Locked up, behind bars, trapped in the pokey, locked in chains—whatever you call it, getting arrested is rarely one of a human being’s proudest moments. This goes double if not more so for any people who happen to be in the public eye, and thus face wide ranging mainstream scrutiny for any decisions they make that could be described as messing up. Sure, there are some crimes out there that are less severe than others, but no matter what, a person needs to do something questionable to get themselves arrested and WWE superstars who wind up in jail are no different.
Life on the road is tough, and apparently lots of wrestlers like numbing this with drugs and alcohol, both of which are known to fuel criminal activity. Assault or other violent crimes can also be fairly common for pro-wrestlers, considering what these guys do for a living. Of course, there have also been countless random and outright strange crimes throughout wrestling history, as well, albeit on far less regular basis.
Keep in mind, not every one of these arrests ended in a conviction, let alone actual jail time, though all named parties nonetheless at least spent a little time in handcuffs. With all that in mind, take our quiz and ask yourself: do you know what crimes got these WWE superstars were arrested?
Sunny has long advertised herself as the first diva in WWE history, and her life story is definitely suited for the drama that term implied. For all her beauty and charisma, there’s no denying Sunny’s time in the spotlight was relatively brief, and her chain of clients almost instantly presented a pattern of diminishing returns. By the time she left WWE, Sunny mostly stuck to her real life boyfriend Chris Candido, and tragically her life would plummet towards rock bottom after his death.
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin
Oh, hell no. Look, we know that beer-swilling bionic rednecks who pride themselves on opening cans of whoop ass aren’t the type of folk to listen when the law tells them what they can and can’t do. Unfortunately, the crimes committed by number one WWE cash cow “Stone Cold” Steve Austin were a whole lot worse than mere public drunkenness. Most shockingly, one of the people effected by Austin’s crimes would later claim the company tried to cover it up rather than let the biggest star of their most successful era face legal trouble.
HOOOOO! No one was proudly chanting U! S! A! when news broke that Jim Duggan had been arrested—especially since his hated rival The Iron Sheik was caught in the same car he was. Even if The Sheik wasn’t sitting next to him, WWE fans were absolutely shocked to know the patriotic all-American hero was deeply flawed to the extent he had a criminal record. Amazingly, while The Sheik was soon fired for his actions, Duggan received the biggest push of his life the very next year when he won the inaugural Royal Rumble.
One of the first WWE superstars with a legitimate Olympic background, Ken Patera possessed truly superhuman abilities. That Patera’s field wasn’t wrestling actually helped him, considering he did excel in bodybuilding, which made him a huge hit with Vince McMahon. Though not much remembered today, Patera was such a big star he won the WWE Intercontinental and NWA Missouri Championships at the same time, a rare feat considering the two companies were heavily competing in that era. However, Patera’s stock fell hard and fast after an incident at a McDonald’s in 1984.
Far from The Total Package he claimed to be throughout his career, Lex Luger was a deeply flawed person who fell into hard times almost immediately after WCW closed its doors. At the time, Luger was in a highly publicized relationship with legendary manager Miss Elizabeth, which unfortunately saw both should-be Hall of Famers ruin their reputations -- possibly forever. Luger definitely had it worse than Liz, in part by being the survivor of the relationship, though we will point out his crimes were in no way related to her death.
Hey yo, chico…thanks to WCW using the idea to openly exploit the man, Scott Hall’s various demons are amongst the most well known of any professional wrestling. Things started way back in the 80s when he killed a man in self-defense, although the nature of that incident prevented it from being relevant to this list. Unfortunately, Hall’s life spiraled out of control from there, leading to a plethora of future altercations with the law he wasn’t so lucky in getting dismissed.
Everyone makes mistakes, and only the least lucky amongst us wind up facing legal trouble because of them. Luckily, WWE superstar Emma didn’t lose her job over her minor, seemingly accidentally criminal actions, although it did briefly look that way before the company had the full story. On the downside, Emma’s career has largely been on the downslide since this incident, showing there’s more than one way to punish an employee. With all that said, maybe fans of her awkward dancing finally notice there are negatives to being clumsy, as well.
