This is the 115th installment of the ‘Wrestling with Sin‘ series. A group of stories that delves into the darker, underbelly of pro wrestling. Many of the stories involve 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.
Lia Maivia was the widow of ‘High Chief’ Peter Maivia and the grandmother of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. When her husband died, Lia took over her husband’s business and ran Polynesian Pro Wrestling out of the state of Hawaii. Lia was one of the NWA’s first female promoter’s and she ran her promotion with an iron fist. When a rival promoter named John Wakayama wanted to run a show in Lia’s territory, Maivia sent one of her associates to pay Wakayama a “visit.”
The associate’s name was a man named Ati So’o and he threatened Wakayama and his two children with bodily harm if Wakayama didn’t negotiate a deal with Maivia. Fearing his and his family’s lives, Wakayama went to the FBI for protection. The FBI made Wakayama wear a wire and meet with Lia Maivia and her two top associates, So’o and Larry Heiniemi aka wrestler Lars Anderson.
At the meeting, Maivia demanded a “tribute” paid to her in the sum of $5,000 for allowing Wakayama run a show in a building her own wrestling company ran shows out of. She also demanded that two of her own wrestlers be allowed to appear on the show and Wakayama had to rent the wrestling ring from her and nobody else. Wakayama paid Lia Maivia $1,800 upfront and would pay the additional cash the next day. The FBI arrested Maivia, So’o and Anderson and charged them with extortion and racketeering.
The trio faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted. When the case went to trial, the jury threw out the case citing that the $5,000 tribute could possibly be a booking fee instead of an extortion. It was later alleged that one of the jurors on the case was a longtime Maivia family friend.
Shoot from the hip and get popped in the lip!
In 2007. during TNA’s pay per view ‘Turning Point”, a six-man tag match was scheduled to take place featuring Kurt Angle, AJ Styles and Tomko against Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Samoa Joe. Problem was, Scott Hall went on one of his drinking binges and no-showed the event. TNA management instructed Samoa Joe to go out to the ring and cut a “worked shoot” promo on Scott Hall’s no-show. They (TNA management) wanted Joe to take some of the heat away from TNA for Hall’s absence and place it squarely on Scott Hall.
Samoa Joe went out and cut a promo and this is what he said:
“They just gave me a live mic on a pay-per-view. So, if nobody minds, I’d like to get a few things off my chest. #1, we have two types of wrestlers here. We have the TNA die-hards who come here and entertain and bust their ass for the fans every night of the week, and we got “superstars” who think they can come and do whatever they want however they want. We have “superstars” who not only screw us the hard working wrestlers in TNA, but they screw each and every fan who paid to see them, no matter how old they are.
So let me make this real simple, let me explain TNA to you. TNA is the Motor City Machine Guns coming down here and busting their ass trying to get a break in this business. TNA is Black Machismo doing his damnedest to entertain every single person in this building and showing us what’s up. TNA is Samoa Joe coming in here and doing what he does best: wrestle and be the best damn professional wrestler in the world. TNA is a bunch of hard working, young athletes who are looking to change the wrestling world; guys who held down this business while others profiteer from it. TNA is the guys who come in here and risk their lives on scaffolds and wires, while other people show up and pad their pensions.
So I’ll tell you what Scott Hall “Chico”. I’ll tell you what, Kiss my ass, you’re a punk! “Go ahead, fire me, I don’t care. So tonight, I went in that locker room, and they said we called everybody in the world trying to get you a new partner’and I said No, we don’t need anybody else. We got everybody we need in the back right now’. So I walked in the back, and I said hey, who wants to be in the main event tonight? Who wants to go get into a fight? And every one of the X-Division wrestlers stood up! I walked in the back and asked who wanted to get into a fight, and every single young wrestler whose first TV contract was through TNA stood up and said ME!!! But one, in particular, bloodied, beaten, battered, bruised, overlooked by everybody in the world said Joe, please give me the shot’. So without further due, I announce my partner…a man that will show up, a man that will be here, and do what he needs to do. A man who is ready for a fight. A man who will be a man, even when he’s an old man. Showtime Eric Young, get out here let’s kick some ass!”
When the match was over and everybody went to the back, Nash confronted Samoa Joe. According to Nash, he asked if what he said was from management or from himself. Joe said it was from his heart and was allegedly slapped twice in the face by Nash. AJ Styles said the two had to be separated by a number of wrestlers. The next day both Kevin Nash and AJ Styles said that Samoa Joe stood up in a closed-door locker room meeting and apologized for his shoot promo on an obviously troubled Scott Hall.
Matt Wichlinski was the WWE’s “Strength and Conditioning” coach down in their developmental system of NXT. While many have said that Wichlinski was an excellent trainer who got wrestlers in top physical condition, others claim there was another side to him. A few former developmental wrestlers accused Wichlinski of being a sexual predator who continually harassed several of the female NXT talents.
A female NXT talent who wanted to remain anonymous accused Wichlinski of taking several pictures of NXT females rear ends and posting the pics on his various social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. Some of the pics included the Bella twins, Paige and Summer Rae, who is in the above pic, while they were training. Wichlinski also posted a picture of a female butt with a hand mark on it with the caption: “A nice squat deserves a little pat on the butt.”
Ivelisse Velez of TNA and Lucha Underground fame was under an NXT contract during the time when the alleged harassment was taking place. She was rumored to have also been harassed by Wichlinski during her time there. She was allegedly the first female to speak up against the harassment by both Wichlinski and former head trainer Bill DeMott and was fired for it. Others within the WWE claimed she had “attitude problems.”
It must be noted that an apparent investigation was launched against both Wichlinski and DeMott and the outcome was that the WWE could not find any concrete evidence to substantiate the claims. In May of 2016, Wichlinski was fired from the WWE and replaced as strength and conditioning coach.
Sewer or Later
In 2012, a rather bizarre incident took place that landed former wrestler and Hulk Hogan’s nephew Horace Hogan behind bars. As the story goes, Horace was simply crossing the street in the Tampa, Florida area when he dropped some of his change down a sewer grate. Seemingly desperate to get it back, Horace actually opened up the grate and climbed down the sewer to retrieve his change.
By the time he resurfaced from the depths of the sewer, local police were waiting for him. He was arrested and charged with trespassing on government property. This wasn’t Horace Hogan’s first run in with the law as he was arrested twice in 2002 and 2005 for driving under the influence.
You can read all previous ‘Wrestling with Sin’ pieces here.