In the world of professional wrestling, there are many egos as big as the athletes themselves. There are disagreements, professional discourtesies, and personality clashes among wrestlers, road agents, and even ring announcers that occur on and off screen.
We've all heard about the backstage scuffles between superstars like Chris Jericho and Goldberg, Scott Steiner and Diamond Dallas Page, and, of course, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Many incidents never reach our attention, while others become all the rage on social media. Some encounters are verbal, but many times they turn violent. In a business that is as competitive as it is glamorous, it's no surprise that often at times, blood boils and cooler heads do not prevail.
Some of these stories didn't come with any resolution or disciplinary action. While others resulted in suspensions, various other disciplinary actions, and even firings. We're going to take a journey down the road of some of the most heated encounters and incidents that occured away from the ring.
Even Vince McMahon himself has been on the receiving end of a blow from a disgruntled wrestler, although calling Bret Hart disgruntled may be one of the biggest understatements of all time. This storied incident serves as a great example of just how heated things can become. While many of these stories are hearsay, they've stood the test of time long enough to hold up to some level of truth.
Let's get moving as we begin our voyage through 15 incidents where tempers have flared and things have gotten violent among some of our favorite superstars and personalities. Of course, the underlying constant here is acts of violence. Just like the old adage says, let the punishment fit the crime. Now, for our first violent offenders...
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15 DDP vs. Scott Steiner
Here's a story that has seen a few different takes, but there is one thing that is constant in every story, things got real.
Supposedly, there was some sort of dispute between Scott Steiner and DDP's then wife, Kimberly Page. It has been said that Kimberly had found some sort of substance on a fellow female wrestler backstage and went to management with the issue. Scott Steiner caught wind of this and began to verbally berate Kimberly for being a "snitch."
DDP wasn't happy that Steiner had disrespected his wife and confronted him backstage. So the story goes, things became intense and the two were separated by security. Steiner, being Steiner, broke free from restraint and attacked Page only to be separated again by security. In this time it was said that Steiner was trying to gouge Page's eyes and did actually do damage to his face. Cooler heads eventually prevailed, but it's safe to assume the two were never best pals after this.
Based on stories from Steiner and DDP, DDP never had a chance and even admitted that had security not broken the two apart that Steiner would have killed him. You can never be too careful with a genetic freak.
14 Rick Rude vs. The Ultimate Warrior
Here's a story that comes from a viable, legitimate source in the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair.
Rick Rude and Warrior had quite the rivalry in the late 80s, leading up to their historic match-up at WrestleMania V. Along the way there were several in-character exchanges including heated promos, a pose-down, and all kinds of great "I'm better than this guy" moments. However, it became personal at some point as the two superstars entered a legitimate professional rivalry.
According to Flair, Warrior made a pass at rude about his wrestling abilities which prompted Rude to become insulted and angry. The result? Rude approached Warrior in the locker room and "beat him up pretty good" as Flair stated. Rude won the fight as Warrior didn't put up much resistance. Warrior's face was apparently as bruised by Rude's hands as Rude's ego was by Warrior's remarks.
13 William Regal vs. Van Hammer
Since Christmas time just passed, it's only appropriate that we discuss a holiday themed scuffle involving William Regal and Van Hammer. This story has been passed around among fans and wrestlers for years, and has been verified by William Regal himself.
Many speculate that William Regal and Van Hammer had a dislike for one another stemming from a series of matches they had together where both men would occasionally not pull punches on one another. The culmination of these events was said to occur at a Christmas party held at the home of Diamond Dallas Page. Supposedly, Van Hammer was making disparaging remarks about both European and Mexican wrestlers and their styles.
Regal, already not a fan of Van Hammer, proceeded to headbutt him four or five times near a punch bowl, of all things. The consensus is that Regal won the exchange while it is rumored that Hammer's own wife began ridiculing him for losing. We would all pay for a video of what sounds like one of the best moments at a Christmas party in history.
Regal seems to have a good sense of humor about the rivalry, as he was asked in 2012 by a fan which wrestler he compares himself to and simply replied, "Van Hammer."
