This is the 119th 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.
A Bad Hat-titude
In 1987, while working a house show for the NWA, Jim Cornette’s team of the Midnight Express took on a tag team called the New Breed consisting of Sean Royal and Chris Champion. During the course of the match, the New Breed thought it would be funny to slap the hat off of Jim Cornette’s bodyguard ‘Big’ Bubba Rogers. Cornette was legitimately angry over the stunt and told Rogers to kick their asses. Bubba Rogers was still new to the industry at this time and was hesitant to do it but Cornette kept insisting.
When the match spilt out onto the arena floor, Cornette again told Bubba to rough them up. This time, Rogers listened and began legitimately roughing up both members of the New Breed. According to Cornette, the reason why he was so angry was that Rogers was being booked as a tough, badass and the New Breed made him look weak. So Cornette wanted Rogers to teach them a lesson, which he did. The New Breed never messed with Rogers hat again in subsequent matches.
No Payment Soldier
Randy Thornton aka ‘Swoll’ from WCW’s No Limit Soldiers was arrested in August of 1999. He was originally pulled over on a routine traffic stop for speeding. When the officer ran his driver’s license, it was discovered that Swoll was delinquent on child support payments. This despite Swoll signing a $350,000 contract and a $50,000 signing bonus with WCW.
The Death of the Divine
Divino Roy or Divine Roy was what was known as an exotico wrestler in Mexico. Exotico luchadors are often very campy, very flamboyant type of wrestlers. Divine Roy wrestled from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. One day around 1982, some men noticed Divine Roy as he walked the streets in Mexico City.
They began following Roy because they recognized him as an exotico and started calling him anti-gay names. Divine Roy began to talk back and defend himself when the unnamed men attacked Roy allegedly pummeling him with punches and kicks. The beating allegedly lasted for awhile and was left in the streets bloodied and unconscious. Divine Roy would die on those streets beaten to death. The attackers were never caught and brought to justice.
‘The Samoan Bulldozer’ Eddie “Umaga” Fatu had a troubled career within the WWE. While wrestling under the moniker of “Jamal” in 3 Minute Warning, he was released after an alleged bar fight that cost the company money in damages in 2003. He would later return in 2005 under the Umaga gimmick but would be suspended for violating the WWE’s Wellness policy not once, but twice.
The WWE ordered him to enter a WWE sponsored drug rehabilitation clinic but he refused and was released a second time. On December 4th, 2009, his wife discovered Eddie unconscious and bleeding from his nose. He would be rushed to a local hospital but was pronounced dead. An autopsy was performed and it was discovered that Eddie Fatu suffered a number of heart attacks caused by overdosing on a deadly mixture of painkillers and muscle relaxers that included hydrocodone, carisoprodol, and diazepam. Eddie Fatu was only 36 years old.
Rick Bird, a former pro wrestler under the gimmick of ‘Chief’ Rick Youngblood, is currently under investigation by Homeland Security for allegedly evading taxes and bootlegging cigarettes. Youngblood allegedly received over 100 cartons of cigarettes a month untaxed. Youngblood would then allegedly resell those cigarettes through his Smoke Shop in North Carolina. If convicted, Youngblood could face up to at least 5 years in prison. Rick Youngblood has not yet commented on the allegations or the investigation but is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Female wrestlers Penny Banner and Betty Jo Hawkins were the best of friends. They were both married to pro wrestlers as well, Banner to Johnny Weaver and Hawkins to Brute Bernard. The couples and their children would constantly spend time together. That all changed after an incident at a Boston hotel. Penny Banner recalled an incident at the Avery hotel in Boston where the couples were spending time. Brute Bernard and Betty Jo had an argument and Bernard slapped Betty Jo in the face. Seeing her best friend get hit, Penny Banner jumped on Brute Bernard’s back and attacked him. According to Banner, she refused to spend time with them if she knew Bernard was around. When he wasn’t, Penny would take the kids and have play dates.
Banner’s marriage to wrestler Johnny Weaver wasn’t any better. According to Banner, Weaver was consistently unfaithful to Banner carrying on several affairs while wrestling on the road. Banner and Weaver were married for over 35 years but did eventually divorce in 1994.
You can read all previous ‘Wrestling with Sin’ pieces here.