The wrestling business has been witness to some truly shocking stories throughout the years. For an obvious example, there's the Chris Benoit murder-suicide case, which is the very reason WWE still pretends he never existed. You've also got the allegations that the Fabulous Moolah didn't just train female wrestlers, but also pimped them out for money. Droz's career ended in a WWE ring, and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's nearly did, both as a result of botched moves, while Owen Hart fell to his death at WWE's Over the Edge PPV in 1998. And there have been many other well-documented deaths in the ring, the most recent of these being Perro Aguayo Jr.'s death after taking a flying kick from Rey Mysterio.
Severe in-ring injuries, in-ring deaths, eerie coincidences, completely deviant acts that a wrestler actually, or allegedly committed, and even the supernatural — all these make for chilling wrestling stories. We've got all these covered in this list, and we believe the 15 stories we've compiled are those that don't get mentioned as often as the ones we listed above.
Disclaimer: Bear in mind that some of these stories may have been based on second-hand, or even first-hand accounts with little to no solid corroboration, or be based on rumor and speculation — we will definitely specify if that is the case. Also be warned that some of the stories in here may be especially disturbing in nature, so read on with an open mind.
15 Cactus Jack And "Mary Ann Manson"
Back in his days in the old WCCW, the young Mick Foley was years away from becoming Mankind and Dude Love. But he was already calling himself Cactus Jack, and actually had a surname at the time — Manson. That was all because a woman calling herself Mary Ann Manson had become a little too obsessive in her Foley fandom, sending delusional letters to the future Hardcore Legend, attending each and every one of his shows, and going as far as claiming that she was his wife.
When Foley was finally able to successfully deal with his stalker situation, he had promptly asked that the name Manson be removed from his ring name. We can't fault him — the woman was a creepy stalker, and worse, had used the surname of one of America's most notorious killers of all time, Charles Manson, as she stalked Foley and other WCCW wrestlers.
14 Roddy Piper's House Gets Haunted... By Wrestlers
Given the fact that it was "inducted" by WrestleCrap, we're taking the story with a grain of salt, and a very big one. But assuming it was true, it's a potentially chilling one — the late "Rowdy" Roddy Piper's account of being haunted by some of the best friends he had in his wrestling career.
On a 2013 episode of the Biography Channel series The Haunting Of, paranormal expert Kim Russo (no relation to Vince, we guess) had spoken to Piper at his Portland, Oregon home, where he told some bizarre, yet spooky stories of being haunted by Adrian Adonis, who supposedly triggered a small fire in his home as a rib, and experiencing weird activity in his home. As Russo sought to identify the spirits haunting the Piper residence, a few dead wrestlers turned out to be among them — Owen (Hart), Curt (Hennig), and Keith (Franke, Adrian Adonis' real name).
Once again, it's a story that may have been overblown for TV's sake, but let's face it — who wants to deal with a fire purportedly started by your prankster friend's ghost?
13 Sid Vicious Breaks His Leg On WCW PPV
This one may be a bit well-known, and not as chilling as the other stories, but when it comes to Sid Vicious/Sycho Sid, we all too often hear the stories of his ineptitude in the ring and on the mic, as well as some weird urban legends about the guy. Somewhat ignored is the fact that he suffered one of the most gruesome injuries one could suffer in the ring, as he went for a flying big boot on Scott Steiner at WCW's Sin pay-per-view in January 2001.
As Sid attempted to kick with one foot and land on the other, he took a very awkward landing, severely breaking his leg to the point that one of his bones may have been sticking out. This would have suggested the end of Sid's career, and it almost was, but he was back in the ring just three years later, having successfully rehabbed his broken leg in the interim.
12 Cooking With Stu Hart
The late Stu Hart was the patriarch of one of pro wrestling's greatest families ever, and a genuine tough guy even well into his old age, still capable of making wrestlers young enough to be his grandkids scream "uncle" as he reached his 80s. And, if several claims are to be believed, he wasn't exactly Anthony Bourdain or Jamie Oliver in the kitchen, and the stuff he'd serve up would have definitely warranted a profanity-filled tongue-lashing from Gordon Ramsay.
Several wrestler autobiographies, including Dynamite Kid's and Terry Funk's, suggested that Stu Hart would use his spatula for two things — cooking eggs and scooping up cat poo — and even end up serving cat poo omelettes to unsuspecting wrestlers. And in another gross story, Funk claimed in his book that he found someone's booger (probably Stu's) in a cup of coffee he was drinking at the time.
Still, none of that stopped scores of wrestlers from eagerly chowing down their breakfast when invited to eat at Hart House.
