As the old adage goes, we love to see the famous fall. The farther the fall, the greater the comeback story. With the advent of social media, you can track your favorite celebrities every single move and track their progress in their fall or their comeback. All the better to watch how crazy some people are and the accusations they might make.
When it comes to pro wrestling, because of how larger than life the Superstars and Divas already are, to see the levels of depravity they’ll sink to is nothing short of spectacular. With the power of the internet, the old wrestling magazines have been able to spread their readership by including the gossip behind the Superstars lives as well. In our “what will they do next” level of addiction to reading about trainwrecks, wrestlers continue to provide an endless supply of antics to follow and shake your head at.
This list will look like a variety of trainwrecks in wrestling and where they are today. A lot of these stories actually have happy endings and they serve more as cautionary tales for future wrestlers and the pitfalls to avoid. Unfortunately, there are also many stories on this list that end sadly, either with the wrestler passing away or not being able to get their life back on track.
We have compiled a list of the best (or is that worst?) trainwrecks in wrestling history.
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19 Matt Hardy
Between the Hardy brothers, it’s tough to decipher who is the bigger trainwreck, but that's because Matt can blur the lines between working the fans and truly going off the rails. However, there are certain things that you just can’t fake. Like the more–than–words scuffle Matt got into with his wife, Reba Sky back in January 2014, which got them both arrested. However, the worst of Matt’s antics had to have been his “suicide letter” in 2011, which caught the attention of the local authorities who showed up to his home, his sister–in–law who tweeted to him to “stop working the internet,” and J.R. who tweeted “Matt, seek answers.”
18 Perry Saturn
Sometimes, even heroic deeds can lead someone down a dark path. In 2004, Perry Saturn, a former army Ranger, stopped a rape in progress and sadly got shot in the neck in the process. Sadly, Saturn’s recuperation involved becoming addicted to meth, painkillers, and being homeless for several years. Not even the former ECW Tag Team Champion’s family knew where he was. Luckily for Saturn and his loved ones, the man re-emerged years later, clean and sober.
17 Kurt Angle
Even world–class Olympians can go a little mad. Kurt Angle, who at one time was the elitist of the elite, just happens to go on a rant every few months, usually on Twitter, but his antics are still enough to sometimes question his mental stability. First, in a sport where moves are constantly recycled by the Superstars, Angle took to Twitter to take umbrage with several WWE stars using his moves at WrestleMania XXVII. One year later, he was at it again, bashing HBK and Stone Cold, stating he made it to the top in one year and it took them 15. However, the worst is definitely his four DWI arrests in six years and the guy wonders why the WWE doesn’t seem to want him back. He did decide to seek help through rehab in 2013 and it appears as though he's on the right track once more.
16 Stone Cold Steve Austin
Stone Cold is definitely a rattlesnake not to be trifled with. According to his ex–wife, and former Diva, Debra and police reports, Austin not only pounded on her, but the bionic redneck also yanked the phone wires, unplugged the garage doors and yanked out wires so that she was unable to leave. Police had asked Austin to not return, he pled no contest to domestic abuse, was given a year’s probation, 1000$ fine, and 80 hours of community service. Debra cites ‘roid rage as the cause of all of this and we'll never know for sure if that was the case. Today, if you listen to Austin’s podcasts and the banter he has with his current wife, Kristen, it seems like the Toughest SOBs worst days are behind him.
In the WWE, Michael Jones was given the name of Virgil (a rib on Virgil “Dusty Rhodes” Runnels), the servant of Ted DiBiase. In WCW, he was Vincent (a rib on Vince McMahon), the servant of …Ted DiBiase. While the Million Dollar Man was a memorable character, Virgil realy wasn't, but don’t ever try to tell him that. The guy spends his days now trolling at Wrestling and Comic-Cons trying to tell people how famous he is and that he was part of one the biggest angles in wrestling history. He's referring to the nWo, you know the same angle that just about everyone in WCW was part of. There’s even a whole website dedicated to Jones, LonelyVirgil.net.
