The WWF’s 1994 steroid trials will be adapted into an upcoming dramatic series. But this might not be the most objective portrayal of the federal case against Vince McMahon alleging the supply of anabolic steroids to WWF wrestlers.
WWE is producing the series, tentatively titled The United States of America Vs. Vince McMahon, with Blumhouse Television. McMahon is an executive producer on the project along with Jason Blum, best known for producing films such as Get Out, the 2018 Halloween reboot, and The Purge and Paranormal Activity movie franchises. Blumhouse Television has produced series including Into the Dark, Sharp Objects, and a TV version of The Purge.
The series will chronicle the federal court case in which the U.S. government indicted McMahon for allegedly providing anabolic steroids to his pro wrestlers. McMahon was charged with conspiring to distribute steroids, possession of illegal steroids with intent to distribute, and embezzling money from his company (then called Titan Sports, Inc.) to purchase illegal steroids.
Steroid use in wrestling wasn’t exactly a secret, looking at the pumped-up, superhumanly muscled physiques of WWE performers. (Years earlier, WWE successfully argued that it was entertainment, not a sport, in order to avoid the sort of regulations that apply to sports like boxing that could result in serious injury.) Despite being near bankruptcy, McMahon turned down a plea deal with prosecutors and went to trial.
The distribution charges were dismissed after the trial’s judge ruled that prosecutors had provided insufficient evidence and a jury acquitted McMahon of conspiracy charges. Following the trial, WWE instituted a drug-testing policy that stated that any wrestler who tested positive or was caught with PEDs would be fired. During the past 25+ years, McMahon has expanded WWE into a global entertainment empire.
The WWF steroid trials will also get the documentary treatment in an upcoming episode of VICE TV’s Dark Side of the Ring series. The third season of the docuseries was split in half for production purposes, and executive producer Evan Husney told Awful Announcing earlier this year that the steroid trials are a story he and co-creator Jason Eisener have always wanted to cover.
“This is a story we’ve always wanted to tell,” said Husney. “There’s a lot there; there’s a lot to research, We really needed to take our time to make sure we were doing that correctly. We’re very, very excited for that episode to come out.”
NBC’s sitcom Young Rock has portrayed some of the early days of WWF and McMahon’s burgeoning wrestling association, but in a comedic context. The United States of America Vs. Vince McMahon will provide the first dramatic, scripted portrayal of the WWE, its inner workings, and McMahon himself. The series promises potentially memorable roles, including Hulk Hogan (who testified in the steroids trial) and a variety of the era’s most popular performers including Bret Hart, Steve Austin, Razor Ramon, and Shawn Michaels.
“Jason Blue, Chris McCumber, and their team at Blumhouse create amazing work and we look forward to delivering an inside look into one of the most pivotal moments in our company’s history,” said WWE executive producer and chief of global television distribution Kevin Dunn in a statement announcing the series.
The United States of America Vs. Vince McMahon is in the very early stages of development. No writer has been hired for the project yet, nor has a television or streaming home for the series been announced.