Pranks are as old as wrestling itself. It only makes sense. Put a bunch of guys in close quarters on the road for most of the year, they need to blow off steam. Throw in attitudes of drugs and drinking and they become more common. Prank calls are the usual way although other times, it can be wilder. It becomes a hazing of guys to a company and how they take it can influence how they’re perceived. Just laugh it off and you’re accepted. Retaliate with a prank on your own and you’re really accepted. But get too upset and complain and you’re not that welcome. So pranking isn’t just for fun but also to bond guys together more.
Sometimes, the pranks can go a bit far. Physically or mentally, they can go a wild degree and even cause some danger. Indeed, a few guys have gone through “pranks” that border on criminal and were quite dangerous. Other times, they get guys into hot water and were a bit much for even fans to take. And a few have even been known to cause ugly damage to property. Ribbing will continue in wrestling but some cases take it to an extreme. Here are 15 times backstage pranks went just a bit too far and how some workers take “humor” differently.
15 Cole Gets Coke Poured Down His Pants
Owen Hart loved to boast being “the King of Harts.” As far as workers were concerned, he was the king of pranksters. From fake phone calls to wild ribs, Owen was a master of getting at everyone. He could do anything from make Ahmed Johnson think he was going to be on the Tonight Show to goading father Stu into a fight with a friend. One wild bit actually got him in a bit of trouble way back in 1997. Michael Cole was just starting his job at WWE, a low-level backstage interviewer. Never one to ignore a new target, Owen started acting belligerent to Cole, making it look like he was insulted by Cole’s presence and freaked the guy out.
Right as they were about to go on air, Owen and Davey Boy poured coke down the front of Cole’s pants. With the camera live, Cole had to suck it up and go through as if nothing had happened as the two cut their promo. It almost ruined Cole right off but he was just another in the long list of Owen victims.
14 X-Pac and the Gunns One Up Each Other
Sean Waltman was famous for his pranks, many of which could be nasty. But in his rookie years with WWE, Waltman wasn’t quite as tops in the pranks and could often get the worst of them. Such a case was when the Smoking Gunns decide to “welcome” Waltman to the big leagues by getting him highly drunk. As soon as he was passed out, they shaved off his eyebrows. The wild part is that this was literally the day before the 1-2-3 Kid was to get some promo photos done and while WWE retouched them, the original versions were hung in the locker room.
But Waltman got his revenge in a wild way. He put glue on the brims of the Gunns’ hats right before a match so they lost hair when they yanked the hats off. This actually got the respect of Shawn Michaels and Diesel, who invited Waltman to join the Kliq and just get even wilder.
13 James Storm Gets Rhyno Stranded in the Woods
James Storm loves to present himself as a wild beer-drinking cowboy in TNA. As it turns out, Storm can be just as wicked off camera, and that includes with friends. While driving through Tennessee with Storm, Rhyno was pulled over by a cop and naturally acted calmly talking to the officer. Storm, however, appeared to be drunk and started throwing fries at the cop. He then added he was on steroids and had a gun as Rhyno tried to shut him up. Billy Gunn was with them and freaking out as well as the cop had Rhyno come out of the car to handcuff him. Storm then got out and proceeded to belt the cop, telling Rhyno and Gunn to smash up his patrol camera to destroy the evidence.
Still handcuffed, a panicked Rhyno dashed into the woods. Storm then let Gunn know the cop was his brother and actually let Rhyno run a bit before chasing him down to confess the truth. It takes a bold man to prank Rhyno like that and why Storm can be wild.
12 A Giant Toilet Trip
When Curt Hennig was around, it didn’t matter who you were. Mr Perfect would go after anyone from the jobbers to the main eventers with a slew of wild and nutty pranks. Everyone knew to always keep an eye on their drinks to avoid Hennig lacing them with something. But even some were amazed he targeted one of the biggest guys in the company. Yokozuna was well known for his girth yet amazingly lithe for his size. Like many a big man before him, Yoko had trouble with regular travel, usually needing an entire plane row to handle himself. For one flight, Hennig laced his drink with laxatives, sending Yoko to the toilet. Naturally, a regular airline toilet is nowhere near big enough to handle someone of his size and he got stuck with the attendants having to lay out newspaper for him to do the deed. Hennig pulled some wild pranks but this among the biggest.
