It was announced at last night’s Impact Zone Wrestling indy show in Arizona that Johnny Stamboli has been rehired by WWE. Stamboli himself stated that he will be back on the road in a couple of weeks working dark matches and house shows. Stamboli worked a dark match prior to the 7/31 SmackDown tapings under the ring name “The Unknown Wrestler.”
Stamboli was released by WWE in November of 2004. Since his departure from WWE, he has worked overseas in Japan, Italy and Mexico. He has also undergone a complete character overhaul as he now performs under the name REDRUM — which is “murder” spelled backwards. His gimmick is a horror gimmick. He puts on Boogeyman-style makeup and wears a Vader-like mask over his head. He also pours a red liquid all over his body, which is supposed to be blood. If he makes it back onto TV, it’ll likely be under the REDRUM gimmick.
Stamboli was in the news earlier in the year because his real name, Jon Hugger, was published in government documents as being linked to a drug ring that was being investigated. In March of this year, the official website of Sports Illustrated posted an article in its continuing series investigating a steroid and HGH drug ring used by a number of professional athletes in several sports. That article mentioned several current and former WWE wrestlers, including Oscar Gutierrez aka Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton, Adam “Edge” Copeland, Gregory Helms and Eddie Guerrero. There were a few other wrestling names shown in the government documents, but they weren’t revealed in the article, likely because they weren’t that significant. The names were linked to David Wilbirt, a shady doctor out of Phoenix, as having been prescribed steroids by him. The Drug Enforcement Agency investigated Wilbirt for allegedly writing 3,879 prescriptions between November 2001 and April 2005, all for “patients” who had requested drugs over the Internet.
Three other wrestling names came out in April and they were former WWE stars Matt Bloom (A-Train aka Giant Bernard), Jon Heidenreich and Jon Hugger (Johnny Stamboli). Those three individuals were cited in the documents for having been prescribed steroids by Dr. David Wilbirt. In total, there were eleven professional wrestlers listed in the documents, but only eight were revealed. The three people not listed are believed to be wrestlers that were in WWE in 2004-05 that are no longer with the company.
— See photos of Stamboli’s bizarre REDRUM gimmick (>>)