In May 2006, Chris Masters' booming career with WWE at the time would come to a screeching halt when he was sent to a drug rehabilitation center due to his addiction with painkillers. Speaking to Power Slam, the former WWE Superstar addresses the matter.
"It was a developing thing that kind of escalated in 2006 and became a problem. You know, I had to go away for a couple months to rehab after the company became aware of my problem. It took a while to get over that. I went into rehab, not even ready to deal with the mindset that I was an addict," he says.
"It was so much responsibility and I don't think I was mature enough to handle all that opportunity that was given to me. I didn't really appreciate it, I made a lot of mistakes and it kind of derailed my career. It took a while for me to get myself back on track, but I did, and now I'm completely fine, clean and sober. But I'm a walking miracle. At one point, I was taking 75 painkillers a day."
Masters lost a noticeable amount of muscle mass by the time he returned to WWE programming on the August 28, 2006 episode of Raw with color commentator Jerry Lawler acknowledging him as the "leaner and meaner Chris Masters." Masters appeared in a backstage segment on the October 2, 2006 Raw with Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Eric Bischoff in which he said he was "thinking about writing a book on nutrition." Triple H quipped in response, "Really? What are you going to call it: How To Lose Fifty Pounds In Four Weeks?" Interviewer Greg Lambert feels the remark was deliberately intended to ridicule his loss of muscle, which conflicted with what WWE was purportedly trying to achieve with its Wellness policy.
Masters responds, "First of all, let me say that Triple H is a big ball-buster. I don't think he's as devious as people make him out to be, but he's a ball-buster, albeit an equal opportunity ball-buster: he takes shots at Shawn Michaels all the time. They were always taking jabs at each other. So, it might have been the wrong message, yes, at the time. But I don't think it was meant as a malicious thing."
A few weeks later, John "Bradshaw" Layfield made a similar crack at Masters' expense in reference to MVP's No Mercy opponent Marty Garner. He said, "The guy looked like he had escaped from a concentration camp: the guy was as skinny as Chris Masters."
Masters responds, "I won't take anything JBL says too seriously, because the guy's an idiot [laughs]. Look at his body! Who is he to criticize anybody? But I didn't realize it was such as a big deal. People wanted to point the finger and say [the weight loss] was because I was on steroids ... But that wasn't my problem. I didn't go away because of that or come back leaner because of that: it was because I would wake up every morning in rehab and run two miles as my therapy. I wasn't able to do as much weight training. So, I did gradually lose a lot of weight. I didn't realize, coming back, it would be so dramatic and people would make such a big deal about it."
Masters packed the muscle back as months later his physique had noticeably enlarged. Lambert asks, "Was that because you been stung by [the comments]?"
"Part of it was. Eventually, it wore on me, but not at first," Masters says. "I was happy with myself: I didn't mind being smaller. But after a certain point, it probably go to me, so I cut back on the aerobics and running, and went back on the heavy weights."
Masters was suspended by WWE in August 2007 and November 2007 as a result of violations of their drug testing policy. This led to his first release from he company on November 8, 2007. He says of the events, "I hadn't overcome my prescription pain pill problem. I had taken something that hadn't been prescribed to me, and I got red-flagged for that."
Masters eventually conquered his drug addiction and was rehired by WWE in June 2009. He explains what led him to change his ways.
"I'd got fired from the job I always wanted. I'd blown through six figures worth of money, and I knew I had to change my ways. We've seen a lot unfortunate tragedies in the business. I've seen Test and Umaga, who I knew well, pass away and it always affects me. There's always a sense of relief that I was able to catch myself and not let it get to that point. It gets to a point where you either hit rock bottom or you're going to die," Masters says.
"I hit rock bottom, then a second rock bottom, and, by the third, it finally woke me up. The same thing has happened to Matt Hardy. But I hear now, it looks like he's doing great. Hopefully, he's reached enough rock bottoms that now, he's back on track."
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