11 New Jack Tries To Kill Vic Grimes
You may have heard about the Mass Transit incident, where an unhinged New Jack, then working for ECW, sent an untrained 17-year-old kid to the hospital after legitimately attacking him. You may be aware of one of his nastiest post-ECW episodes, where he went mental on the nearly-70-year-old Gypsy Joe, turning their garden-variety scripted hardcore match into a legitimate fight. So in the first of two New Jack appearances on this list, let's take a quick look at New Jack and Vic Grimes at XPW's Freefall show in 2002.
Not to be confused with the more notorious “Danbury Fall” from ECW, this was actually a rematch between Jack and Grimes, one where the former claimed to have intentionally thrown the latter too hard off the scaffold. This was apparently in hopes of Grimes getting seriously injured or even killed by hitting the ring post, but since Grimes used his foot to push off the scaffold, he landed in the ring, suffering a dislocated ankle as he hit only two of the many tables that were supposed to break his fall.
10 Dynamite Kid, A Real-Life Hitman?
There are many well-documented horror stories involving Tom "Dynamite Kid" Billington, but this is one that hasn't gotten as much attention as the others. Decades ago, a young, pre-WWE Dynamite took part in an insurance fraud scheme, wherein his Stampede Wrestling manager, fellow Brit John "JR" Foley, allegedly asked him to break his daughter's legs so he could collect $20,000 in insurance money. He agreed, apparently without hesitation, and rendered Michelle Foley, then recovering from a car accident, unable to walk properly for the rest of her life.
Although such an incident could add to Dynamite Kid's long resume of cruelty outside the ring, it's worth noting that the above claims were made by Diana Hart-Smith (British Bulldog's wife) in her book Under the Mat, which has been ripped to shreds by critics and fans for its plethora of inaccurate and/or libelous claims.
9 Hart Brothers-In-Law Behaving Badly
Truth be told, you can probably make a list out of all the sensationalist claims made on Diana Hart Smith's book Under the Mat. But we're only listing two of them here, and once again, it's a story that involves a member of The British Bulldogs — Davey Boy Smith, Diana's husband and usually the better-behaved half of the Bulldogs. As Under the Mat claims, Davey Boy, through the tutelage of fellow Hart brother-in-law Jim Neidhart, would slip a tranquilizer in a glass of orange juice, then serve it to his wife before bed. She would then wake up bleeding and uncomfortable, with the realization that her husband may have violated her while she slept.
We're obviously hiding some of the more gory details of this accusation, but the fact that Diana (or her co-writer) put this story on paper is more proof of the dysfunction that hovered over Hart House while the men of the family were enjoying success in the wrestling business.
8 Ox Baker's "Killer" Finishing Move
By today's standards, the Heart Punch is an overly-simplistic, antiquated finisher that wouldn't get over even if an "indie darling" did it ironically. But when Ox Baker was using it in the '60s and '70s, it was a devastating maneuver, so devastating that many claimed it had literally killed two wrestlers in the early-'70s, causing them to have heart attacks.
The first supposed victim of Baker's Heart Punch was a wrestler named Alberto Torres, who, in 1971, died in the ring after taking the finisher and losing the match. One year later, Georgia wrestling legend Ray Gunkel had been the recipient of a Heart Punch during a match against Baker, and while he won the match, he died later in the day of a heart attack.
In both cases, it was determined that Torres and Gunkel had pre-existing heart conditions. As such, Baker's career didn't suffer, as the deaths of the two Heart Punch victims were, in the end, an unfortunate coincidence.
7 Bret Hart's Stalker: The "Nasty Girl"
Bret Hart repeatedly admitted it in his autobiography — he had a weakness for women, and he had no shortage of groupies during his time as a pro wrestler. And in our second stalker story for this list, the Hitman also wrote about the time he encountered an obsessive female fan who simply identified herself as the "Nasty Girl." At first, Bret thought little of this woman's sexually-charged messages on his hotel room answering machines, but Nasty Girl kept following him around the U.S., ultimately threatening to kill him for standing her up.
Things came to a head in January 2000, just as Hart was renting a car at the Buffalo airport. Thinking he had seen Nasty Girl stalking him from behind a cement pillar, the Hitman called the cops, who apparently had their hands full with the woman, who had gone as far as to threaten one of the officers with a knife.
With the Nasty Girl locked up, that was the last Bret had ever seen of her, though it's also sad to note that this all took place just as his wrestling career was unceremoniously winding down.
6 New Jack Repeatedly Stabs William Lane
And now we return to our friend New Jack, that wholesome, family-friendly wrestler, at least if it was the devil's definition of wholesome and family-friendly. By any other definition, New Jack is a loose cannon who could literally AND figuratively scar you for life if you're a wrestler and he doesn't like you. And in 2004, he had again tried to kill one of his opponents, this time pulling out a knife and stabbing William Jason Lane at a Thunder Wrestling Federation match.