The Big Show
Carrying around so-called Weapons of Mass Destruction in his very hands, The Big Show is capable of all sorts of violence in or out of the ring. Why exactly anyone would want to get in an argument with the guy is beyond our understanding, and that even includes a police officer placing him under arrest. Nonetheless, more than one officer has performed this difficult task, although all charges against Show have been dropped for one reason or another. Maybe the prosecuting lawyers were afraid to appear in court.
When a person calls themselves homicidal, suicidal, and genocidal, the public at large should outright demand police pay attention. Sure, former ECW Champion Sabu was only saying these things about his persona inside the ring, but that doesn’t mean he was an entirely upstanding citizen. On the other hand, the crimes he was accused of at least were of the non-violent variety. That said, his wrestling buddy Rob Van Dam was coincidentally with him at the time, and faced a similar charge for his involvement.
The Iron Sheik
At this point in time, The Iron Sheik is arguably better known for his erratic and at times bizarre personality than anything he accomplished inside the ring. Back in the 1980s, however, his arrest was one of the most shocking things to happen in WWE, though the actual charges against him had nothing to do with it. Sure, it was somewhat shocking to see a former WWE Champion put behind bars, but the real shock was the fact Jim Duggan, at the time a heated rival in the ring, was with The Sheik when he got caught.
Proving the age old adage that it’s only good to be the King sometimes, not even Jerry Lawler has been able to escape the long arm of the law. Granted, Lawler has been under suspicion of more crimes than he was actually accused of, including some far harsher than the relatively minor charge he was found guilty of committing. That Lawler’s arrest came during the height of the Monday Night Wars and in no way effected his performance as the voice of Raw is particularly telling to how small the offense was.
Some twins do absolutely everything together, and WWE fans would probably assume this is true of Jimmy and Jey Uso. If nothing else, the sons of Rikishi flow together perfectly in the ring, but things aren’t quite the same outside of the ring. Quite frankly, Jey should be pretty happy about this fact, as Jimmy hasn’t been quite as upstanding a citizen as his brother. WWE has never significantly punished the Usos for this behavior, presumably because Vince thinks the good behavior of one twin cancels out the bad behavior of the other. Hey, you try and come up with a better explanation.
Not every Olympic gold medalist is fit for a Wheaties box, and even those who are can make some mistakes later in life. Throughout his time in WWE, Kurt Angle boasted adherence to the laws of intensity, integrity, and intelligence, but by the end of his first run in the company, at least two of those ideas were thrown out the window. Though Angle was still plenty intense, repeat offenses didn’t look too intelligence, and his lowest actions were anything but signs of integrity.
Rob Van Dam
In WWE, Rob Van Dam liked to advertise himself as one of a kind, but back in ECW, he used a different set of numbers as part of his nickname. Especially in the cult Paul Heyman built, RVD’s favorite side interest made him quite popular with a certain crowd, all the while making him what police officers call a person of interest. This interest would finally have merit only days after Van Dam won the WWE and ECW Championships at the same time, ending the biggest push of his career literally overnight.
Before anyone tries to answer this question, remember that Jimmy Snuka was never actually convicted of any crimes, being declared unfit for trial shortly before his death. Unfortunately for his legacy, the court of public opinion had long ruled on whether or not Snuka committed a horrible act in the early 1980s, forever tainting his image as one of WWE’s most popular stars of that era. Somehow, Snuka was able to avoid getting charged for this particular crime nearly three decades, which ultimately proved too late to truly determine his guilt.
Styling and profiling apparently can’t solve everything, as even “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair has had a run in or two with the law throughout his legendary career. No, we’re not talking about his well-known financial issues brought on by a sea of ex-wives, although that sure is embarrassing for the 16-time World Champion. Another faux pas of his had nothing to do with the ladies, but it did achieve a certain degree of notoriety when mocked by Edge on an episode of Raw during Flair and his feud.
