This is the 91st 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 by researching interviews, newspapers, magazines and various other sources of media.
Modern Day Adulterer
Despite their many battles in a WCCW ring, ‘Gentleman’ Chris Adams and ‘The Modern Day Warrior’ Kerry Von Erich were very close friends behind the scenes. So close, their families would spend time with each other on their limited days off. Kerry and wife Catherine and Chris with his wife Toni and all their children got along real well. For a pair of them, a bit too well.
By the time the 1990’s rolled in, World Class Championship Wrestling became the USWA and Adams and Von Erich weren’t nearly the stars they once were. Injuries, age and drug abuse slowed both their careers down considerably. In 1993, Kerry Von Erich would take his own life after falling into deep legal troubles. It was at the funeral for Von Erich that things began to sour in the relationship between Chris and his wife Toni.
According to Chris Adams, while they were lowering Kerry’s casket into the ground, Adams noticed his wife sobbing uncontrollably. So much so, she practically jumped in the grave with the coffin. That according to Chris, set alarm-bells off that something wasn’t right. As told by several wrestlers who worked in that territory with both Chris and Kerry, it turns out that Toni and Kerry had carried on affair. The couple would sneak around behind Chris’ back having sex in his own home and even once on a tanning bed. Chris and Toni would eventually divorce in 1994.
The Drug Life
Brett Wayne Sawyer was a star in the 1980’s for various territories around the country including Georgia, Florida and Portland. Brett is the younger brother of the late ‘Mad Dog’ Buzz Sawyer. After Brett’s career ended, he found himself in trouble with the law on a couple of occasions in 2011 and 2012.
Brett was arrested twice for DUI (Driving Under the Influence) causing property damage and fleeing the scene of an accident. He was also charged with possessing prescription drugs without a valid prescription for them.
From Heel to Hero
Ivan Managoff (Real name John Wallace Muskovich) wrestled during the 1930’s to 1940’s primarily out of the Northern California territories. In the midst of World War 2, Managoff retired from the squared circle to become a police officer. In April of 1944, a 19 year old robbed a local grocery store in Oakland, California. The rookie cop Managoff was in pursuit of the the robber on foot.
During the chase, the robber turned and fired shots, striking Managoff in the chest critically wounding him. Managoff was able to fire his own gun hitting the robber. Managoff would later die from his wounds. Ivan Managoff was posthumously awarded a citation for heroism for his part in the pursuit.
The Bad Boy
B.B. Coleman aka “Bad” Billy Coleman was a wrestler who competed mainly in the Ohio region during the 70’s and 80’s. He also wrestled for the WWF as a jobber or enhancement talent during the late 1970’s. In one particular WWF match, Coleman refused to job to the “Polish Power” Ivan Putski, no selling all of Putski’s big moves.
Obviously frustrated, Putski overpowered Coleman and put him in a vicious headlock and squeezed so hard he nearly crushed Coleman’s skull. Coleman would legitimately tap out and lose the match. The WWF allegedly never used Coleman after that match.
In 1984, Coleman was indicted on one count of rape and one count of endangering children. Police said the 245-pound professional wrestler was charged in connection with an alleged attack on a 14-year-old girl in August of ’84. No word to whatever happened after the initial indictment. Coleman passed away in 2015 at the age of 73.
On New Year’s Day in 1991 while on a flight, WWF manager/announcer Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan collapsed and fell unconscious. After being sent to a local medical center for observation, police discovered 48 grams of marijuana and narcotic paraphernalia in his baggage. Heenan was subsequently arrested the next day on drug charges. While it is unknown what happened to Bobby Heenan after his arrest, he didn’t miss much time on the road with the WWF. This was the only known arrest of Bobby Heenan, so he probably got a slap on the wrist.
You can read all previous ‘Wrestling with Sin’ pieces here.