Wrestlers are big, muscular men and women traveling from town to town, exhausted, hurt, and sometimes looking to unwind. It is no wonder that so many of them end up on the wrong side of the law. The WWE likes to project a family friendly image. They say that their Superstars are all riding in busses and playing video games in their spare time these days, but don’t let them fool you. Most wrestlers are hell-raisers and it’s only a matter of time before they get into trouble. And it’s only if they get caught that we ever hear about it.
The pounding that these people take, night in and night out, wreaks havoc on their bodies, which is why so many of them turn to things that can ease the pain. That’s when the cycle begins. Wrestle, get hurt, take pills or drink the pain away, take something to go to bed, take something to wake up, then repeat the process. Wrestlers get stuck in this cycle, and often, when they are out of the spotlight, they can fall back into it. Most of the arrests on this list are for drugs, alcohol, and driving while under their influence. A few very sad cases are for domestic abuse. And a couple are for straight up robbery and criminal behavior.
Wrestlers live a wild life and some take that lifestyle a little too far. When you watch your favorite superstars perform, you may be watching someone with a criminal record. You would never have guessed which of your favorite wrestlers has spent some time behind bars!
15. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Wait a minute. Are you telling me that the guy who plays a beer-swilling redneck on tv is actually a beer swilling redneck in real life? Shocking.
Stone Cold Steve Austin (real name Steve Williams) lived up to his Texas roots and on June 15, 2002 his then wife, Debra Marshall (on TV at the time as Debra) called police to the couple’s home to report him beating her on the head, back, and legs. Police reported she had a swollen cheek and eye and bruises on her back and shoulders. Austin was arrested and charged with domestic abuse. He spent the night in jail before pleading no contest and getting off with a $1,000 fine, and 80 hours of community service. He and Debra soon divorced.
14. Booker T
WWE Hall of Famer Booker T is a five time, five time, five time, five time, five time WCW World Heavyweight Champion and a one time convicted felon. Way back before his wrestling days, Booker T (Booker T. Huffman Jr.) worked with his friends at the fast food chain Wendy’s. It didn’t take long to realize they might make more money robbing the restaurant than working at it. And with that, a three month crime spree began.
Booker T and his cohorts robbed several Houston area Wendy’s, all at gun point. Eventually the police caught up to them. Police thought it was an inside job due to the criminals’ knowledge of store layout and the cash register. Oh, and also because Booker T and friends were all wearing Wendy’s uniforms while committing the robberies. Booker pleaded guilty to two aggravated robbery counts and served 19 months in prison.
13. Brock Lesnar
The Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar, does not have what I would call a natural body. In fact, he looks like a human that should not exist according to all the known laws of nature. Is his body natural? He will tell you yes. However, his failed UFC drug tests would tell you no.
In January of 2001, police arrested Brock Lesnar for possession of a large quantity of anabolic steroids. And they claim to have found steroids, as well. They didn’t just look at him and make a judgement call. Lesnar got fingerprinted, took a mugshot, and spent a few hours behind bars. Eventually, the charges were dropped when it was discovered the substances were legal growth hormone. His lawyer (not his advocate, Paul Heyman) described it as a vitamin type thing.
During the heyday of the Attitude Era, Trish Stratus and Lita sent the public’s perception of what women’s wrestling could be into the stratosphere. In the years since, WWE started to focus on Divas. They weren’t women who grew up wanting to be wrestlers, they were fitness models who auditioned for the gig. The women’s division has become more wrestling focused recently, but never forget, Lita and Trish were the first women to ever main event Raw. But it hasn’t exactly been easy sailing for both those women since.
On December 9, 2011, Lita (real name Amy Dumas) was pulled over while driving her vehicle and arrested for speeding. But not just speeding, excessive speeding. And not just excessive speeding, excessive speeding with a suspended license. Yikes. The former member of Team Extreme was really not having a great night. She was taken in and booked in Columbia County, Georgia and was eventually released when she was able to produce the $2,200 bond. Lita still makes appearances on WWE pre-shows today. Bet she drives pretty slowly to get to the shows.
11. The Big Show
We all know that the Big Show is a big guy, but did you know he also used to be a big dumbass? The Big Show (real name Paul Wight) was an unknown in the wrestling world and then, all of a sudden, was thrust under the glaring spotlights into a main event feud against wrestling legend, Hulk Hogan. It’s a lot for a big dumb kid to take in.
