This is the 126th 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.
‘Judo’ Gene LeBell was a professional wrestler from the 1950’s to 1970’s. He was also a promoter who along with his brother Mike LeBell ran the Los Angeles territory of the NWA. LeBell was the son of famed female wrestling promoter “Red Head” Aileen Eaton. He was also the selected guest referee of the infamous boxer versus pro wrestler match between Muhammad Ali and Antonio Inoki.
In July of 1976, Gene LeBell was charged in the murder of a former business associate and friend named Robert Hall. Hall was a private detective who was involved in drugs, wiretapping celebrities and other nefarious acts. Hall was found dead in his kitchen with a single gun shot wound to the back of his head. LeBell’s murder charge was eventually dropped when a pornographer named Jack Ginsburgs was found guilty of the actual crime.
LeBell was found guilty of being an accessory to the murder by being the man that allegedly drove Ginsburgs to and from the murder scene. LeBell would appeal the decision and in 1979 had the guilty verdict overturned.
The Caged Animal
Before his career as a pro-wrestler, Dave Bautista was arrested several times for mostly petty crimes. That all began to change by 1989 when Bautista was accused of firing a gun into a housing development. The charge was later dropped. He was also arrested around 1990 when drugs were found in the car he was riding in. He was accused of transporting drugs with the intent to distributed but had those charges reduced after his drug dealing friend who was driving the vehicle claimed Bautista had no knowledge of the drugs in the car.
His worst offense came when he was a bouncer at a club and wound up getting into a fight with a patron. Bautista knocked the patron to the ground and instead of ending it there, he decided to kick the fallen man in the head. The patron started to convulse and was rushed to the hospital. Bautista was arrested and charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon – his foot. The charges were eventually dropped when it was discovered that the patron was the aggressor in the fight.
Nora Greenwald, aka Molly Holly in her days with the WWE, married Geno Benshoof in Minnesota back in 2010. Benshoof was a recovering drug addict and alcoholic who had a prior criminal record. In 2008, Benshoof was arrested with another accomplice for allegedly robbing a Catholic church. Benshoof would get clean and sober through rehab and he met the former wrestler.
Around 2013, after Benshoof’s mother passed away, he relapsed back to drugs and alcohol. Minnesota’s Drug Task Force raided Nora and Geno’s home where they arrested Benshoof and allegedly found a considerable amount of drugs. Geno would be sentenced to 75 months in jail for his crimes.
Taken for a Ride
In the Memphis territory of the USWA in 1992, the promotion introduced a tag team called The Star Riders. They were essentially cheap knock offs of teams like the Road Warriors or Demolition. The Star Riders were big but extremely green in the ring. One night they had a match against the Moondogs of Spot and Spike and were beaten up pretty good because the Moondogs traditionally worked “stiff.”
Even though they were a new team, The Star Riders felt disrespected and decided to get even with the Moondogs. One of the Star Riders wore a big ring and taped up his fists to conceal it. During a tag team battle royal the Star Rider in question started pummeling Moondog Spike with his taped fist, bloodying him. The Star Riders then both eliminated themselves from the battle royal and ran into the locker room.
It didn’t end there because the Star Riders then ransacked the entire locker room area stealing wrestlers wallets and other possessions. The Star Riders took off out of Memphis and were never seen again anywhere. Moondog Spike swore that if he did ever see them again he would legitimately shoot and kill them.
Bad Boy, Bad Boy Whatcha Gonna Do?
“Bad Boy” Basil Bozinis was a wrestler trained by the great Rick Bassman. The same man who helped train the Ultimate Warrior, Sting and John Cena. Bozinis hailed from New Orleans, Louisiana and was signed to a WWE developmental deal in 2000, the same time Cena was signed by the WWE. Bozinis heavy steroid abuse wound up costing him his WWE deal.
In 2002, the year that John Cena debuted on the WWE’s main roster, “Bad Boy” Basil was found dead at age 27. An autopsy revealed Basil died of a drug overdose as he mixed heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines and the painkiller Nubain.
You can read all previous ‘Wrestling with Sin’ pieces here.