Professional wrestling has its roots in the traveling carnivals. The hustle, the lingo, working the marks, and so much more come from these carnival roots. And no matter how clean, sterile, and corporate the WWE wants to portray itself as, it’s still carny as hell. Take that sleazy carnival underbelly and mix it with fit, beautiful, sexualized women, and juiced up, maximum testosterone males on the road together almost 300 nights a year, and you have the perfect recipe needed for shenanigans. Alpha males and females, traveling the road, lonely and looking for excitement. While some seem to make due with gyms and video games, others seek out drugs, alcohol, and sex. They look to satisfy every single one of their most base vices.
What the modern WWE has become is a result of scandals, both on a massive, industry wide scale, and the smaller, personal trysts. The way corporate has tried to cover up, move on from, and prevent these scandals is present in the product put out every Monday, Tuesday, and on Pay Per Views. It truly is a brutal industry. There are not a lot of happy endings. Stick around long enough and you will be the cause of or the victim of something despicable. Every single one of our favorite WWE Superstars has a few skeletons in their closet. Those in positions to shape the accepted history of professional wrestling can make the history books a little kinder to their dalliances, which is how Vince McMahon and Triple H are able to soften the blows to their legacies. Everybody in wrestling has a little bit of dirt on them. These are some of the dirtiest…that we know of.
15. Paige’s Tape
WWE Diva Paige is having a rough 2017. The superstar, real name Saraya-Jade Bevis, has already had to deal with two wellness policy violations and a neck surgery, then all of a sudden, explicit images and videos of the former Divas champion engaging in sex acts with two separate male wrestlers were leaked online. And boy, the contents of that leak were a doozy. Usually in an apparent phone hack, a few pictures and maybe a video shows up. Not so with Paige. Multiple graphic images and videos surfaced and just kept surfacing. The highlights, or lowlights depending on who’s talking about it, include close-up video of Paige pleasuring herself, and a guest appearance of former WWE Superstar Brad Maddox, real name Tyler Kluttz Warner, who is more than happy to share the spotlight with current WWE Superstar, and New Day Member, Xavier Woods. And just when you think that nothing can top this threesome, a sex act is performed using the NXT Women’s Championship Belt. Let’s hope they washed it.
14. Seth Rollins Nude Photos
On February 9th, 2015, nude photos of aspiring WWE diva Zahra Schreiber showed up on WWE Superstar Seth Rollins‘ (real name Colby Lopez) Twitter and Instagram feed. Crossfit Jesus claimed he was hacked, but the former world champion’s fiancé was not about to hear that excuse. A very short time later, Leighla Schultz, Rollins’ bride-to-be, began posting nude photos of the former Shield member on Twitter. But, unfortunately for Rollins, there was nothing around to shield his member from public scrutiny. The pics show Rollins, fully erect, posing for several selfies. When a fan on Twitter questioned whether Schultz had been hacked as well, she swiftly replied, ““I definitely did Hahahaha”. Rollins was quick to issue a public apology, saying “I would like to apologize to all the WWE fans and my family and friends for private photographs that were distributed without my consent.” Rollins and Schultz are no longer engaged.
13. Hulk Hogan’s Tape
The fact that a Hulk Hogan sex tape even exists brings up several questions. First of all, why does Hulk Hogan have a sex tape? Secondly, why would anyone want to watch a Hulk Hogan sex tape? We may never know the answers to these conundrums. We will just have to learn to live in the world knowing a tape of Hulk Hogan having sex with Bubba The Love Sponge’s wife exists. That’s right, radio DJ and Hogan’s friend, Bubba The Love Sponge asked his wife to have sex with Hulk Hogan, real name Terry Bollea. The ensuing highlights include an uncomfortable Hogan complaining about having too much sushi. After the release of the tape, Hogan sued Gawker media, in a case he eventually won and that led to the downfall of Gawker. The trial featured an in-depth analysis of the penis featured in the tape and whether it belonged to Hulk Hogan or Terry Bollea. Truly the pinnacle of the American legal system.
