Look, by now you probably know that your average professional wrestler isn’t a saint. We’re not saying that every professional wrestler ever has been some kind of drug-fueled sex fiend, but we are saying that there’s a reason the accounting business and the professional wrestling business tend to attract two different kinds of people. Being a professional wrestler means living the gladiator lifestyle. As such, many professional wrestlers have spent at least some part of their life living like there is no tomorrow by engaging in activities which local law enforcement agencies tend to frown upon.
As such, keeping a running list of the number of wrestlers that have been arrested at one point or another is a fool’s errand. The short answer is that a lot of your favorite wrestlers have had a run in with the law at some point or another. Even though the number of arrested wrestlers numbers well into the hundreds (that’s a conservative estimate) there are some arrests which stand out from the considerable masses. Some involve high-profile stars, some involve high-profile arrests, and others...well, others are just downright weird. These are 25 wrestlers who went to jail and how they got there.
25 25. William Regal - Urinating on a Stewardess
We’ll start with a strange one. While William Regal has largely been presented as a comedy character/authority figure by WWE, there was a time when Regal was considered to be one of the toughest wrestlers in the world. Unfortunately for Regal, he was not quite tough enough to properly handle the amount of alcohol he consumed on a flight from Japan to the United States he took while working for WCW. Naturally, Mr. Regal felt the urge to use the restroom at some point during the flight. While using the facilities, Mr. Regal felt a tap on his shoulder from a stewardess that was about to tell him the door wasn’t properly closed. When Regal turned to look at the stewardess, he ended up urinating on her and was arrested upon landing.
24 24. Hardbody Harrison - Kidnapping Women and Turning Them Into Slaves
You probably don’t remember Hardbody Harrison as a wrestler unless you happened to be a fan of some particularly awful episodes of WCW Nitro. As a wrestler, Hardbody was a curtain jerker who WCW overpaid. Years later, however, Harrison proved that he was something far worse than that. In a stunning court battle, it was revealed that Harrison had tricked eight women into working for him as sex slaves. The women described how Harrison tricked them into thinking they were going to receive wrestling training and ended up kidnapping them and forcing them to work for him. Despite the overwhelming amount of evidence put forth against Harrison, he still decided to serve as his own attorney for the proceedings. Unsurprisingly, he was sentenced to life in prison.
23 23. Matt Hardy - Domestic Abuse and Possession
Like several of the stars on this list, Matt Hardy has had a few run-ins with the law. Before we get into that, however, let’s remind you that Hardy went through a very dark period in his life and turned to drugs to cope with everything. During that time, Hardy was arrested on a few notable occasions. However, the two that WWE probably would like you to forget about involved Matt Hardy beating his wife, Reby Sky, and that time that police found a treasure trove of drugs and steroids hidden in Hardy’s house. The second one is particularly notable as Sky called the police to the house as an extreme way of convincing Hardy he needed help. The fallout from the amount of drugs found in the home inspired Hardy to go to rehab.
22 22. Big Van Vader - Threatening to Beat Up A Kuwait Talk Show Host
Here’s a “fun” story for you. During Vader’s unspectacular WWE run, the company sent him to Kuwait to do some talk shows and other publicity related events. During one of the talk shows, a production assistant told Vader that the host was going to call wrestling fake. At that time, they wanted Vader to get really angry at the host and start throwing things around. Vader was cautious because WWE told him not to do anything that could possibly get him in trouble in the area. However, a WWE road agent told him to go ahead with it. Well, during the segment, Vader did too good of a job of convincing everyone that he was about to beat the host up. Nearby police believed his performance so much that they detained and arrested him.
21 21. Big Show - Exposing Himself to A Hotel Employee
There are actually two notable legal incidents involving Big Show. One occurred in 1999 when Big Show allegedly assaulted a man in a bar. However, the tape of that incident revealed that the man in question had been verbally abusing Show for several minutes before finally shoving him. Unfortunately for that guy, Big Show had enough by that point and decided to knock the dude out with a single punch. The other incident is less amusing. In 1998, Show was arrested in Tennessee after allegedly showing a hotel employee his “Big Show.” Ultimately, that case was thrown out when nobody could piece together enough evidence to prove that the event actually happened. However, given some stories about Show’s attitude during that time, there’s a good chance that it did.
