Wrestling With Sin: 377

Brian Damage

This is the 377th 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.

Mutiny AND the Bounty

In 1984, Jack and Gerald Brisco made the decision to sell their shares of the Georgia territory to Vince McMahon and the WWF. According to Gerald, the other part owner of the territory…Ole Anderson was none too pleased. So much so, they were secretly warned by Paul Jones (Another part owner) that Ole was allegedly hiring a hitman to take out the Brisco brothers. Jones had told the brothers that the hit could come within the next three days. The hit…of course…never materialized.

That didn’t mean that Ole wasn’t plotting anything else. The Road Warriors were allegedly approached by Anderson to break the brothers legs, arms, necks…whatever they could and Ole would pay them $5,000. It was Road Warrior Animal who approached Gerry and told him about the bounty. Animal said they refused Ole’s money because they didn’t want to do business that way. The Briscos talked to a few other wrestlers about Ole Anderson’s bounty and they all had the same story as the Road Warriors. The bounty was never collected by anybody…although Gerry Brisco claims that Buzz Sawyer was the only wrestler that considered doing it for the money.

A Rae of Hope in the Middle of Darkness

In October of 2021, wrestler Kylie Rae announced that she was stepping away from professional wrestling due to her ongoing issues with mental illness. Kylie said that she was constantly self medicating herself with alcohol and marijuana to try and deal with her issues. She realized that was not an answer to her problems and decided to take a break from wrestling to get better. Kylie was wrestling on the independent scene and with Billy Corgan’s NWA promotion.

Unfortunately, this was not the first time Kylie walked away from wrestling to deal with mental health issues like depression and anxiety. In recent years, she has quit the business while under an Impact Wrestling contract and also quit working for AEW…all for the same reasons. We certainly do NOT in any way disparage her for her mental illness. The mental illness is the story here and how it has crippled many in the wrestling industry.

Life is a Living Heel

Frank Jares started out as both an amateur wrestler and weightlifter. He then shifted into pro wrestling where he wrestled mostly in the California territories under the name of ‘Brother Frank.’ His career lasted from 1945 until his retirement in 1959. Jares was no stranger to the wild side of pro wrestling. Jares usually competed as a heel and often times found the wrath of the irate fans. In 1956, Jares teamed with Hard Boiled Haggerty to take on Vincent Lopez and Pat McGill. While Jares was on his back lying by the ring apron, a fan charged the ring with a bottle opener and slashed Jares between the eyes. While bleeding profusely, Jares’ partner chased after the assailant through the crowd, but did not catch him. Jares ended up with 17 stitches on his head.

There were other incidents where Jares was driving in East Los Angeles and a car ran him off the road. Jares got out of his vehicle and was subsequently jumped by four individuals. Jares said the only thing that saved his life that day was rolling under his car for safety. The four men eventually drove off. It led Jares to purchase a gun and drive back to the scene of the earlier crime. The four men once again drove into Jares’ car and this time Jares got out of the car and pointed the gun a the men and they all scattered. Jares then drove off and dumped the gun into the Pacific Ocean.

In another incident, Jares was wrestling a match in Long Beach, California when a drunken fan jumped the ring and punched Jares in the back of his neck. Jares took a swing at the fan, knocking the individual off the ring and into the stands. A female spectator ended up suing the arena and Frank himself claiming injuries. She sued them both for over $7,000 and the case went to court. Luckily, the match was being filmed and caught the incident as it happened and the case was dismissed. Jares did end up paying his lawyer 500 dollars in legal fees.

When Ryan Lost His Smile

British independent wrestler Ryan Smile was beloved by many of his peers within the industry. In 2016, Smile and Will Ospreay formed a promotion named ‘Lucha Forever.’ Unfortunately, Lucha Forever folded in 2017 and with that, a bunch of financial headaches. It included Smile and Ospreay not paying wrestlers, ring crew and failing to refund fans tickets they bought for future shows. The entire situation soured people on Smile, who profusely apologized for the entire situation. In some cases, fans turned on Smile with them telling Smile to kill himself.

Ryan had been battling depression and the insults and criticisms wore on him. In October of 2020, a shocking announcement was made that Ryan Smile had died. While it was said he lost his battle with mental illness….some wrestlers came out and said it was suicide…but didn’t go into great detail. This message was posted by Smile’s friend Damien Dunne…

“It is with great sadness that I have to inform everyone that Ryan Smile passed away yesterday after losing his battle with mental health. This is a truly terrible loss of a larger than life character who brightened every room he was in with his passion, energy & humour. Please respect the privacy of Alice & her family at this time.”

The reasoning behind his death is not widely known. There is no proof that the failure of Lucha Forever and the aftermath contributed in his death in anyway. Ryan Smile was just 31 years old at the time of his death.

You can read all previous ‘Wrestling with Sin’ pieces here.

7 thoughts on “Wrestling With Sin: 377

  1. Out of everyone Ole approached about said hit, Buzz Sawyer really is a guy I could see legit taking Ole up on his offer, yeah.

    Legit feel bad for wrestlers such as Rae and Smile & all wrestlers who not have to deal with shitty fans in addition to their personal mental battles but the physical wear & tear they endure just to live out their dreams of entertaining said fans by sacrificing their minds & bodies.

    Like

      • It would’ve to say the least. I gotta give it to Brisco in the end though. Buzz’s unpredictability would defintiely work for him in the short term, but Brisco’s overall knowledge, ability & discipline would have him win in the end.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Be well Kylie, RIP Ryan Smile. I remember hearing the Warriors’ side of the bounty story. Yes, they respected the Brisco brothers too much to do that. If Ole was so tough, why not call them out settle it in the street himself?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s unfortunate about Smile.

    When you hear about life in the territories in the 80s it seems amazing that no one ever got to Vince. Seems like there was a few stories about it. I think JR heard a plan while in a bathroom to kill Vince.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.