12. Nicole Bass Sues WWE For Sexual Harassment
Fans of ECW and Attitude Era WWE may remember Nicole Bass as “that one lady that’s bigger than Chyna.” That’s pretty accurate, actually. Nicole Bass’ whole claim to fame was that she was a woman who was more muscular than WWE Superstar Chyna. Bass made her ECW debut in 1998. She quickly joined WWE, showing up one year later as Sable’s bodyguard. She exited almost as quickly as she arrived, amid bad blood and allegations of sexual harassment. The main party named in Bass’ suit was Steve Lombardi, known to WWE fans as jobber extraordinaire, The Brooklyn Brawler. Bass alleged that Lombardi had, on several occasions, grabbed her breasts on a flight to England. She also claimed her and other women were verbally harassed by the male staff while in the locker room. Several wrestlers, including Triple H, and even Vince McMahon, himself testified that Bass was lying and she was fired for being “a bad wrestler.” The case was ultimately dismissed. Bass went on to star in several pornographic films and became a regular guest on The Howard Stern Show. Bass passed away on February 17, 2017 at the age of 52.
11. The Batista, Melina, John Morrison Love Triangle
Dave Bautista seems to have made a successful jump from the squared circle to the big screen. Big Dave is tearing up the cinema as Dax The Destroyer in the next entry of The Guardians Of The Galaxy film franchise. But, a few years back, he was allegedly tearing up relationships as he, allegedly, made his way through the WWE Diva roster. WWE Superstar John Morrison, now Lucha Underground star Johnny Mundo, was once one half of the tag team MNM, managed by WWE Diva Melina. Eventually, the tag team was split up and Morrison was on his way to a main event push. Morrison and Melina’s relationship was also on the upswing as the two were now said to be rather serious. It was around this time that rumors started swirling that Melina was having an affair with Big Dave. Melina has denied these rumors, while Bautista seemed to somewhat confirm them in his book. John never seemed to react to the alleged affair and stood by Melina, which some say led to his stock lowering in the eyes of the “boys” backstage and eventually led to his release from the company.
10. Sable Sues WWE For Sexual Harassment
Sable debuted as one of Triple H’s valets. She was then paired with, then husband, “Wildman” Marc Mero. Sable quickly became one of the main ratings draws on Monday Night Raw in the early days of the Attitude Era. Remember the wild stunts, sexual innuendos, and over the top sexuality of those wild days of then WWF? It really makes you think how did they get away with this stuff?” Well, Sable wondered the same thing. In her 1999 $100 million lawsuit, Sable claimed “…men would routinely walk into the women’s dressing room as if by accident; men would cut holes in the walls to watch the women dressing; extras were hired as WWF regulars to expose their breasts; big nipple contests were engaged in; men regularly bragged about their sexual encounters without regard to the women present; WWF produced catalogues and tee-shirts depicting Mrs. Mero in a degrading fashion offering sexual favors; Mrs. Mero was requested to display affection to women to promote a “lesbian angle”; Mrs. Mero was asked to have her gown ripped off repeatedly (notwithstanding promises to the contrary), and Plaintiff was asked to expose her breasts by ‘mistake’ on national television during a wrestling contest.” Sable and the WWE settled out of court. She eventually married Brock Lesnar and has made appearances on WWE television.
9. The Edge, Lita, and Matt Hardy Saga
Matt Hardy, one half of Attitude Era legends The Hardy Boyz, is enjoying quite the late stage career renaissance. His Broken Matt Hardy gimmick led to several wildly popular YouTube videos, TNA and ROH tag team title reigns, and a new beginning at WWE. Matt and his brother Jeff made a surprise return at this year’s WrestleMania and captured the gold. All this is even more impressive when you think how low Matt was in the early part of the new millennium. In those days, Matt was in a committed relationship with former Hardy Boyz manager Lita, real name Amy Dumas. Around 2004, they both had injuries at different times leading to some time apart on the road. During this time, Lita fell in love with Edge. It was around this time that Matt was let go from the company. Lita and Edge became an onscreen couple and were greeted with boos and chants of “You screwed Matt” in every arena. While this was great for their heel personas, both later revealed it was excruciating emotionally. Eventually, WWE had no choice but to bring the Hardy Boy back, and turned this real life affair into an angle. This led to Edge cementing himself as a main-eventer with the “Rated R Superstar” persona. Matt stuck around a few more years and was finally fired in 20.