20 20. Buff Bagwell - Assaulting A WCW Employee Who Asked Him Not to Block an Exit
Buff Bagwell was a product of his era. He wasn’t great in the ring, he couldn’t talk well, and he didn’t really have much of a character, but he was big and loud enough to become a fan favorite. What some fans didn’t know at the time was that Bagwell was a huge jerk. For instance, after a WCW Thunder taping in May of 2000, Bagwell was confronted by a WCW backstage employee who asked him to please move out of the way of the exit. Bagwell was having none of this. Not only did he throw some racial slurs at the employee, but he punched him in the neck. Bagwell was immediately arrested for the assault and received a 30 day suspension from WCW.
19 19. Tyson Tomko - Stealing 210 Oxycodone Tablets From CVS
You may or may not remember who Tyson Tomko is. If you’re a WWE fan, you might remember him as the guy who enjoyed a brief singles run before he basically became Christian’s lackey. If you were a TNA fan, you might remember him as a slightly more prestigious singles star who was also Christian’s lackey. What the legal system remembers Tomko as, however, is a fairly stupid criminal. In 2011, Tomko was convicted of robbing 210 Oxycodone tablets from a CVS. Apparently, Tomko went to that CVS several days in a row prior to the incident begging for Oxycontin. On the day in question, he insinuated he had a gun and stole the pills from the pharmacy. He then went to a Chili’s restaurant to start knocking them back.
18 18. Kerry Von Erich - Busted With Cocaine and Forged Doctor’s Notes
It’s strange, but the part of the Kerry Von Erich tragedy that tends to be forgotten over time is the final time he was arrested. Let's back up a bit. Von Erich - and many of his brothers - had long battled substance abuse problems. Their problems led to them being arrested on a few different occasions throughout their career. In Kerry’s case, he was already on a 10-year probation when he was caught with cocaine and forged doctor's notes. Because of this, the judge handed him a 10-year prison sentence. Faced with the possibility of going to jail for a very long time, Kerry decided to commit suicide by driving off a cliff and shooting himself in the heart. Hmmm...maybe there’s a reason that part gets left out of the story.
17 17. Ken Patera - Throwing a Boulder Through a McDonald’s Window
If you know Ken Patera, there’s a good chance you know him because of this story. However, before Patera was an arrest record somewhere, he was actually a well-respected Olympic strongman who was coerced into becoming a professional wrestler. Well, when Patera was with the AWA, he decided to pay a visit to a local McDonald’s to grab some food. As the McDonald’s in question was closed at the time, Patera was told he could not be served. As Patera did not want to hear that, he decided to grab a large rock - described by some as a boulder - and throw it through the restaurant’s window. Patera was later arrested over this incident. Despite his claims that the rock was thrown by a disgruntled former employee, the judge sentenced Patera to two years in prison.
16 16. Ric Flair - Road Rage and Many, Many Other Things...
As you might imagine, Ric Flair has been arrested quite a few times throughout his life. Hey, that’s what happens when you live the Ric Flair lifestyle. In fact, it’s hard to figure out where we should even start when talking about Ric Flair’s arrests. Do you talk about the time that he got into a “Do you know how I am?” fight with a bartender? Do we talk about the time he exposed himself to a stewardess? What about the numerous public intoxication claims? For now, let’s focus on the road rage incident. Flair allegedly tried to choke out a motorist on the highway before kicking the guy’s car door several times. The witnesses for this case never showed up in court, but WWE did parody this incident on Raw.
15 15. Jerry Lawler: Running Over a Cop’s Foot and Many, Many Other Things...
Lawler is another old-school wrestler whose arrest record is even longer than his list of title reigns. Unfortunately, one of the lowlights of those records are the numerous domestic assault charges. That portion of Lawler’s arrest record paints a very clear picture of the man and it is not a flattering image. Even worse, Lawler has been taken to court over allegations of pedophilia. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, however, then look no further than the time that Lawler was arrested for assaulting a police officer. Apparently, Lawler refused to believe that a cop was actually going to give him a ticket. As such, he decided to throw the ticket in the cop’s face and then run over his foot.
14 14. Brock Lesnar - Possession of “PEDs” (That Turned Out To Be Vitamins)
When Lesnar was busted by the UFC for a failed drug test, nobody really seemed that surprised. Despite Lesnar’s claim’s that he’s just a jacked white boy, many have long suspected that it would be impossible for Lesnar to achieve the form he enjoys were it not for the help of some special substances. Of course, those more familiar with Lesnar’s history know that Lesnar has been associated with steroids before. In 2001, before Lesnar joined WWE’s main roster, Brock was brought up on felony charges for possession of steroids. The exact amount of steroids is unknown, though it was described by officers as “large.” Interestingly enough, Lesnar was cleared of all charges when it was revealed that the pills in question were actually just vitamins.
