For people all over the world gathering around the television for a night of wrestling has long been an activity worthy of bringing the family together. Parents and their children have been bonding over this particular entertainment medium for decades and World Wrestling Entertainment has been focused on their younger audience for many years now. Between the likes of current WWE Superstars John Cena, Roman Reigns, and Bayley, there is plenty for children to love in the PG era, but professional wrestling has not always been a kid friendly environment.
In fact, though WWE tries very hard to keep things light and fluffy in today’s wrestling world, things still occasionally break out of the PG bubble. One of the most common ways this tends to happen is when the athletes of the wrestling ring turn to crime in their real lives, which is something that has been happening all throughout the sport’s history and is still happening today. From burglary and drug deals to rape and sometimes even murder, professional wrestlers have been committing the worst of crimes as long as the industry has been around. Let’s take a look down a dark path at the fifteen wrestlers who have spent the most time behind bars.
15. Scott Hall
Right off the bat, let’s just talk for a moment about Scott Hall. The man who was once Razor Ramon in the World Wrestling Federation and then would go on to become a founding member of the most infamous wrestling stable of all time, the New World Order, has been arrested more times than anyone can count. Though Hall has found immeasurable success inside of the wrestling ring, including runs with the WWF Intercontinental Championship and WCW Tag Team Championship and an induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, his run ins with the law have overshadowed most of that.
Although there is no evidence to suggest how much time Scott Hall has spent behind bars, it’s safe to assume he deserves a spot on this list. Between all of his offenses related to illegal substances and violence, who knows at this point how many collective days Hall has been inside a jail cell?
14. Randy Orton
Randy Orton is the “Macho Man” Randy Savage to John Cena’s Hulk Hogan, which is to say that he is one of the most popular and successful professional wrestlers of the last fifteen years. Orton, who is still young and has many years of active ring work ahead of him, long ago accomplished all there was to accomplish in WWE, but he continues to hold strong as a consistent part of the company’s main event picture.
Orton’s family history of wrestling is no secret, as his dad is WWE Hall of Famer “Cowboy” Bob Orton and his grandfather is wrestling legend Bob Orton, Sr. Randy’s history with the law, however, is less glorious. He joined the military at a young age but hated it and did everything he could to get out, including deserting the job, which led to him spending thirty-eight days in a military prison.
13. Booker T
Booker T’s record in professional wrestling speaks for itself. If you don’t know about this man’s successes inside the ring then you’re probably either very young or you’re not truly a wrestling fan, because few wrestlers have ever been as decorated as him. He’s won a plethora of championships in both WCW and WWE, including the World Heavyweight Championships in both organizations. He’s perhaps the most influential black wrestler of all time and is a very deserving member of the WWE Hall of Fame.
His life didn’t get off on the right track, though, as he fell in with the wrong crowd and got in trouble for armed robbery back in 1987. Booker subsequently spent 19 months in prison and would go on to become one of the few wrestlers on this list whose prison time came before their in-ring career.
12. Mr. Saito
Mr. Saito, sometimes known as Masa Saito, is a legendary former tag team wrestler, remembered fondly for his time teaming with the great WWE Hall of Famer Mr. Fuji to win the World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship on two occasions in the early 1980s during a feud with Chief Jay and Jules Strongbow. He also competed in World Championship Wrestling and won titles all over the world including a reign with the AWA World Heavyweight Championship.
In 1984 his career would hit a bit of a bump in the road when he and a fellow wrestler were falsely accused of hurling a rock through the window of a McDonald’s restaurant. When police arrived both wrestlers assaulted the officers and were sentenced with two years in prison.
11. Ken Patera
Ken Patera was a well-respected grappler in the 1980s and was heavily featured on television and pay per view programming with the World Wrestling Federation for many years. At one point in the early ‘80s, Patera won the revered WWF Intercontinental Championship and his future looked incredibly bright. He found plenty of success but his career on the mainstream wrestling scene was over by the early 1990s.
Certainly, one thing that held Ken Patera back from his full potential was his two years spent in prison. Remember the story about Mr. Saito and the McDonald’s incident? The wrestler with him on that day was indeed Ken Patera. After Patera and Saito assaulted the officers who attempted to arrest them, it was all downhill from there.
While Tammy “Sunny” Sytch wasn’t a wrestler in the strictest sense, she did step between the ropes a few times for an official match including competing in a Divas battle royal a few years back at WrestleMania. Sunny has always been a controversial figure dating back to her days as one of the World Wrestling Federation’s earliest sex symbols in the 1990s.
Sunny was certainly one of WWE’s most popular acts of all time, but she’s showed us more times than one that professionalism isn’t her strongest feature. At one point her many personal woes led her to serve four months behind bars after repeatedly violating a restraining order from her boyfriend. During her time in jail, Sunny discovered she had cervical cancer, though she would go on to have a hysterectomy and beat it.
9. Blackjack Mulligan
Today Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas are staples in WWE. They’ve been around for a while now and not everyone is aware that they’re actually brothers in real life. Their father, Mike Rotunda, is perhaps best known as Irwin R. Schyster, or IRS for short, and Rotunda’s father-in-law is the great WWE Hall of Famer Blackjack Mulligan, who sadly passed away in April of last year. Mulligan was famous for teaming with Blackjack Lanza and they were known collectively as simply the Blackjacks.
