Professional wrestling is a really big industry, one that is chock full of big, bad dudes with even worse egos and attitudes. It also does not escape rumors of drug abuse and assault allegations, which means the industry is peppered with criminal records. Sometimes we forget that these larger than life characters on television are played by real, flawed people. Whether it is stress from travel, addiction or some other unseen circumstances, many wrestlers tend to find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
If we were to attempt to have a discussion about all the pro wrestlers who have ever had a run-in with a police officer or been involved in a fender-bender, we’d be here until Vince McMahon retires (which is to say we’d never leave). If talking about wrestlers who had been arrested for minor infractions, you would have to include situations like the harmless Emma being taken in for accidentally forgetting to pay for an iPhone case.
But when we scrape the bottom of the barrel, we find the really juicy stuff, and if we're being honest, that's what you are here for. We start to run into those who have either done some really bad, nasty stuff or who have just been arrested so many times even they begin to lose count.
15 Big Show
Paul Wight has been a pro wrestling mainstay for over twenty years. He first played the role of WWE Hall of Famer Andre the Giant’s son in WCW, known then as only “The Giant,” before moving to WWE in 1999 and eventually becoming the legend we know today as the Big Show. Throughout his career, he has held a plethora of championships, including all the current active titles in WWE. He also became the first and only Superstar to have collectively held the WWE, WCW and ECW Championships.
The younger generation of the WWE Universe might know Vader as the old guy who went on Twitter to bully independent stars Will O’Spreay and Ricochet because he thought their match was a little too modern. What that generation may not be aware of is that Vader is actually a well-respected legend in the industry of professional wrestling. Known for his incredible athleticism at his 400-plus-pound size, he has captured the WCW World Heavyweight Championship on three occasions.
13 Scott Steiner
As half of the Steiner Brothers tag team with his brother Rick, Scott Steiner saw some success in the WWE in the 1990s when the duo won the WWE Tag Team Championship. His career really peaked in WCW when he embarked on a solo career and eventually became the WCW World Heavyweight Champion. He then later returned to the WWE in the main event picture. But despite his in-ring success, nothing has outshone his famous short fuse and penchant for getting into trouble.
12 Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart
His daughter Natalya may have been wrestling circles around every Superstar under contract with WWE for a decade now, but Jim Neidhart has his own legendary past. Having been a two-time WWE Tag Team Champion alongside his brother-in-law, WWE Hall of Famer Bret “Hitman” Hart, Neidhart is known for being the rough side of the legendary Hart Foundation and is certain to one day be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
11 Ric Flair
Known as “The Nature Boy,” Ric Flair has been a notorious name in the wrestling industry for forty years. He is a sixteen-time World Champion and a two-time WWE Hall of Famer, as well as having been a part of the most revered faction of wrestlers in the history of the business, the Four Horsemen. His daughter, Charlotte, is now revitalizing the female division and is carrying on the Flair legacy.
Speaking of Ric Flair, his daughter Charlotte’s ex-husband has had his share of legal woes. Also a wrestler, known in TNA as Bram, he is a former TNA King of the Mountain Champion. He is also a former NXT competitor under the name Kenneth Cameron. His career is still young but if his history is any indication, he’ll be seeing a lifetime of personal troubles.
9 Jerry “The King” Lawler
WWE Hall of Fame class of 2007 inductee Jerry “The King” Lawler has come to be known more for his commentary than the wrestling career that preceded it. A former World Champion, Lawler saw huge success and many title reigns across major wrestling promotions like AWA and NWA before settling into his permanent home in WWE in the ‘90s.
Konnan might not be a familiar name to modern WWE fans, but he is still a wrestling legend that is better-known for his time in WCW, TNA, and more recently, Lucha Underground. While in WCW, Konnan held many titles including the United States Championship and the WCW Tag Team Championship on two occasions, once with his real-life close friend and future WWE Hall of Famer, Rey Mysterio.
7 Lex Luger
As a former member of perhaps the most revered wrestling stable in history, the Four Horsemen, Lex Luger has had a legendary career. Though the WWE failed to properly utilize him (initially calling him “Narcissus” and somehow evolving him into an American hero archetype), Luger became one of WCW’s biggest success stories. He has captured many titles including the WCW World Heavyweight Championship and the revered United States Championship, which the WWE still uses today.
6 Matt Hardy
Matt Hardy and his brother Jeff saw a rise to megastar status in the late ‘90s with the birth of what is widely considered the golden era in WWE’s tag team division. Alongside the teams of the Dudley Boyz and Edge & Christian, the Hardy Boyz went to war in a series of ladder matches that eventually saw the creation of a WWE phenomenon known today as the TLC (tables, ladders, and chairs) match.
5 “Dr. Death” Steve Williams
“Dr. Death” Steve Williams competed all over the world in several organizations, including a brief stint in WWE that didn’t go so well. He had his share of championships on his resume, but what he became legendary for, however, was a ten-year undefeated streak as he wrestled in the NWA and in Japan. A streak that came to an end in ECW when he was finally pinned by ECW World Heavyweight Champion Raven.
4 Buff Bagwell
Unless you were a wrestling fan in the '90s you may not be totally familiar with Buff Bagwell, but there is no denying that he was a big deal in WCW. Bagwell was a multiple time WCW Tag Team Champion and one of the most recognizable characters in the entire company. Unfortunately for him, his stint in WWE, which happened when the wrestling giant bought WCW in 2001, lasted only a week. As a result, his WWE legacy may only be remembered for when he put his mother up for grabs as a prize during a wrestling match. (Does “Judy Bagwell on a Pole Match” ring a bell?)
3 Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Jake “The Snake” Roberts was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014 as a legendary and influential figure in professional wrestling. The kicker is that he never won a single championship in his years with the company in the 1980s and ‘90s. His influence came from redefining the wrestling promo and introducing a level of wrestling psychology unheard of before. He inspired droves of future WWE Superstars who would become the stars of today and for those gifts to the wrestling world, he will never be forgotten.
2 Scott Hall
During the '90s, Razor Ramon exploded onto the scene as one of WWE’s most iconic wrestling characters in history. With a cheesy, fake accent, greased-back hair and golden necklaces draped into a nest of thick chest hair, Ramon had all the makings of a sleazy, self-professed ladies’ man. He was also one of the greatest Intercontinental Champions in history before jumping ship to WCW, using his real name, Scott Hall, and setting the wrestling world on fire alongside Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan with the New World Order. The nWo effectively dominated the infamous “Monday night wars” between WCW Nitro and WWE Raw and all three of the original members of the trio have been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
WWE Hall of Famer Tammy Sytch, formerly known as “Sunny” in WWE, has been quite the controversial figure. Popular for her managerial skills and her good looks, Sunny excelled in the 1990s. In fact, Sytch often credits herself as being the original WWE Diva and has made many rude comments about current Superstars, such as calling the Bella Twins fat and Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch ugly.
But what is really ugly is her criminal record. In an industry dominated by men like professional wrestling, and on a list which is also dominated by men, Sunny stands bright above the rest. This classy lady was arrested five times in a four-week period back in 2012 for issues related to the violation of protective orders. And if that was not bad enough, she was arrested three times in 2015 for suspension-DUI related charges. Now that’s definitely Hall of Fame worthy.
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