Thanks to a select few grapplers committing bizarre crimes, not to mention pro wrestling’s reputation as a violent, sensationalist spectacle to begin with, there’s a widespread misconception that everyone performing in the sports entertainment industry could well be a hardened criminal. Of course, this couldn’t be further from the truth, at least for the vast majority of wrestlers who work for WWE or any other noteworthy promotion. On the other hand, a decent number of wrestlers have indeed been arrested over the years, on both legitimate and more spurious charges.
Unfortunately for any of the wrestlers who may have been falsely accused, most onlookers tend to remember when people are accused of a crime regardless of whether or not they actually committed it. By and large, this is true not only for wrestlers, but just about anyone who once was questioned in relation to a crime they didn’t commit. The more interesting part is that someone thought they did it, and most media outlets tend to lose interest if the accusation turns out to be false. Granted, there’s usually a reason why the people were suspected in the first place, but the fact remains they were never actually found guilty of any legal wrongdoing.
While many of the wrestlers accused of crimes they didn’t commit were far from perfect, they at least deserve to have their names cleared in relation to the alleged misdeeds that are eventually proven to have nothing to do with them. That many of these superstars are still working is a sign everyone in the industry probably knows the truth, but fans of these athletes deserve to know what they did and didn’t do, as well. Keep reading to learn about 15 shocking pro wrestling arrests you didn’t realize ended with the charges getting dropped.
15. Bruiser Bedlam In Making A Murderer
Although he was never particularly successful in the ring, this didn’t stop Bruiser Bedlam from earning a notorious reputation as one of the most vicious wrestlers ever to live. Said reputation is owed entirely to Bedlam’s second career as a gang-and-organized-crime-connected criminal, with more than a few bodies allegedly connected to his name. Ultimately, Bedlam spent around 7 years in prison when he pleaded guilty to conspiracy in connection with the murder of a rival gang member. The gang member wasn’t the only person he had been accused of killing, though, as there was also a separate issue involving a couple murdered due to a tangential relationship with the Gravelle crime family. Bedlam and Andre Gravelle were charged with their execution-style killings, but a judge decided the actual evidence against them wasn’t strong, so the Attorney General dropped the case against them. However, the attorneys already knew Bedlam was a pretty bad dude as he had spent over two years in prison for bombing a church shortly before the Gravelle murders, so they certainly had reasons to be suspicious.
14. Lex Luger And The Demise Of Miss Elizabeth
Things haven’t been good for Lex Luger, once billed as a great American hero, for quite some time now. Things went south fast after WCW was purchased by WWE, and Luger didn’t come along with the deal as he was happy to instead spend his days doing copious amounts of drugs with his girlfriend, Miss Elizabeth. In part due to their toxic relationship, Elizabeth passed away from a drug overdose in 2003. This also led to Luger’s arrest when authorities found remnants of their druggy lifestyle splattered throughout their home. There was also talk Luger could be charged in connection with her death, which never came to pass, but chances are, the idea would have never been drawn in the first place had it not been for separate domestic assault charges Luger faced just two weeks earlier. Apparently, Elizabeth was seen with extensive cuts and bruises thought to be caused by Luger, and he was arrested despite both of them denying he was at all involved. That was probably the case, but the world may never know the full extent of how drugs were affecting their lives.
13. Scott Hall Lethally Defends Himself Against An Attacker
It should be noted at this point in the list that in the same way a person getting accused of a crime doesn’t necessarily mean they did it, not every story about charges getting dropped could be called definitive proof they didn’t do it. Look no further than the story Scott Hall has told about getting accused of second-degree murder, which he later admitted he, in fact, committed, albeit in self-defense. The incident in question happened in 1983, one year before Hall started wrestling, and he was able to get off entirely due to a lack of evidence. Granted, because he had a legitimate self-defense argument protecting him, Hall probably would have been exonerated through legal means if the trial had gone to court. On the downside, Hall and his friends pointed to the self-defense killing as the source of Hall’s many problems with drugs and alcohol; he had apparently developed PTSD from killing his attacker. Decades later, these demons would again lead to a false arrest when he was accused of a domestic disturbance with his girlfriend Lisa Howell. Again, the evidence was insufficient, and all charges were dropped. Unfortunately for Hall, there were plenty of legitimate arrests along the way, so people who have trouble separating the real accusations from the fake ones can’t be blamed too harshly.
