This is the 133rd 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.
Go Go Away!
Jerry Graham was in the Amarillo, Texas territory when he, Terry Funk and Dusty Rhodes went to a Go-Go bar. Graham got pretty drunk and decided to grab one of the female dancers by her crotch and refused to let go. The police were called and they had to physically remove Graham’s grip from her private area. He was then arrested and eventually released but not until Amarillo promoter Dory Funk Sr. offered him $50 bucks and a one-way ticket to anywhere but Amarillo.
Graham decided to go work for Fritz Von Erich in Dallas. While he was on the plane ride to Dallas, Graham, as expected, got drunk and disorderly and was subsequently arrested upon landing. Fritz Von Erich had to bail him out of jail.
Pain in the Neck
In 1986, during a WWF television taping, Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat was involved in an injury angle with the ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. Real life paramedics who were already on scene were called to the ring to assist Steamboat. While at ringside, a female paramedic claimed that Steamboat “violently struck her.” The incident allegedly caused her to suffer injuries to her chest, ribs, sternum and back.
The paramedic would sue Steamboat and the WWF for a reported $1.5 million for what her lawyer claimed was for physical and emotional damages. Her lawyer also claimed that WWF broadcaster Bruno Sammartino made things worse by going on air and questioning how the paramedic staff handled Steamboat in the scripted angle. Sammartino would say that the paramedics were “unfit to practice their profession.” The suit would be settled out of court but the paramedic’s lawyer said they were satisfied with the settlement.
In the Summer of 2006, Randy Orton was rushed to a hospital in his hometown of St. Louis for what the WWE described as a “serious” incident. Randy Orton would later say he had a motorcycle accident that broke his collarbone. After an investigation by several wrestling journalists, no accident involving Orton was ever reported to St Louis police. The speculation was that Orton had overdosed accidentally and almost died.
The WWE, Randy’s father Bob Orton and Randy himself denied the accusations. What we do know is Orton was on his second suspension from the WWE due to various behavior concerns, when the WWE discovered a large number of their wrestlers were a part of a steroid and drug buying scandal. Randy Orton was one of the wrestlers named in the scandal.
While Orton was named, the belief is that the WWE tried to cover up the overdose. The reason being is because Orton was one of the very few main event stars they had on their roster at the time and word of a drug overdose would hurt his marketability.
Race Against Crime
Back in 1965, a 22-year-old Harley Race was eating at a restaurant in Minneapolis, Minnesota before a show at the Minneapolis Auditorium. A man and woman started having an argument when the man slapped the woman in the face. Harley Race stood up and confronted the man in question. Race would punch the man once in the face and knock him out cold.
The man’s friend took a knife from the table and stabbed Harley in the back. Harley Race was rushed to a local hospital and had to miss the show that night. The man who stabbed Race was arrested at the scene.
Gregory Helms and his girlfriend were hanging out at a bar aptly called ‘Rehab’ back in March of 2011. According to reports, a drunk patron allegedly grabbed his girlfriend. When Helms became aware of the situation, Helms attacked the patron and brawl ensued. Both Helms and the drunk patron were arrested and eventually released.
In the early 1990’s, Sabu was wrestling in Japan for Atsushi Onita’s FMW promotion. Before the show, Onita warned the wrestlers that a large group of the Yakuza (Japanese mob) would be at ringside. He told them under no circumstances were the wrestlers to brawl around this certain section of the ring. Either Sabu forgot or just didn’t care because he started brawling ringside against his opponent and even did one of his patented dives into the stands. Members of the Yakuza were infuriated and began attacking Sabu legitimately.
Sabu ran backstage with the Yakuza chasing after him. While backstage, Mike Awesome heard a commotion and looked to see what was happening. He saw about a dozen men attacking Sabu, with one of them picking up a chair to strike Sabu with it. Awesome quickly jumped in and grabbed the chair away from the Yakuza member, picked up Sabu and locked themselves in a room.
The two wrestlers remained in the locked room for over two hours while the Yakuza were trying to get at them. FMW owner Atsushi Onita had some clout with the mob and tried talking to them to calm the situation down. Finally, after speaking with one of the bosses, Onita got the Yakuza to leave but not before getting a stern warning.
You can read all previous ‘Wrestling with Sin’ pieces here.