12 Ernest "The Cat" Miller vs. Buff Bagwell
In a 2005 interview, Ernest "The Cat" Miller recalled a time when he and Buff Bagwell had a backstage encounter that became physical, more so on Miller's behalf.
Bagwell had a reputation for being very immature, obnoxious, and juvenile during his WCW run. It often spilled over into Buff's promos where he would mock other wrestlers without their consent. Now, there's nothing wrong with Buff going off the cuff to try and build a moment, but Ernest Miller didn't see it that way. Buff mocked Miller in a promo leading up to a pay per view sometime in 2000. Miller took it to heart as he approached Buff in the locker room, planting a palm slap and a few punches to Bagwell's face, causing him to fall to the ground.
The "three-time world Karate champion" made a case that he wasn't to be ridiculed.
11 Ken Shamrock vs. The Nasty Boys
Here's an incident with a lot of variations, but there's a few things that remain constant across the board. Several wrestlers were at a night club, including Ken Shamrock, Brian Knobbs, and Jerry Saggs. So the story goes, a friend of Shamrock's was seated with his fiance when one of The Nasties made an obscene gesture, upsetting the couple. Shamrock took this to heart and later went to see The Nasty Boys in the locker room, knocked on the door and immediately began to whale on Knobbs as Saggs opened it. Of course, this led to a two on one beat down on Shamrock by The Nasty Boys, leaving him roughed up. However, the best part of the story and the most constant is that Knobbs had a black eye the next day. That's a happy ending in my book.
10 Andre The Giant vs. The Ultimate Warrior
This entry comes from a famous Bobby Heenan story, as he was managing Andre on the road. Warrior and Andre were working a series of matches on a WWE tour that included a spot where Warrior would clothesline Andre into the ropes before the two would go into a collar and elbow tie up. However, with Warrior being new to the business and very intense in the ring, he was hitting Andre with clotheslines at full speed. Heenan noted that Andre was becoming more and more frustrated each match when Warrior would hit the spot.
Finally, one night during their match, as Warrior was going for the clothesline, Andre would stick his giant fist out and Warrior ran face first into it. It must have been like being hit in the face with a frozen ham judging by the size of Andre's hands. Warrior was badly hurt by the blow and it was said by Heenan that Warrior never came in hot for the clothesline again.
9 Sabu vs. Fan
Not every story here involves a wrestler fighting another wrestler. No, there have been times where fans have put themselves in positions to feel the wrath of an angry superstar.
Many thought this story was blown out of proportion or that maybe it wasn't true, but it's as true as taxes. There was an old VHS for sale in many wrestling magazines in the early 90s, revolving around a series of Sabu matches in Japan (I still have my copy).
In the video, you can see a fan knock Sabu's turban off of his head as Sabu was on his way to the ring. Sabu did not take kindly to this. He hopped the guard rail, ran down the fan, and planted a few very stiff back elbows into the fan's skull. The fan fell about his seat as his fellow fans stood silent, without much reaction. Sabu is crazy, right?
As a fan, it's never cool to place hands on a wrestler especially one with a reputation for being a few screws loose in the first place. It's safe to say, the fan got put in his place and likely never touched a turban again.
8 Hall/Nash/Syxx vs. Spring Breakers
Yet another instance of fans putting themselves in a bad, bad position.
In 1997, during the peak popularity of the New World Order, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Syxx were invited to MTV's Spring Break festivities to appear on stage. During their appearance, a seemingly intoxicated fan was causing trouble in the audience. You could audibly hear Syxx tell someone that they needed to control the crowd better. Moments later, the fan threw an object towards the trio, causing the massive Nash to leap off stage and run the fan down, picking him up by the waist of his pants and dropping him. The fan was visibly shaken as Hall and Syxx followed close behind.
Nash then threatened that they would leave if security didn't get things under control.
7 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Road Warrior Hawk
Scorpio verified this story during his shoot interview for ROH video.
The two were on tour together, riding the same bus, when Hawk make remarks about Flair taking a limo. Scorpio made a remark about Flair which caused the aggressive Hawk to become verbal, even dropping a racial slur. The fight was broken up although Scorpio said he scored a kick to Hawk's stomach. Later on the tour, after another verbal exchange, Hawk would throw a stiff punch to Scorpio's face.
