This is the 34th installment of the ‘Wrestling with Sin’ series. A group of stories that delve into the darker, seedier side of professional wrestling. Many of these stories involve sex, drugs, arrests, backstage politics and even murder! As with every single edition of the Sin series…I do NOT condone nor do I condemn the alleged participants and or victims.
Catch A Tiger and her Beau
Soldelina Vargas Ortiz aka La Tigresa was a female Puerto Rican wrestler who mostly wrestled for Carlos Colon’s World Wrestling Council (WWC) She was a multiple time WWC women’s champion. In 1998, after leaving the WWC….Ortiz was arrested after attempting to sell heroin to an undercover agent. Ortiz was allegedly a part of a crime organization that was dedicated to distributing drugs into Puerto Rico’s state penitentiary.
She was not arrested alone, as her longtime boyfriend Carlos Ivan Gonzalez was also arrested. Gonzalez also wrestled in the Puerto Rican territories as Big Tiger. Ortiz’ car was searched and confiscated and bail was set at $75,000 dollars. No word on the outcome of her arrest…but she and her boyfriend were facing 15 years to life in prison if convicted.
In the summer of 1989, a sensational young upcoming wrestler named Art Barr who was the son of promoter Sandy Barr and brother of fellow wrestler Jesse Barr (Jimmy Jack Funk in the WWF) was arrested after a wrestling card at the National Armory in Pendelton, Oregon. He was charged with first degree rape of a 19 year old female fan.
The incident happened hours after the show underneath an empty stairwell. Barr admitted the two had sex and also admitted she didn’t want to have sex in the stairwell…but claimed that the female fan would have sex with him eventually that night. The fan says that she never intended to have sex with him and that he forced it upon her. Barr would eventually plea bargain and get the charges reduced to first degree sexual abuse. He was ordered to pay a fine, her medical bills and 180 hours of community service.
The case followed Art Barr for the remainder of his career. He was eventually barred from wrestling in his home state of Oregon and after signing with WCW…he was released because of the bad press from that incident. Art Barr would become a huge star in Mexico before his untimely death at the age of 28.
In 2000, ECW fans were shocked to see Brian Heffron aka The Blue Meanie drop over 100 pounds. The new slim and trim Heffron also got himself a girlfriend in the form of former porn star Jasmine St. Claire. The two would remain an item for a few years in the early 2000’s. After ECW folded, together they ran their own wrestling promotion called Pro Pain Pro aka 3PW.
While Brian Heffron helped book and wrestle on the shows…Jasmine St. Claire bankrolled the operation. The company began to crumble once Jasmine started losing interest in it. She began no showing events and left Heffron alone to deal with unpaid talents. Things got worse once Heffron discovered that Jasmine was cheating on him with somebody else across the country.
Accusations began to fly, with Jasmine alleging that Heffron abused her both mentally and physically. Heffron denied those accusations and claimed that Jasmine simply used him to get her foot in the wrestling business. In the end, the two had a bitter break up with 3PW folding.
You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks
During an independent show in Florida back in 2005, ‘The Dog Faced Gremlin’ Rick Steiner allegedly began to “shoot” or work stiff on a young wrestler by the name of Vordell Walker. Rick Steiner was known by some as a bully to the younger wrestlers and has notoriously worked stiff during his career. Little did Steiner realize that his opponent Walker had an MMA background.
Walker using his MMA training…turned the tables on the older Steiner and began shooting on him. The two had to be separated by other wrestlers and security. It didn’t end there, because just a couple of years later…while both were attending another indie show…Steiner saw Vordell and called him “A piece of sh!t.” According to eyewitnesses, Vordell attacked and got the better of Steiner again. Police were called to the show and both Steiner and Vordell were allegedly escorted out. Walker went on to say that he use to look up to Steiner, but has lost all respect for him after what Steiner tried to do to him. He did thank Rick Steiner for helping him gain credibility as a legit shooter in pro wrestling.
For those wrestling fans who never knew of the wrestler named Mark Tendler…perhaps you should. While Mark was never a world champion or even a main event guy….he did have a career only some dream of. He started his career out in the early 1960’s as a valet to the legendary Gorgeous George. He wrestled all over the world and even wrestled for the WWF against the likes of Andre the Giant.
In 1977, he and his wife (fellow wrestler Kitty Adams) had a featured article in People magazine pertaining to life as a married wrestling couple. Tendler also had a small cameo role in the sitcom ‘The Odd Couple’ as a bouncer in a bar. After his retirement from wrestling, Tendler became a business man living in the Long Island, New York area.
In 1990, he had a meeting at a topless bar called, ‘The Crazy Clown.’ He was in negotiations to buy the club. When he got into his car, an unknown assailant shot Tendler in the head. He died just two days later. His murder was never solved…but it wasn’t the only murder that transpired at this location. In 1983, a drunk patron raped and murdered a female bartender. He was arrested and jailed. The Crazy Clown has since been torn down.