13 13. Emma - “Shoplifting” an iPad Case
This one turned out to not be as big a deal as was originally thought. During a self-checkout following a purchase at Walmart, WWE Superstar Emma forgot to scan a $20 iPad case. Given that shoplifting is taken very seriously, Emma was prosecuted for the incident despite the product being worth so little. The WWE reacted hastily and released Emma once the news came out, but following fan backlash and as more details of the case began to surface, the company hired her back. The whole thing was chalked up as a misunderstanding, and despite Emma getting her mugshots plastered everywhere, her charges were eventually dismissed following a day of community service and taking an online course.
12 12. British Bulldog - Sending Death Threats To His Ex-Wife
In his prime, British Bulldog was an incredibly successful wrestler. However, even when he was on top of the world, Bulldog struggled to keep his personal life together. While his personal struggles were easier to hide at the height of his fame, towards the end of his life, Bulldog struggled to keep things together. In 2000, for instance, he was arrested for sending death threats to his ex-wife. That was bad. What was even worse is when Davey Boy Smith was arrested for threatening to kill his wife the day after the initial arrest occurred. For those keeping count, that is two arrests in two days both related to death threats. Yeah, British Bulldog’s life got pretty bad towards the end.
11 11. Nicole Bass - Stealing $1,400 Worth of Groceries
In the ‘90s, Nicole Bass got her first taste of fame by virtue of her appearances on the Howard Stern show. Bass was a bodybuilder prior to these appearances, but Stern helped turn her into something of a star by turning her into a recurring guest. WWE capitalized on her new found “fame” by offering Bass a contract. Bass eventually left WWE following her claims that she had been sexually harassed by fellow employees. Things didn’t get any easier for Bass after that. In 2015, for instance, she was arrested for shoplifting. Now, we’re not talking about a necklace or an iPad. No, Bass was caught stealing somewhere around $1,400 worth of groceries that she claimed to be in desperate need of. All and all, Bass stole about 150 individual food items as well as some beauty products.
10 10. Dick Slater - Getting So High On Painkillers That He Forgot He Stabbed Someone
If you only really followed WWE during the ‘80s, there’s a good chance you really don’t know that much about Dick Slater. He did wrestle for WWE briefly in the ‘80s, but his prime years were spent working for NWA and the Southern territories. During that time, Slater had a reputation for being the toughest man in professional wrestling. Years later, we found out that some of Slater’s toughness may have been the result of his fondness for painkillers. In fact, Slater was arrested in 2004 for assaulting his former girlfriend with a knife. Later on, Slater had claimed to have taken so many painkillers the night before that he honestly could not say whether shehee actually stabbed her or not. Slater ended up avoiding jail time, but we sentenced to house arrest.
9 9. Jake Roberts - Starving a Snake to Death
As you might imagine, Jake Roberts has had numerous run-ins with the law over the years. When he was young, most of these incidents were the result of Jake’s fondness for pairing alcohol with too much fun. Later in life, however, Roberts was involved in an increasingly sad series of arrests. For instance, you have the numerous allegations involving Roberts dodging a child support bill here and there. Then you have the DUIs and possession charges. However, there is one charge that stands out all these years later. In 2004, Roberts was arrested and brought to court on charges that he had mistreated his pet snake and caused his death. Roberts denied these charges, but the case came to be seen as a metaphor for how far Jake had fallen since his glory days.
8 8. Taz - Allegedly Asking a 15-Year-Old Girl to Flash Him
Taz (or Tazz depending on your preference) has long had a reputation for being a tough guy. In fact, it was his miraculous recovery from a broken neck that prompted Paul Heyman to push him to the moon. What Taz doesn’t have is a reputation for being a troublemaker. Well, at least compared to some other ECW alumni. However, there is one strange black mark on Taz’s record that still has fans buzzing years after the fact.
See, in 1998, Taz was arrested after a 15-year-old girl accused him of asking her to show him her breasts. Apparently, Taz then exposed himself to her. The strange thing about this incident is that nobody could ever seem to prove that Taz was the one who did this. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be an official record of how the case was closed.
7 7. Scott Steiner - Beating Up an EMT He Thought Was An Actor
Some people have long debated whether Scott Steiner was always “Big Poppa Pump” on the inside, or rather his steroid-influenced (allegedly) transformation into a hulking mound of spray tan muscles caused him to slowly lose his mind. What we know for sure is that Steiner’s transformation was accompanied by a couple of notable assault arrests. The first happened in 1998 when Steiner ran over a state employee after the employee informed him the highway was closed. In 2001, Steiner was also arrested for assaulting an EMT. Actually, that last one is kind of “funny.” See, Steiner thought the EMT in question was just an actor WCW hired to work an angle. Steiner ended up striking the EMT twice as part of the story not knowing that the guy was really an EMT.
