Professional wrestlers spend their lives training to completely demolish their opponents. However, they never forget one important thing – perhaps more than any other professional athlete, it isn’t just about whether they win, but about how they get that win. For players in most sports, it’s about racking up points or goals. For wrestlers, it’s also about winning over the audience. They need to entertain, to delight them with their sky-high body slams. They prepare their crazy outfits, amp themselves up, and march into that ring fully ‘on.’
Given the atmosphere of professional wrestling, it comes as no surprise that the wrestling world is dominated by larger than life personalities. There aren’t many dull wrestlers – they all come out with a roar. However, the boundaries of the ring don’t seem to be set in stone for some wrestlers, as they often carry the crazy characters that they develop for inside the ring to the world outside. The antics which are praised and cheered in the ring, in an atmosphere that values showmanship and wild behavior, may very well lead to arrests when they continue that behavior on the streets in a world that isn’t scripted and carefully controlled.
Many wrestlers suffer from personal demons such as substance addiction, so arrests stemming from addiction (illegal substance possession, DUIs, etc) are seemingly a dime a dozen. The crazy wrestling personalities, however, manage to get themselves into far crazier situations that lead to their arrests. From robbing or destroying fast food restaurants to accidental assault in a PR miscommunication nightmare to actually getting arrested live on stage (in what many audience members likely thought was part of the show), wrestlers have gotten arrested for a lot of crazy charges.
There are many arrests that are incredibly tragic or gruesome, and then there are ones that are just plain bizarre. Here are 15 of those bizarre, crazy wrestler arrests.
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15 Disco Inferno
Inferno’s wrestling personality wasn’t exactly dominated by aggression – he was kind of the class clown. However, he apparently had a love of gambling and a desire to make a more intimate kind of casino. What exactly did he do? Well, he was arrested (along with 26 other individuals who were also participants at the ‘casino’) in a gambling sting, according to 411mania. A casino had been set up in Dan Tyre’s Atlanta home. This wasn’t just a boys’ poker night, it was a fairly complex operation with a minimum 10 grand buy in and waitresses to bring drinks. Disco was charged with felony gambling and illegal substance possession.
14 William Regal
Regal has been upfront about his addiction struggles, but there was one moment that erred closer to strange than sad. On a 1997 flight from Tokyo to the United States, Regal got very, very drunk. He then proceeded to the bathroom and, in his intoxicated state, didn’t notice the door was partially open. When the stewardess tried to get him to close the bathroom door, he turned and just continued voiding his bladder – right on her, according to NewsTimes.com. He blacked out and woke up in an Anchorage, Alaska jail – a detour that was taken to remove him from the flight, probably due to an incredibly grossed out stewardess. He was charged with, literally, “urinating on a flight attendant.”
13 Hardbody Harrison
While some wrestlers are happily married men, there are many who are often in the public eye for treating their women perhaps a little less than nicely. None of them hold a candle to Hardbody Harrison. He was arrested for having not one, not two, not even five, but EIGHT women locked up as 'sex slaves' in his homes. One of the women who was trapped in Harrison’s gruesome world managed to flag down a police officer on the street and notify him of the situation. Harrison stupidly decided to defend himself in court and was rewarded with life in prison – although with so many women involved, and so many charges – forced labor, aggravated sexual abuse, sex trafficking and more – it’s likely that even the best lawyer would have had trouble with this client.
12 Big Show
The headlines practically write themselves, so while Big Show’s 1998 arrest eventually resulted in him being released for insufficient evidence, it has to be included. While staying at a Memphis, Tennessee motel, Big Show decided to treat a female motel employee to another type of show – whether big or not remains a mystery – by allegedly exposing himself, according to TheSmokingGun.
Wrestlers have many pre-programmed and planned moves that often make reality and acting difficult to decipher within the ring. Vader ran into trouble during a morning show appearance in Kuwait. The producers apparently planned a funny stunt for their viewers, telling Vader to grab the interviewer and jerk him around a little when he asked if wrestling was fake. Funny, right? Not to the host, apparently, who the producers didn’t notify of the stunt. He was charged with assaulting the host, but the smallness of the fine likely eased the sting of this embarrassing arrest a bit – he had to pay up a mere $164.
10 Billie Joe Travis
Wrestlers have been arrested on a wide variety of charges, but it had never actually crossed into the ring – until Billie Joe Travis, that is. Travis was arrested for failing to pay child support. Sad, but not exactly crazy – that is, until you learn that he was arrested during a televised program. His ex-wife, angry at his failure to pay child support for quite some time, knew where he’d be performing and sent the police to pick him up. He’s since tragically passed away from a heart attack, but he’ll live on in infamy as the only American wrestler to ever be arrested (for real, not as part of an entertainment stunt) on live television.