When you were on the road with the boys and they, along with your tag team partner, are having trouble putting up with you, maybe it’s time to try and climb out of that bottle. According to Animal, Hawk fought the perils of drug and alchohol addiction for a long time. A clean and sober Hawk would return to the WWE, along with Animal, during the Attitude Era and against their wishes, be put in the controversial storyline that had Hawk come to matches drunk and the infamous moment where a suicidal Hawk was pushed off the titantron by Puke. Hawk unfortunately died of a heart attack in 2003, but he had overcome his demons, as no drugs or alcohol were found in the Road Warrior’s system.
13 Shawn Michaels
For how amazing Shawn Michaels was in the ring, imagine if he wasn’t such a jerk to put up with in his youth? By his own admission, he was not easy to get along with and it was fueled by drugs and pills. As he recuperated at home from what was thought to be a career ending injury, the problems continued, as he would get into an argument with Triple H and the two wouldn’t speak until Kevin Nash told HBK to call Hunter to apologize. However, what really did him in was that his son had been old enough to notice after he passed out due to pain pills. We all know this story has a happy ending as Shawn would find Jesus and return to the ring to finish his career.
12 William Regal
For such a seemingly sophisticated Brit, William Regal went off the deep end for a while thanks to a knee injury he suffered in Japan, adding prescription painkillers to his list of regular usage of booze. WCW dropped him for his behavior and WWE would pick him up and the tab for rehab before dropping him as well, telling him to come back once sober. The legendary Brit supposedly locked himself in a room and compiled a notebook of an equation he was convinced would solve the world’s problems. Unfortunately for the world, the equation solved nothing. But luckily for Regal and the rest of the wrestling community, he would get clean and regain his place as a legend to be admired and learned from.
11 Gino Hernandez
Sadly, this story isn't as happy as the last stores on this list and many younger fans might need a brief history lesson on the Handsome Half–Breed. Gino Hernandez was one of most skilled performers in World Class Championship Wrestling, joining forces with Chris Adams to take on the Von Erichs. Unfortunately, Gino’s cocaine habit was as big as his talents. After no–showing several shows, WCCW official David Manning and local police would break into his home to find him dead for about three days. Autopsy reports would reveal that he died due a cocaine overdose, but some people believe that he was murdered because of drugs.
10 The Iron Sheik
Here we have the strange and curious case of Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, aka the Iron Sheik, where going off the deep end ignited a new part of his career. Years ago, the Sheik went under the knife for a botched knee surgery that left him worse off coming out then going in. Broke and addicted to drugs and alcohol, the Sheik would go on shoot interviews, lambasting anyone and everything that crossed his mind. Happily for The Iron Sheik, some family friends helped him out of the mess and he's turned his life around.
9 Teddy Hart
We can all play armchair psychologist and cite various deaths in the Hart family and friends as the reasons for Teddy Hart’s exploits, but that would be unfair to Natayla, Tyson, and Harry, all of whom seem to have level heads on their shoulders. Teddy seemingly has a perpetual chip on his shoulder. In 2003, Hart would wrestle at a Ring of Honor show and after being eliminated, he would still perform moves on unsuspecting wrestlers, including a shooting star press from the top of a cage. It all came to a head in December 2014, when the RCMP in Canada issued a warrant for his arrest, due to allegations of sexual assault from not one but two women.
9. The Dynamite Kid
To learn about the price of fame as a smaller guy in the giant–filled 80s, look no further than the Dynamite Kid. One half of the British Bulldogs, Dynamite, like his cousin Davey Boy would learn the art of wrestling in the Hart Dungeon. He might have been one of the best ever of his day, but he certainly didn’t look it and Dynamite would be an active steroid user to get as big as he possibly could. Dynamite might have had some marquee early matches with the likes of Bret Hart and Tiger Mask, but, in the end, he remains more of a cautionary tale. Years of abuse on his body, both in and out of the ring, have sadly left him wheelchair bound. Luckily, his second wife, Dot, has been taking care of him and helping him through this difficult time in his life.
8 Sean Waltman
By his own accounts, X-Pac was more or less on his own from age five and sexually abused several times. Waltman would overcome his upbringing and become a wrestling star as the 1-2-3 Kid and then as X-Pac.. As with many of the stars on this list, a drug addiction would gain a foothold on him. Sadly, it didn’t stop there, as heavy drinking and drug use would lead to a suicide attempt. All of this and we haven’t even mentioned his tumultuous relationship with Joanie “Chyna” Laurer. However, whereas she seems to keep sinking, Waltman finally seems have gotten straight and we certainly hope it stays that way.
