastating. It was devastating to the company, it was devastating to those guys.

On the effect it had on Duggan’s career: “You know, not that it wasn’t devastating to Sheik, but just so much more to Jim because he had just gotten started here … I think people were looking for Hacksaw Duggan to be the next Hulk Hogan in many respects. So it’s just all going down, going down the toilet at this point. And this was during the time that we were still working with Paul Boesch, and making the trips up. I don’t even think I had even officially moved to Connecticut yet at this point. And getting this news, and having to deal with it was not a lot of fun. And that was something that people all used to — the old story, ‘Oh my god, wrestling’s not real! They travel together!’ For no one that has anything else better to do, that was the lead. And I went into it like no one knew that wrestling was entertainment. And [sighs] yeah, it was a miserable time.”

On Vince’s reaction: “[He was] pissed…it was, you know, at the time there was a feeling that cocaine was running rampant. And it was like okay, the perception from the audience was — not just from the audience, but good God. You had people in the White House, and D.A.R.E. programs. Where was a war on drugs, there really was. So cocaine was beginning to be frowned upon.”

On the situation inspiring the first WWE drug tests: “And I think that Vince looked at this as an opportunity. ‘If we have an issue, we have a problem with drugs in our locker room, then we need to look at it and we need to address it.’ So, this was the impetus of the first drug tests. And it was confusing, because I don’t even think that as a company, they really knew what the extent of the drug tests were gonna be and what-have-you. And they knew that, ‘Okay, guys if you’re doing illegal drugs, we can’t do illegal drugs.’ Steroids weren’t illegal at the time, and obviously prescribed painkillers and s**t like that. Those things weren’t an issue. The forefront was ‘Cocaine’s this horrible drug! Cocaine’s bad.’ And that was mainly what they were testing for, mainly what they were looking at at the time. And that’s what resulted from this whole arrest, was that, ‘Guys, you can’t be doing cocaine and going out and performing, and s**t.'”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Something to Wrestle with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.