12. The Big Show Almost Gets Exposed
Michael Cole likes saying you have to see the Big Show in person to truly understand how large he is, but maybe Cole should choose his words more carefully given what has happened in two separate incidents. The first one involved Show allegedly exposing himself to a hospitality worker. Working for WCW as The Giant at the time, Show denied the incident, and the charges were soon dropped when the prosecution had no evidence. The very next year, though, he was charged with assaulting a man at a New York hotel, which Show argued was a single, defensive knockout punch after the man had shoved and attacked him. This time around, there was plenty of evidence, but it was all in Show’s favor, and a judge decided he was not guilty of any wrongdoing.
11. Kurt Angle Has An Olympic-Sized Arrest Record
Now that he’s officially back in WWE as a Hall of Famer, it looks like Kurt Angle’s rough patch is firmly behind him. Another term for said rough patch could be Total Nonstop Action, the company where Angle worked when his drug problems initially caused Vince McMahon to tell him he needed help. Instead of help, Angle kept wrestling, and his demons likewise spiraled out of control. The former Olympic Gold Medalist has been charged with no less than four separate DUIs although the first and third were dropped after legal wrangling. Kurt also found himself in serious trouble after he ended a relationship with Trenesha Biggers, also known as “Rhaka Khan,” who claimed he stalked and harassed her during the summer of 2009. Biggers also filed for a protection from abuse order, which was temporarily granted. Ultimately, all charges related to Biggers, including the PFA order, were dropped when Angle agreed to avoid further contact with her. Angle has since married Giovanna Yannotti, so it’s safe to say he’s completely moved on. Likewise, his alcohol issues seem to have finally ended after his latest arrest, which led to him entering a rehab facility.
10. Bram Has Some Serious Women Problems
No matter how successful he becomes as TNA loses more and more viable top stars, Bram will probably never find his way back to the WWE Universe. The UK superstar briefly worked for Florida Championship Wrestling and then NXT, and it was around this time his relationship with Charlotte Flair began. At this point, Bram already had a criminal record including a DUI and another battery charge, but this didn’t stop Charlotte from marrying him in 2013. They didn’t stick together very long, though, with Charlotte following in her father’s marital footsteps by getting a divorce a mere two years later. Pretty much everyone sides with Charlotte in the matter, too, due to the legal hot water Bram found himself in around the same time. Turns out Charlotte wasn’t his only romantic partner, a fact the world found out in terrifying fashion when Bram was charged with domestic battery and false imprisonment of his woman on the side. While the charges were dropped a few months later for unclear reasons, the woman apparently did exist, and thus, Charlotte finalized her divorce from Bram ten days after he had been cleared.
9. New Jack Goes Too Far In The Ring…Or Does He?
It would be fair to say that New Jack, bringing shopping carts filled with staple guns and other hardware to the ring on a nightly basis, is significantly more violent-minded than the average wrestler. Sure, these guys and gals all beat the crap out of one another for a living, but New Jack seems to take actual pleasure in cutting up his foes. He’s done that trick on more than one occasion and is just about the only mainstream wrestler who will straight-up pull out an Exacto knife and stab his opponent upwards of a dozen times. Most notably, this happened during a match for Thunder Wrestling Federation in October 2004, when Jack was wrestling William Jason Lane. After Jack had stabbed Lane no less than nine times, a police officer attending the event decided the violence level was way above your average wrestling match and decided to charge New Jack with a number of felonious assault-related crimes. While the promoter agreed it was more hardcore than he had intended, Lane himself was quick to tell authorities it was all part of the show, and New Jack was soon released without further incident.
