This is the 30th installment of the ‘Wrestling with Sin‘ series. A group of pieces that looks beyond the squared circle and looks at the darker and sometimes seedier world of professional wrestling. Some of these stories involve sex, drugs, assault and sometimes even murder! As with every story in the Sin series…I do not condone nor do I condemn all the alleged participants in them.
Silence is Deadly
Juana Barraza was a female wrestler by day and a serial killer by night. In her wrestling days, Barraza wore a luchador mask and was known as La Dama del Silencio (English translation…The Lady of Silence) She has been potentially linked to roughly 40 to 50 different murders over a four year span. All of the women murdered were 60 years old or older and were either strangled, bludgeoned and in some cases sexually assaulted.
During the murderous four year span…eye witnesses claimed that they saw a “manly built woman” leaving the victims homes. Mexican police originally searched for mainly men who dressed in drag and or transvestites. When they finally pinpointed their investigation on Juana Barraza…they discovered a long suffering, tormented woman. A woman who was born to an alcoholic and was traded for beer as a child. She was repeatedly raped as a youngster and gave birth 4 times as a result of those rapes. Barraza allegedly posed as a social worker…gaining a level of trust from her victims before robbing and murdering them.
As a serial killer, Barraza gained the nickname of La Mataviejitas (English translation…The Old Lady Killer) While in some way linked to close to 50 murders…Barraza only admitted to one of the murders and was convicted and sent to prison for 759 years without the possibility of parole.
He’s An Ass…..Man!
While it really isn’t uncommon to hear or read about a wrestler having an affair while traveling all over the world….the affair of ‘Bad Ass’ Billy Gunn aka Monty Sopp is a bit different. His extramarital activities made national headlines in Canada. Not exactly how someone wants an affair to end up.
While wrestling in the Canadian indies…Billy Gunn met a woman by the name of Deborah “Pinky” Simovitch. The two would then carry on an affair that lasted for a few months. Once Billy Gunn’s wife Paula found out about the two…Gunn ended the affair. That apparently didn’t sit well with Simovitch who allegedly began calling and harassing Gunn and his wife. Simovitch claims she was the one who received death threats from both Paula and Monty Sopp. To further prove her point, Simovitch recorded some of the verbal tirade’s of Billy Gunn where he wished her dead and hoped her boyfriend beat her. Some of the recorded conversation had Gunn saying…
“You ain’t got no more f**king sh*t over her,”
“I told her we slept together. I f**king told her I f**king stayed at your house. I told her everything. So it doesn’t f**king matter. So you got nothing more on me.”
Simovitch also revealed some text messages between her and Gunn where Billy Gunn texted, “I hate Jews.” Despite the affair and the headlines it made…Billy and his wife Paula have decided to remain together.
As for Pinky…she was involved in another semi small wrestling scandal…when she claimed that her two kids were trampled by a local Winnipeg DJ named Cam Carson after a “Worked” altercation with Batista at a WWE house show.
Wrestling with the Law
In the 1920’s, a pro wrestler by the name of Henry William Schober aka Billy Schober found himself on the wrong side of the law. Schober was a former middleweight champion of the world when pro wrestling was more of a sport than theatrical. Aside from wrestling, Schober was believed to be a member of a gang in Indiana called the Muncie Gang that was involved in bootlegging liquor and ‘fixing’ prize fights. It was believed that Schober and others in the Muncie Gang scammed several people out of thousands of dollars by throwing wrestling matches that people gambled on. Billy Schober was arrested a number of times and no other information was found on his career as a wrestler or his life as an alleged mobster.
Ribbing or playing practical jokes has been a long standing tradition with pro wrestlers. Back in the 1960’s, one rib went way too far that almost saw two men dead. Johnny Valentine (Father of Greg the Hammer) was a main event star who was a notorious ribber backstage. One night, Valentine played a rib on fellow wrestler ‘The Alaskan’ Jay York. He replaced York’s medicine in his asthma inhaler with lighter fluid. When York used the inhaler, he crumpled to the ground and started convulsing.
After getting medical attention, York realized that Johnny Valentine was responsible for the rib…so York went to his car and came back with a sawn off shotgun. Jay York fired the gun in the vicinity of Valentine but hit his briefcase instead. According to Roddy Piper…York had every intention of shooting Valentine…but changed his mind at the last second. Jay York, still angry with Valentine…planted an explosive device in Valentine’s car…but didn’t activate it…instead leaving a note that simply said, “See how close you came?!?”
A few months passed by and things between Valentine and York seemed to cool down. That is until one night while Valentine was in the shower…Jay York came in and fired a gun at Valentine seemingly leaving him for dead. In reality, York’s gun was full of blanks and both Valentine and York were pulling a rib on the rest of the talent. One person who was not in on the rib was Harley Race….who had his own gun loaded with real bullets. Race pulled out his weapon and pointed it at York demanding he drop his gun or else. Harley Race had every intention of shooting and killing York until it was revealed to him that it was all a joke. Harley gave both Valentine and York a stern warning that next time…a rib like this happened…that would be their last joke.