Full disclosure: This list began as the “Top 25 Insane Stories Involving Wrestlers,” but it soon became apparent that there were too many crazy stories for even a list of this length. Even if the list were limited to events that occurred outside of the ring (which it is), it would still be too long. There are simply too many shenanigans constantly occurring in wrestling - especially back in the classic days - to summarize them in one place.
On that note, the list was pared down even more, eliminating the darker “insane” stories, or the ones involving crimes committed or actions taken that weren’t absurd in nature. What we’re left with are the crazy, borderline-unbelievable, yet still very funny moments that occurred outside of the wrestling ring while still involving the figures who found fame inside it.
As many fans are aware, a lot of nutty things can happen when you take deranged individuals who are playing even more twisted characters and force them to hang out together for extended periods of time. Pranks a-plenty were pulled, friendships were formed, alliances were drawn, and rivalries often developed - usually in the name of good fun, but things could occasionally get carried away. Adding to the humor, fellow babyfaces were sometimes at odds offscreen and offstage, and arch-enemies were often actually close friends in real life - which could confuse (and possibly anger) fans who might find out. In the end, it’s clear there is and was always a lot of absurdity abound in the industry, and although it’s nearly impossible to compile all the insanely-funny instances, we sure as hell tried.
Here are the top 25 hilarious stories involving wrestlers.
25 Harley Pulled A Piece On Hulk
Before WWE went national in the ‘80s, wrestling was operated on a city-by-city basis, with local promotions running all the shows in the area. Unsurprisingly, the old guard wasn’t too pleased when Vince McMahon took his show on the road and began televising matches nationally. Tensions were high in some locations, and during a stop in Kansas City, they boiled over. In 1984, Harley Race (then a partial owner of a regional NWA promotion) stormed into the dressing room of a visiting Hulk Hogan, punched the wrestler, and threatened him for the WWE’s alleged wrongdoing.
Seeing the absurdity of the situation, Hogan remarked that he was surprised Harley didn’t bring a gun too. Race replied by reaching into his pocket and pulling out a .38 special. Although Harley denies the following bit, Hogan insists that Race then attempted to burn down the ring in anger.
24 Jim Cornette’s Personal Smackdown
If you’re familiar with manager/promoter/commentator Jim Cornette, you might know that in 2005 he was suspended from Ohio Valley Wrestling (WWE’s lead developmental territory at the time) for legitimately slapping wrestler Santino Marella (real name Anthony Carelli, then known as Johnny Geo Basco) backstage. But the full story makes one grown man slapping another even funnier. Cornette’s actions were in response to what he saw as a no-sell on the part of Marella, who was sitting in the crowd during a live event with The Boogeyman. But Marella actually had a good explanation. "The Boogeyman turned toward us, and I thought he was going to scare my daughter for me,” he said. “So I started smiling, thinking, 'This is going to be good. He's going to scare my daughter.’ I guess Jim Cornette thought I was laughing at the Boogeyman. He got all freaked out, brought me backstage, and history happened.”
23 Daniel Bryan Busts A Burglar
Picture for a second that you’re a burglar. You break into a house to steal some loot, when suddenly the owners arrive home. You drop the stuff and decide to flee, but one of the owners decides to confront you...and that’s when you realize it’s former WWE Heavyweight Champion Daniel F’ing Bryan. This is exactly what happened in 2014, and as expected, Bryan caught and pinned one of the two burglars. “I took him down,” Bryan said. “I put him in a rear naked choke.” Police eventually arrived to arrest the man, and Bryan could laugh the incident off, adding, “The fun answer would be that I put him in the ‘yes’ lock and he was tapping on the ground, but that’s not what happened.”
As you’ll see in later stories, wrestlers weren’t always given the best accommodations on the road. Here’s an illustration of that, straight from the mouth of The Miz: “I checked into a hotel that ... in the doorway, you could see [people] sleeping in the next room. And the [employees] came out, gave me the key to the room, which was like an actual key, not one of those little plastic card things that we get nowadays. I opened the door [to the room] and I didn't even want to sleep on the floor, didn't want to sleep in the bed. I didn't know where to sleep, so I slept in my car.”
21 Andre’s Drinking Accomplishments
Everyone has probably heard a story about Andre the Giant’s alleged drinking feats, so why choose just one? Here’s a sampling of the things Andre was said to have accomplished (and the source): 119 beers in a single sitting (Andre’s claim during an appearance on Letterman), 156 beers in a single night (Mike Graham), it took Andre “two liters of vodka before [he felt] warm” (the info used to administer pre-surgery anesthesia to Andre), and finally, while filming The Princess Bride, Andre reportedly racked up a $40,000 bar tab at his hotel. Drinks all around! (All around Andre, that is.)