Not only did Jack stab Lane once — depending on whose account it is, he stabbed him anywhere between 9 and 14 times, including some stabs to Lane's neck area. Jack was charged for aggravated assault to commit murder, but even if he had found himself in trouble with the law once again, he had still shown no remorse for his actions, proving that the man truly belongs in a cell, and not the kind of cell that WWE wrestlers compete in every October.
5 Jake Roberts' Dysfunctional Family Tree
For most of his adult life, Jake "The Snake" Roberts has wrestled with well more than his fair share of personal demons. Despite an attempt to find religion in the 1990s, he's battled on-and-off addictions to alcohol and various drugs, though it would seem that his friendship with Diamond Dallas Page and practice of DDP Yoga has helped him turn his life around in recent years. What could have caused Roberts' life to go awry like it did?
In the video Jake “The Snake” Roberts: Pick Your Poison, the WWE Hall of Famer claimed that his father, wrestling legend Grizzly Smith, was actually dating his grandmother, but had instead sexually assaulted her 13-year-old daughter, resulting in Jake’s conception. This was a claim he had also made in the Barry Blaustein documentary Beyond the Mat, and while Smith is no longer around to dispute these allegations, it’s clear that his son has lived a very troubled existence, and dealt with, at the very least, some form of familial dysfunction while growing up.
4 Beware The Fourth Of July
Roman history tells us to beware the Ides of March. WWE history tells us to beware the Fourth of July.
Normally, July 4 is the date in which America marks her independence, and it's a day of fireworks and sundry celebrations all across the country. It's also a day when many a WWE performer has met their untimely end, or suffered gruesome injuries in a freak accident, hence many WWE wrestlers in the '90s calling the first week of July the "Killer Calendar."
The two notable Fourth of July deaths in WWE history came in 1988, when Adrian Adonis and two other wrestlers were killed in a vehicular accident in Newfoundland, Canada, and in 1994, when referee Joey Marella (Gorilla Monsoon's son) fell asleep at the wheel and died in a fatal car crash, with his passenger Harvey Wippleman's life saved by the fact that he was wearing his seat belt. Brutus Beefcake, on the other hand, survived a parasailing accident on the Fourth of July in 1990, but required intensive surgery to fix his then-disfigured face.
3 Animal Cruelty, By The Von Erichs
This list includes some stories involving the Hart family, but we've also got one featuring another famous, yet dysfunctional wrestling family — the Von Erichs. And if you're an animal lover like I am, this is a particularly disturbing one, assuming it's true.
Accounts vary as to whether it was Kevin (the sole surviving Von Erich brother) or Kerry who did it, but some WCCW wrestlers claim to have witnessed one of the Von Erich brothers slamming a cat into the concrete, then grabbing a saw blade and using it to cut up the cat. Regardless whether whichever Von Erich it was had been under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol (as was often the case) or not, it's definitely unpleasant to even think about this story, but again, it's one of several stories in this list that may actually have been an urban legend all along. Here's hoping it is.
2 Art Barr Dies In His Young Son's Company
Had Art Barr lived up to this day, he probably would have been a legend of the business like his close friends Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero. But as a young American competing in the Mexican wrestling scene in the early-'90s, he was constantly tormented by personal demons, struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. He also had a previous sexual assault case weighing him down and causing WCW to can him in 1991 after mere months working as the Beetlejuice-inspired character "The Juicer."
Barr's short and tragic life ended in November 1994, when he was found lying next to his five-year-old son Dexter, having died with a mixture of alcohol and drugs in his bloodstream. He was only 28 years old. Even more tragically, Dexter Barr also died at a shockingly young age, as reports claim he was killed in a horse riding accident at the age of 14.
1 La Mataviejitas: The Old Lady Killer
The name Juana Barraza might not ring a bell to too many people outside of Mexico, but that's the real name of a female wrestler who went by the name La Dama del Silencio, or "The Silent Lady" in English. But while she was plying her trade in the world of lucha libre, she was living a far more violent secret life — one as a serial killer who preyed on elderly women, hence the nickname the Mexican press had given to her, "La Mataviejitas," or "Old Lady Killer."
Barraza, who was 48 at the time of her 2006 arrest, is believed to have killed anywhere from 25 to 50 women between 1998 to 2006, and while she did confess to some of the murders, she denied most of them. When she was tried in 2008, she was sentenced to 759 years in prison, but even if Mexican law only allows a maximum stay of 60 years behind bars, it's highly likely that she will die in prison, and never walk free for the crimes she admitted to, and allegedly committed.