6 6. Blackjack Mulligan - Paying His Taxes With Counterfeit Bills
Many fans probably know Mulligan as the patriarch of the wrestling Windham family. That family includes people like Bray Wyatt, Barry Windham, and Mike Rotunda (I.R.S.). However, those that are aware of his legendary arrest probably know him best because of that particular incident. See, Mulligan used the money he made from wrestling to get into the real estate game. That’s usually a pretty smart move, but when Mulligan found out that a new law would prevent him from receiving tax breaks, he decided to do something pretty dumb to pay the new taxes he was facing. Mulligan decided to send the I.R.S. (oh, the irony) counterfeit cash in order to pay his debts. Yes, he sent federal government counterfeit cash. Even worse, he dragged his son along for the ride when he was sent to prison for two years.
5 5. Scott Hall - Numerous Arrests (Including Beating Up a Comedian)
You really could make the case that Scott Hall is the most arrested wrestler in the history of the business. He’s certainly in the running. Technically, Scott Hall was even charged with murder at one point. However, that case was dismissed due to lack of evidence and was believed to be a case of self defense. After that, Hall was involved in a seemingly endless stream of DUI arrests, domestic abuse charges, and all other kinds of unsavory incidents. It will probably come as no surprise to learn that the vast majority of these charges occurred while Hall was drunk, high, or both.
It’s actually pretty amazing that Hall isn’t in jail for the rest of his life when you consider the sheer volume of charges that have been brought up against him. He even beat up a comedian who made a joke about Owen Hart.
4 4. Iron Sheik and Jim Duggan - Drug Possession
In terms of historical importance, this is the most notable arrest in professional wrestling history. It’s no exaggeration to say that this is the arrest that changed the professional wrestling business forever. It all began in 1987 when the Iron Sheik and Hacksaw Jim Duggan were arrested for possession of cocaine and marijuana. On it’s own, that would have been a big story. Both guys were pretty big names at that time, and these were not minor charges. However, what really made this story infamous is the fact that Duggan was a face at the time and Sheik was a heel. At that time in history, promoters were still trying to keep heels and faces together in order to “protect the business.” This incident completely shattered that illusion for those who still believed it.
3 3. Juventud Guerrera - Running Naked Through a Hotel While High on PCP
Every now and then, someone might find themselves wondering “What ever happened to Juventud Guerrera?” It’s a natural question. Afterall, Guerrera was a young and somewhat talented guy signed to a WWE contract who just seemed to disappear one day. Do a little digging, however, and you may soon find the better question is how Guerrera ever got hired by WWE in the first place. We’ll skip past the DUI charges Guerrera racked up when he was younger and jump right to the time that he decided that it would be a good idea to take as much PCP as possible while WCW was touring Australia. Shortly after ingesting said PCP, Guerrera was found running naked through the halls of a hotel room. When officers tried to detain him, he decided to attack them.
2 2. Lex Luger - Assault and Felony Drug Charges
Luger is another guy who has a few arrests to his name. However, the big ones all involve his relationship with Miss Elizabeth. In 2003, for instance, Luger was charged with assaulting Elizabeth. Actually, based on the photos, it would be more accurate to say that Elizabeth was severely beaten by Luger. Despite this, they stayed together. On May 1st of that same year, Elizabeth was found dead following an apparent overdose. Luger was arrested shortly after the incident after it was discovered that the home they shared contained an incredible amount of controlled substances. This arrest is remembered above many other in wrestling history not just because it led to Elizabeth’s tragic death but because this is the incident which essentially guaranteed Luger will never be brought into WWE.
1 1. Disco Inferno - Running A Casino Out of A Basement
In terms of the sheer “WTF” factor, this has to be one of the most notable arrests in wrestling history. Much like Buff Bagwell, Disco Inferno was one of those guys who could have only succeeded in the era he wrestled in. In fact, it’s a testament to how popular wrestling was at that time that a guy could go out, claim he really liked disco, wrestle some mediocre matches, and still become a star. Unfortunately, it seems his stardom didn’t pay the bills forever. In 2007, Disco Inferno was busted for running a home casino. Yes, he was charging people $10,000 a pop to gamble in the basement of a home in the Georgia suburbs. We certainly would have never seen this one coming.
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