To avoid any legal action, before saying one word about Vince McMahon, let’s point out in this case he was ultimately acquitted of all charges. That said, the trial of Vince McMahon is nonetheless one of the most infamous in wrestling history, due to the personalities involved and the potential impact it could have had if things had gone only a little differently. Ultimately, attorney Jerry McDevitt proved McMahon did no wrong, but that didn’t stop prosecutors from trying to implicate him in having done so.
Quite frankly, more people are probably aware of Hardbody Harrison do to his unspeakably horrific crimes than anything he accomplished inside the ring. Harrison’s brief time in the sun was spent working for WCW as an opening bout enhancement talent, almost never winning a single match. Despite this, he was somehow able to open a wrestling school that served as a front for some of the most vicious acts any wrestler has ever committed. In the end, it might be better to just forget about Harrison altogether than put any thought into his actions.
Plenty of wrestlers have been success stories in one way or another, the most dramatic of these typically cases of people turning their lives around from a criminal past into fame and fortune. This was certainly the case with MVP, who served one of the lengthiest prison sentences ever lived out by a WWE superstar before he even trained to get in the ring. Back then, MVP had accidentally fallen into a street gang, or at least that was his story at the time. Regardless of how he fell into crime, the point is MVP escaped the streets to become a superstar.
In the wrestling world, there is seemingly no crime that promoters won’t overlook if a given performer has the right amount of talent. Just look at the case of Art Barr for proof, as it was merely a matter of time before ECW and WCW forgot about the same crime that initially forced him to flee the Portland territorial scene. It also cost Barr his first WCW job, making it all the more surprising the company was allegedly interested in him again. However, it was all a moot point, as Barr would die of a drug overdose before ever returning to an American ring.
“Rock and Roll” is a phrase that can pack all sorts of punches, some legal and some not. Granted, this probably isn’t what Buck Zumhofe was thinking when he started using the moniker in the AWA. One has to imagine Zumhofe’s various bosses also weren’t doing much thinking when they hired him time and time again, even as he repeatedly got nabbed for an especially vicious and heinous crime. Believe it or not, Zumhofe even appeared in Triple H’s WWE debut match after having spent two stints in jail.
Some people were just born to be bad, and critics of pro wrestling might think that holds true for just about everybody in the business. While that would obviously be a gross exaggeration to say the least, judging Bruiser Bedlam’s second occupation might be slightly more appropriate. To summarize without giving away the answer, Bedlam was a member of the Satan’s Choice outlaw motorcycle gang, which lead him to commit a large number of crimes that ultimately sent him to jail for quite a long time.
Professional wrestling has an odd way of occasionally predicting the future, and one of the darkest examples of this can be found in Ken Wayne’s ring name. Called “The Nightmare” for his time in the squared circle, Wayne’s life outside of the ring was even more nightmarish than anything he could accomplish with or without tag team partner Danny Davis. Of course, it would take a pretty dedicated fan of southern wrestling to know this, as Wayne’s brief stints in WCW and WWE were almost entirely forgettable.
The world will never know how many would-be WWE superstars pass in and out of the company’s Performance Center without ever making it to the big time. Going one step further, we probably won’t even hear anything at all about any of these men and women unless they do something especially crazy, like in the case of Florida Championship Wrestling trainee DT Porter. In the ring, Porter’s catchphrase was the relatively simple “never say die,” and yet his actions in life weren’t quite emblematic of this phrase.
La Dama Del Silencio
Not many people in Mexico had heard of luchadora La Dama Del Silencio, which translates to the Lady of Silence, until after her crimes became well known. The Federales weren’t any better at finding Silencio once her spree began, feeling the horror of her crimes indicated a stronger, most likely male suspect was committing them. Obviously, the fact she was getting profiled prior to her arrest means what Silencio did had to be pretty terrible, and in terms of sheer people her crimes impacted, she could be the most prolific criminal on this list.
"Handsome" Bill Armstrong
Chances are anyone who recognizes the name “Handsome” Bill Armstrong only does so because of the horrific crimes he committed, as his “fame” in wrestling was localized and fleeting. First and foremost, let’s be clear and point out “Handsome” Bill had absolutely no connection to the more famous Armstrong family headed by “Bullet” Bob, and further explain he never even worked for a major company. This Armstrong was at least a minor star in his hometown, though, at least until he was sent to jail for seriously awful actions.