Back in the day, the Big Show was known as The Giant in WCW. It was as The Giant that he made a giant mistake. The wrestlers, or the boys as they refer to themselves as, are known to get pretty rowdy on the road. Half the shoot interviews out there are old grapplers talking about the good old days of drinking until losing consciousness, doing hard drugs, and nearly committing vehicular homicide. So, if you look at it that way, what the Big Show did wasn’t so bad. The Big Show allegedly exposed himself to a female hotel employee. That’s right, the Big show got drunk and started flopping it out. Apparently the 7 ft 1 in, then 500 lb giant has a lot to be proud of.
10. Ric Flair
It turns out the stylin’, profilin’, limousine riding, jet flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin’, dealin’ son of a gun, dirtiest player in the game does not pay his wife spousal support. Shocking, I know. Ric Flair has played a womanizing party man for so long, now that he’s out of the spotlight he just can’t get out of character, if it even was a character in the first place.
In July of 2014, an arrest warrant was issued for Ric Flair in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Flair had fallen behind on his $4,000 a month spousal support payments to his then estranged wife, Jacqueline Beems. When the warrant was issued, Flair owed a total of $32,352.51. He managed to have the warrant rescinded when he made arrangements to have the amount payed off.
Before that, Flair was arrested in December of 2005 for a road rage incident. Allegedly, Flair got out of his car, grabbed a motorist by the neck, and kicked the door off of the guy’s SUV. The guy still probably bragged that he got to meet Ric Flair.
Stop the presses! Everyone’s favorite wrestler, Crush, has served jail time! Crush. You know, Crush, the third member of Demolition? Then he went solo as Kona Crush, the fluorescent Hawaiian that feuded with Doink The Clown? Then he changed his color palette to purple and silver and started painting his face and became a bad guy and was one of Macho Man Randy Savage’s last WWF opponents? Then he mysteriously disappeared? Then he returned as a biker before going to WCW and forming a tag team then coming back to WWE and getting squashed then dying? Yeah that guy. Crush.
Well, when he disappeared, he was home in Hawaii serving probation. On March 13, 1995, Crush, real name Brian Adams (yes, seriously) was arrested when narcotics officers found 500 units of anabolic steroids and several unregistered semi-automatic guns at his home. He posted $10,275 bail and had to serve five years probation. Don’t worry, I don’t remember Crush either.
8. Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho, the first ever Undisputed Champion, the ayatollah of rock and rolla, the living legend, the man of 1,004 hold, the king of the world… likes to party. The guy likes nicknames and he likes to let loose. After all, he’s not just a professional wrestler, he’s also the lead singer of his band, Fozzy. So it’s no wonder that Chris Jericho, real name Christopher Irvine, has gotten into a little trouble for drinking.
On January 27, 2010, Jericho and fellow wrestler Gregory Helms, then known as Shane “Hurricane” Helms, were arrested in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky after leaving a bar. Reports say, they got into a cab and started punching each other as well as fellow passengers. They were charged with public drunkenness. Jericho was also arrested on another occasion for punching a female fan who spat at him in a grocery store parking lot. Surveillance footage later revealed that Jericho did not in fact make contact.
7. Jimmy Uso
Jimmy Uso is best known for being the guy that’s in the tag team The Usos that’s not Jay. Oh, and he is somehow related to every single other Samoan that has ever wrestled. And he’s especially related to Roman Reigns who is related to The Rock. Don’t ask me how, but they are all related. Except Samoa Joe. He’s his own thing. And headbutts can’t hurt any of them.
Way back in the halcyon days of 2011, it appears that Jimmy Uso, real name Jonathan Solofa Fatu, was busted for driving under the influence. It happened very early in the morning, around 3 am, in Tampa, Florida. An officer observed Jimmy Uso driving the wrong way down a one-way street in a silver Mustang. Uso was taken in, booked, and released on a $500 bond. Later in 2013, there were rumors that said he was arrested again for a DUI. These rumors were false as Jimmy was only caught driving with a suspended license due to his probation.
Sunny, real name Tammy Lynn Sytch, was the first woman to fill WWE’s current image of Diva/wrestler. Before her, the ladies were caricatures. After, they were fully formed and realized, with hopes and ambitions all their own. She took the role she was given, that of an ambitious sex symbol, and actually gave it personality and pathos. Sunny was an extremely gifted performer.
