Induction: ICOPRO – Inedible COlonic PROduct

28 Submitted by on Thu, 07 May 2020, 20:00

WWF, 1992-1995

When the new XFL folded mid-season due to the global pandemic, it was not the first time that a Vince McMahon venture had fallen victim to bad timing.

Back in 1991, Vince McMahon launched the World Bodybuilding Federation just before scandal erupted regarding steroids in the WWF. Now, far be it from me to compare a federal investigation of Vince McMahon to an actual tragedy

…and there are of course key differences between the XFL and the WBF (namely, people actually watch football), but nevertheless, this left Vince McMahon in a real bind.

In 1992, McMahon abruptly banned steroids from the WBF, establishing drug testing shortly before the second annual WBF Championship. This proved a physical and mental disaster for the WBF Body Stars, but Vince had a solution:

Integrated Conditioning Programs, or ICOPRO, a new bodybuilding supplement that he debuted at that weekend’s Personal Fitness Expo.

That’s the difference between a visionary like Vince McMahon and an old-school wrestling mind like Bill Watts, who’d never dream of holding bodybuilding contests or promoting integrated conditioning. Or integrated anything, for that matter.

Problem was, the WBF pay-per-view was a total flop, and the organization folded within months, leaving Vince with a huge leftover inventory of bodybuilding supplements to sell, with no bodybuilding television shows or magazines to sell them in.

Luckily, Vince McMahon also had a wrestling organization called the World Wrestling Federation in which to plug ICOPRO. It was all over WWF programming in ’92 and ’93. It was in the Event Center with Sean Mooney…

…it was in the Updates with Mean Gene

…it was in the arenas at TV tapings…

…and it was on the t-shirts of the Superstars.

For fans, the shirts were an easy way to get on TV.

In the case of Steve Armstrong, an ICOPRO shirt was the only proof he had that he’d ever been in the WWF.

ICOPRO was even in the commentary, with Vince McMahon mentioning at the most inopportune times that the Superstar in the ring was “a proponent of integrated conditioning”.

And of course, it was in the commercial breaks of every single program.

Good guy, bad guy, it didn’t matter. ICOPRO didn’t discriminate between a narcissist like Lex Luger…

…All-Americans like the Steiner Brothers…

…or the Bad Guy himself, Razor Ramon.

Each commercial lasted about 15 seconds, featured a WWF Superstar in an ICOPRO tank top pumping iron in the gym at Titan Towers, and usually ended with the slogan, “You’ve gotta want it!”

Any fan from that era likely has that tinny metallic percussion from the commercials imprinted in their brain.

On at least one occasion, the doctor behind ICOPRO explained, in an extended commercial, the scientific merit of integrated conditioning to build muscle mass. ICOPRO was the result of years of research on football players…

…bodybuilders…

…and race car drivers. Sure, why not?

Wannabe bodybuilders shouldn’t think ICOPRO was just some easy fix, though. “[Y]ou have to work out properly, eat the right foods, and take the proper supplements.” The message: the body of your dreams wouldn’t come over night – it would take nine long weeks for that.

Despite the slogan, “You’ve gotta want it”, the WWF gave ICOPRO unsolicited to members of its roster, many of whom emphatically did not “want it”.

Bret Hart was given whole crates of the stuff, which he tried once, hated, and then unloaded on his unsuspecting neighbors as Christmas presents. These bottles would end up right back on Hart’s porch, the taste of the stuff having proved too much for the Shrieking Sheik.

Curt Hennig lent his supply to his teenage son for football. The future Curtis Axel ended up sidelined for days with diarrhea (an incident known as “The Exodus of McGillicutty”).

The WWF wasn’t even picky regarding to whom it distributed the supplements. Bruce Prichard of all people got a hold of ICOPRO in a variety of forms and later admitted to liking the protein bars, but despising everything else.

(Left to right) Bruce Prichard, giant taco, Gorilla Monsoon

It should be noted that “copro” is Greek for crap.

One certified icoprophage was Lex Luger, who drank the stuff with a s**t-eating grin not just in public, but in the privacy of his personal tour bus. In Lex Express footage that surfaced decades later, Luger took protein powder, skim milk, and what looked like a personal massager and mixed himself a protein shake.

Jeez, that looks NSFW. My apologies.

Lex apparently thought ICOPRO was delicious, but health-conscious people are often deranged. Exhibit A:

While we can conclude that ICOPRO supplements didn’t taste good, the most important question is, “Did they work?”

Who knows! In the United States, nutritional supplements are barely regulated; manufacturers don’t have to prove their supplement works, or is even safe, before selling it.

And that’s bad news for wrestling viewers hoping Frank Thomas has the secret to feeling stronger and leaner, with a lot more drive.

Most ICOPRO commercials featuring the WWF Superstars didn’t make any claims about the product’s effectiveness, just that the consumer had “gotta want it” – and given how nasty the stuff was, one did need to be truly motivated to stay on the ICOPRO regimen.

But Bret Hart’s commercial had him state that ICOPRO led him to victory, despite now admitting he never used it. That commercial didn’t air for too long, though, as Bret lost his belt to Yokozuna, possibly due to a lack of integrated conditioning. See, Bret screwed Bret after all.

