While many people often recall the WWE’s Attitude Era as one of their highest points in popularity, it was the Golden Era from 1982 until 1993 when the WWE would rise into the ranks with other pop culture staples. This was when stars like Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant and the Ultimate Warrior ruled the world of wrestling.
It also saw new stars form with the likes of The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and Jerry “The King” Lawler. It might not have been as controversial as the Attitude Era of the WWE. There might not have been a sex appeal like there was with Sable and Trish Stratus. But their backstage stories from what happens behind the curtain are just as interesting; especially when it led to incidents in the ring and out in the public eye.
The people behind the wrestling personas during the Golden Era of WWE sometimes had tension with other people. There were stories of people who had legitimate beef with each other and it spilt out into the ring. There are tales of wrestlers who also had egos that made them feel they didn’t need to do certain things that others would not mind doing – i.e. meeting a terminal child from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Then there are other tales that are weirdly entertaining. They include pranks that some would play on each other, weird rituals wrestlers had and times when they defended the honor of professional wrestling against verbal attacks that included the dreaded f-word – fake. The following are 15 of the more insane backstage stories from WWE’s Golden Era.
15 Andre the Giant’s Alcohol Intake Used in Anesthesiologist’s Assessment
The tales of Andre the Giant and his drinking habits are legendary, to say the least. The man was once known to drink 119 beers in one sitting, followed by more than 150 in another. Hulk Hogan once wrote in his autobiography that Andre drank an entire case of wine on a four-hour bus trip. It’s hard to imagine any normal human being having the ability to drink that much alcohol on a daily basis, but Andre wasn’t normal. He was a giant in the truest sense of the word, which meant alcohol didn’t affect him as easily.
14 The Ultimate Warrior and Desserts
A number of wrestlers, including Chris Jericho, have stories about seeing the Ultimate Warrior have a weird way of enjoying desserts. At backstage catering, Warrior would sometimes be seen picking up a cookie, crumbling it in his had before sniffing it and then throwing it away. His wife, Dana, would explain the bizarre reason during an interview on Talk is Jericho. It’s all about his disciplined diet.
13 Owen Hart Pranks Mr. Fuji
During the 1990s, Owen Hart developed a reputation as a master of pranking his peers. His brother, Bret Hart, told funny stories about how Owen was able to do a variety of voices. One person he decided to prank call was Mr. Fuji when all of the wrestlers were on the road at a hotel. Owen called Mr. Fuji’s room and, with a child-like voice, called the manager several names and said he would beat him up.
12 Roddy Piper Goes Gator Hunting
Back in 1984, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper went on an interesting hunting trip along with other wrestlers like Kevin Sullivan and Bill Alfonso. Piper had his heart set on having a pair of alligator boots. And what better way to get them by going to hunt for a live gator. The story that Piper told in a SLAM! Wrestling conference interview in 2000 was that his shot caught a gator under one of his claws and he went into the water, motionless for about 10 minutes.
11 Paul Bearer Gifts Undertaker with Cucumbers
The man known for striking fear into the hearts of his opponents, The Undertaker has a fear of his own. So what would a man portraying as someone already dead be afraid of? Cucumbers might have been the last thing you would think The Undertaker, or anyone for that matter, would be afraid of that. Paul Bearer once told Jim Cornette during a shoot interview. The fear is so bad, according to his former manager, that it can make him sick.
10 Bret Hart Gets Legitimate Justice Against Jerry Lawler
Bret Hart had some of his best matches in the WWE during the early-1990s. One of those feuds involved Jerry “The King” Lawler. During a live Q&A session with wrestling fans back in 2014, Hart said that while he had respect for the King, he felt he was sloppy in their 1993 feud. During their King of the Ring brawl that year, Lawler apparently didn’t realize that the props he hit Hart with were very heavy wood; which injured Hart for several months.
