Everyone loves a bit of controversy. Eric Bischoff said it best when he pointed out that controversy creates cash. As we should all know by now, nothing is more controversial or attention grabbing than a full blown scandal. Whether that scandal revolves around drugs, death, sex, lies, or videotapes, it'll be sure to captivate an audience based on all of the drama surrounding it. As the saying goes in the journalism field, if it bleeds, it leads. If we were to glance at any one of the number of scandals plaguing media outlets right now, it would go to show just how true that statement is. Scandals surrounding the lives of people like Bill Cosby, Tiger Woods, Dennis Rodman, or Meek Mill (just to name a few), the mainstream crowds love a good scandal. The same is especially true in the world of wrestling.
Do not let the extravagant theatrics and family friendly spectacle fool any of you. Wrestling is and has always been one of the most scandal rampant and seedy underbellies of any sports world. Wrestling related scandals have more famously rocked the overall news world when dressed under the guise of the Vince McMahon Steroid Trial of the 90s, the Matt Hardy/Edge/Lita love triangle of the mid-2000s, and the dozens upon dozens of wacky stories surrounding 80s wrestling scene that saw wrestlers laced in booze, women, and debauchery. There are several scandals in wrestling history that fans are familiar with enough to mention at the drop of a hat, but some of the more overlooked and unknown scandals are some of the most intriguing ones worth talking about. Here are some examples.
15 Ashley Massaro's (Alleged) Escort Life
Former WWE Divas Ashley Massaro and Sunny have been having a sort of social media beef for quite some time. In 2015, in light of Sunny live skype nude videos to her paying fans, she often got messages from said fans asking to "hook up." Sunny tweeted that if anyone wanted to hook up, don't ask her, but Ashley Massaro was the ex-WWE Diva to go to alleging that she was an escort.
This stems from a 2008 news report on an FBI escort bust that included a woman claiming to be a WWE Diva and Playboy model. Much speculation pointed in Massaro's direction, but Massaro denied this claims. In retaliation towards Sunny, Massaro tweeted a slew of nasty remarks and included some unflattering nude images of a Sunny Skype session. The two continued to fling back and forth throwing verbal jabs at each other.
14 Kevin Nash Twitter Hacked
On September 13th, 2015, a nude selfie of fitness model Jennifer Micheli was uploaded onto Kevin Nash's Twitter page and then quickly deleted. Nash would go on record of saying that his page was hacked. Fans have since speculated that there might be more to the story than we may be told.
Nash seems to have known the woman in real life for an extended period of time, as the two had been sending each other tweets back and forth. Nash was actually the first to welcome Micheli onto to Twitter when she first opened up an account earlier that year. The two have not contacted each other publicly on social media since the incident, but many fans at the time were speculating whether or not Nash and Micheli were strange bedfellows prior to the incident.
13 From Miss Nitro To Registered Offender
For a special Spring Break episode of Monday Night Nitro from 1997, WCW decided to hold a Miss Nitro beauty contest. The contest was won by 19-year old Pamela Rogers. Years after her 15 minutes of fame, Ms. Nitro became Mrs. Turner when she married a man named Christopher Turner and then earned herself a teaching degree. She would go on to teach at Centertown Elementary School in McMinnville, Tennessee, where she would instigate an affair with a 13-year old boy. Her and the student had oral, manual, and intercourse on at least 12 occasions.
When their relationship was found out, Rogers was tried on 15 counts of sexual battery and 13 counts of statutory asault on February 4th, 2005. In addition to being divorced from her husband and her teaching certificate revoked, Rogers was sentenced to eight years in prison, which was reduced to 270 days.
She was released in 2007, but was sentenced to an additional nine years in prison after sending nude photos to the same student she was caught sleeping with. Then, shortly after her release in 2015, she was arrested again following accusations of smuggling cell phones into prison with two other inmates.
12 Matt Hardy/Paul London/Ashley Love Triangle
The love triangle between Matt Hardy, Edge, and Lita has been well documented by this point, but few wrestling fans know about another love triangle between Hardy, Paul London, and Ashley Massaro.
Massaro had started dating Hardy first, but when their flame fizzled out, she started dating London soon after. This caused a backstage beef of sorts between London and Hardy that London has been open about discussing in interviews. London has expressed his disdain over Hardy spreading untrue rumors about him out of jealously. There's been speculation that Hardy spread rumors because he thought that London and Massaro were fooling around while she was still dating Hardy. Safe to say everyone involved has moved on particularly Matt who recently had his second child alongside Reby Sky.
