This is the 154th 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.
Blunder Down Under
Nathan Jones was an Australian pro wrestler who competed in places like his homeland of Australia, Japan and the WWE. Before his career in the squared circle, Nathan Jones was a notorious bank robber. He robbed a total of eight banks by the time he was 16 years old. He was also an Australia’s most wanted list.
He was eventually caught and blamed his criminal behavior on his addiction to steroids and amphetamines. Nathan Jones was found guilty and spent the next seven years of his life in a maximum security prison. Thankfully, he cleaned up his act and focused his attentions on powerlifting and pro wrestling. He retired from pro wrestling and is now an actor.
Burning Bridges…in Brooklyn
Independent female wrestler Leva Bates had become a breakout star for the WWE’s developmental brand NXT. She garnered the nickname “Blue Pants” and had gotten herself over with many of the NXT fans. She was featured as a surprise partner to the tag team known as ‘The Vaudevillains’ at NXT Takeover Brooklyn back in 2015. After the match, Blue Pants was seen once more in a loss to Alexa Bliss and then disappeared from the promotion.
It was widely speculated that WWE management had gotten annoyed with Leva Bates because she was able to get herself over with the fans. That apparently turned out not to be the case. According to several reports, Bates distanced herself from the rest of the NXT roster and wasn’t engaged in the other matches during Takeover Brooklyn. It was said, she was on her phone for most of the evening when she wasn’t on, not paying attention to the others wrestling.
It was also reported that after the show, Leva allegedly got seriously drunk and acted “inappropriately” at an after party with WWE management in attendance. To make matters even worse, Bates supposedly overslept and missed her chartered flight back to Orlando, Florida. That seemed to be the final straw and the WWE parted ways with Leva Bates.
Don ‘Hard boiled’ Haggerty was a pro wrestler from the early 1950’s to the early 1970’s. For a majority of that time, Haggerty portrayed a villain aka a heel. He did it so well, in fact, many fans took it upon themselves to try and take him out of the picture.
He was stabbed in Minneapolis, Minnesota and shot in the leg in Louisville, Kentucky. He was once threatened by the Japanese Yakuza to either lose to his opponent Rikidozan, or he wouldn’t make it out of Japan alive. One of the scariest times in Haggerty’s career came in Duluth, Minnesota when a mob of angry wrestling fans broke into Haggerty’s hotel room. Haggerty was forced to jump out of a second story window and landed on a police patrol car in 18-degree weather.
In 1989, WWF stars ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude and Bobby ‘the Brain’ Heenan were guests on the talk show ‘Live with Regis and Kathie Lee.’ During the course of their segment, Rude started “kayfabe” flirting with the host Kathie Lee Gifford. It appeared that Kathie Lee was playing along with Rude for a while until Rude took off his robe and began gyrating with a picture of her face on his tights. Apparently, Kathie Lee became disgusted and started to walk away from him.
Rick Rude, still in his gimmick thought she was still playing along and began chasing after her. Kathie Lee ran off the set and that’s when things got ugly. Kathie Lee’s husband, former football player Frank Gifford, was told about the incident and went off on the producer of the show. He said if anything like that happened to his wife again, Kathie Lee would quit the show.
Kathie Lee Gifford talked about the incident in her autobiography entitled, ” I Can’t Believe I Said That.” She called Rick Rude an “animal” and calls pro wrestlers “sleazy.” She also said this about the incident….“On his clingy nothing-left-to -the-imagination Lycra tights, he had painted my face over his crotch. He stood there, hands behind his head, thrusting and flexing, half naked. It was so gross I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I put my hands over my face and ran up the stairs at the rear of the set.
“Meanwhile, he turned his butt to the camera and, of course, there was Reege’s face painted on his, Rick’s, quivering, gyrating glutes. Talk about “back-end participation!” This got my vote for the worst breach of taste in the history of the show. Then Rick ran up the stairs after me and I came down, skipped over the couches and dashed off the set, amazed that I didn’t wipe out and hurt myself.”
When Rick Rude heard about this, he was apparently very hurt and upset and wanted to apologize to Kathie Lee. That was until Bobby Heenan convinced him that was not what happened at all and Kathie Lee was fabricating the story to sell books.
You can read all previous ‘Wrestling with Sin’ pieces here.