Though his wrestling career was legendary, Blackjack Mulligan’s personal life took a bad turn in 1990 when police found half a million dollars in counterfeit money and subsequently arrested Mulligan and his son. Both father and son would then serve two years in prison.
8. Johnny K-9
Ion Croitoru is a name pretty much no one will know, and if you realize he was once the World Wrestling Federation Superstar by the name of Johnny K-9 – well, you still wouldn’t know who he was. He was about as obscure a WWF star as they come, though he did wrestle the likes of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage throughout his career, and he even once defeated WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler for the Southern Heavyweight Championship in the American Wrestling Association.
In 2013, the long retired Johnny K-9 was sentenced to four years and eighteen months in prison after he pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to commit murder as a part of the United Nations gang. Before all of this, he already had a history of alleged violence as he was accused of a 1998 double murder for which not enough evidence was found for a conviction.
7. Nick Gage
While you have likely already recognized several names on this list, there is most certainly a pattern of lesser known independent wrestlers who have crossed the line and paid for breaking the law. One such wrestler is Nick Gage, an athlete known to fans of the independent company Combat Zone Wrestling. CZW is known for its bloody, hardcore style of wrestling and many of the most popular performers today have competed there, such as AJ Styles, Sami Zayn, and Ricochet.
Nick Gage, however, likely doesn’t have the brightest of futures ahead of him professionally, at least not if everyone wants to keep their hands clean. He’s served his time now and is getting back to life, but Gage recently spent five years in prison for a bank robbery.
Upon his debut with World Wrestling Entertainment in 2006 everyone was convinced that Montel Vontavious Porter was the next big star for the company. He quickly became one of the longest reigning champions in the history of the business when he won the United States title and helped piece together one of the best eras that SmackDown had ever seen. Years later, though, the company would apparently lose faith in him and he was eventually released.
In another rare case of a wrestler who served his prison time before he actually embarked upon a wrestling career, MVP spent nine and a half years in prison before coming to WWE after being found guilty on charges of armed robbery and kidnapping. It was through his correctional officer that he met Norman Smiley and got into the wrestling business.
5. Steve Gatorwolf
You would think a name like Steve Gatorwolf would be memorable enough that the man behind it could have easily made some sort of name for himself on the mainstream pro wrestling circuit, even if just on the lower end of the card. In reality, the time Gatorwolf was lucky enough to spend in the American Wrestling Association and the World Wrestling Federation throughout the 1980s saw him being used as an enhancement talent, losing to bigger stars in order to make them look better.
Though he did have some more independent successes, Steve Gatorwolf will never be remembered for them. Instead, he will always be known as the pro wrestler who was sentenced to sixteen years to life in prison after being found guilty of having multiple adult relations with an underage girl.
4. Buck Zumhofe
A lot of professional wrestlers who have spent (or will be spending) a hefty amount of time behind bars aren’t very well known or haven’t seen a whole lot of success. Buck Zumhofe was certainly one of those wrestlers, but he might be considered a bit of a different case considering the fact that he actually wrestled in many of the biggest wrestling organizations of the 1980s and ‘90s, including – you guessed it – the World Wrestling Federation.
Zumhofe also competed for the American Wrestling Association and World Class Championship Wrestling, but while part of the WWF he had the pleasure of competing against the Undertaker and a young Triple H. Now, though, he’s serving twenty-five years in prison for having sex with an underage family member over a period of several years.
3. Andre Davis
You’re probably not going to know Andre Davis, but just in case you follow the independent wrestling scene closely you may remember him as Andre Hart professionally. He may have had a bright future ahead of him, but when he was diagnosed as being HIV positive his dreams of making it big in the ring went up in smoke. According to Davis, he sank into a depression and this combined with his addiction to sex proved to be a horrible combination.
If his future in wrestling was doomed following that diagnosis, it was his actions that followed that would ruin the rest of his personal life, too. In 2012 Andre Davis was sentenced to thirty-two years in prison for having sex with twelve different women and failing to tell them about his HIV status.
2. Hardbody Harrison
Hardbody Harrison was the ring name of Harrison Norris, Jr., a man whose greatest claim to wrestling fame is performing as a very obscure talent for World Championship Wrestling in the 1990s. While the name Hardbody Harrison might sound like a great and memorable mid-’90s wrestling persona, you’re more likely to remember him for his troubles with Johnny Law, which ended up putting him away for a very long time.
If wrestling wasn’t going to make something memorable out of Hardbody Harrison then his activities outside the ring were surely going to. He was arrested about a decade ago when he was caught running a sex trafficking ring and forcing women into prostitution. For his awful actions, Harrison was sentenced to life in prison.
1. Brian McGhee
The worst of the worst. Here we have Brian McGhee, another professional wrestler not so well known, although had things gone a bit differently we could have been looking at yet another Chris Benoit situation. McGhee briefly performed for WWE under the name DT Porter in their developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling before it was rebranded as NXT and handed over to Triple H. Things didn’t exactly work out and McGhee was released from his contract, but had he stuck around and become successful who knows what sort of P.R. nightmare WWE would have been in for?
In 2013 Brian McGhee was arrested after he murdered his ex-girlfriend Bianca McGauhey. After stabbing McGauhey to death he subsequently posted a photo of her wounds to social media. McGhee was caught by police and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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