11 Mero & Sable Vs Gangrel & Luna
While Luna Vachon and Sable were in the midst of an on-screen rivalry, WWE printed a story in the magazine claiming, in kayfabe, that Luna didn't think Sable paid her dues. As Luna explained a 2003 shoot interview, she was oblivious to these comments. Sable took them to heart after reading and so when Luna greeted Sable backstage as usual, she was confused to see Sable shove her hand in her face.
To add insult to injury, Sable's then husband Marc Mero got involved and not only told Luna to stay away from them, he put his hand in her face as well. The three had a shouting match in the catering room. Luna's husband, Gangrel, tried to play peacemaker by calming the situation, but then Mero blew up in Gangrel's face, which inspired Gangrel to tell Mero that his wife ruined his career and that Mero might as well put on a dress and wrestle the women at that point. After Gangrel flipped a table, the four were ready to fight before being separated by their co-workers.
10 CM Punk's Legal Trouble With His Mother
When he was still a wrestler, CM Punk continuously made a strong effort to keep his private life private and separate from his professional life. However, he found it hard to do so in 2013 when news broke that Punk had filed a restraining order against his own mother. Punk has admitted in interviews that his family was often damaging to his well-being, but seldom went into specifics on the matter.
In 2013, TMZ reported that Punk filed a restraining order against his bipolar stricken mother because she'd often hassle him for money, threatening to commit suicide if he didn't pay up; doing so on four different occasions in 2012. Legal documents revealed that Punk had been trying to cut ties with his mother for years "due to repeated financial demands and years of abusive, harassing and threatening behavior." Said docs also revealed that Punk's mother had threatened Punk that she'd reveal potentially embarrassing information (i.e. old arrests from high school) if she didn't get her money.
9 Rocky (Johnson) Relationships
We all know that The Rock comes from a well respected wrestling lineage based around his father, the legendary Rocky Johnson, and his mother, Ata Maivia, the daughter of "High Chief" Peter Maivia. Some of us may know that the two were married for 25 years, but few of us know about the affairs which Johnson had in that time period.
While away from his family and working on the road, Johnson had several affairs with a multitude of different women. When Ata caught wind of her husband's infidelities, the news sent her into a suicidal depression. The Rock once recalled in an interview that while the two had an argument in the car about these affairs, Ata was so distraught she walked out and into oncoming traffic. It took a 15-year old Rock to pull her back into the car. Ata withstood all she could with Johnson until the two finally divorced in 2003.
8 Harley Race Pulls A Gun on Hulk Hogan
Back in the territory days, the heat between different wrestling companies was as real as it could get. In 1984, WWE put on a show in the Kansas City area at the same time that NWA was putting on their own show. NWA main event star Harley Race took great offense to that, believing that this was WWE's sign of not respecting him and the promotion.
When seen backstage in the NWA locker room carrying a 9mm gun, Race simply told the rest of the boys "I'll be back." He drove over to the arena where WWE was putting on their show and waltzed in looking for Hulk Hogan. When he found Hulk Hogan coming out of the bathroom, he placed his gun directly to Hogan's temple, threatening to blow out his kneecaps. Race didn't fire a single shot, but he left Hogan a nervous wreck that night. Ironically, Hogan got Race a WWE contract shortly after...
7 When Keeping It Kayfabe Goes Wrong
Back when wrestling was still real to everyone (dammit) who was involved in the sport, wrestlers went to extreme lengths to keep kayfabe alive, often at risk to their life. On a rather interesting night in 1964, as disclosed in his book Listen You Pencil Neck Geeks, "Classy" Freddie Blassie challenged Bruno Sammartino for the WWE Championship. After Blassie won by count out, he was met backstage by restaurant owner Jilly Rizzo, a friend of Sammartino.
With intentions of keeping kayfabe, Blassie would talk trash about Sammartino and his Italian heritage in front of fellow Italiano Rizzo. Coincidentally, Rizzo was surrounded by some of his mobster buddies. Rizzo was so enraged that he grabbed a gun and threatened to kill Blassie right then and there. Sammartino rushed to Blassie's aide and did his best to calm down Rizzo, promising to get back at Blassie the next time they were in the ring.
6 The Butt Slap Heard Around The World (or At Least By Delirious)
In early 2016, it was reported by The Wrestling Observer that ROH referee, Kevin Keenan, was fired from the company for making sexual advances towards a female talent via slapping the employee on her backside. The next day, Keenan would bring clarity to the situation by explaining that while the crew and roster ran into each other on Broadway, Kennan smacked Mandy Leon on the butt in a joking manner. She laughed it off and jokingly shoved him back before the two shared a conversation.