20 Paul Bearer’s Pee Predicament
Back in the good old days when Paul Bearer was The Undertaker’s manager, the two would often travel together while keeping up the master-servant roles. In one instance, while driving to the next venue, the two stopped for gas. Bearer also had to take a wicked whiz, but the duo needed to make their purchase first, and of course Paul had to be the one to pump the gas. However, according to Bearer himself, the sight and sound of the hose was too much, and he didn’t make it. Think about that: A grown man pissed his pants because he refused to drop wrestling roleplay while at some random gas station. To top things off, when the gruesome twosome arrived at the event only an hour later, a gift basket was already waiting for Bearer: a package of adult diapers, courtesy of Vince McMahon.
19 The Undertaker Meets His Match
The Undertaker has faced a lot of tough foes in his day, been put through a lot (like getting buried alive and set on fire, for instance), and is regarded as one of the baddest dudes in the industry, yet he has one major weakness in real life: cucumbers. According to a past interview with Paul Bearer, Taker can’t stand to be anywhere near the green vegetable. Bearer and some of the wrestlers used to prank the Dead Man by putting cucumbers in his hat and gloves just before he took the stage, and he would flip out and start gagging. To illustrate the absurdity of this phobia, Paul Bearer recalled a specific incident where someone once dropped a cucumber in Taker’s iced tea while dining out: “I saw The Undertaker throw up all over a Waffle House.”
18 Fire Away!
In one of two stories about hotel shenanigans involving a fire extinguisher, according to Goldust, he, Doug Furnas, and Danny Kroffat once decided to prank Abdullah the Butcher (Goldust’s touring roommate at the time) in Japan. “The Butcher always sleeps with his door open,” Goldust recalled. “I think it was Doug Furnas that came up with the bright idea to get me out of the room and he said, ‘Watch this right here, this is gonna be funny as hell.’ And he let the fire extinguisher go.” Unbeknownst to the pranksters, it was one of those extinguishers that doesn't stop until it’s empty, and the spray soon got out of hand. “Abdullah started coughing in his room. There was white stuff all over,” Goldust added. Abdullah had no idea who was behind the prank, until Gold revealed the secret decades later.
17 Mad Max: Wrestler’s Road
Despite ample planning, there’s obviously a lot of danger and general recklessness involved in wrestling, but why limit that to the ring? When Sting and the Steiner brothers would drive to the next venue, if they encountered any other wrestlers on the road, it would turn into an all-out war. They’d throw everything possible at the other cars, and would even try to pull open their enemies’ doors at full speed. In one extreme instance, Paul Heyman recalled riding with the Samoan Swat Team through North Carolina when they spotted the Sting/Steiner car, which proceeded to bombard their own with all kinds of food (including a whole watermelon).
Not to be outdone, the SST car pulled over at a gas station to load up on all things explosive and potentially-damaging, and the Samoans cut their hands and wrote SST in blood on the car and on their heads (because lighthearted fun, right?) Heyman said the end result was so bad that the vehicle was deemed totaled and he's still not allowed to rent cars in that town.
16 Hacksaw’s Best Bud
Back in the ‘80s, there were two major no-nos as far as personal activities go: don’t get arrested (especially for drugs) and try not to break kayfabe. Hacksaw Jim Duggan managed to check both these boxes in a single incident. In 1987, Hacksaw was pulled over during a routine traffic stop and fessed up to possessing marijuana. Not only did he possess it on his person, but also in his system, as both Hacksaw and his passenger were high as kites.
Little did Duggan know, his buddy also had cocaine on him, and both were subsequently arrested for the offenses. Oh, did I mention that Jim’s passenger was none other than the Iron Sheik, the arch nemesis of Duggan’s uber-patriotic character. Both of them were immediately fired by Vince, who also used the opportunity to begin drug testing his athletes.
15 Andre Flips Out
When it comes to size and strength, nobody in wrestling history could come close to Andre the Giant. The guy was unbelievably huge (he could reportedly lift Arnold Schwarzenegger with one hand, despite never engaging in weight training), and the stories regarding his feats were well known. Which means you never, ever poke the bear. Yet a few jabronis did just this when they spotted Andre drinking along at a bar one night and began harassing him. When things became heated, the goons retreated to their car, and what they thought was safety. According to wrestler/manager Arnold Skaaland, Andre responded by following them, lifting up their car, and flipping it completely over with the poor saps inside. Try explaining that one to the insurance company. “Like a good neighbor…”
14 The Undertaker & Kevin Nash: Business As Usual
Back in the ‘90s, when Vince McMahon cared a lot more about the morality and image of his wrestlers’ personal lives, he called a meeting and banned them all from patronizing strip clubs - citing The Undertaker and Kevin Nash as the biggest offenders. Shortly afterward (possibly in Philadelphia), according to Nash: “I walk in the strip club, I look around, there’s none of the boys, and I’m like, ‘Alright, I’m cool’. So I go and get up in a corner, my eyes adjust to the room, I look over, and I see this big guy in a black leather coat … and he just goes [sheepishly waves]. I walked over and sat down next to him and said, ‘Well, nice to see you listened.’ He said, “Nice to see you listened too’.”