Being a foreigner living in America on a work Visa, Lord Steven Regal had more to lose from his arrest on an Alaskan flight than almost anyone else on this list. Not that the thought was going through his mind at the time, as he later admitted to having absolutely no memory of the incident whatsoever. This isn’t that surprising considering Regal’s long history of substance abuse, though what may be a shock is that this all took place before he even signed with WWE.
Not only is Chris Jericho a highly accomplished wrestler and the first ever Undisputed WWE Champion, he’s also the lead singer and front man to a relatively famous rock and roll band. This means Y2J’s propensity towards wild, fast, and out of control behavior is twice that of anyone else in either profession, so there’s no surprise his partying has gotten so out of hand law enforcement needed to get involved once or twice. Perhaps understanding Jericho’s personality made this sort of behavior a given, WWE has always been light on punishing him for it.
Given his bizarre 70s influenced gimmick, Disco Inferno would probably fit in Las Vegas better than just enough any other wrestler, and as they say, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Maybe that explains why Disco Inferno engaged in some activities that are legal in Sin City, and even in certain other areas of the country, albeit it not in the particular circumstances he was doing them. Of course, Disco wasn’t in Las Vegas when the crime took place, as even that city has caught up with the times and re-embraced rock and roll by now.
Wrestling being a slightly more blue than white collar type job, the superstars of WWE aren’t generally judged on the merits of their intelligence. Likewise, nor are criminals, despite the fact certain crimes require a particularly strong understanding of advanced concepts and thought. Big, tough Texan Blackjack Mulligan is one of the last wrestlers anyone would expect committed a particularly complicated crime, and yet his is one of the most intricate on this list. Less surprising is that his son Kendall Windham was also implicated in the crime, because hey, what else was the kid going to do?
Unlike almost every other luchadore in Mexican wrestling history, let alone the few in WCW, Juventud Guerrera was a special case for a unique reason—losing his mask actually helped his career. When Chris Jericho beat Juvi for the right to wear headgear, this allowed Guerrera to display brilliant and endearing facial expressions, greatly enhancing his star power. On the downside, this also made it incredibly easy for witnesses to identify him during a particularly insane drug fueled incident in Australia.
Possessing a perfect announcer’s voice and looking wholly professional in a business suit, “Mean” Gene Okerlund is the last WWE employee anyone would expect to catch in jail. Believe it or not, Okerlund was one of the many people in the wrestling business who jumped from WWE to WCW to appreciate their lax rules and looser attitude, something he may have taken a step too far in the year 2000. Luckily for Gene, his voice was in no way affected by his actions, nor apparently were his job prospects.
From the moment she chased Essa Rios into the ring to copy on of his moonsaults, Lita was making a statement that she was the first female wrestler in WWE to live up to the mantle “extreme.” Before long, she took this reputation a step further by dropping Rios in favor of the Hardy Boyz, and things would only get crazier from there when she left Matt for Edge. Outside of the ring, Lita was engaging in some questionable behavior as well, at least of the dangerous and somewhat reckless variety.
Back when he was serving as the right-hand man to former World Heavyweight Champion Christian, Tyson Tomko created a prototypical meme with the single word, answering his boss’s request to drop a beat with a simple, “No.” Had this word remained a favored phrase in Tomko’s vocabulary, maybe the harshest criminals offenses against him could have been avoided. Unfortunately, Tomko was apparently falling on hard times after leaving WWE and then TNA, finding a life of crime his only option. Was he any good at it? Well…no.
When the average WWE employee walks into a given arena, the very last thing they would expect is a fleet of police officers ready to take them to the station. This is exactly what former WWE Divas Champion Kaitlyn experienced when an outstanding warrant for her arrest was suddenly enacted moments before a wrestling event in a state she had apparently been avoiding until then. Because the infractions were relatively minor, WWE barely even reacted to the situation, more or less letting Kaitlyn deal with it on her own and move on.