8. The”‘Ring Boy” Accusations
Hang on to your seats, this one is a gross one. In 1992 several WWF employees were fired or asked to resign for their involvement in “The Ring Boy” scandal. In those days, the promotion would hire local young adults and teenage boys, most aspiring to one day be wrestlers themselves, to set up the ring for the evenings entertainment. It is alleged that booker Pat Patterson, wrestler Terry Garvin, and ring announcer Mel Philips would harass, molest, and demand sexual favors from these boys and others aspiring for WWF careers. The crew of young boys even had a disgusting nickname, they were known as Patterson’s Cream Team. This came hot off the heels of the steroid scandal and the WWF had to act fast. They fired everyone involved, but brought Patterson back several months later as nothing was ever proven, although stories of misbehavior were confirmed by Bruno Sammartino, Barry Orton, Jesse Ventura, David Schultz, Billy Jack Haynes, Billy Graham, Iron Sheik, and Roddy Piper, among others. The late Roddy Piper has even gone so far as to vaguely accuse Pat Patterson of sexually harassing him. Piper later backtracked on those comments.
7. The Plane Ride From Hell
On May 5, 2002, the WWE chartered a plane for its crew returning to the United States from a difficult European tour. Everyone was tired and grumpy. There was an open bar. This one flight led to firings, suspensions, ongoing feuds, and a sexual harassment lawsuit. Scott Hall, already known for substance abuse problems, was alleged to immediately get sloshed and started tagging people with shaving cream. He was let go soon after. Mr. Perfect Curt Henning and Brock Lesnar got into fight that resulted in Hennig being slammed into the emergency exit door. Henning was fired a few months later. X-Pax, also know as Sean Waltman, cut a sleeping Michael P.S. Hayes’ pony tail. Goldust, Dustin Runnels, got on the PA system and drunkenly serenaded his ex-wife. But the capper was Ric Flair. The flamboyant wrestling star emerged from the bathroom wearing one of his flashy signature robes. Unfortunately, he was wearing nothing else. Flair cornered two flight attendants and proceeded to swing his genitalia, place their hands on him, and “Woo” excessively. The two women sued the WWE in 2004 and settled out of court.
6. The Steroid Trial
In the early 1990s, a steroid scandal and subsequent trial almost brought down Vince McMahon and the entire WWF itself. In 1993, McMahon was indicted in federal court and ceded control of the WWF to his wife, Linda. Vince was accused of encouraging his wrestlers to take steroids and, in some cases, even supplying them with the drugs. Allegedly, Vince procured the services of Dr. George Zahorian, who provided the anabolic steroids from his office in Hershey, Pennsylvania. This longterm relationship became nefarious once the trafficking of steroids was criminalized in 1988. Zahorian was indicted in 1991 after selling to an informant. Soon after, Zahorian was cooperating and the WWF and McMahon’s names were named. Several wrestlers, including Hulk Hogan, testified on Vince’s behalf. Many, like Hogan, admitted to using steroids only to recover form injuries. Only one wrestler, Kevin “Nailz” Wacholz, testified that McMahon personally pressured him to use steroids. The case seemed strong, but a series of procedural errors led to Vince walking free.
5. The Jimmy Snuka Murder
Super Fly Jimmy Snuka was one of the WWF’s earliest and most popular high fliers. His splash off of the top of a steel cage in Madison Square Garden is cited by Mick Foley as being the inspiration that got him into the business. He also may have murdered his 23-year-old mistress, Nancy Argentino, on May 10, 1983. That night, Snuka called paramedics from his hotel room. They arrived and treated Argentino for “undetermined craniocerebral injuries.” She was taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and died shortly thereafter. The coroner suspected foul play and Snuka was the only suspect in the case, although charges were never pressed. Finally, 32 years later, on September 1, 2015, Snuka was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Snuka pleaded not guilty and was eventually found to not be mentally competent to stand trial. Snuka passed away on January 15, 2017, at age 73.