7 Randy Orton
He might be a respected veteran locker room leader now, but when Randy Orton first appeared on the scene, he was just a punk kid with drug and attitude issues. Perhaps he let the hype about how good he was (Triple H even compared him to HBK) go to his head. Some his antics involved disparaging women in the locker room and possibly defecating in some of their gear bags, though the more likely story has him spraying tanning lotion in the bag. His response to the bad behavior was that he was just a dumb kid. He also admits that he once overdosed on drugs in 2006, but luckily for Orton and his family, he's turned his life around and is now a respected member of the WWE roster.
Far be it from any red–blooded male wrestling fan to criticize or shake their head at Sunny over the possibility of her supposed signing with Vivid Entertainment just because it's adult entertainment. However, it could be seen as cry for help or a need for money, as the original Diva has had a constant battle with drugs and alcohol. She also was arrested five times in a month, back in 2012 for crimes like disorderly conduct, burglary and violating a restraining order. Sunny even sells time with her on Skype, with higher payments getting the viewer more interesting rewards. It's truly been a sharp fall from grace for the former WWE star.
5 Lex Luger
Early in his career, the world was ripe for Lex Luger’s taking. Great matches with Barry Windham and Ric Flair in the NWA, part of the main event at WrestleMania X, and a shocking return to WCW at the first ever Monday Nitro, had him on top of the wrestling worl. However, when his partner, Miss Elizabeth, died of an accidental overdose, it set Luger on a journey to try and numb the pain with his own cocktails of painkillers and alcohol. In 2007, Luger suffered a spinal stroke. Luckily, he has made some strides in recovering from that and now is able to drive. Luger now takes the lessons he learned the hard way and helps the WWE, teaching the Superstars nutrition, wellness and how to take care of themselves.
4 Jeff Hardy
One thing you can say in Matt Hardy’s defense is that he never showed up completely bombed before a main event match. But as for his brother, Jeff, that is exactly what happened at TNA’s Victory Road 2011. Jeff Hardy would probably be as popular as John Cena if not for his issues with substance abuse. Hardy has battled drug problems for as long as anyone can remember, but with his artistic tendencies, it begs the question for the Charismatic Enigma–do the demons influence the artist or does the art inspire the demons?
3 Jake "The Snake" Roberts
The mind that Jake the Snake Roberts has for wrestling knows no bounds. In the era of Hulkamania, the lanky, ragged looking Roberts learned that the lower he spoke, the more fans wanted to listen. The more cryptic the promo, the more the fans were into Jake. But the Snake was never able to get a handle on his addictions and life on the road. He might be the first wrestler that fans actively knew had more issues than could be counted. But snakes are a determined species and Jake is no different. Thanks to DDP, his yoga program and his “Accountability Crib,” the Snake’s life is back on track.
2 Scott Hall
Another wrestler with a fantastic mind for the business (he was the one who suggested Sting go Crow) and substance issues big enough for fans to know about before the advent of the internet. In the middle of his nWo run, Hall was taken off TV when he showed up for Nitro heavily under the influence of painkillers and alcohol. He was also involved in a 2008 altercation during a Roast of the Iron Sheik, where he drunkenly attacked a comedian who had invoked Owen Hart’s name in poor taste. DDP has done great strides in helping Hall, but the man can’t seem to fully help himself and, in May, he was tossed from a festival in New Jersey for failing to make scheduled appearances. Hall does continue to work to better himself and distance himself from his demons, and we pray that he finally reaches that goal.
Sadly for Chyna, since leaving the WWE, the problems have begun to mount for her. This year alone, she claimed that Triple H hit her, X–Pac had raped her, and showed up uninvited to WWE corporate offices seeking forgiveness. She now tweets pictures of herself during the Attitude Era with the saying #ChynaHOF. There is little doubt that Chyna’s WWE career is deserving of a HOF ring, but her adult entertainment career, drug usage, slanderous words, and the fact that she'd be speaking on a live mic make her an inductee on the “Never in the HOF” list.
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