8. Teddy Hart Proves His Family Aren’t All-Canadian Royalty
Pretty much from the moment his career began, Teddy Hart has been causing members of his legendary family to shake their heads while also generally impressing fans in the ring. The negative behavior has been far outweighing his wrestling ability, though, which really says a lot given what certain sports entertainers have managed to sweep under the rug. When Teddy’s career began, his main problem was arrogance, and were that his sole issue, maybe his talent would have been able to overcome his personality flaws. However, it appeared Hart’s problems were escalating severely in 2014, when Canadian authorities announced he was wanted on a number of assault charges. Two women were accusing him of separate unlawful confinements and sexual assaults one year apart from each other. However, when these accusations were tried in 2016, a judge decided there was not enough evidence for the case to proceed. Hart had maintained his innocence throughout the trial, and commented he was happy to get back to work when exonerated. Of course, he still has the whole “being a jerk” thing to deal with, so don’t expect him working anywhere too mainstream.
7. Jerry “The King” Lawler Gets In Trouble With His Queen
Anyone who watched WWE during the Attitude Era remembers that Jerry “The King” Lawler was a dirty old man, but during the New Generation he actually looked a whole lot worse. Shortly before he was poised to wrestle the Hart Family alongside his Knights at the 1993 Survivor Series, the self-proclaimed King of Wrestling was accused of raping an underage girl and forced off the show. It wasn’t long before Lawler was back in WWE, though, because the charges against him were dropped when his accuser admitted she made up parts of her claim. Lawler wouldn’t stay in the clear forever, however, as some 23 years later, he was again charged with a serious crime: this time, domestic violence. Both Lawler and his girlfriend/fiancee admitted to an argument that got out of hand, but it was ultimately decided things never reached a physical level, and charges were dropped. WWE briefly fired Lawler over the incident, but instantly welcomed him back once his name was cleared. In addition to these dropped charges, Lawler was once also found guilty of at least one crime: running over a police officer’s foot in response to getting a traffic ticket.
6. Shad Gaspard Nearly Becomes A Horrible Statistic
Anyone who pays even the slightest attention to the news knows there are still plenty of racial problems hitting America, and not even famous pro wrestlers are exempt. Shortly after Shad Gaspard left WWE for the second time in 2010, he was arrested in Columbus, Ohio for seemingly no reason. Officers on the scene said he was jaywalking, despite no less than three onlookers saying they were wrong, and when Gaspard himself denied the accusation, three cops arrested him for resisting instruction. The footage was caught on camera making it blatantly clear the officers were using excessive force, something Gaspard was certainly aware of when he asked them, “Why am I being arrested? Because I’m big and I’m black?” During the ride to the police station, Gaspard also believes he heard one of his arresting officers refer to him as “just another one,” which he felt was a racial comment that proved his worst fears. If there’s any light at the end of the tunnel, it’s that judges at least agreed with him, and Gaspard was cleared of all charges.
5. Jimmy Snuka Couldn’t Remember His Alleged Crimes
The 1980s had never seen a Superfly like Jimmy Snuka, bouncing off the top ropes with a manic personality and a crazed look in his eyes. Unfortunately, though, it was that same manic personality that may have saved him from ever facing legal repercussions for a crime many people, including the family of his alleged victim, still believe he committed. Roughly around the peak of Snuka’s popularity, he was accused of murdering his girlfriend Nancy Argentino, but police sat on the case for 33 years before they finally charged him. Obviously, Jimmy Snuka was not the same person in 2016 that he was in 1983 due to the effects of time and age. Specifically, his mental capacities had greatly been hindered by dementia, and a judge ruled that he was incompetent to stand trial on the charges against him. In fact, Snuka could neither remember Argentino nor even understand what he was doing in court. Despite cynics thinking it was all for show, Snuka died 12 days after the charges were dropped, proving he indeed couldn’t have possibly defended himself. Of course, that’s probably not enough for Argentino’s family, who will never know the truth about their daughter’s death.
