This is the 62nd installment of the ‘Wrestling with Sin‘ series. A group of stories that delves into the darker, underbelly of pro wrestling. Many of the stories involves such subjects as sex, drugs, greed and in some cases even murder! As with every single story in the Sin series…I do not condone or condemn the alleged participants. We simply retell their stories.
John Bonello was a preliminary/mid card wrestler during the 1970’s and ’80’s. He wrestled throughout the territories including places like Detroit, Toronto, Canada, Mid Atlantic and Puerto Rico. During the mid to late 1980’s…Bonello focused his attention on being a referee for the WWF (World Wrestling Federation)As with many individuals in the wrestling business during the 1980’s…Bonello allegedly abused many recreational drugs like cocaine, marijuana and alcohol.
In 1992, John Bonello hired a hit man to kill his wife Diane. John Bonello paid the hit man $1,500 up front and would pay the remaining balance of $3,500 after the hit was done. The plan was for the hit man to enter the couple’s home and shoot Diane in the head while she was asleep. It was to look like a burgulary gone wrong. The reasoning was to apparently collect insurance money and to resume an affair that John was having with a dancer at a club Bonello was working at at the time.
As it turned out…the hired hit man was really an undercover cop and Bonello was arrested and convicted. He served 18 months in prison and ordered to over 360 hours of community service. In a weird twist to this story…his wife Diane pleaded for leniency for her husband. She blamed his addiction to drugs and alcohol for his behavior and the two did in fact reconcile after he served his prison time.
Wrestling with a Guilty Verdict
Here’s a story where a wrestler’s career started AFTER serving a sentence for murder. In 1954, Dr Sam Sheppard was convicted of second degree murder for the death of his pregnant wife Marilyn in Ohio. Marilyn Sheppard was found bludgeoned to death in the couple’s bedroom…while Dr. Sam Sheppard allegedly fell asleep in the living room. Dr. Sam Sheppard’s murder trial was akin to the OJ Simpson trial of its day as it was highly publicized throughout the country.
He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison…but after serving 10 years…was granted a retrial and later acquitted of the murder. The stress of the murder of his wife, the subsequent trial and later the conviction led to both Dr. Sam Sheppard’s mother and father in law committing suicide. Sheppard would remarry twice more in his lifetime…with his third wife, the daughter of pro wrestler George Strickland.
George Strickland convinced and trained Sheppard to be a pro wrestler. He took the moniker of ‘The Killer’ Sam Sheppard and allegedly invented the “mandible claw” maneuver. Dr. Sam Sheppard became an alcoholic and died of liver failure in 1970. The murder of his first wife is still a mystery to this day.
Chicky Starr was a wrestler/manager for a number of years starting in the late 1970’s. He wrestled for several territories in Canada, Texas etc…but his biggest success was wrestling in his native Puerto Rico. After his retirement, Starr became a successful businessman.
In 2015, Starr was arrested after failing to pay child support to his ex wife. Starr owed over $9,000 dollars in back payments and served jail time. He has since been released after paying the balance of what he owed.
Former WWE developmental Diva and wife of current WWE wrestler Jack Swagger…Catalina White…was involved in a sex tape scandal back in 2009. Allegedly, her ex boyfriend sold the tape of the couple having sex on a vacation to a porn distributor called “Shane’s World.” Catalina reportedly was not in favor of the tape being sold and issued a statement about the release of the tape in November of 2009…
To My Friends & Fans
I would like to address to my friends and fans about the video Shane’s World is releasing of me. I am in NO way endorsing, promoting, and/or happy about the release of a sex tape they have bought of me! I have been betrayed by someone who has sold the tape without my knowledge! Shane’s World has stolen my identity by creating websites such as Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, ect without my consent! They waited till I gained notoriety with the WWE to release the tape and are now tarnishing my name! I am sorry to my friends and family that this has upset.
Catalina wrestled for the WWE’s developmental territory FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling) from 2008 to 2009 under the moniker of “Saylor James.” She married Jake Hager (Jack Swagger) in 2010 and now has two children.
You can read all previous ‘Wrestling with Sin’ pieces here.