13 The Undertaker Protects The Boss
Vince McMahon is a super competitive persona and so is former Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle. The two were so competitive that they would have a series of grappling contests in which McMahon would try and take down Angle. One day, McMahon caught Angle off guard and was able to take him down. Angle sought revenge.
While on a plane ride, Angle decided to get his revenge. He took down McMahon in the aisle on a plane, but the ruckus awoke The Undertaker. Not knowing the two were just horsing around, 'Taker felt the need to protect his boss, so he grabbed Angle and essentially choked him out. 'Taker later apologized, not knowing of the situation, but it never escalated past that point.
12 The Plane Ride from Hell
On May 5th 2002, an assortment of wrestlers and various WWE staff members boarded a chartered 747 with a full open bar (and a lot of GHB). Below is a summary of their offenses during the flight:
Numerous wrestlers repeatedly handed various syringes to flight attendants with instructions to dispose of them.
- Curt Hennig and Brock Lesnar started a friendly amateur wrestling-style ‘take-down’ tussle that soon got out of hand, and the duo went at it so hard that they almost popped open the emergency exit at 30,000 feet and had to be separated.
- Ric Flair was strutting around in an open robe while coming onto, harassing, and flashing the flight attendants (two of whom later sued him).
- Dustin Rhodes (a.k.a, Goldust) verbally harassed numerous flight attendants before taking over the plane’s PA system and drunkenly serenading his ex-wife, Terri Runnels.
- Scott Hall was unconscious for most of the flight, but apprently still had time to verbally abuse and slobber on the face of a flight attendant. He passed out so had they had to take him off the plane in a wheelchair.
- Michael Hayes was so wasted that he almost pissed on Linda McMahon, thinking he was in the bathroom. After passing out, X-Pac cut off his mullet. Hayes didn’t realize it until he was later going through customs.
Dustin Rhodes, Curt Hennig, and Scott Hall were all subsequently fired.
11 Nelson Scott Simpson Sees Red
Staying in character is important, but some guys take it a bit too seriously. When Nelson Scott Simpson got his first big break, he was told by Jim Crockett, Jr. that his character would be named Nikita Koloff, The Russian Nightmare (a play off Dusty Rhodes’s “The American Dream”). Not wanting to blow the huge opportunity, Simpson completely immersed himself in the new role, even going as far as legally changing his name to Nikita Koloff and refusing to speak English both in interviews and his daily life. In fact, he basically refused to speak at all until he learned some Russian. Koloff even brought an interpreter with him at all times, even when applying to rent an apartment, and also listed his birthplace as Lithuania on his child’s birth certificate. Making the story even more ridiculous, the Russian-ness was so ingrained in Simpson that after his 1992 retirement, it took him another two years to drop the accent.
10 The Wild Samoans’ Silent Treatment
Remember the Wild Samoans? They were two big dudes named Afa and Siko who, despite hailing from American Samoa (where 80% of the population speaks English), pretended to only be able to communicate in noises and grunts. And they took this seriously. So seriously, in fact, that it once got Hulk Hogan in a mess of legal trouble. Get this: According to Hogan’s autobiography, the trio were once traveling from Florida to New York by car and were stopped by a police officer. When Hogan went for his license in the glove box, his brand new, unregistered gun fell out, and the cop understandably freaked out.
Hogan, having just bought his first gun ever, plead his ignorance to the officer and begged the Samoans to back him up. Not wanting to break character the guys completely clammed up, and allowed their friend to get locked up while they went free. It took a whole day before things were sorted out and Hogan was let go, with absolutely no help from the Wild Samoans.
9 El Santo Unmasked
We’ve already heard some insane cases of wrestlers refusing to break character, but this one takes the cake. Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta, a.k.a. El Santo, was a Mexican Luchador wrestler, and pretty much never removed his mask during his 45-year career - even in his personal life. He wore it on planes (but traveled separately from his co-workers so they wouldn’t see him briefly remove it to go through security), he wore it while running errands, he had a special mask made with a larger mouth opening so he could eat while wearing it, and even continued to wear it after he retired. The only time El Santo ever removed his mask was once on television, one year after his retirement (and 50 years after his debut), and only partially, for a brief second. He died from a heart attack one week later. El Santo was, of course, buried with his mask on.
