I keep seeing this crop up, that Orton is on his third strike now and the claims that it’s his second wellness violation are a crock.
Two things people don’t seem to realize, right off the bat:
1) A Superstar receiving their third strike IS NOT terminated outright. WWE’s policy offers them rehabilitation under the Talent Wellness program, which the WWE pays in full. Upon completion of rehabilitation, the Superstar returns to the active roster and is considered to be on their second strike.
2) Orton has had 3 suspensions total, but only two were for Wellness Violation.
April 2006 — 60 days for “unprofessional conduct”. Orton was caught rolling a joint backstage. However, the WWE didn’t test for marijuana at the time.
August 2006 — Wellness Policy violation. Orton was kept on the air to build for his feud with Hulk Hogan, but removed from house shows for 30 days. If I remember correctly, it was allowed as long as Orton wasn’t paid for the time he spent on television.
August 2007 — This is where I think people are getting tripped up. 11 performers were suspended during the Signature Pharmacy scandal. Orton is listed as one of the names, but isn’t suspended; the WWE claims Orton had been punished prior for this offense, and thus it did not count as a Wellness Violation.
And, of course his suspension a few days ago for an as yet unspecified cause.
So there you have it. Orton’s had a history of behavioral issues and is known to (at least in the past) have used marijuana and performance enhancing drugs, but the fact remains that this is only Orton’s second Wellness Violation.