4. Emma Forgets To Pay For An iPad Case
For all the many ways modern technology can benefit our everyday lives, there are certain downsides that come with computers ruling the world of commerce. Take the simple self-checkout machine, for example, which is supposed to make getting out of a grocery store or mall go a bit faster but has also inadvertently sent people to jail. Don’t believe us? Just ask WWE superstar Emma, who spent a few hours in a jail cell and almost lost her career because she didn’t realize an iPad case failed to scan during a simple trip to Wal-Mart. That’s her story, at least, and it was enough for her lawyer to convince a judge her alleged thievery was in fact a minor misunderstanding. Nonetheless, the judge did order her to make restitution by way of community service, but the charge was soon dismissed due to her cooperation. As alluded to already, WWE briefly fired her over the incident, but Emma was hired back a mere three hours later due to fan backlash and the full story coming to light.
3. Kevin Nash Isn’t A Cool Daddy To His Son
Countless wrestlers have had children who went on to follow in their footsteps by entering the industry, but Kevin Nash’s brawl with his son Tristen is nothing like the battles between Shane and Vince McMahon or any other wrestling father-son duo. Well, maybe they’re a little bit similar insofar as Nash’s wife Tamara was also integrally involved in the late 2014 incident that led to Kevin and Tristen both getting arrested for battery. Because Tristen was only 18 at the time, not to mention that Kevin was nearly 7 feet tall and clearly had a physical advantage over his son, police initially arrested Kevin alone, though they soon returned to the Nash household and picked up Tristen after Kevin had told his side of the story. Apparently, Big Kev only attacked his boy because Tristen had attacked Tamara. Authorities and judges seemed to show agreement by dropping the charges against Kevin though the case against his son continued. Nash was briefly suspended from his contract while the incident was still ongoing, but he was welcomed back as a legend when WWE realized his son had been at fault.
2. Alberto Del Rio Isn’t The Best Patron In Austria
Just like with father and son, brothers have been wrestling one another in the ring for show since the sport has been around with some of the brotherly wars being legendary enough to build entire promotions around. Alberto Del Rio’s brother El Hijo de Dos Caras isn’t quite as famous as he is in America, but they’re both known enough to get booked around the world, including in the far reaches of Austria. The two were drinking in an Austrian bar when they got into a fight with a local patron. The fight may or may not have been racially motivated. When arrested, the two implicated one another in the crime. While fans of legal shows have seen this tactic plenty of times, it looked like more than a ploy when Del Rio then allegedly beat his brother to a bloody pulp in the jail cell. Somehow, this wasn’t enough for the authorities to keep Del Rio around, though, as both he and his brother were released the next day without facing any charges. Early reports indicate they may face a lawsuit, but it probably won’t be too hard for the two of them to simply avoid Austria.
1. Vince McMahon Walks Into A Tanning Salon…
When it comes to being a dirty old man, even Jerry “The King” Lawler has nothing on his and everyone’s boss in WWE, the CEO and owner of the company, Vince McMahon. On camera, almost all female wrestlers to work for Vince between about 1998 and 2010 were victims of minor sexual harassment in one way or another, but that was just his evil boss character running wild… right? Legally speaking, that is indeed the case, but at least one woman has tried to question him on the matter. On February 1, 2006, it was reported that a woman working at a tanning salon in Boca Raton, Florida claimed McMahon had harassed her on the night of the Royal Rumble by forcing her to view naked pictures of him on his cell phone. This was initially deemed impossible as Vince was busy in Miami at the time in question, but the report was later amended to explain that she had filed the police report during the Rumble and that the actual assault had happened the night before. Regardless of when it took place, the fact remained that the woman had no actual evidence to support her claim, and the state’s attorneys thus refused to even officially file charges.