8 Rowdy Roddy Goes Boot Hunting
Want a pair of alligator boots? If you’re a normal person, you go to a store. If you’re Rowdy Roddy Piper, you try to kill the alligator yourself. In 1984, Piper, wrestlers Kevin Sullivan and Wally Dusek, and referee Bill Alfonso were traveling through Florida when they spotted a specimen. They stopped the car and Piper, armed with a pistol, shot the gator at least twice. “As soon as I hit him, he slid into the water and was motionless,” Piper later recalled. “For 10 minutes, we threw rocks at it, hitting it in the head. It did not move.” He and Sullivan then stripped down to their tights and began wading into the dark, opaque water to retrieve the prize; the former to grab it, and the latter to splash the water to scare other gators away.
Stupid as that plan seemed, no other gators approached them, but the “dead” one suddenly resurrected itself and dove back into the water just as Roddy got close. Piper hightailed it out of there, much to the entertainment of his cohorts - but then they saw movement in the grass nearby and followed suit just as quickly. It was an armadillo.
7 DDP the Cookie Monster
Back before the big money days of wrestling, wrestlers used to have to share hotel rooms - often three men in a single one. Mick Foley, Steve Austin, and Diamond Dallas Page used to be roommates, but Foley and Austin would get annoyed by Page sleeping in the nude and decided the best way to lose him was psychological torture. Completely immature psychological torture to a man known for flying off the handle at a moment’s notice. Brilliant.
In one instance, Foley took five or six dozen freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies and dumped them in DDP’s bed while he was out at a bar. When Page later returned, he climbed into bed without turning on the light, and soon realized the prank. Furious, DDP leapt up and demanded to know who was behind the rib. He heard Foley snickering in the darkness, and the following scene must have been equal parts horrific and hilarious: DDP grabbed as many cookies as possible and (still naked with saran wrap, mind you) jumped onto Foley’s bed, dumped the treats, and repeatedly yelled at the top of his lungs: “How do you like it when someone puts f---ing cookies in your f---king bed, you motherf---er?!”
6 The Infamous Slip’n’Slide Incident
Want to entertain yourself when bored? Watch a movie or read a book. Or, if you’re Perry Saturn and Raven, you hire two hookers and set up a slip & slide in your hotel’s hallway. We’ll spare you the exact details, but they are vulgar (and involved a sex toy used as headgear and one of the hookers stationing herself at the end of the slip & slide) and at one point a fire extinguisher was used as propulsion (which only ended up ruining the once-breathable surrounding air). In the end, the funniest part must have been the look on the hotel security guard’s face when he came upstairs to investigate a reported leak and caught the guilty parties red-handed. (Epilogue: All four participants, and anyone loosely associated with them, were immediately kicked out of the inn.)
5 Stone Cold Shower
Stone Cold is one of the toughest dudes around, but this might change your opinion of him a bit. During one of his podcasts in 2015, Austin revealed that he had hurt himself in a fall recently. No, not anything wrestling-related; Stone Cold fell in his shower while listening to Michael Jackson on Pandora and attempting to moonwalk. “It was probably two, two-and-a-half moonwalk steps from corner to corner, but I’m not a moonwalker,” he joked. Not only did he fall, but he tangled his legs, pinned his shoulder, and became hopelessly wedged in the tiny shower (he was staying in a trailer on location to film the next season of Broken Skull Ranch) and needed to call for his wife, who in turn called the fire department, for help. Austin was uninjured, thankfully, with the exception of a bath scrubber that may have found itself stuck in an unfortunate location - although Stone Cold may have embellished that last part.
4 Curt Hennig’s Crappy Pranks
Although we tried to leave some of the more vile ribs off this list, we have to include a couple nods to Curt Hennig, one of the greatest pranksters wrestling has ever seen. In the first instance, Hennig took advantage of an opportunity where he knew the Ultimate Warrior would need to spend a significant amount of time waiting underneath the ring for a teleportation gimmick using a trap door. When Warrior arrived underneath, just before the Nitro taping began, he discovered Hennig had left a bucket of fresh excrement in his hiding place. Despite the unimaginable stench, Warrior had no choice but to remain under the ring for three full hours. He reportedly vomited at least once during this wait.