Also present for this was ROH booker and part time wrestler, Delirious. Delirious would text Keenan 30 minutes later telling him he was out of line for the butt slap. The next day, Keenan spoke to both Leon and Delirious separately and was under the impression that they were all on good terms afterwards. However, right before an ROH taping, Delirious tells Keenan that he won't be used as a ref for that night, only as an extra pull apart guy for pull-apart brawls. Keenan took the news in stride and then after the show, Delirious fired Keenan. In his statement on the matter, Keenan would also claim he was fired because Delirious got jealous of the butt slap and that Delirious and Leon were secretly dating. The dating rumor has never been confirmed or denied by either party.
5 Homicide & Dan Maff Beef
There was once a time when Dan Maff and Homicide were the best of friends on the indie scene. That all changed in 2005 when Homicide basically blackballed Maff from the wrestling business entirely. Homicide would issue a number of cryptic messages stating that Maff had "betrayed" him and for this betrayal, he will not work for any company that chooses to hire Maff.
In one interview, Homicide would elaborate claiming that Maff "f***ed with [his] family" and even went as far as to call Maff a "pedophile." From there, a rumor spread alleging that these two fell out of favor with each other because Maff had intercourse with Homicide's under-aged sister or niece. Because he struggled to get work due to the Homicide incident, Maff retired from the wrestling business in 2005, though he has since returned to the ring.
4 Hiroshi Tanahashi Stabbed By His Girlfriend
In 2002, Hiroshi Tanahashi was just a hot young prospect on the rise in New Japan Pro Wrestling. At the time, he was riding a wave of momentum as part of the Kings of the Hill tag team with Kenzo Suzuki, but that tag team ended abruptly when real life tragedy struck.
While in a heated argument with girlfriend and TV Asahi news reporter, Hitomi Hara, Hara would stab Tanahashi in the back with a kitchen knife after he tried to break up with her. Tanahashi would be hospitalized, but thankfully recovered. As odd as it may sound, this would prove to be the best thing to ever happen to Tanahashi's career as the major headlines produced newfound interest in Tanahashi. As a result, NJPW began pushing Tanahashi as a big star upon his return and in no time, he became the face of the company and a record seven-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion. As for Hara, she was charged with attempted murder and convicted to three years in prison.
3 Al Snow's Infidelity
Some years back, Attitude Era star Al Snow was married to Cynthia Lynch, who is best known as Bobcat, one of The Godfather's escorts and one of only four women to win the Hardcore Championship. The two married in 2009, but soon divorced in 2015 based on allegations of infidelity.
It all started when Lynch went on a social media tirade claiming that Snow had cheated on her and lied to her about it for years, even before they got married. Al Snow didn't respond to the long Facebook post and has chosen to keep quiet on the matters surrounding his marriage. As of now, whether he did or did not cheat on Lynch, he's currently engaged to a massage therapist named Jessica Gousha. Oh, and he also looks really jacked today.
2 Awesome Kong Chokes Reby Sky
In 2015, Awesome Kong returned to Impact Wrestling with intentions of pursuing a full fledged comeback. However, within a matter of months, she was gone from the company thanks to a spat with fellow Knockout, Reby Sky.
If rumors are to be believed, Sky and Kong never saw eye to eye since way back in 2013 and their backstage rivalry came to a head in early 2016. In 2016, after Sky had been previously dressing separately from the rest of the Knockouts, she decided to dress in the Knockouts locker room at a Bethlehem taping. Taking offense, Kong tossed Sky's bags out of the locker room and allegedly grabbed her by the neck. After Sky notified a management official on the incident, Kong was sent home and then released.
1 Matt Wichlinski - The Pervy NXT Coach
Matt Wichlinski worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach for WWE's Performance Center and their NXT Superstars. During the summer of 2013, there were some damning allegations against Wichlinski accusing him of sexually harassing the female wrestlers. Former WWE superstar Trent Baretta alluded to this being true when a fan on Twitter asked if Baretta was similar to Bayley. His response was "nope. She's way prettier...I don't even get sexually harassed by my strength coach." An anonymous female NXT talent went on to accuse Wichlinski of taking hidden pictures of the women in training (including Summer Rae, Paige, and The Bella Twins) and post them on social media, which were deleted in light of the claims.
Former talent Ryan Nemeth (Dolph Ziggler's brother) would call Wichlinski out on Twitter, calling him a sexual predator, but then deleted those tweets. There was an apparent investigation against Wichlinski on the matter made by WWE, but there was no concrete evidence found to validate claims made by the female talent. Whether it was true or not, Wichlinski was fired from WWE in 2016.