11 X-Pac’s “Luggage”
There’s a lot to be said about Sean Waltman. He was a very talented man, small but able to pull off great high-flying moves and become a star, first as the 1-2-3 Kid and then X-Pac. He had his addictions and issues but folks loved his wild antics and how he could get heat from fans easily. But one thing workers loathed was how Waltman’s favorite prank had nothing to do with jokes or such. It was leaving a…donation…in the luggage of people who angered him. The biggest example is Sable who opened her bag to find a very sizeable turd inside. Also, both Mark Henry and Sunny made the mistake of eating sandwiches before finding out what Waltman left inside them. It didn’t make him popular by any means for truly stinky “gag.”
10 THE Suplex
In his first book, Mick Foley devoted an entire chapter to explaining one of the wilder gags ever pulled in the business. Bob Holly was infamous as a bit of a bully, rising from bad gimmicks like a racecar driver to be a more serious worker. He and Al Snow were going at it in a match when Holly realized that Snow had neglected to wear not just a jock strap but any underwear whatsoever. Some guys might play with that by yanking down his trunks or such. Holly, however, decided to go one better. He lifted Snow up into a suplex but instead of using his tights for leverage, grabbed Snow by his crotch. After lifting him up, Holly then pulled the singlet aside so for ten full seconds, Snow’s junk was hanging in open air. It became an urban legend before Foley’s book confirmed it and how Snow no doubt made sure to always wear underwear after that.
9 The Plane Ride From Hell
Here’s a recipe for disaster. Take a bunch of wrestlers, many known for hard tempers and a love for drugs and drinking and put them all together on a cramped pane for roughly ten hours. In 2002, WWE found out the hard way what a bad idea it is, as a tour to Europe turned into what’s now known as “The Plane Ride from Hell.” The flight was off to a bad start, delayed an hour before takeoff which gave the workers time to start drinking. First, Curt Hennig goaded Brock Lesnar which led to a real fight. Dustin Rhodes took to serenading ex-wife Terri. Michael Hayes was ticking guys off with his behavior so X-Pac cut off Hayes’ hair while he was sleeping, which set Hayes into a fury not helped when he also realized guys had been tossing grapes and other items into his mouth while he was out.
It was an ugly affair with Hennig getting fired and others fined and punished. Put simply, when SCOTT HALL is the most behaved person around, you know things are bad.
8 What's Mr. Fuji Cooking?
Mr. Fuji was known to classic WWE fans as the evil manager of numerous heels. Dressed in a tuxedo with trusty cane, the one-time tag team champion was also a top level manager using his “evil Japanese mastermind” act to its fullest (he was actually from Hawaii). Fuji was also known as an off-color character, complete with how he would urinate on people under a dinner table. Perhaps his wildest act was when he decided to serve some friends dinner, giving them a lavish meal.
After it was over, the guest asked what the secret ingredient was and Fuji came out with…the head of the man's dead dog. A few openly vomited before he confirmed he’d just found the dog on the side of the road and they’d had regular beef. But one wonders how many dinner parties folks attended for Fuji later.
7 Honey Trap
Wrestling a bear is something one thinks died out with the old carnival days. But as it turns out, guys in the 1970s were still doing it. Of course, the bears were trained to not be that dangerous and guys would practice a bit so it was a show. Roddy Piper was just starting out in the business and went along with it while in Portland, figuring it would be a fun thing for the fans. The bear, however, went wild on Piper, far more aggressive than normal and Piper took some hard hits. The handler had to come in to settle it down at which point, Piper realized what happened. Right before the match, a buddy of his gave him what seemed to be an encouraging slap on the rear. As it happened, the guy had honey on his hands which covered Piper’s shorts in honey to fire up the bear. Piper managed to get out okay but still a rough bit of putting him in danger just for a laugh.
