Wrestling With Sin: 381

Brian Damage

This is the 381st 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.

Sun Down

Marva Scott was a part of an all black female wrestling troupe led by promoter Billy Wolfe. The small group of women found a great deal of success across the country and around the world. Marva dyed her hair blonde and usually wrestled as a heel in the group. In the 1970’s, Marva signed an exclusive contract to wrestle overseas in the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ of Japan. Despite her success here in the States, Marva discovered things in Japan to be a lot more difficult.

The Japanese fans were brutal with their jeers by calling Marva racial names. The Japanese wrestlers she faced in the ring tried to legitimately hurt her by using real punches and kicks. Marva would often have to fight for real just to survive a match against them. The most harrowing experience Marva faced was when members of the Yakuza showed up to her hotel in Tokyo. They threatened to drop her from the top of the hotel if she didn’t intentionally lose a match against a female the Yakuza were supporting.

Marva was so scared, she tried to return home…but her contract was iron clad and she was forced to stay in Japan until all of her dates were honored. The racial hatred from fans and the Japanese wrestlers and the physical threats of violence from the Japanese mob caused Marva Scott to suffer a nervous breakdown. It was so bad, that Marva was sent to a Sanitarium were she stayed for several months. When she was finally released from the sanitarium, Marva’s love of professional wrestling was severely diminished and she wrestled infrequently after that overseas tour.

Larry’s Letter

AEW’s Eddie Kingston recalled a very dark period in his life where booze and depression almost overcame his life. Kingston remembered being depressed that his wrestling career wasn’t going as planned. Pro wrestling was always his escape from the harsh reality of the world around him and wanted to pursue it as a livelihood. While he was seeing good friends of his “make it” in the business with larger promotions, he was still toiling on the independent scene barely getting by.

Depression sunk in and Kingston went on a week long alcoholic bender. To make sure nobody disturbed him….Kingston smashed his only phone. As Kingston was drinking his life away, he received a letter in the mail from his friend and fellow wrestler Larry Sweeney. In the letter, Sweeney gave Kingston several words of encouragement to keep on fighting. Kingston cites the letter as a wake up call and perhaps saved his life. Sadly, just a few years later…Larry Sweeney would commit suicide battling his own demons as chronicled here.

Young Lion On The Prowl

In 1988, Minoru Suzuki was training to become a pro wrestler under the tutelage of Antonio Inoki. Like all others that were training in the New Japan Dojo…Suzuki was classified as a “Young Lion.” A Young Lion is the New Japan term for a rookie trained in New Japan’s system. After Suzuki had his debut match in June of 1988, he received his first NJPW paycheck.

While most Young Lions would use the money for food, housing or just saved…Suzuki used his first paycheck on a prostitute. According to New Japan biographer Chris Charlton….not only did Suzuki use the money for sex, he had no way to get to the red light district in Japan. So he decided to “borrow” New Japan’s ring truck to get there. Ironically, Suzuki ended up leaving New Japan Pro Wrestling soon after his first match to join Japan’s version of the UWF. Suzuki wouldn’t return to a New Japan ring until several years later.

He Thinks He’s Cute…He Thinks He’s Sexy….

‘The Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels may have been The Show Stopper, The Main Event, The Man and The Icon in the world of professional wrestling, but outside of it was another story. HBK found out the “hard way” starting in 2003. That was the year that Shawn Michaels (with the help of WWE lawyer Lauren A. Bienes-Middlen sent a cease and desist letter to a man with the same name but different spelling. The man in question was named Sean Michaels and just so happened to be a porn actor.

In the letter it stated that ‘your incidental spelling variations of the same name does not change the fact that it is the same name and phonic equivalent of the exact mark. The use of Sean Michaels with your merchandise will confuse the consumers as to the source of which these services originated. Consumers who purchased your product will be lead to believe that these products have been made, approved, or sponsored by the WWE.'” Also, “If you do not sign the cease & desist letter than WWE will take you to court.” The porn actor was quick to respond to the letter and state the name Sean Michaels was trademarked by him several years earlier. It was also pointed out that the Shawn Michaels name never was trademarked. The case was soon dropped.

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

5 thoughts on “Wrestling With Sin: 381

    • Yeah that was REALLY fucked up that she faced that kind of mistreatment overseas when you’d expect that kind behaviour stateside instead. Hope she was able to find peace of mind at some point in her life.

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  1. Beyond fucked up that poor Miss Marva had to deal with that kind of reaction overseas when you’d expect to come from her fellow Americans. Truly disgusting. I hope she was able to mentally recover from all of that & move onto a better headspace in her later years.

    So you’re telling me Murder Grampa was a frequent riding on the Hooooo Train? Ha ha, nice.
    Speaking of, now that IS a funny story about HBK. Finally ran into somebody who wouldn’t do the job to him, haha.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It sounds as if Marva Scott was in a troupe with Sweet Georgia Brown. These women should have some sort of spotlight on their careers. They were pioneers. What they endured and what they gave is worth a lot.

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  3. Suzuki was a trouble making Young Lion, wasn’t he? First he got into a bar fight that almost got him fired from New Japan (he wasn’t because the generous heart of Masakatsu Funaki saved him), then he was seeing hookers with NJPW’s truck. Oh, grandpa and his stories.

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