9 Roddy Piper’s Face Paint That Wouldn’t Come Off
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper was known for being a point of controversy during his career in the WWE. One of the more controversial moments was for WrestleMania VI as he faced Bad News Brown. In an effort to do a promo combining Nelson Mandela, the song “True Colors,” he pained his face half-black. The paint used was a special blend that was ordered by Vince McMahon so the paint wouldn’t come off during the match from sweat.
8 Fabulous Moolah Legitimately Steals The WWE Women’s Championship
Long before the infamous Montreal Screwjob of 1997, the WWE also had a bit of a screwjob involving the WWE Women’s Championship in the 1980s. Wendi Richter was the reigning WWE Women’s Champion at a time when her contract was about to expire. She wanted more money and wouldn’t sign unless she felt she was properly compensated. Instead, the WWE booked Richter to face named “The Spider Lady.”
7 Haku Bites Off Man’s Nose
One of the worst things anyone could ever say to a professional wrestler is making an insinuation about it being fake. Even though the secret of wrestling is well-known to the viewing audience, the word “fake” is considered an insult. As one poor person at a hotel bar in Baltimore, Md., learned one night. Haku once confirmed the long-running story during an interview with Crave back in 2014.
6 Jerry Lawler’s Crown Was Used as a Throne
When Jerry “The King” Lawler first came into the WWE in the early 1990s, he may have rubbed some people the wrong way behind the scenes. On more than one occasion reportedly, there were a number of instances of different wrestlers and other talent backstage who used the crown as, well, a throne. In his earlier mentioned interview with Jim Cornette, Paul Bearer saw Steve Keirn do it.
5 The Ultimate Warrior Blows Off a Make-A-Wish Child
The Ultimate Warrior was one of the most popular men in the WWE, especially during the Golden Era right before the Attitude Era was formed. He was viewed as a hero by many fans, but Bret Hart had a story that showed another side of Warrior. During a show in Omaha, Neb., there was a child from the Make-A-Wish foundation who was looking forward to meeting The Ultimate Warrior.
4 Harley Race Pulls Gun on Hulk Hogan
Through the years of his popularity in the WWE, Hulk Hogan certainly had his share of enemies. No one who rises to the top like he did is loved by everyone. During a tour in the mid-1980s, the WWE was going national with tours through cities that were still controlled by territory promotions. But it wasn’t until a show in Kansas City, Mo., when things got a little out of hand. Hogan was in the dressing room when Harley Race walked in.
3 1992 Sex Scandal
In 1992, the WWE faced a dark moment that had nothing to do with steroids or drug use. When Terry Garvin would become an employee in the WWE, it was in part to his friendship with fellow wrestler Pat Patterson. Both men were openly homosexual. But Garvin would use his influence in the company to find a way to have relations with young men who worked as part of the ring crew.
2 Vince McMahon Drunk Before New Drug Policy
During the early 1990s, the WWE was set to enforce a new drug-testing policy after the Federal Bureau of Investigations were looking more into the WWE after a steroid scandal. So as the wrestlers were in a Texas strip club, they were having one final time of enjoying marijuana. Bret Hart wrote in his autobiography “Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling” about the time Vince McMahon joined the party after having had a few too many alcoholic beverages.
1 The End of Randy Savage’s Marriage to Miss Elizabeth
Although they shared one of the most fairytale relationships on WWE television, there were apparently some issues where Miss Elizabeth apparently wasn’t happy in her marriage with “Macho Man” Randy Savage. It was believed that Savage was very protective and had lines drawn.
Hogan was going to Miami, Fla., with his family to shoot Mr. Nanny. Because Elizabeth was a friend of the family, she was invited to join.
Suddenly, Savage was told over the phone by Elizabeth that she wanted a divorce. Savage made his way to the hotel they were staying at and Hogan had just discovered that Elizabeth was with a boyfriend. When Hogan showed Savage which room was hers, he ran off as the police were called and things got nasty. This led to not only the end of the marriage, but the friendship between Hogan and Savage.
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