4. Lex Luger and Miss Elizabeth
Miss Elizabeth was once the first lady of wrestling. She accompanied WWE Hall of Famer Macho Man Randy Savage on his forays into the squared circle and served as the catalyst of one of the greatest angles in wrestling history, when the Mega-Powers exploded. She also seemed happy to leave the world of wrestling behind when the angles cooled down and long after her and Savage had divorced. Which makes her demise all the more tragic. WCW offered her a ridiculous amount of money to reprise her role in wrestling and join their rebel outfit, The NWO. Back in the fold, old habits emerged and new ones formed. She formed a relationship with Lex Luger, real name Larry Pfohl. Luger was married at the time. Lex and Elizabeth enjoyed ending the day with a mix of vodka and painkillers. It was this lethal cocktail that led to Elizabeth becoming unresponsive on May 1, 2003. Luger dialed 911, and soon after, she was pronounced dead. Luger’s wife thought that he had ended his fling with Elizabeth and soon left him. Luger was also charged with possession of illegal substances. Luger was fined $1,000, sentenced to five years probation.
3. Sunny and Shawn…And The British Bulldog…And Bret Hart
Sunny, also known by her real name Tammy Lynn Sytch, was one of the most popular female superstars in WWE history. She also holds the record for most rumors of backstage affairs in WWE history. Sunny shared a scripted kiss with WWE Superstar Shawn Michaels, after his match with her boyfriend, Chris Candido. That kiss allegedly led to multiple sexual encounters backstage and in the locker room. It is rumored that Michaels and Sunny would carry on in front of the “boys,” right behind Candido’s back. After her and Michaels called it quits, Sunny says she moved on to The British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith. These affairs came to a head and made it into an angle when Shawn Michaels, while feuding with Bret “The Hitman” Hart, subtly accused Hart of marriage infidelity with his “Sunny days” comment. Sunny was released from the WWE when they declined to renew her contract. Sunny claims she walked out after the Montreal Screwjob incident.
2. Chyna, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon
Triple H was always a boring wrestler. He had a little charisma and could put on a decently solid match, but throughout his career he had trouble connecting with the crowds. That all changed in 1997 when the Connecticut blue blood debuted his new valet/bodyguard, the 6 ft., 180 lb. woman of pure muscle, Chyna. The impressive physique of this unique woman captivated the crowd. Behind the scenes, it captivated Triple H as well and the two were soon in a relationship. They remained hot and heavy backstage, while onscreen, their Degeneration-X characters were on fire. Then came the marriage angle. Triple H began working an angle with Vince McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie, that saw the two get married. This on screen romance led to a backstage affair. Chyna, real name Joanie Laurer, was devastated. She finally became aware that the two had been carrying on behind her back for over a year. Chyna left the WWE. She starred in several pornographic films and struggled with substance abuse problems. She passed away on April 20, 2016 at the age of 46. Stephanie and Triple H married in real life and, along with Vince McMahon, run the WWE empire.
1. Macho And Steph
When it comes to rumored wrestling scandals, this one is the granddaddy of them all. The taboo rumor alleges that late in Macho Man’s WWF career, he slept with an underage Stephanie McMahon. There is absolutely no proof that this happened, but the rumors persist. Randy Savage’s brother Lanny Poffo has hinted that there may be a kernel of truth. Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner has lobbed the allegation in shoot interviews as a way of antagonizing Stephanie’s husband Triple H. The rumor is repeatedly brought up to explain Macho Man being frozen out of The WWE post 2001. When WWE was mending fences and bringing back past and rival stars, Vince McMahon is alleged to have said he did not want to do business with Savage. Savage, real name Randy Mario Poffo, passed away on May 20, 2011 at the age of 58 and the WWE did provide a tribute to him. But, his name was rarely said after. It took until 2015 for WWE to acknowledge Savage’s contributions when they finally inducted him into the Hall of Fame. It seems obvious that Vince McMahon was holding a grudge. The question is, why?