This is the eighteenth installment of the ‘Wrestling with Sin‘ series. A series of pieces that focuses on the darker, sometimes seedier side of pro wrestling. Some of these stories involve sex, drugs, assaults and even murder. As with every and all of the pieces in the Sin series, I do not condone or condemn the alleged participants involved.
The Strife of Riley
Ever wonder how Alex Riley went from promising NXT talent to pre show color commentator for pay per views? According to various reports, it all begins and ends with John Cena. If you believe the reports, back in 2012…John Cena played a rib (a joke) on Alex Riley and instead of just laughing off the incident…Riley responded in anger.
On the surface, it doesn’t seem like a big deal…but apparently there is a bunch of unwritten rules where young talent can’t confront or talk back to a main event veteran. The incident in question apparently embarrassed John Cena and he went to management. Nobody knows with 100% certainty what happened that night…but Alex Riley went from hero to zero ever since.
15 Seconds of Shame
So some fans think CM Punk simply walking away and quitting the WWE was bad? How about a contracted WWE wrestler showing up on a rival wrestling promotion’s TV program? That’s exactly what transpired when Derek Couch aka ‘Robbie McAllister’ one half of the Highlanders tag team appeared in the crowd for a TNA taping. The big question is why did he do it?
According to Derek in subsequent interviews, he was extremely frustrated on how he and his tag partner Russell Murray aka ‘Rory McAllister’ were being utilized by the WWE. They were mostly being used as a comedic tag team much like the Bushwackers of the 1980’s. Not only that, but their TV time was quickly diminishing. So while the WWE was in the Orlando, Florida area for events in March of 2008…Derek saw an opportunity to make some noise. He attended the TNA TV show which was in the same area.
Derek Couch insisted he went to the Impact zone to visit with longtime friend and former colleague Johnny Devine…but did admit that the WWE brass warned all superstars to stay clear from the TNA show. Despite the warning, Couch went and sat right by the hard camera shoots. (Where the most stuff would be taped by) TNA management noticed him in the crowd and filmed him watching the action. It was only 15 seconds where he appeared on screen…but it was enough for the WWE to take notice.
When Derek returned to where the WWE was staying at…he was confronted by two of the WWE’s most respected stars…Dave Finlay and the Undertaker. The got into his face and began asking him why he did what he did…but Derek had no answers for them. All he did was admit his mistake and later on…was met with a pink slip. His former tag partner Rory believes Derek knew all along what he was doing to try and get purposely fired from the company. He also admits he has no ill will towards his partner for costing them a job. Derek has since said he regrets his actions and would go back to the WWE “in a heartbeat” if they came calling.
A TARU-ble Incident
This was an incident that made mainstream headlines in Japan. A veteran wrestler by the name of Nobukazu Hirai vomited blood and went unconscious after suffering a stroke after a match against former WWE wrestler Kenzo Suzuki in 2011. It would later be discovered that Hirai was viciously attacked backstage by a wrestler known as TARU.
TARU was the kayfabe leader of All Japan’s top heel faction known as The Voodoo Murderers. A faction that Hirai was a member of. Apparently Taru became upset that Hirai’s work rate wasn’t up to par with the rest of the faction and was making the rest of the group look bad. There is also the belief that Hrai wasn’t selling his share of tickets to All Japan events. Taru repeatedly puched and kicked Hirai while the rest of the Voodoo Murderers looked on and did nothing. Hirai would suffer an acute subdural hematoma because of the beating.
Hirai would fall into a coma and needed a ventilator to survive. The incident sent shock waves throughout the Japanese wrestling community and led to numerous actions including the immediate disbandment of the Voodoo Murderers factions…the dismissal of all of its members from All Japan wrestling and the resignation of All Japan’s president Keiji Mutoh. (The Great Muta)
There were zero arrests made in the assault of Hirai because many believed the higher ups in All Japan covered up the incident. Hirai was in no position to testify because he was near death. A few years have passed since that incident and thankfully Hirai survived and his condition improved. He is still currently in rehab and vows to return to a wrestling ring. As far as his relationship with TARU….the two have made amends and continue to talk to one another.
MVP aka My Volatile Past
Former WWE and current TNA star MVP’s life certainly isn’t what you’d expect it to be. Considered by many to be an outstanding technical wrestler….MVP’s life before wrestling is filled with ups, downs and jail time. In 1990, at the age of 16…MVP and other members of a gang robbed a cruise ship of over $80,000. Using a shotgun, the gang held up nine cruise ship employees taking all the money on board. They then took the nine employees and locked them in a storage room when they made their escape.
All the young men involved with the robbery were arrested after one of the boys parents discovered the money and turned his own son in to authorities. His son was granted immunity for testifying against the other members of the gang which included MVP. MVP was charged with robbery and kidnapping and sentenced to 18 1/2 years in prison. After serving 9 1/2 years of that sentence…MVP was released on good behavior. Of course, MVP was able to turn his life around and use pro wrestling as an outlet. The rest as they say…is history.
Weed The People
The 1980’s wrestling scene was much different than the current wrestling scene. Things were more hush, hush….there was no social media like Facebook and Twitter. Heel wrestlers were forced to travel and hang out with fellow heel wrestlers and the same for the babyfaces. So when The Iron Sheik was arrested alongside Hacksaw Jim Duggan…it actually made headlines.
The year was 1987 and the WWE was touring in New Jersey. Iron Sheik was left stranded in Newark, New Jersey without a rental car….he needed to get to Asbury Park, New Jersey later on for a match. Hacksaw Jim Duggan ( the wrestler he was scheduled to face later) offered him a lift to the arena. During their ride, Duggan and Sheik began drinking beers. After the beers, they smoked three marijuana joints. They were eventually pulled over by police where they discovered the beer and marijuana and were arrested.
Fearing they would miss their scheduled match later…Jim Duggan called his Dad who was the cheif of police in Glenn Falls, New York. His dad was able to pull some strings and got them released and actually made it to the arena for their match. The incident still made national headlines because of who they were and both men were fired from the company. Duggan and Sheik were eventually rehired by the WWF.