If you heard the name Raymond Leppan, you probably wouldn’t think much about it. It’s a pretty simple name, especially with the first name Raymond. However, what if we said RaymondLeppan was someone who has spent the last 17 years developing his craft in and out of the ring. Many fans that follow WWE may not know that Raymond Leppan is gone, and what remains has been a South African poacher and a leader of a partying movement. Today he is a social outcast, and is none other than Adam Rose.
While in NXT, there was a time when Leppan’s career was in doubt. Questions always abounded as to whether he would ever make it to the main roster in WWE. However, with hard work, dedication and perseverance, he was eventually called up and the rest should be history. However, Leppan’s life and career are very much a work in progress.
Development in his life and career certainly saw its ups and downs. Much like anyone else’s career that undergoes a change, transitions led him to go in a number of different of directions. Whether it was in North America or the streets of South Africa, he always fought for something better, but much like any situation in life, the chances he’s had to take and personal sacrifices he has had to overcome have made him stronger.
Leppan’s life has seen a number of twists and turns. In fact, at the age of 36, Leppan has seen his personal life and his career come under a great deal of scrutiny when no one other than him is living his life. He was committed to making his dreams of becoming a professional wrestler come true since he was nineteen years old, so nearly half of his life has been dedicated to being a professional wrestler. However, events in his life have forced him to reassess everything about himself and his career. His pursuit was marred with challenges, such as being homeless, living on the streets of South Africa, before coming to the understanding that professional wrestling could be an outlet for him. His life has seen its share of challenges.
Wrestling fans may recall that a couple of years ago, ESPN did an E:60 documentary focusing on the trials and tribulations of promising talent in NXT. One of those talents was Leppan. While it explored his aspirations, it looked at his life outside the ring along with his dedication to achieve success in the ring. One of the things noted was that early on he had a number of doubters that questioned whether he’d ever achieve the success that was needed in order to elevate and move up. He was a part of the NXT, and FCW before that, for four years before being called up. Was time running out for him? A character change from the South African poacher Leo Kruger to the partier Adam Rose was exactly what he needed. Even then, however, there were still doubts that he would succeed. However, succeed he did, and after only two months of appearing as the Rose character on NXT he was elevated to the main roster. By then, he was approaching his mid-thirties so it was make or break time for him in the WWE.
Despite struggling and ultimately fighting to find a character that would connect in the ring, Leppan was dealing with real concerns at home. He and his wife, Cassandra, have two children, one of which, Maverick has a birth defect that causes him to only be able to eat through a tube, which is connected to his stomach. It’s had been a stressful time for the Leppans, as Ray was trying to reach his professional goals while at home his son’s health was a concern. Thankfully, Maverick eventually started doing better and was going to attend school. He’s happy, and as a parent you couldn’t want any more than that.
After debuting on the main roster, the Rose character began to evolve into a party pooper, and ended his relationship with the Exotic Express; the initial splash of the character quickly ran its course. It managed to generate a reaction from the crowd, but after the appeal of the initial idea wore off so did all of its momentum. After some time, Rose was once again repackaged alongside Heath Slater, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas as part of the Social Outcasts. The concept was good, but was there really something there that he could sink his teeth into? The answer is, we don’t know because adversity once again befell him.
On April 16th, Leppan was suspended for 60 days after a second violation of the company’s Wellness Program. This is where he is caught between a rock and a hard place; he either takes a stand and claims the company was essentially in the wrong, which could jeopardize his future, or remain quiet on the matter and allow the time to pass. Leppan choose to take a stand. On April 20th, a few days after the suspension, Leppan addressed his suspension through social media, saying it was “not right,” saying he “..did not do anything knowingly wrong and was taking prescribed medication that my [doctor] and I followed all the correct protocol on.” To most that could have been the end of it, he made his statement publicly crying foul and could let it be. The problem was Leppan didn’t let it be. Instead, he preferred to persist and fight against where he believes he was wronged.
On May 3rd, Leppan posted a handwritten doctor’s note on Twitter, in which a doctor allegedly stated he had prescribed Leppan a medication called AdderallXR, which is to treat his ADHD diagnosis. The medication is intended to control ADHD symptoms and allow someone to focus on life day to day. Leppan wrote that the WWE was aware that he had the prescription for over a year. While we understand Leppan’s frustration and disappointment in this diagnosis, does it ultimately hurt him? This was the conundrum that Leppan had to deal with. He made the choice to speak up, but unfortunately it isn’t the only situation that he’s had to deal with.
While suspended, Leppan was arrested on May 11th, in Hillsborough County, Florida for domestic violence and tampering with a witness. Later the same day, WWE announced that due to these charges, Leppan had been suspended indefinitely. The company said they have a “zero tolerance policy” for domestic abuse. Leppan’s wife the next day asked the court not to impose a restraining order as they have a child with special needs that needs both of his parents. An added complication is that there had been a previous report made about Leppan in March about his behavior.
It’s a very sad case indeed, but one of a number of scenarios that have plagued Leppan’s life. This past year, he shared that his sister had died from complications that arose from using heroin. We as wrestling fans don’t want anything bad for someone who has had to deal with challenging circumstances in their life. Leppan has had to live with throughout his life that hasn’t been filled with adversity.
What exactly happens now with Leppan? With the number of recent infractions, the early speculation is that he would be released. The question is if someone has had a run of bad circumstances in their life, what do you do as a business? Do you invest the time and energy to help him and his family, or disconnect yourselves with them and cast them aside? It isn’t an enviable situation at all for anyone to be involved in. The impulsivity that ADHD can bring about is very real. At times they are apologetic almost right after they’ve done something wrong. Would he knowingly do something wrong and continue to do it? The wellness policy suspension that he is currently in the midst of serving won’t be reduced or even taken away. The company won’t admit that they did or didn’t know about it, so unfortunately all this does is create a bad taste in the mouth of a company that gave him a shot.
We aren’t defending the suspension, but do realize that an employer can be vindictive. Is that the case with Leppan? One hopes that isn’t the case because he’s faced enough adversity and enough challenges, to make an example of someone because of what could be a misunderstanding doesn’t necessarily seem right either. In saying that, we are talking about the wellness policy violation and not the domestic violence charges that were laid. He’s in a tough spot, and really we don’t know what the end result will be until an official announcement is made. We can understand that as a publicly traded company WWE don’t want to associate themselves with any form of domestic violence, alleged assault or anything that would bring a black eye to the company.
Would the same argument occur if this was John Cena or Roman Reigns, if the same charges are laid? Zero tolerance really should work its way across the board, but one has to wonder if that’s clearly the case. Leppan needs support, but the company was quick with their suspension and their decision came swiftly. We need to know that there has been some evaluation done by writers, bookers, trainers, and management to assess their talent. They identify their mental and physical well-being, and if he was really in any risk to himself or his family they wouldn’t have employed him. One can only hope that out of these unfortunate events something provides Raymond Leppan solace that something positive will be a part of his future.
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