9 Ken Patera
On a night in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Ken Patera was apparently not lovin’ it. He visited a Wisconsin branch of the McDonald’s chain and was denied service, as they were closed. That’s a cue to just move on to find another locale for your late-night hunger, right? Not for Patera – he used all of his wrestling-trained arm strength to throw a boulder through the McDonald’s window, though he claims "it was bogus." He was understandably followed back to his hotel by police officers, who showed up at his door, likely to question him about the incident. Patera, instead of cooperating, got into an altercation with the officers (as did his friend, another wrestler who was with him at the scene.) He was charged with battery of a peace officer and served a year in prison, according to WWE.com.
8 Randy Orton
In his pre-wrestling years, Orton decided that rather than becoming a wrestler like other members of his family, he would serve his country. He enrolled in the U.S. Marine Corps, determined it would be the right career path for him. However, he soon apparently realized it wasn’t – he went AWOL twice within a year of enlisting, and even disobeyed his superior’s order. His behavior eventually led to him getting court-martialled under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He spent a month in military prison after being awarded a Bad Conduct Discharge, according to Inquisitr.com.
7 Booker T
Wrestler Booker T got a job at Wendy’s fast food restaurant when he was younger, partially to help his single mother and seven other siblings. However, the wage awarded to Wendy’s employees wasn’t quite enough for Booker T, and he turned on his employer by committing several armed robberies on different Wendy’s locations, according to SFGate.com. He was eventually caught in 1987, along with his partners in crime – and it’s lucky they weren’t caught sooner, as they were fairly obvious about their crimes, even wearing their Wendy’s uniforms while robbing the restaurants. He struggled for a few years after his release from prison before finally turning to pro wrestling.
6 Meng/King Haku
Everyone remembers Mike Tyson biting Evander Holyfield’s ear, but wrestler Meng/King Haku (depending on which organization you know him better from) apparently has a similar taste for aggressive nibbling. At a Baltimore Airport, Meng was having some drinks with Siva Afi when some men approached him and made a reference to wrestling being fake. An offended Meng/King Haku was offended and knocked three men out before getting a firm grip on the group’s most vocal member and bit a chunk out of his nose. At his hotel bar later, police officers appeared (likely because the man had reported the incident) and arrested him.
5 Bruiser Bedlam /Johnny K-9
It’s pretty crazy to blow up any building, but Bruiser Bedlam/Johnny K-9 (real name Ion Croitoru) took it one step further – he tempted fate to the max by blowing up a police station. Croitoru, the president of the Ontario chapter of the Satan’s Choice Outlaw biker gang, took offense when he was tossed out of a strip club for wearing gang apparel with some of his gang brothers. Croitoru, wanting revenge, blew up a police station in a plan that was certainly not well thought out. In addition to the police station incident, Croitoru snagged charges for assault, carrying a concealed weapon, extortion, and breaking the conditions of his release. Perhaps the craziest part of his arrest was the result – despite being found guilty for all those offenses, he was only sentenced to 33 months in prison.
4 Matt Morgan
Morgan is hopefully a lot more careful about what he says after his crazy arrest. In 2006, Morgan was cruising along in Louisville, Kentucky when someone cut him off in traffic. Upset by the incident, he got a bit of road rage and yelled something at the woman who cut him off – “You better be glad I’m not a police officer!” In most cases, that would be the end of things, just a silly comment made in anger. However, the woman who Morgan yelled at was a bit more conniving than the average driver, and actually called the police on Morgan and told them he was impersonating a police officer. The police caught him on the way to the gym and arrested him for the offense. Morgan was eventually released after explaining the incident – what bad luck for him to have yelled at one of the few women who would be vindictive enough to call the cops on someone for one statement made in a moment of road rage.
3 Vince McMahon
Vince McMahon’s arrest is crazy just for the largeness and complications of the trial that resulted from it. Everyone knows the McMahon steroid debacle, which involved Dr. George T. Zahorian III, wrestlers from Hulk Hogan to Roddy Piper, and much more. McMahon was charged with possession of steroids and conspiracy to distribute steroids, and they laid some pretty harsh potential prison time and property seizing on him. Things ended up playing out differently than many thought, as Hulk Hogan eventually claimed McMahon was innocent, a testimony that allowed McMahon to walk away a free man.
2 Blackjack Mulligan
Blackjack Mulligan (or Robert Jack Windham) got into a bit of trouble in 1990 when the U.S. Secret Service and Florida Department of Law Enforcement showed up to arrest him. Why, exactly? Printing stacks and stacks of counterfeit bills - $500,000 worth at the time of his arrest, according to The Post and Courier. Mulligan tried to solve his trouble of how to pay for new taxes on his properties by just printing more money for himself. Simple, right? Except that it’s highly illegal, something that Mulligan must have known.
1 Nick Gage
You hear a lot about bank robberies – after all, for a criminal in need of money, going to a location where they have stacks and stacks of it seems like a sure bet. Gage certainly thought so, and he sauntered into a bank in Collingswood, New Jersey, and presented the teller with a robbery note. For his efforts, he got $3,000. However, it wasn’t exactly a skilled operation – Gage walked in without a mask or any concealment, and since he was pretty big in the Combat Zone Wrestling world at the time, he was very quickly recognized, according to Philly.com. Gage made one smart decision when he turned himself into the police, as he was soon notified that he was on the police’s wanted list.
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