Fans of professional wrestling are an interesting group, even the writers. We like to try and read between the lines of what is being shown on our televisions when two superstars don’t like each other. Sometimes, there is something there to keep an eye on. We’ve seen it happen throughout the history of professional wrestling.
The big difference is that we are now a more socially connected fan base that is able to read more about what is happening regarding our favorite wrestlers in our favorite promotions. We have become an even more studious and informed group than before. But the one thing that hasn’t changed is how there are always situations that happen behind the scenes – ones that the promoters and/or wrestlers don’t want the public to find out about.
The scandals discussed here will span over multiple decades of pro wrestling’s history. Some might be common knowledge by now, but there were times where the promoters and wrestlers attempted to keep things quiet. Some have been successful with their still being a shroud of mystery, while other cases have out in the open despite not being talked about publicly.
However, many pro wrestling fans and writers are a lot smarter than the people in charge would often like us to be. Why else would they try to have a fake Razor Ramon and Diesel when Scott Hall and Kevin Nash made the jump from the World Wrestling Fed--, I mean Entertainment, to World Championship Wrestling. It was just another example of promoters trying to sweep controversial facts under the rug; not the first, nor last time it will happen.
The following are the top 15 scandals in the world of pro wrestling where people involved tried to sweep them under the rug and away from public view.
15 Dawn Marie's Wrongful Termination
During the WWE’s “Ruthless Aggression” era, Dawn Marie had some memorable moments involving Torrie Wilson. But she was released from the company in 2005 while she was away from WWE on maternity leave and pregnant with her first child. About a year later, she filed a complaint for wrongful termination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
14 JBL's Backstage Issues
John “Bradshaw” Layfield has had his share of issues where he took being a backstage enforcer being a little too far. There were a number of stories that one can find online about his hazing of superstars, and it also branched out with public criticisms of matches involving John Morrison – embarrassing him in front of his peers.
13 Randy Orton's Problems With Women
When Orton was a younger superstar in the WWE, he was not one of the more mature men in the locker room. There were a number of stories about his attitude with women in the past, which included Rochelle Loewen’s claims that he had a problem with her because she didn’t know his name.
12 Martha Hart's Lawsuit Against WWE
Owen Hart was expected to repel from the rafters and to the ring during one of the early matches of the Over the Edge pay-per-view in 1999. Acting as the Blue Blazer, Hart had an issue that led to him falling into the ring. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful and he was announced dead on live television.
There was a lot of controversy with the show continuing on. It’s believed that none of the stunt coordinators wanted to try the quick-release clip for Hart’s harness and his widow Martha blames the WWE for using what she called a “makeshift contraption.”
11 Plane Ride From Hell
WWE had a long list of superstars getting into trouble on their airplane on a May 2002 trip to the United Kingdom, especially with alcohol playing a heavy factor. Stories came out that Curt Hennig and Brock Lesnar had a wrestling match in the aisle to settle a debate of who was the better amateur wrestler – which had to be separated by several other wrestlers.
10 Chyna's Departure
One of the more memorable women from professional wrestling’s height of popularity in the 1990s, was not really comfortable when her former boyfriend Triple H began dating Stephanie McMahon in real life. Apparently, there were a number of issues that led to her being sent home after a meeting with Vince McMahon – only to be faxed a letter of termination shortly thereafter.
9 Vince McMahon and Rita Chatterton
In 1992, Vince McMahon was accused of trying to cover up sexual crimes within the World Wrestling Federation throughout the year. Former female referee Rita Chatterton claimed she was making decent money, but felt that she had to appease his sexual desires to remain employed.
8 Abuse Of Ring Boys
The year 1992 was not a great year for Vince McMahon’s company as there were allegations made by former ring help Tom Cole that multiple men were sexually harassing him. One of them was Terry Garvin, who was the company’s director of wrestling operations, announcer Mel Phillips and Pat Patterson.
7 The Death of Brian Pillman
In 1997, Brian Pillman’s body was found in a Minneapolis hotel room while on tour with the World Wrestling Federation. The autopsy found small traces of cocaine in his system, but his cause of death was linked to heart problems.
Melanie King, his widow, said he was abusing steroids and painkillers in an attempt to return from a leg injury, but she didn’t file a lawsuit after the company provided money from the balance of his contact and to go towards a down payment on a home for her and their four children.
6 Stabbing Incident Between Sid Vicious & Arn Anderson
It wasn’t until Leon White, better known as Vader, spoke in an interview about how Sid Vicious and Arn Anderson got into a crazy brawl that involved a pair of scissors while the two were on a tour in the United Kingdom in 1993. Both men were stabbed in the hotel room altercation, with Anderson taking a majority of the blows.
5 Vince McMahon Harasses Tanning Salon Employee
It seems like there is a trend regarding the WWE and sexual assault. This time, Vince McMahon was accused of trying to kiss and inappropriately touch a woman who worked at a tanning salon in Boca Raton, Fla, in 2006. The woman also told police that he also showed her nude photos of himself on his cell phone.
4 Steroid Trial
More than two decades ago, Vince McMahon stood trial involving drug trafficking charges. The charges were first announced in 1993 that claimed McMahon’s company was collecting steroids from an east coast doctor and were given out to wrestlers on the WWE roster. Wrestlers who were believed to have taken steroids gave testimony, which didn’t help the case against McMahon.
3 Bruiser Brody's 1988 Murder
In 1988, Bruiser Brody was stabbed to death during an altercation with wrestler Jose Gonzalez in the locker room of a World Wrestling Council show in Puerto Rico. Gonzalez was arrested and charged with murder, but claimed that he was acting in self-defense. The jury in Puerto Rico found him not guilty and there are still a number of questions even nearly 30 years later.
2 Jimmy Snuka's Murder Case
The 1983 death of Nancy Argentino, who was Jimmy Snuka’s mistress at the time, has come back into the light of the public eye with new charges being filed against the man once known as Superfly. Authorities arrived to a Pennsylvania hotel room where Argentino was found with a fractured skull.
1 Chris Benoit
It’s one thing when the WWE tries to lead fans to forget someone existed, which is usually done by pretending they don’t exist. However, the WWE virtually tried to remove Chris Benoit from their history after the graphic details came out regarding a 2007 murder suicide where not only he passed, but also his wife Nancy and his son Daniel, 7.
Before the investigation results were announced, the WWE spent an episode of Raw as a memorial to his career. But there was a cloud of negative publicity when the true cause of death was found, which led to Vince McMahon announcing no further mention of Benoit in WWE.
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