This is the 360th 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.
In 1986, Roddy Piper starred in a wrestling movie called “Body Slam” which featured several other wrestlers including the Barbarian. During the wrap party, a bunch of the wrestlers got together to celebrate. The Barbarian and the Tonga Kid ended up drinking a few at the hotel bar. The Tonga Kid said he went to go to the bathroom and when he returned to the bar…the Barbarian was in a confrontation with police officers. It took several officers to restrain the wrestler and even used mace…which the Tonga Kid said had absolutely no affect on him.
Apparently, The Barbarian was drunk and getting a bit loud and disorderly, so the bartender decided to cut him off from drinking anymore. The Barbarian was not happy with that decision and either (depending who tells the story) smashed a glass table or threw the bartender through the table. In any case the police were called and arrested the Barbarian at the scene.
In the jail cell, the Barbarian allegedly continued to act uncontrollable. It wasn’t until his wife was called to bail him out, that the enraged wrestler called down. The Tonga Kid said the Barbarian adored his wife and feared her getting angry at him. She was the only person who could control him when he got drunk or angry.
Former three time Women of Honor champion Kelly Klein is suing Ring of Honor for $75,000. She cites breach of contract, ignoring her accusations of sexual misconduct, firing her for complaining about pay equity, not having medical protocols for injuries and not paying her royalties. Klein named several people in her lawsuit including Greg Gilliand (ROH General Manager), Hunter Johnston (ROH Booker/trainer), Joe Koff (CEO) and wrestler Jamar Shipman aka Jay Lethal. Klein accused Lethal of sexual misconduct.
Klein says that the night before of Rng of Honor show, she was in the hotel hot tub when Jay Lethal approached her. She says he was uncomfortably leering at her. She then says Lethal began asking her questions like if she was all alone at the hotel and how long was she staying. The questioning made her feel uneasy and she reported the incident to ROH management. Klein says the incident was never investigated and to make matters worse for her…Jay Lethal was assigned to be her road agent. In her suit it states…“Klein responded to the e-mail and explained that she had witnessed and experienced several situations with Shipman that made her uncomfortable to work with him. She advised ROH management that she was not willing to work with Shipman and requested that another agent be assigned to her matches. Klein went on to explain that she had not expressed this sooner for fear of backlash or retaliation.”
It should be noted, that this isn’t the first time Jay Lethal was accused of misconduct. Former Ring of Honor wrestler/valet Taeler Hendrix accused Lethal back in 2018 of sexual harassment. Ring of Honor investigated the incident and no disciplinary action was taken in that case. Lethal did post a statement on social media about these latest allegations…
Kelly Klein was the reigning Women of Honor champion at the time she was let go by the promotion. Klein was sidelined at the time with a concussion and contends when she spoke out about the differences in pay between male and female wrestlers….she was fired.
Silent But Deadly
Christopher Abbott was a journeyman professional wrestler who competed in the northeast of the United States and Canada from 1931 until 1936. Abbott’s nickname was ‘Silent’, because he was both deaf and mute. Abbott met Laura Kosinski at a wrestling show and married her a week later. The couple stayed married for six years and had two children together. In1942, Kosinski filed for divorce from Abbott citing “domestic trouble.” She took the kids and returned to her parents home in Hartford, Connecticut.
Abbott would send a series of letters to his wife begging for her to return, but she never replied back. On May 3rd of 1942, Abbott went to the home of the Kosinski’s demanding to see his wife. Laura’s father Ignatz answered the door and insisted that she was not there and had no idea where she was. When Abbott asked to check upstairs, Ignatz refused and Abbott barged into the house. Once upstairs, Abbott found his wife hiding and took out a revolver.
Abbott pointed the gun at her father and fired a shot into Ignatz thigh. Abbott then turned the gun on himself and fired a shot into his head killing him instantly. Ignatz was rushed to the hospital and survived his wound. Christopher ‘Silent’ Abbott was 38 years old at the time of his death.
There Goes My Hiro
Sean Royal began his wrestling career in 1984 being trained by Hiro Matsuda. Hiro helped train the likes of Hulk Hogan, Ron Simmons, Paul Orndorff and Lex Luger. Royal said the training under Matsuda was grueling both mentally and physically. While Matsuda was intense in his training methods, Royal acknowledged that Matsuda did help wrestlers grow and develop and be better prepared for the world of professional wrestling.
Royal said that if Matsuda liked you as a student, he would make sure you were taken care of. He would have his top students sit front row ringside for the shows in the Florida territory. It wasn’t just to study the wrestlers and their matches, but according to Royal to garner the attention of the female fans who attended the shows. The females were made aware that the students who sat ringside were future stars in the business and were to be “taken care of.” Matsuda believed that his top students should be treated like stars and have beautiful women thrown at them and be rewarded sexually for their hard work. Hiro encouraged these women to sleep with his students after the shows.
You can read all previous ‘Wrestling with Sin’ pieces here.