This makes her fall from grace even sadder. Sunny has not had a great time outside of the wrestling spotlight as she still consistently makes news, but for all the wrong reasons. In 2012, she had a particularly embarrassing stretch, where she was arrested five times in a four-week span, for disorderly conduct, third degree burglary, and three counts of violating a protective order. Then, in January of 2013, she was arrested a sixth time for violating a protective order. Sunny served 114 days in jail and was released in May 2013.
If you are anything like me, then you are completely unaware of anything that happened in the WWE after the early 2000s and before CM Punk’s pipe bomb speech. But, apparently there was some guy wrestling there by the name of MVP. MVP stood for Montel Vontavious Porter (his real name is Hassan Hamin Assad) and he positioned himself as an arrogant athlete, complete with training gear and jewelry. He later went on to have successful tours in New Japan Pro Wrestling and TNA.
Now a lot of folks on this list spent a night or two in jail then got out once they posted bond. MVP spent nine and a half years in jail, starting at an early age. He joined what he called a “graffiti gang” but that soon became a street gang. He was arrested on charges of armed robbery and kidnapping. While in prison, he converted to Islam and since his release he has been a model citizen, other than being a professional wrestler.
4. Scott Hall
Anyone that follows wrestling knew that Scott Hall was going to make an appearance here. Hall has spent the last several decades battling substance abuse problems and, as a result, has been arrested several times.
On April 6, 2012, Hall was arrested in Florida (it’s always Florida) for choking his then girlfriend, Lisa Howell. When police responded to the domestic abuse allegations, they found Hall so drunk that they had to take him to a Seminole County hospital so he could be medically cleared to go into the drunk tank. Before that, and before Hall was big in wrestling even, Hall was charged with second degree murder for shooting a man with his own gun after wrestling it away from him. Of course this happened in Florida. Hall claims he acted in self-defense and the charges were eventually dropped due to lack of evidence. So, Scott Hall killed a guy.
3. Kurt Angle
WWE Hall of Famer and current Raw general manager Kurt Angle is an olympic hero. Angle won two gold medals at the 1996 Summer Olympics with a broken freaking neck! Angle also used to have a bad habit of driving under the influence. Kurt seems to have cleaned up his life a bit now. But the last decade or so that he has been out of the WWE has seen him arrested multiple times.
On September 28, 2007, Angle was arrested for driving under the influence in Pennsylvania. A woman claimed that he almost ran her over as he was driving away from a restaurant. In August of 2009, again in Pennsylvania, Angle was accused of stalking his then girlfriend and was arrested for “driving while operating privilege is suspended, possession, harassment, and prohibited acts.” Angle was arrested two more times for driving under the influence in 2011 alone. Then in 2013 Angle was busted for driving while intoxicated. He has since completed rehab and has had no more incidents. Hey Kurt, at the very least, take an Uber.
2. Matt Hardy
Matt Hardy, along with his brother Jeff, are experiencing an amazing late career renaissance. Matt totally reinvented himself with the Broken Matt Hardy gimmick. His homemade videos introducing the character to the world may go down as the best thing ever produced on TNA. He and Jeff went on to win tag team gold in multiple promotions and culminated the comeback by appearing at WrestleMania and winning the Raw tag team titles.
All of this is even more of an amazing accomplishment when you look at where Matt Hardy was in life just a few years prior. Matt was arrested several times in 2011, once for a DUI and once for trafficking pills. His wife, girlfriend at the time, Reby Sky called police to report him because he was so strung out. Matt was later arrested in 2014 for beating the crap out of his wife. Hotel guests reported hearing a fight taking place, and when police intervened, they found both Matt and Reby Sky battered and bloody. Fortunately, these days only Matt’s onscreen persona appears to be broken, not his personal one.
1. Roman Reigns
Yep, you read that correctly. Mr. Big Dog, Mr. Superman Punch, Mr. “It’s My Yard Now”, Mr. Whatever stupid nickname he wants to give himself… was arrested. Roman Reigns is one of the most polarizing figures to ever step foot inside the squared circle. He has fans that cheer him on, but the vast majority of fans love to shower him with boos every chance they get. So you know if he ever did anything to mess up, those fans would let him have it.
Well, it seems like he messed up a little bit before he joined the WWE. The Big Dog was handcuffed and taken in way back in 2010. Anyone want to take a guess as to where the arrest took place? If you said Florida, then congratulations for paying attention. Not many details emerged from the incident, but the charges were disorderly conduct, intoxication, affray, unlawful assembly, and riot. He was later released on a $1000 bond and charged with $500 for each of his offenses.