This is the 263rd 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.
No Russ, No Fuss
In 2001, for the WWF’s developmental territory Heartland Wrestling Association (HWA), a six man tag team main event took place between Rikishi and the Island Boys versus Haku, Elix Skipper and Russ McCullough. Russ McCullough was a former offensive lineman for the National Football League who was signed to a developmental contract. While he stood over 6 feet and 10 inches tall and weighed well over 300 pounds, McCullough reportedly had a very bad attitude while in training.
During the match in question, Russ supposedly stiffed a punch to Rikishi and the future WWE Hall of Famer responded by knocking McCullough down and sitting on the former football player with his full weight. Later in the match, Russ and Elix were holding Rikishi against the ropes for Haku to land a kick. Reportedly, the spot was to have Rikishi break away and Haku accidentally kick his own partner McCullough. The thing was, McCullough refused to let go of Rikishi and Haku accidentally kicked Rikishi in the head.
Rikishi snapped and took a chair and repeatedly hit McCullough with it. McCullough ran to the back, which was not planned and the referee called for the bell. Rikishi then went after McCullough backstage and allegedly several wrestlers had to separate the two from a fight. Les Thatcher, who ran HWA, kicked McCullough out of the building and he never wrestled another match again. Years later, McCullough would sue the WWE as a part of a concussion lawsuit…but it was dismissed by a judge.
While competing in the Memphis territory, Tommy ‘Wildfire’ Rich and ‘Superstar’ Bill Dundee went out drinking one night. Both wrestlers got pretty drunk and met a couple of female mud wrestlers. While out driving, Dundee and one of the female mud wrestlers got into an argument. Dundee accused the mud wrestler of not being a real wrestler and didn’t even know how to lock up.
The two argued back and forth and Dundee got so mad, he allegedly pulled his gun out of the glove compartment and fired a couple of rounds into the air. Bill Dundee than instructed Rich to pull the car over to the side of the road. Tommy did and the female mud wrestler and Bill Dundee got out of the vehicle. Once outside, Tommy Rich claimed that the mud wrestler and Dundee legitimately tried to wrestle each other.
A few minutes later, two cop cars pulled up and arrested both Rich and Dundee. The police apparently heard the gunshots and followed Rich’s car and saw the the scuffle on the side of the road. Both wrestlers posted bail and were released. No other word about that case.
Former WWE wrestler and current Impact Wrestling star Rich Swann was arrested in December of 2017 in Florida and charged with domestic battery and false imprisonment. According to police reports, Swann and his wife…a fellow wrestler known as Su Yung got into an argument. Rich Swann apparently criticized Yung about one of her matches and the discussion escalated. Yung got out of the car fearing that the argument would turn violent and according to eyewitnesses…Swann grabbed his wife and placed her in a headlock.
He then allegedly dragged Yung back to the car while she was screaming for help. Yung jumped out of the car a second time and Swann again chased after her. This time, however, the car was still in drive and it would crash into a telephone pole. Police were called and when they arrived at the scene, Yung told them that Swann had a bad temper and left for fear that their argument would get violent.
Swann insisted he never got physical with his wife. The WWE would suspend Swann and eventually release him three weeks later. The charges would ultimately be dropped after prosecutors deemed insufficient evidence in the case. Swann would retire from wrestling for a brief period of time, but would sign and join his wife at Impact Wrestling.
Cracking the Whip
Dan ‘Bullwhip’ Johnson was a second generation wrestler. His father was Ron ‘Bull’ Johnson. Bullwhip wrestled mostly from the 1970’s to the 80’s for various territories including Canada and Japan. He also wrestled briefly for both WCW and the WWF as a preliminary talent.
Bullwhip Johnson battled alcoholism throughout his career. His heavy drinking curtailed a promising career and it ultimately led to him developing cirrhosis of the liver. Johnson would become a public speaker who would council troubled youth about the dangers of alcohol and drugs. Dan ‘Bullwhip’ Johnson would pass away in 2003 at the young age of 49.