Vince McMahon and the WWF discontinued ICOPRO in 1995, leaving poor Lex to try less healthy, anabolic alternatives.

I’m not saying that ICOPRO’s disappearance was directly responsible for the return of steroids in pro wrestling…

…but I’m not saying it wasn’t, either

Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He also runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell. Email at: art@wrestlecrap.com
28 Responses to "Induction: ICOPRO – Inedible COlonic PROduct"
  1. John C says:

    Come aboard The Lex Sexpress, your destination Route 69.

  2. C Boz says:

    Damien Demento sighting! And yes that shoulder is up so, no, he is not getting properly pinned by Hennig. That perfectplex certainly ain’t perfect.

  3. Alfonzo Tyson says:

    Speaking of Bill Watts, Art, you should induct Bill Watts’ time as WCW booker. He actually went on TV to explain the old-timey new rules like no mats outside of the ring and no high-flying maneuvers. Wirse, he shoved his green as ewe crap son Erik down our throats and had him and Arn Anderson fight in at a gas station. The angle also had Arn say he “respected” Erik. Shudder.

  4. Michael W says:

    No you’re not making me watch that TikTok.

    Great induction though.

  5. Christopher Haydu says:

    As somebody who isn’t a bodybuilder, I have to say that I’ve never assumed that any supplements would taste very good. Is it possible we’re being a tad bit unfair to expect ICOPRO to have been any different? If I remember correctly, Bret said in his book that one of the ingredients was ground-up deer antlers, or something like that. I wouldn’t expect that to taste like chocolate.

  6. Mav says:

    The Shrieking Sheik! Great Simpsons reference. Also enjoyed the shot at Stephanie early on. Always deserved.

  7. The Angry Jobber says:

    I remember October of ’92 on either Superstars or Challenge where the British Bulldog squashed a jobber, then went right to the camera after the match and said “Just like ico-pro, you’ve gotta want it”, then dropping the IC belt to Shawn Michaels on the Fox Saturday Nights Main Event….That made me question the effectiveness of ico-pro.

  8. Chris the Bambikiller says:

    Is Razor Ramon working out with a toothpick in his mouth? Dat’s dangerous, mang.

  9. CF says:

    Ironic to use a picture of a stock car driven by Mark Martin in this — Martin is best-known for *not* using supplements to achieve his physique (guy’s built like a brick outhouse).

    Not to mention being the only man who could hold a Viagra sponsorship, and *NOT* have it devolve into Infantile Humor…. 🙂

  10. ClawsomeMan says:

    And ICOPRO probably, to quote the WBF original induction, “consisted of leftover ingredients from WWF Ice Cream Bars”.

  11. Garrett Spears says:

    I remember when I was in third grade (1992-1993), ICOPRO was around. I don’t remember the exact thing we were suppose to do, but it was some stupid video project that me and my third grade class had to do. I made a parody commercial of ICOPRO (my mother thought of it for me) called Jedi Pro. it was based off of Star Wars (of course). I don’t think I still have the vhs tape of the stupid project, because I haven’t seen it in years. All I remember was that it was finalized as a spiritual/religious-like informmercial about learning the ways of The Force with Jedi Pro. It ended with call 1-800-JEDI-PRO. I think I got an A on the project and the idiot bitch (the teacher) actually called and found out it wasn’t real.

  12. me says:

    Um…Cameo Kneuer tho…you might have to review an ep of WBF BodyStars

  13. Doc 902714 says:

    Now induct a fitness program that actually worked in WWE…..the SIMON SYSTEM!!

    And sure everybody remembers Lance Cassidy and his faux leather jacket with faux leather fringes.

  14. Matt says:

    I guess it’s true. Vince likes big muscly guys. Just wish he’d come to terms with himself.

  15. Presidente Clint says:

    Nowadays the ICOPro initials stand for “International Canyoning Organization for Professionals”. Damn shame Dr. Hatfield died not too long ago, which renders its revival impossible, as Bruce Pritchard’s description of their protein bars made me crave for one.

  16. Derek says:

    I prefer unfair advantage from ipw

  17. Jackwagon says:

    Maybe they could repurpose it as a laxative. I can imagine the slogan now:

    McMahon Laxatives: Now that’s a good shit!

  18. ICovidPro says:

    I have it on good authority Icopro was left over Python Powder and the Buddy Rose
    Blow Away Diet

  19. ThePWBPoster says:

    That TikTok was the most cringe I have seen today. I think my eyes are murdered for today.

  20. Fredrick Timbs says:

    The Manhattan Center portion of Raw 25 had the ICOPRO banner hanging. I like to imagine it just remained there untouched since the 90s.

  21. Adam says:

    I assume Bruce’s expression was his reaction to having just witnessed that Giant Gonzalez classic.

  22. D-Unit says:

    I bought an IcoPro Banner for my home gym I have down in my basement. I need to film a video doing random curls in front of it screaming “YOU GOTTA WANT IT” (Maybe for Christmas cards…)

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