For years, there was a veil of secrecy that surrounded the world of professional wrestling. Promoters' desire to keep the scripted nature of the business hidden from the public eye forced everyone from the boss on down to keep a lot of secrets. While people eventually figured out what the deal was, there’s always been an element of mystery to the world of professional wrestling. What do those wrestlers get up to when they spend so much time on the road? How many ideas which would have changed the business were tossed in the trash? Do some wrestlers really act like their gimmicks?
This unchecked speculation eventually led to a series of infamous urban legends. While there’s no corner of the entertainment industry that doesn’t have their own urban legends, few can equal the strange world of professional wrestling when it comes to bizarre tales. The only problem is that the people who participated in these legends are typically the last ones to talk about them. Instead, discovering the truth requires one to do a little digging. We’ve done that digging and have come up with the truth behind some of the craziest rumors in professional wrestling history.
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15 Antonio Inoki Bought An Island From Fidel Castro Because Castro Told Him It Contained Buried Treasure
Let’s start with a fun one, shall we? Antonio Inoki became one of the first Japanese stars to achieve incredible success in both Japan and America. His matches achieved international acclaim and afforded Inoki a global celebrity status many wrestlers didn’t enjoy. As such, he was able to meet prominent people, such as Fidel Castro. During one of these meetings between Castro and Inoki, legend has it that Inoki bought an island from Castro because Castro told him it contained buried treasure.
This one is a little hard to pin down. Inoki and Castro certainly met and Inoki seemed to have owned an island or two in his life. What's not clear is whether or not Castro sold him the island under the promise of treasure. Given how eccentric Inoki was, though, it certainly wouldn’t be surprising to definitively find out that’s what happened.
True or False? - Likely true, but unconfirmed
14 Sting Was Scheduled To Debut At WrestleMania X-8 Against Kurt Angle
When Vince McMahon purchased WCW, he triggered a wave of industry rumors the likes of which wrestling fans had never seen. Everyone wondered who from WCW would be making the jump and when they would do it. The one name that came up more than any other, though, was Sting. Everyone wondered if WCW’s most stalwart wrestler would go to WWE. When he didn’t, nobody was too surprised.
What is surprising, however, is the legend that states Sting was scheduled to debut at WrestleMania X-8 in a match against Kurt Angle. Apparently, he changed his mind at the last minute when WWE refused to let him work a light schedule. None of the principle players have ever confirmed the story, but numerous insiders have stated that the deal was, in fact, almost done. This would certainly explain why someone as big as Angle ended up working a random match against Kane at that year's show.
True or False? – Very likely true
13 Kerry Von Erich Lost His Foot Over A Cheeseburger
There’s no shortage of rumors out there regarding the Von Erichs. Few, however, are as notable as the legend of Kerry Von Erich’s foot. What we know for sure is that Kerry Von Erich was in a brutal motorcycle accident that eventually led to the amputation of his right foot. The details of this incident, however, remain a subject of debate. Some say that Kerry’s foot didn’t need to be amputated at all. Instead, doctors were required to amputate it after Kerry walked on his foot against doctor’s warnings.
One story says that he walked in order to go get a cheeseburger from across the room. Honestly, this one is a little hard to believe. Even if you can buy into the fact that Von Erich lost his foot by walking on it against doctor’s orders, the matter of the cheeseburger is way too out of left field to believe.
True or False? - Probably false
12 Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels Had a Romantic Relationship
There are many rumors in the world of professional wrestling along these lines, but we’ll go with this one due to the status of the people involved. So, as you probably know, Shawn Michaels was WWE’s saving grace during the mid-90s. He was the one guy on the card that was proving to be a draw during one of the company’s toughest fiscal eras. He was also a huge jerk.
Rumor has it that the reason why Vince was able to put up with all of Michaels’ antics is because the two had a romantic relationship. There are a lot of spin-offs of this story, but they’re likely all false. Every “source” for this story seems to stem from circumstantial evidence such as Michaels' place at the top of the card and the somewhat flamboyant nature of Michaels’ gimmick during that time.