6 The Slop Bucket
While gorgeous, Sunny wasn’t exactly the most popular person in WWE. Her habit of sleeping around on boyfriend Chris Candido didn’t make friends and her arrogant diva behavior just drove more guys away. More than a few were grousing and thus Henry Godwin was able to take advantage for a truly ugly gag. As part of a feud between the Godwins and the Smoking Gunns, the script called for Sunny to be hit by a “slop bucket” from Henry. It was expected to be just mud and food. However, Godwin went about the locker room asking guys to take a dump in the bucket and found a lot of volunteers. When one watches the video, they can see the reaction of Sunny to the slop is all too real and while some may say she deserved it, it’s still a pretty brutal prank.
5 Lock It Down
Curt Hennig was infamous for being one of the biggest ribbers in the business. From prank calls to whacky antics, no one was safe when Mr. Perfect was around. It really grew in Hennig’s rise in the AWA as champion, taking advantage of his spot to pull off some wild gags. It got to the point of Verne Gagne telling everyone to cool it. Nick Bockwinkel then threw in that no one should be pranking him seeing as how he was pretty much the top guy in the company. He might as well just waved a red flag in Curt’s face.
The next night, Bockwinkel came out to his car to discover that not only was there a padlock on each door but also inside the car, everything from the mirror to Bockwinkel’s glasses had a lock on them as well. It took Bockwinkel hundreds of dollars hiring a guy to come out with some bolt cutters to free everything and proved that when it came to pranks, Hennig was “top dog.”
4 The Bulldogs Turn Damien Into an Ashtray
Davey Boy Smith and the Dynamite Kid were two fantastic workers. They were great as a tag team and terrific firing up workers. However, behind the scenes, both men were colossal jerks, especially Dynamite. Their pranks could be downright brutal and mean-spirited and made a few enemies. Such was the case of Jake Roberts, a guy who could be a handful behind the scenes as well. More than a few guys were annoyed by Jake bringing python Damien around and how it could get loose in a hotel room. So when Jake was busy, the Bulldogs decided to turn Damien’s bag into an ashtray, throwing in everything from burnt out cigarettes to used needles. The snake tried to attack Jake when loose and he was angry with the Bulldogs as you’d think two guys with a name like that would be above animal cruelty.
3 The Pepper Hotline
One of the most infamous feuds in WWE history was in 1999 when Al Snow faced the Big Boss Man. Boss Man kidnapped Pepper, Snow’s beloved dog and held him hostage. This would lead to them having a sit-down dinner where Boss Man revealed he had just cooked and fed Pepper to Snow and thus set up the horrific “Hell in a Kennel” match.
Before that, Snow went on TV begging fans to give any info on Pepper and gave them a hotline to call. As he was about to leave, Val Venis’ cell phone rang and he answered to hear someone babbling about Pepper. Hanging up, Venis got a call from someone else about Pepper and before the show was done, about a half dozen more people made the call.
It was then that it hit Venis that instead of just some random digits, Snow had given Venis’ number to use for the “hotline.” Venis had to get his number changed fast and had to chuckle on how far Snow went for an angle.
2 Andre’s Paint Switch
Maybe it was partly called for but still a bit much. In 1990, Roddy Piper was feuding with Bad News Brown with a big match set at WrestleMania VI. In one of his wilder moments, Piper decided to paint half his body black for the conflict. It was a baffling move, many unsure what Piper was going for and naturally Bad News didn’t take it very well. Andre the Giant seemed a bit bugged too and decided to teach Piper a lesson by switching the wash-off paint Piper was planning to use with something longer lasting. Thus, after the messy match, Piper realized he had to fly out of Toronto with half his body still painted. It did wear off eventually but Piper admitted Andre got him good.
1 The Bulldogs Spiking Drinks
The Bulldogs could be brutal in their pranks. But this is one that crosses the line from just good fun to absolute danger. Drugging drinks with laxatives or such is one thing. However, the Bulldogs would put out knockout drops to take effect when a guy was about to leave. That meant guys would risk driving in the cold Canadian night and possibly passing out midway through. In Stampede, this got them into hot water, more than a few guys complaining it was too much and a miracle no one ended up dying because of it. Stu Hart had to come down on it despite how Davey Boy and Dynamite insisted it was just fun. It got worse when they returned to Stampede in 1988 and their antics tore them apart and helped ruin Dynamite’s career. That Dynamite in particular took “pranking” what could be called outright criminal behavior is another reason he’s so disliked.