In a related but even more immature prank, Hennig once pulled the ol’ ex-lax-in-food prank on Yokozuna. However, this occurred on an airplane, where the bathrooms were too small for the 600-pound wrestler. According to Bret Hart, after some panic, Yokozuna was allowed to relieve himself onto some newspapers in the back of the plane while a team of traumatized flight attendants shielded the sight from the other passengers with a blanket.
3 Owen Hart the Merry Prankster
This spot really should belong to ALL of Owen Hart’s pranks, because the true hilarity was how many he managed to pull on his fellow wrestlers. For purposes of narrowing it down, let’s focus on just the prank calls, because Hart was apparently exceptionally skilled at those. One time, while Hart was checking into a hotel, the front desk received a routine call from Hacksaw Jim Duggan about locating a nearby gym. Seeing an opportunity, Hart grabbed the phone and - pretending to be the receptionist - told Duggan to “look for it yourself, you lazy bastard.” When Duggan hung up and stormed into the lobby, he realized he had been had.
A similar story occurred when a fan at a meet-and-greet asked Val Venis to sign an entire stack of photos, to which Venis denied the request, thinking he planned to sell them. Later that night, Hart called Venis while pretending to be the fan and harassed Val until he too realized he was the victim of a prank.
In another, Hart called Ahmed Johnson while pretending to be someone from The Tonight Show and invited him on the show. Johnson bought an expensive new suit and waited quite a while for a limo that never came before Hart revealed his trick.
In one final instance, Hart called his father, Stu (who was relaxing at a nearby hotel with Bret while visiting his sons for WrestleMania IV in Atlantic City), and pretended to be Reggie Parks, a friend of Stu’s and the designer of WWE’s title belts. Owen was cordial at first, but then proceeded to berate Stu and challenge him to a fight, saying, “You never had the balls to try me, Stu.” Stu replied, “Reg, if you wanted to try me, why didn’t you try me?” He then stopped, put the phone down, took a seat, and turned to Bret and said: “That little bastard got me.”
2 Cops Make Coach Cry
One of the most impressive pranks in wrestling history was actually pulled by Vince McMahon, and former WWE commentator, interviewer, and occasional wrestler Jonathan “The Coach” Coachman was the victim. In 2001, Jerry Brisco told Coach to start a $10 football pool and collect the money from everybody. Soon afterward, on the night a Smackdown taping, two cops showed up and arrested Coach for running an illegal gambling operation. While exiting the building, the trio ran into Vince, who got in Coach’s face and berated him in front of everybody for 45 minutes, and refused to pay the $1,500 for his bail, saying, “F--- no, he’s on his own.” The cops drove for a mile with Coach handcuffed in the backseat before turning around and heading back to Vince’s office, claiming they forgot something.
Everyone was in there with Vince “laughing their asses off,” according to Coachman. “For about 10 minutes I literally walked to a place in the building and started crying. I thought my career was over."
1 Basically Meng’s Entire Life
Tonga Fifita, better known as “Meng” or “Haku,” is one of the baddest dudes to ever wrestler, and his feats outside the ring are the stuff of Chuck Norris jokes - except worse, and actually true (allegedly.) We couldn’t possibly narrow this down to one funny story (and to be honest, most of the tales are only funny because they are completely insane) so here’s a list of the things Meng apparently did, with the source in parenthesis:
- During a bar fight: "Meng bit through the guy's shirt like a wolf, bit a chunk out of the guy's back, then spit it on the floor.” - wrestler/booker Kevin Sullivan
- When a man at a hotel bar said wrestling was fake: “I reached over without thinking - there are four other guys there - grabbed his face, and bit his nose off. Then the fight started.” - Meng himself, with witnesses
- When Meng was handcuffed behind his back by police for breaking up a fight, he looked at the police and snapped off his cuffs in one motion. - Ted DiBiase
- During another bar fight: "[Meng] took his two fingers on his right hand, his index finger and trigger finger, and he reached into the guy's mouth and he broke off the guy's bottom teeth." - Manager Bobby Heenan
- During a fight with eight cops: "They shot him with mace and he closed his eyes and sucked it in. He just opened his mouth and took a deep breath. I mean, some of the stuff he did was like, 'What the hell?' Scotty and I always thought we were tough guys, but that was before we met Meng." - Rick Steiner
- Meng was never fired from WCW because no one was brave enough to do it. - Former WCW head Eric Bischoff
We’ll leave you with this quote from Jake “The Snake” Roberts: "If I had a gun and was sitting inside a tank with one shell left and Meng is 300 yards away, he's mine, right? Well the first thing I'm going to do is jump out of the tank and shoot myself because I don't want to wound that son of a bitch and have him pissed off at me."
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