Has Eric Bugenhagen taken steroids or is he Natural? (Natty)

  • By: Dave Moffat
  • Date: July 14, 2023
Has Eric Bugenhagen taken steroids or is he Natural?

Eric Bugenhagen, known as “Rik Bugez” in the professional wrestling world, is a figure of immense strength and charisma.

From powerlifting to WWE’s NXT brand, his career has been marked by impressive physical feats. However, these accomplishments have sparked debate about whether his physique is natural or possibly enhanced by steroids.

This article delves into this discussion, examining evidence, expert opinions, and Bugenhagen’s statements.

Starting as a strength athlete, Bugenhagen showcased remarkable power and dedication. His transition to professional wrestling in 2017 saw him sign with WWE and perform under NXT.

His performances, marked by infectious energy and memorable guitar solos, quickly made him a fan favorite.

While speculation exists, Bugenhagen’s achievements are undeniably rooted in hard work and passion for his craft.

Does Eric Bugenhagen Take Steroids?

There’s no concrete evidence to suggest that Eric Bugenhagen, also known as Rik Bugez in the wrestling world, currently takes steroids.

According to various sources, Bugenhagen claims to be natural, or “natty,” and he has publicly stated that he used performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) during his college wrestling years but has been natural since then.

However, it’s important to remember that these claims are based on his statements. Without official testing results or further evidence, it’s impossible to definitively confirm whether Bugenhagen is currently using steroids or not.

Reasons Which May Suggest Eric Bugenhagen Is Natty

Several reasons suggest Eric Bugenhagen, also known as Rik Bugez in the professional wrestling world, might be “natty,” or natural, meaning he does not use performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs):

Regular Drug Testing

According to a report from Vitalized Future, Bugenhagen has stated that he undergoes random drug tests every month. Consistent testing could make it more challenging for an athlete to use PEDs without being detected.

No Evidence of Acne

Steroids often cause side effects such as acne on the face and body, particularly on the back. There’s no visible evidence of this on Bugenhagen, which could suggest he does not use steroids.

Minimal Vascularity

Steroids can lead to increased vascularity, which is the condition of having many highly visible, prominent, and often extensively ramified superficial veins. Bugenhagen doesn’t exhibit extreme vascularity, another point in favor of his potential natty status.

No Sign of Hair Loss

Many steroids accelerate male pattern baldness. Bugenhagen, however, doesn’t show signs of this, suggesting he may not be using these substances.

Natural Shaped Pectorals

Steroid use can lead to abnormal growth and shape of the pectoral muscles. Bugenhagen’s pectorals look naturally shaped, further indicating that he might be natural.

While these points suggest Bugenhagen might be natural, it’s important to note that they don’t provide definitive proof. The only way to confirm if an athlete is using PEDs is through scientific testing.

Reasons People Believe Eric Bugenhagen Takes Steroids

While there’s no definitive proof that Eric Bugenhagen, also known as Rik Bugez, uses performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), some people believe he might be due to certain physical characteristics. Here are a couple of reasons:


Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a substance often used alongside steroids for its muscle-building effects. One side effect of excessive HGH use is a condition commonly referred to as ‘HGH Gut’ or ‘bubble gut,’ where the stomach appears bloated or distended. Some observers believe Bugenhagen shows signs of this condition, which leads them to speculate about HGH use.

Oversized Shoulders

Steroids are known to cause more significant muscle growth in the upper body, especially the shoulders because these areas have more androgen receptors (parts of the body that steroids attach to). Some people point to Bugenhagen’s exceptionally broad and muscular shoulders as potential evidence of steroid use.

However, it’s important to remember that these are speculations based on observations. They do not constitute concrete evidence. Only scientific testing can definitively confirm PED use.

Eric Bugenhagen’s Physique and Performance

Eric Bugenhagen, also known as Rik Bugez in the wrestling world, is recognized for his impressive physique. Here’s a detailed analysis of his body transformation throughout his career:

Early Career:

In his early career as a powerlifter, Bugenhagen was notably muscular and strong, but not excessively so. He displayed a solid build typical of strength athletes, with a focus on functional strength over aesthetic muscle definition. During this period, he established himself as a formidable strength athlete.

Transition to Wrestling:

Upon transitioning to professional wrestling, Bugenhagen’s physique underwent noticeable changes. To perform in the ring, he needed not just strength but also endurance, agility, and a visually impressive physique.

His body became leaner and more defined, showcasing well-developed muscles across his entire physique. His arms, chest, and shoulders grew significantly larger, giving him the typical appearance of a professional wrestler.

Current Physique:

Today, Bugenhagen’s physique is incredibly impressive. He maintains a low body fat percentage, estimated to be between 13-15% based on visual assessment, which allows his muscle definition to stand out.

His shoulders are particularly noteworthy for their size and development, a feature that has led some to speculate about possible steroid use. However, it’s important to remember that Bugenhagen has consistently denied using performance-enhancing drugs.

Throughout his career, Bugenhagen has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to his physical conditioning. His physique reflects many years of intense training, strict dieting, and dedication to his craft.

While speculation exists about whether his physique is entirely natural, it’s clear that Bugenhagen’s physical achievements are the result of hard work and discipline.

Has Eric Bugenhagen taken steroids

Steroid Testing in Professional Wrestling

Steroid testing policies in professional wrestling organizations have evolved to ensure athlete health and fair competition. Here’s an overview of some policies:

  • World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE): WWE has a comprehensive “Talent Wellness Program” which includes drug testing for steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. According to the policy, a wrestler faces a 30-day suspension without pay for a first violation, a 60-day suspension for a second violation, and firing for a third violation. Performers are tested at least four times per year (source).
  • United World Wrestling (UWW): UWW also maintains a strong anti-doping stance. Wrestlers may be tested by UWW at any time and must be available for sample collection, whether in-competition or out-of-competition (source).
  • Other Promotions: While smaller promotions may not have as extensive testing programs due to budget constraints, many still conduct random drug tests and enforce penalties for positive results.

Despite these policies, there have been criticisms and controversies over the years regarding enforcement and effectiveness. Some critics argue that these programs need to be stricter, while others point out the challenges of combating substance abuse in a high-pressure industry.

However, professional wrestling organizations have made strides in addressing the issue of steroid and drug use, demonstrating a commitment to athlete wellness and fair competition.


In conclusion, the debate over whether Eric Bugenhagen uses steroids is complex. On one hand, his impressive physique, oversized shoulders, and potential signs of an HGH gut have led some to suggest that he may use performance-enhancing drugs. However, his regular drug testing, lack of acne, minimal vascularity, no sign of hair loss, and naturally shaped pectorals all point towards him potentially being “natty,” or natural.

Without definitive proof such as official drug testing results, it’s impossible to confirm whether Bugenhagen has used steroids. His physique and performance are certainly impressive, but they fall within the realm of what could be achieved through intense training, a strict diet, and good genetics.

Whether or not he uses steroids, Bugenhagen’s dedication to his craft, commitment to physical conditioning, and achievements in professional wrestling and powerlifting are undeniable. He serves as a testament to what can be achieved with hard work, discipline, and passion for one’s chosen field.

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Hi, I'm Dave Moffat the founder and Chief Editor of steroidsourcetalk.com and certified International Personal Trainer and Certified Nutritionist. My passion has always been bodybuilding but with 15 years' experience in weight loss programs too, it's hard not to mention all that when you're working at your fitness level fullest (I hope). When Im not in the gym or spending time away from my family i often think about what advice would help others achieve theirs goals just like these inspired mine.