True or False? - False
11 Stone Cold Almost Killed Raven For Flashing Debra
Some wrestlers have shared stories over the years regarding Stone Cold Steve Austin’s protectiveness of his ex-wife Debra during the time of their relationship. Apparently, Austin was a temperamental guy who was prone to fits of jealousy. One such fit allegedly occurred when Raven was stepping out of the shower after a show. As the story goes, Raven decided to step out sans towel and happened to walk right into Debra. When Stone Cold heard about the incident, he decided to attack Raven for hitting on his wife and almost killed him in the process. Raven actually spoke of the incident during a shoot interview and confirmed that it was true. However, he did state that it was just a big misunderstanding and that it was defused before any real damage could be done.
True or False? - True
10 Sting or Bret Hart Were Originally Supposed To Be The nWo’s Third Man
It’s impossible for younger wrestling fans to really understand just how cool the early days of the nWo storyline were. Even wrestling fans that understood the nature of the business suddenly called into question just why it was that Kevin Nash and Scott Hall were in WCW and who their supposed third friend was going to be.
At one point, people were so desperate to come up with a big name that some even suggested that names like Bret Hart and Sting were going to be the third man. As crazy as that sounds, it’s 100% true. Scott Hall has confirmed that the original plan was to bring in Bret Hart as the third man, but Hart didn’t sign the deal. The company was interested in Hogan playing the role, but since WCW felt there was a good chance Hogan would get cold feet, they planned on having Sting join the heel faction.
True or False? – True
9 The Iron Sheik Was Offered $100,000 To Break Hulk Hogan’s Leg
The Iron Sheik’s role in the history of WWE is sometimes overlooked. He was a crucial transitional champion that allowed WWE executives to push Hulk Hogan to the moon as their golden boy. In the years since Hulk Hogan’s win, some have said that the event almost went a very different way. Some claim that that promoter Verne Gagne approached The Iron Sheik prior to his match with Hogan and offered him $100,000 to break Hulk Hogan’s leg and take the title to Gagne’s promotion. That same story says that Sheik declined.
Honestly, this sounds like the kind of kayfabe old-school wrestling legend that performers manufactured all the time back in the day. However, given that nearly everyone involved with the situation has relayed the same story, this one has to be considered true.
True or False? – True
8 Kevin Sullivan Intentionally Booked Himself Into A Real-Life Divorce
There are quite a few legends involving Kevin Sullivan. He’s been painted as everything from a Satan worshiper, to a nudist, to a secret perpetrator in the Chris Benoit murders. Most of these are without basis. The one story that has lingered throughout the years, though, involves his perfectly planned divorce from his wife. What we know is that Benoit began a relationship with Sullivan’s ex-wife Nancy while the two were participating in an angle involving Benoit stealing Sullivan’s ex-wife from him. Some people insist that Sullivan organized the angle in order to get his wife to cheat on him so he could prove infidelity prior to their divorce. This would explain why Sullivan forced Benoit and Nancy to spend so much time together in order to sell the story. Well, at least it would if it were true. It’s been confirmed many times before that Sullivan had no intentions of the two getting together.
True or False? - False
7 King Kong Bundy Was Supposed To Break The Undertaker’s WrestleMania Streak
The Undertaker’s WrestleMania undefeated streak is one of the most brilliant pieces of wrestling booking ever created. Every year, fans eagerly anticipated watching The Undertaker defend the most impressive streak in wrestling against a new opponent. You really have to respect the way that WWE kept the streak alive for years and never did anything stupid like have The Undertaker lose a meaningless match somewhere along the way. Of course, there are some who say that exact scenario almost played out.
Rumor has it that Vince McMahon wanted The Undertaker to lose to King Kong Bundy at WrestleMania XI via count out or disqualification. Apparently, McMahon felt that Bundy was on a hot streak and wanted to use the match to build a bigger angle. So far as anyone can tell, that’s exactly what happened. Fortunately, Vince gave up on the idea fairly quickly, and the streak lived on.
True or False? - Seems to be true
6 Hogan vs. Zeus Was Going To Headline WrestleMania VI
While we’re on the subject of legendarily bad Vince McMahon decisions, let’s take a look at one of the absolute worst. Once upon a time, Vince McMahon became convinced that he could turn Hulk Hogan into the next major movie star through a series of WWE-backed films starting with 1989’s No Holds Barred. He was so convinced that the on-screen battle between Hogan and Zeus was going to be such a success, in fact, that he planned to have the two do battle in the main event of WrestleMania VI.
