When one thinks of wrestling, one envisions body slams and kicks to the gut. It’s a spectacular show of muscle and brawn, each wrestler showing off their strength and prowess in different moves. Violence is king inside the ring, and if it weren’t for the rules set up, there would be no mercy. Sometimes feuds between wrestlers are settled in the ring, and when personal issues are involved, you know it’s going to be one hell of a show.
Despite the violence, we all know that behind the brawling and the muscles are real people with real lives. These are people who come from diverse backgrounds. They come in with characters of their own, and perform for an audience. Wrestlers are real people with real lives that might not always be shown on camera. And just like real people, they make mistakes, too. However, we’re not just talking about simple little mistakes — we’re talking about breaking laws and ending up in jail!
Fame and fortune can’t keep them safe from the law, it seems. Here we have rounded up the wrestlers who have had altercations with the law. From drunk driving to counterfeiting, and even murder, we count down the 15 WWE wrestlers who were jailed once. Read on!
15. Big Show
Wrestlers are known for being huge, and Big Show is no exception. Paul “Big Show” Wight II is a professional wrestler and actor signed to the WWE. He performs under the Raw brand, where he gained success after winning many tag-team titles. He has been wrestling since 1999, and has only become inactive recently due to a hip injury.
What landed Big Show in jail was an accusation made by a hotel clerk in 1998. Apparently, he had exposed himself to her, and this made her call the police. Big Show was then arrested and detained in Memphis, Tennessee, but after denying the accusation, he was acquitted due to lack of evidence. In 1999, he was also charged with assault by Robert Sawyer, but was ultimately found not-guilty.
14. Tyson Tomko
Travis David Tomko, better known by his ring name Tyson Tomko, is a pro wrestler. Tomko worked for the WWE for seven years. Known for his goatee and tattoos, Tyson Tomko is also famous for winning many tag-team titles. He has retired from the ring and is currently a fitness trainer who focuses on building strength and muscle.
In 2011, Tomko was charged with robbery after allegedly robbing a CVS pharmacy of 210 Oxycodone tablets. Police reports say that he walked up to the counter and demanded all of the Oxycodone tablets they had. He reportedly threatened the pharmacist and said that they would be severely hurt if they did not do as he ordered. He posted bail days after his arrest, and was sent to a WWE-sponsored rehabilitation center.
13. Kerry Von Erich
Kerry Gene Adkisson, more popularly known by his ring name Kerry Von Erich, was a wrestler from a family of professional wrestlers. His father promoted the WCCW, or the World Class Championship Wrestling, where he was groomed for years before going on the independent circuit. Adkisson won many titles over a whopping forty year career. He was a champion.
Despite his success, Kerry Von Erich would lead a tragic personal life. After a motorcycle accident permanently damaged his hip and leg, he became an amputee due to his doctors being unable to save his foot. He later became addicted to painkillers, and this led to the drug problem which led him to having many run-ins with the law. After being indicted for violating his probation, Kerry Von Erich committed suicide in 1993.
12. Ric Flair
Ric Flair is one of the most noteworthy wrestlers of all time. Born Richard Morgan Fliehr, he is a retired professional wrestler and currently a pro wrestling manager signed under WWE’s Legends program. He had a wrestling career that spanned an impressive forty years! He is notable for his tenures with different wrestling associations like the World Championship Wrestling and the National Wrestling Alliance.
Unfortunately, fame didn’t make Ric Flair immune to the power of the law. In 2005, a warrant was issued for his arrest in reference to a road rage incident in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ric Flair apparently grabbed a motorist by the neck and kicked the door off the motorist’s car. He was charged with two misdemeanor counts: injury to personal property, and simple assault and battery.
Emma, or Tenille Dashwood, is an Australian professional wrestler and performer. She trained for years in her teens before joining the independent circuit under the name Tenille Tayla. She was then signed onto WWE’s NXT in 2012. She also appeared in several episodes of Total Divas, a reality TV show about the lives and loves of WWE’s hot female stars.
But her looks and figure couldn’t save this diva from a legal blunder. In 2014, Emma was arrested in Hartford Connecticut for shoplifting. Reports say that she had “forgotten” to pay for a $21 iPad case while using a self-checkout machine at a Walmart branch. She was then given one day’s worth of court-ordered community service. Because of this incident, the WWE released Emma as a performer, but took back their decision just hours later.
10. Nicole Bass
This next wrestler proves that beauty and brawn can go together! Nicole Bass was a professional bodybuilder, actress, and wrestler. Before she signed on with a wrestling company, she toured and won bodybuilding pageants all over the country, winning awards for her outstanding physique. She then went on to work under the World Wrestling Federation (back when the WWE had not yet come into existence) as a performer and wrestler.
In 2015, Nicole Bass was caught shoplifting at a local store in Glendale, California. She had allegedly taken $1,200 worth of goods and beauty supplies from a Stop & Shop and walked out without paying. She was then taken into custody, where she was charged with petty larceny and possession of stolen property. After a plea deal, she was let out with the understanding that she would stay out of trouble for six months.
9. Dick Slater
Dick “Dirty” Slater, or Richard Van Slater, is a retired wrestler whose career spanned the 1970s throughout the 1990s. He was known for being a baby-faced rebel with a mean streak in the ring. He even received some titles during his career. His career was going smoothly until he incurred an injury in his back, which ultimately ended his wrestling career.
