This is the 343rd 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.
‘Cowboy’ Bill Watts recalled the brief period of time he was working for the WWF and an incident backstage that could have gone very badly. It involved Bob Backlund and ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels. According to Watts, Backlund was absolutely livid about something Shawn Michaels did to him. Watts never bothered to ask what the exact issue was, but knew if it involved Michaels…it was probably bad. Watts witnessed Backlund going straight to where Michaels was getting dressed with intentions of roughing him up.
When Watts ran his own promotion, he always believed that the wrestlers should settle their differences physically to get it out. Things, however, were different now and Watts knew that Backlund could legitimately injure and maim Shawn. Seeing how HBK was Vince McMahon’s “golden boy” at the time…Watts stepped in and held Backlund back preventing him from physically harming Michaels. Watts said that it took every ounce of strength he had not to let Backlund go and kill HBK.
Watts realized if he allowed Bob Backlund to attack Michaels….he and Backlund would both be out of work and the WWF would have to find a new main event star because Backlund would’ve crippled Shawn Michaels.
Darby Melnick was a pro wrestler/manager and promoter based out of Canada. From 1938 until 1948, Melnick was a co promoter of the Calgary, Alberta territory. Darby had success running the territory and the ability to attract some of Canada’s biggest name wrestlers during that period of time. Darby was in direct competition with a rising star promoter in Stu Hart.
Melnick was able to hold off Hart and his promotion from taking over Calgary by promoting successful shows. That all came to a screeching halt one night in 1948. Darby was at a restaurant when he got into a physical altercation with another patron. Darby beat the other man so badly…..the individual was near death. Darby Melnick was facing manslaughter charges and serious jail time.
With the very real possibility of Melnick going to prison, his business partner and co promoter Larry Tillman felt that Darby needed to step away from wrestling. Tillman bought out Melnick’s share of the Calgary territory. Ultimately, just three years later…Tillman sold of his Calgary promotion to Stu Hart and the rest is history.
AEW wrestler Abadon accused wrestler/trainer Al Snow of being sexist and unprofessional towards female wrestlers. She said she attended a Snow wrestling seminar a couple of years ago and Al Snow was especially critical of her and other female trainees. According to Abadon, Snow made sure to publicly humiliate her and others by criticizing her looks and weight.
She claims Snow said things like….‘Can you be more attractive so we can book you?’ ‘You are too fat to be doing flips.” “You are not The Undertaker, so stop.’
Abadon also said that Snow told all the females at the seminar…‘If this was a dildo on a pole match you guys would actually work better.’
Abadon said there were three other women that attended the seminar, but should be noted no others came forward to back up the accusations. Al Snow, who owns and operates Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) has not commented on the allegations one way or the other either.
I ran from Iraq
In the 1970’s, former Olympic amateur wrestler turned professional Bob Roop wrestled an Iraqi wrestling icon named Adnan Al-Kassie. The two wrestled each other in front 120,000 fans that included Saddam Hussein at the famed Al-Shaab Stadium in Baghdad, Iraq. Roop defeated Al-Kassie and a riot immediately broke out. Roop was being pelted with rocks and bottles.
With his life in immediate danger, the Iraqi army rushed Roop into an awaiting army truck. An Iraqi general was onboard the truck as well. The fans didn’t care as they tossed big cobblestones at the truck and smashed the windshield. Roop was fortunate enough to escape the stadium alive and was immediately sent home.
You can read all previous ‘Wrestling with Sin’ pieces here.