The strange thing about this one is that it’s almost certainly true, but nobody is quite sure exactly when Vince changed his mind. Some say that it happened when No Holds Barred bombed at the box office, while others maintain that Vince stayed committed to the idea until he saw how crazy people went for Hogan/Warrior when they came face to face at Royal Rumble.
True or False? - True
5 Virgil’s Unique Resume Gets Him A Job
In recent years, the antics of former WWE wrestler Virgil have earned the man a measure of internet fame. From his outlandish statements to his lonely appearances at conventions, Virgil has essentially become a living internet meme. His status as such is even stranger to consider when you think back on the urban legend regarding how he got his WWE job in the first place. Over the years, some wrestling fans have maintained that Virgil’s interview with WWE consisted of him walking to the desk of Pat Patterson, unzipping his pants, and presenting his…err…we’ll let you guess.
This rumor is based, in part, on Patterson’s sexual assault allegations. According to Virgil, however, it simply isn’t true. He’s said in interviews that he has tremendous respect for Pat Patterson and that something like this would have never gotten anyone hired.
True or False? - False
4 Ashley Massaro Worked As A High-Class Call Girl
Ashley Massaro should have never been a WWE wrestler. She had no real skills to speak of and was seemingly only hired because Vince McMahon was in the period of his life when he wanted to fill the Divas roster with as many attractive blondes as possible. If we are to believe certain stories, he wasn’t the only man willing to pay good money for the services of Massaro. In 2008, a story started making the rounds that claimed Massaro was part of a high-class call girl operation. These claims were based on the fact that someone found Massaro’s name on the website of a busted call girl ring that supposedly offered clients the chance to spend the night with models for $25,000.
All pictures of the girls were removed by the time that the website was found, but there’s no denying that there is a lot of circumstantial evidence to support this claim. Still, it’s not a definitive fact.
True or False? – Likely true, but unproven
3 Vince McMahon Sent Vince Russo To WCW As A Double Agent
Vince Russo leaving WWE for WCW was one of the first, and only, notable instances of a backstage creative contributor making waves by jumping ship. Russo’s crash-TV style of booking had come to define the Attitude Era and some believed that Russo could help WCW win the war against WWE by writing their shows. Instead, he helped sink the company by producing some of the absolute worst content that you will ever see on a professional wrestling show.
Russo’s WCW shows were so bad, in fact, that some claim that he was sent there by Vince McMahon to bring the company down from the inside. Is it true? Well…yes and no. While it’s highly doubtful Russo was a double agent, Vince likely knew that he would fail without someone to keep him in check. Still, it likely didn’t play out the way that some say it did.
True or False? – False, but not far from the truth
2 Lex Luger’s Drunken Bragging Cost Him The WWE Championship
In the 90s, WWE was so high on Lex Luger that they gave the man his own bus to tour the country with. All signs pointed to Luger winning the WWE Championship. When that didn’t happen, some people started to wonder what the story was. According to some, that story involves a New York City bar Luger attended the night before WrestleMania X. Under the influence of a few drinks, Luger began to tell everyone that he was going to win the belt at the year’s biggest event.
In order to maintain the illusion of the show, Vince had to change the finish so that Bret Hart beat Yokozuna instead. It’s a fun story, but it’s not true. Luger has stated that he wasn’t even in the city the night before the show, much less in a bar. However, he has said that Vince told him months before the show he wasn’t going to win so that Luger didn’t spend money to fly his whole family in for the show.
True or False? – False
1 Pedro Morales Pawned The WWWF Championship
As strange as it may seem, professional wrestling titles have, historically speaking, not been treated with the proper respect. There are some exceptions, of course, but there have been many belts over the years that have either been destroyed, been lost, or simply been taken hostage. No story is stranger than that of the old WWWF World Championship belt. As the tale goes, wrestling historian Tom Burke walked into a New York City pawnshop and was shocked to find the very belt that Pedro Morales once proudly wore. So far as he could tell, Morales had simply decided to pawn the belt at some point when a new one was created. What’s so odd about this story is how hard it is to disprove. There were some belts from that era that certainly went missing, and photos of said belt did emerge years after Morales supposedly sold it. Sadly, all of the evidence for this one is fairly circumstantial. It’s too close to call.
True or False? – It seems possible, but there’s nothing concrete that proves it
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