Wrestling has its share of strange backstage stories and on-screen angles. Some of these are just weird or even too incredible to be true. Others, however, are infuriating to the point of madness. Whether comic or tragic, these 13 stories will have you clenching your fists like Arthur and ready to throw a punch.
1. Shawn Michaels will gossip you out of a career Shawn Michaels isn’t just known as one of the all-time greats in the world of wrestling. He’s also known as the world’s biggest backstage crybaby and instigator. He touts himself as a man who will lay down for no one. The Heartbreak Kid frequently fabricated backstage rumors for the purpose of burying rival talent and sowing backstage discord.
2. The Montreal Screwjob With Bret Hart leaving for WCW as champion, Vince McMahon was in a tough spot. So he conspired with Shawn Michaels to trick Hart into losing the belt in his hometown by tapping out to his own move. Michaels locked in the sharpshooter and the bell rang, seemingly for no reason, with HBK announced as the new champ. Bret went backstage and punched Vince and the evil Mr. McMahon character was born.
3. Ted DiBiase buys the championship What do you do when you can’t win a championship? You buy it. Ted DiBiase paid off a crooked ref to fast count Hulk Hogan down in his WrestleMania III rematch with Andre the Giant. Andre, also the world’s heavyweight drinking champion, quickly sold the championship to DiBiase. Eight-year-olds o’er the land were never quite so angry. The Million Dollar Man was announced as champion on a few house shows before being stripped of the belt by a real president, Jack Tunney.
4. Sgt Slaughter, Iraqi Agent Former All-American Hero, living action figure and legitimate former Marine Corps drill instructor Sgt. Slaughter returned to the WWF during Desert Storm as an Iraqi sympathizer. Unfortunately, some people took this a little too seriously. Slaughter’s real-life family had to be evacuated from their home. Not Sarge, though. In the midst of death threats, he decided he was sleeping in his own bed.
5. Vince McMahon beats up a one-legged guy One-legged amputee Zach Gowen was planted in the audience for the 10,000th match between Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan. Becoming a part of the action, Gowen quickly entered into a feud with Mr. McMahon, who roundly defeated him. Gowen was then fed to virtually the entire roster in scrappy underdog meets comedy relief matches.
6. Chris Benoit’s Swiss cheese brain Everyone knows Chris Benoit killed his wife and son. Most people don’t know that brain damage was more likely the culprit than steroids. Benoit’s style involved lots of brutal head shots, including diving headbutts and taking unprotected chair shots to the head. The result? The brain of an advanced Alzheimer’s patient. Seeing Benoit take his signature diving headbutt is uncomfortable in retrospect to say the least.
7. Wrestler's Court The WWE has a rather unique way of handling internal disputes between “definitely not” roided-up tough guys; they have a kangaroo court called Wrestler’s Court, with The Undertaker as the presiding judge. For example, Wrestler’s Court once made The Miz dress in the hallway for six months because he ate fried chicken over Chris Benoit’s bag. Ring of Honor’s locker room tried to set up something similar, but as they’re not owned by a carny, the HR department quickly put the squash on that.
8. JBL and the WWE’s alleged bullying culture Another remnant of wrestling's carny roots is the hazing culture persisting to this day. This briefly made news this year when JBL allegedly bullied Mauro Ranallo out of the company. Joey Styles, Stevie Richards and Steve Blackman have all pushed back against JBL specifically, with Styles knocking him out in one punch. This is apparently how you earn the man’s respect. Other stories indicate that nothing gets Vince on your side faster than a punch to the jaw.
9. Vince Russo runs Hulk Hogan out of town Late period WCW was the home of the “worked shoot,” scripted angles given the appearance of legitimacy. Vince Russo, however, worked himself into a shoot one night, telling Hulk Hogan what he really thought of him. The extended rant, which went on for almost 10 minutes, apparently got under Hogan’s skin. Hogan departed the company and sued for defamation of character. The pair later worked together in TNA.
10. X-Pac likes to poop The backstage bullying culture of wrestling has a rather icky side best embodied in X-Pac also known as The Lightning Kid, The 1-2-3- Kid and Syxx. He was a fan of shitting into the personal effects and even food of other talent, including Sable, Mark Henry and Sunny. As Sable is currently married to Brock Lesnar, we hope for Pac’s sake the two never cross paths.
11. Mr Fuji feeds his tag team partner his own dog Of course, there are worse things to eat than shit. Like your own dog. While Mr. Fuji and Prof. Tanaka were tag team champions together, they never saw eye to eye. This culminated in Mr. Fuji cooking Tanaka’s dog and feeding it to him. Tanaka left the promotion the next day.
12. Bruiser Brody gets stabbed Once upon a time, Puerto Rico’s WWC territory was a place to make your mark. What happened? Brody stepped into the showers to talk business with José Huertas González. The locker room heard two screams, then Tony Atlas investigated to find Brody clutching his stomach and González holding a knife. The territory was widely boycotted afterward, as Brody was a beloved figure and, even if he wasn’t, no one wanted to be the next guy to get stabbed.