The Slap Heard ‘Round The World (Wrestling Federation)


Brian Damage

In late 1984, David Schultz gained notoriety after assaulting 20/20 reporter John Stossel during a report on the legitimacy of pro wrestling. Today on the blog, Brian revisits that incident in ‘The Slap Heard ‘Round The World (Wrestling Federation)’.

1. A thing that is not genuine; a forgery or sham.

I have often spoken about how professional wrestling is anything but “fake.” Is it scripted? Yes. Is it predetermined? Yes. Is the physicality real? Yes. Are the injuries real? 100% Yes! With all that said, it hasn’t stopped journalist and mainstream media from classifying the industry as nothing more than a joke.

For many, this business is a way of life…a means to support a family…to pay bills, rent…put food on the table…etc. So when an outsider who doesn’t regularly follow the business calls it fake…don’t be surprised if it is met with some hostility. Over 30 years ago, one journalist took it upon himself to call pro wrestling the F word and it caused quite the stir.

The Players:

John Stossel


John has been involved in the news industry for over 40 years. He has won 19 Emmy awards for his reporting and has written a two successful books.

David Schultz


A pro wrestler for 13 years and considered by many in the business as a legitimate bad ass.

In December of 1984, John Stossel and his cameras followed the business of professional wrestling and to question its true legitimacy. This coming during a time where there was no internet and social media and kayfabe was still fully enforced by everyone involved. Stossel went around interviewing wrestlers and showing wrestling footage while slowing the video down to show how these men and women were pulling the wool over our eyes.

Then Stossel went backstage at Madison Square Garden during a WWF house show to further his “investigation.” It was there where he met and talked to ‘Dr. D’ David Schultz. Admittedly, Schultz came off belligerent and crass…giving short and terse answers to Stossel’s questions. It looked like right from the get go…Schultz was pissed and looking for a reason…any reason…to stomp the crap out of John Stossel.

Wanting a more direct answer to his questioning…Stossel did the unthinkable…he said straight out…“I Think it’s fake.”

Without any hesitation, Schultz open hand slapped Stossel in the left ear…knocking him to the ground. As Stossel got himself up, Schultz open hand slapped him in the right ear…once again knocking Stossel to the floor. John Stossel quickly got up and took off with Schultz following him from behind. When the expose aired a few weeks later, John sat down with Barbara Walters and said he was still feeling the after effects of the slaps to his ears.

The network (ABC) which showed the piece was inundated with thousands of phone calls from viewers voicing their disgust for Schultz and the WWF as well as hoping to hear about Stossel’s medical condition. Stossel ended up suing the World Wrestling Federation for the incident and won a settlement of close to $500,000. David Schultz was later fired from the WWF. The reasoning was an alleged backstage argument with Mr. T…but others suspected that was just an excuse.


Depending on who you believe, Vince didn’t expect the massive negative backlash his company was receiving because of the slap and wanted to cut his losses. Others believed that Hulk Hogan who was once good friends with Schultz feared that Schultz would be too much of a legitimate threat during his main event run and refused to work with him.

lance russel

If you think that slap killed the career of Schultz…you’d be sorely mistaken. Various promotions wanted him to come in because of the reputation and exposure he got from the incident. Schultz walked away from wrestling when promoters couldn’t meet his asking price of $1,500 a night.


According to Schultz years later…he accused Vince McMahon of ordering him to beat down Stossel as a way to put fear in him. Does that sound bitter? Does it sound made up? Before you answer, John Stossel also claimed that when talking with Vince McMahon…Vince told him a good person to talk with was David Schultz. Did McMahon orchestrate the slap from the get go? We will probably never know for sure…but it seems at least a small realm of possibility.


After he retired, Schultz went on to become a successful bounty hunter for many years.


John Stossel is still going strong in the news business and has even stated…he regrets suing the WWF for his expose.


10 thoughts on “The Slap Heard ‘Round The World (Wrestling Federation)

  1. He deserved being slapped. A great item to cover would be the events of Eddy Mansfield being run out of wrestling, eventually running a promotion that showed matches out of the Disney Studios in Florida.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. He didn’t ask a question. He stated an opinion. Stossel said: “well I think it’s fake” to the wrong guy. Very disrespectful, he’s lucky that’s all he got.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: This Week in Wrestling 2016 week 7 | Ring the Damn Bell

  4. I see there are still plenty of Rasslin’ fans that give credence to the idiot stereotype. John Stossel is a good man, and one of the better reporters out there. Would you like it someone slapped you around for your opinion? How about a guy that has 10 or so inches and at least 100 pounds of muscle on you?

    Ridiculous how anyone can condone those actions. I’d say go back to the hills Glenn and Alex, but that would be an insult to the inbred mutants of Papa Jupiter’s clan.


  5. Its FAKE, just a slap, heard around the world. Everyone is Ok. The point is show some respect. Stossel was being a repoter Bully. Not for any good of the public. For his own gain, while attacking a very violent profession. Is pro wrestling staged YES. Is it FAKE-NO. Thus the “slap was heard round the world”.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. John Stossel was pretty damned fortunate that Schultz didn’t beat the holy hell out of him. Schultz not only was a legit bad ass, but was known for having one of the hottest tempers out there. Maybe McMahon put Schultz up to it, maybe not. But Schultz’s rep was well known and solid. Hulk Hogan faced him twice and then begged McMahon not to do that again because he truly feared Dr. D would mess him up bad in the ring, something Schultz himself said in later interviews that he would have gladly done due to the intense dislike he had for the Hulkster.


  7. McMahons b.s. wrestling federation was (and still is) a joke.How they ever got a bonified badass like Dr.D Schultz is a surprise,still one of the best true legitimate champs in the ring.And yes it was set up by vengeful Vince.This phony circus could all go fuck themselves…………..


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