In 2004, Dick Slater was arrested for attacking his ex-girlfriend. It was reported that he had stabbed her with a butcher knife. Dick Slater later claimed that he was under the influence of drugs, mainly morphine and Oxycontin, used for his back injuries. He was then sentenced to one whole year of house arrest and two years of probation. In addition to those sentences, he was ordered to keep away from his ex-girlfriend and pay a fine of over $18,000 in restitution.
8. Blackjack Mulligan
Robert Deroy Windham, better known by his ring name Blackjack Mulligan, was a professional wrestler, author, and American football player. He was also the patriarch of the Windham family. The Windham’s are a famous wrestling family that includes people like Barry Windham, Bray Wyatt, and Mike Rotunda. He earned many titles and belts during his years of performing in the ring.
Despite his fame and fortune, Blackjack Mulligan wanted more. He used the money he got from wrestling to get into real estate. But once he found out about a law that prevented him from getting tax breaks, he decided to send the IRS counterfeit bills to pay his debts. He got arrested in 1990 for counterfeiting and was sent to prison for two years. He and his son were later released in 1992.
7. Scott Hall
Scott Oliver Hall, or Scott Hall, is a retired professional wrestler. He is one of the founders of the New World Order. Known as a high-profile wrestler since he started in the WWF, Scott Hall also went by the moniker Razor Ramon. He is a two-time world champion, not to mention a part of the WWE Hall of Fame.
But one couldn’t really call him a good person. Scott Hall was involved in what seemed to be a stream of DUI arrests due to his affinity for alcohol and drugs. He was also arrested on several charges of domestic abuse towards his partners. In 1983, he was even charged with second-degree murder, as he admitted to killing a man in self-defense.
6. Juventud Guerrera
Juventud “Juvi” Guerrera is a Mexican professional wrestler and performer. He has had many years in the independent circuit and the lucha libre, Mexican wrestling, rings before joining the WWE. After a couple of years, Juventud Guerrera went back to his luchador roots. He jumped back into the independent circuit once more.
It is honestly shocking that he actually lasted more than a year with the WWE. Back in the days when he toured with the WCW in Australia, Juventud Guerrera got hold of some drugs, most notably PCP. After taking the drugs, Juventud was found running around naked, streaking the halls of the hotel they were in. When police officers tried to cuff him, the young wrestler decided to attack them.
5. Lex Luger
Here we have another wrestler who has had many run-ins with the law. Lawrence Wendell Pfohl, known as his ring name Lex Luger, is a retired professional wrestler, TV producer, and football player. He was known for holding many championship titles, including the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship. He has held this title an impressive five times!
In 2003, Lex Luger was arrested for attacking his then-girlfriend Elizabeth Hulette. She had two black eyes, a bump on her head, and a split lip. Lex Luger was then released on a $2,500 bond. In the same year, he was arrested yet again after a search of his home revealed a number of illicit substances, including anabolic steroids and testosterone.
4. Disco Inferno
Glenn Gilbertti is one of the wrestling world’s most recognizable wrestlers. He is better known as Disco Inferno, a name that references his flared patterned pants and disco schtick. Gilbertti was a professional wrestler for the WCW (way before WWE came to fruition), and an American performer in the ring. He also used to be a road agent for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
But fame wasn’t enough to keep Gilbertti from doing the most outlandish rule-breaking yet. In 2007, Disco Inferno had an altercation with law enforcement when he was arrested for running a makeshift casino in his basement. Reports say he was wheeling and dealing in poker without the proper permits to run a casino. He was arrested in Roswell, Georgia when the cops busted him.
Santino Marella, commonly known by his ring name Santino, is a Canadian former wrestler, actor, sports analyst, trainer, and mixed martial arts practitioner. Best known for his tenure of eleven years with the WWE, Santino took part in mostly comedic sketches, even as a wrestler. His character was based on the exaggerated Italian stereotype, but don’t let that fool you. He won four championships before retiring from professional wrestling in 2014.
In 2008, Santino was arrested by Tampa authorities for driving under the influence of alcohol. He was driving with several other WWE talents including Kevin Thorn and Vladimir Kozlov. Police reports say that Santino underwent and failed roadside tests and a blood alcohol test was administered to see just how drunk he was. He was booked into jail in the early morning.
2. Wade Barrett
Wade Barrett, or Stuart Alexander Barrett, is an English wrestler, actor, and bare-knuckle boxer. He first joined the WWE in 2010 after a few years of performing on the independent circuit. He made his debut on the offshoot brand Raw. He was one of the most popular rookies due to his good looks and his leadership of the team The Nexus, which was comprised of NXT rookies. He went on to win the Intercontinental Championship in 2011, just one year after his debut.
In 2008, Wade Barrett was arrested and charged with battery of a law enforcement officer and opposing a police officer. He was at a bar in Tampa, Florida when he bumped into a woman at the bar. The woman attempted to confront him, and Wade tried to leave. Little did he know she was a plainclothes officer. A version of this story says that as he tried to leave, the officer followed him and shot him with a taser.
1. Booker T
Booker Tio Huffman, more popularly known as Booker T, is a professional wrestling promoter, commentator, and retired wrestler. He was signed onto the WWE company, under the Raw brand. He is also the first African-American to become a world champion for the WWE, and was later voted Best World Heavyweight Champion in a viewer poll. Booker T was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.
His high standing with the WWE didn’t prevent him from being apprehended in 1987. According to police reports, he committed armed robberies of Wendy’s restaurants back when he used to work at one. This all happened in his hometown of Houston, Texas. Booker T then pleaded guilty for the crime, and went on to serve 19 months in prison. Talk about a penchant for troublemaking!