Luckily for Scorpio, The Steiners and Scott Norton had his back and made sure no further violence occurred. Are we wrong to think that Hawk would have probably killed him?
6 Ric Flair vs. The Nasty Boys
In Flair's book, he talks about a night out at a bar where Brian Knobbs and Jerry Saggs were bullying a friend of Flair's. Flair didn't take kindly to this and began a scuffle with Knobbs, hitting him in the face a few times before Jerry Saggs joined the fray. The two began ganging up on Flair before being broken up by others at the bar. Flair said there were damages to the bar, which he had to pay for.
Flair was also thrown out of the bar while The Nasty Boys were allowed to stay inside, perhaps because Flair threw the first punch(es). While The Nasty Boys may have gotten the better of the exchange, Flair ultimately wins this one because of his lack of fear and willingness to defend a friend.
5 Arn Anderson vs. Disco Inferno
Bryan Alvarez once wrote about a hilarious encounter that occurred on an airplane, involving Arn Anderson, Mike Enos, and Disco Inferno.
Mike Enos was said to have been using a cell phone, which Arn told him repeatedly to shut off. Enos ignored Arn, causing The Enforcer to become angry. Seated in front of Arn, was Disco Inferno who decided to be an antagonist. Disco reportedly jumped out of his seat, holding up four fingers, telling Arn "Yeah, Arn! Take care of him. Take care of him Horseman style!" Arn, being a no-nonsense kind of guy, stood up and slapped Disco clean across the face, warranting no further action from Disco.
While violence isn't usually funny, the visual of Arn slapping Disco, and Disco sitting down and shutting up, is quite comical.
4 Road Warrior Hawk vs. Randy Savage
Road Warrior Hawk seems to have had issues with a lot of guys, so of course Mr. Macho Madness was no exception. No one is sure what caused the tension between the two in their first exchange, but backstage at a 1996 NJPW show, Hawk threw a right hook knocking Savage out cold. A few years later, reportedly backstage at a Kid Rock Concert, Hawk saw Savage approaching and extended his hand for a handshake, only to be sucker punched and knocked out by Savage. Also, Savage's girlfriend at the time reportedly attacked Hawk's wife.
Most here say suggests Savage took exception to Hawk's bully tendencies and that's how this one began.
3 Kevin Nash vs. Roddy Piper
After a very sloppy match on Nitro in 1996, apparently Kevin Nash wasn't very happy with "Hot Rod" Rowdy Roddy Piper. Nash took to the backstage area and booted Piper's locker room door open and leveled Piper with a punch. Piper retaliated with a few quick punches before the two were separated by security. Although, it's safe to say Nash won this encounter and if it had progressed any further that Piper could have beaten badly considering he was half Nash's size. However, we all know that had we witnessed this, we would have been rooting for Hot Rod.
2 JBL vs. Steve Blackman
This is right out of a Jean Claude Van Damme movie. The story goes: JBL and Blackman were standing by a luggage claim at an airport in 1999. JBL, being JBL, thought it would be funny to push Blackman onto the revolving luggage claim. Blackman didn't find it as funny as he would plant a kick to JBL's jaw, knocking him to the ground.
However, according to an interview, the Blue Meanie said Blackman made the initial contact after being verbally berated by JBL many times while on tour. The luggage claim angle stems from the event that Blackman drew back for a kick and got his foot caught in the luggage claim.
Details, details. No matter what happened, we all have a fun visual in our heads now.
1 Hardcore Holly vs. The Clique
In Bob Holly's book, The Hardcore Truth, he discusses his annoyance with Shawn Michaels, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and HHH. Holly describes that on tour, wrestlers were given a card each night to fill out for food ordering. He had gone to the kitchen a few nights in a row to find his food missing. Now, forgive the following profanities, but Randy Savage told Bob that Shawn Michaels had been doing it. Evidently Holly confronted Michaels, the two exchanged words, leading Holly to threaten to cut Michaels' fingers off with bolt cutters. The next day, Kevin Nash said something he didn't like, so he claims to have drawn an X on his chin to tell him where he was going to hit him.
Now, although no actual blows were exchanged, this was the best story of any backstage incident ever encountered.
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