The name Nick Gage probably isn’t immediately familiar to anyone except hardcore wrestling enthusiasts, which isn’t to say those who love it the most; rather those who love it most when it’s violent. Gage is a three time Combat Zone Wrestling World Champion, meaning he’s one of the bloodiest, most death-defying athletes in a company that thrives on those descriptions. Appropriately, his crime is both more severe and less common than almost any other on this list. Of course, his lack of fame ironically also makes it one of the least publicized.
Always Bo-lieving in the power of positivity was enough to make Bo Dallas a star in NXT, but as of yet, this success hasn’t quite translated to the main WWE roster. It might also be worth asking whether or not this positive attitude has made an impact on Bo’s personal life, considering more than once he wound up behind bars for the same crime. On the other hand, given the nature of his crime, we may have actually just found the true secret behind his constant optimism.
Rough, mean, and always ready for a fight, it only makes sense that Big Van Vader would have a run in or two with the law on his record. That said, it’s still a little surprising that Vader found himself arrested twice in the span of a single WWE tour of Iraq, once due to an incident that happened on live television. Amazingly, this didn’t cost Vader his job at the time, and in fact the man was barely punished whatsoever. Granted, he never achieved the same success in WWE as he did in WCW, so maybe his wrap sheet effected his career after all.
Some wrestlers pride themselves on real life reputations for violence, and New Jack pushed this idea to its absolute limit. Upon the head Gangsta’s introduction to ECW, Joey Styles was alleging Jack may have had a few justifiable homicides under his belt. While the truth is that may have been a bit of a stretch, Jack has had more than a few legitimate run ins with the law and more than once during the course of wrestling events he was hired to appear in.
Davey Boy Smith
Pretty much the entire Hart family has had their fair share of domestic problems, and that includes both members of tangentially related tag team The British Bulldogs. While The Dynamite Kid didn’t do anything to place him on this list, Davey Boy Smith’s family wasn’t as quiet about the way he treated them. Most people in the wrestling industry like to gloss over these facts when discussing Smith’s career, which genuinely did see him become arguably the most famous British wrestler in WWE history.
Spending most of his career as a second fiddle to Bret Hart, there’s not much to say about Jim Neidhart on his own. Unless of course one happens to be a fan of his daughter Natalya, chances are the only elements of Neidhart’s career they’re familiar with would be his time serving as the enforcer to The Hart Foundation, be it the tag team or stable version. Part of the reason Neidhart could never achieve the same solo success as some of his teammates relates to his tumultuous personal life, which has seen him land in trouble with the law more than once.
Later in his career, Mexico’s self-proclaimed biggest superstar Konnan became known for playing a number of crime kingpin like characters in TNA and Lucha Underground. Of course, the real world isn’t quite the same as wrestling, and Konnan has never been as violent as his character implied. However, as a poor and disaffected youth, Konnan did fall into the wrong crowd and commit a couple small crimes that found him in jail before even training to get inside the ring. Turning his life around as a youth, Konnan joined the military before deciding to hit the ropes.
Doink the Clown
None of the wrestlers mentioned on this quiz got here on a laughing matter, and this even includes WWE’s favorite prankster, Doink The Clown. To make things clear, we’ll put out we mean the original Doink, who also spent several years in WWE and on the territorial scene under the name Matt Borne. He also experienced brief success in WCW as Big Josh, though none of this was able to make him a star. Many feel the one thing preventing Borne from success wasn’t his wild gimmicks, but rather his erratic personality, which landed him in prison more than once.
Slapping a tornado is the sort of behavior only a risk taker would engage in, and Matt Hardy’s theme music boasted that’s what he was doing way before he was Broken. Now that Hardy is entirely off the rails and looking like a super villain, one might expect his illegal behavior to intensify in recent years. In fact, the opposite is true, with Hardy’s darkest moments taking place after he left WWE but before he was able to revive things in TNA.
Billy Joe Travis
Less famous than some other wrestlers profiled on this quiz, Billy Joe Travis is nonetheless highly noteworthy for the manner in which he was arrested. Without giving away the answer, it can already be explained that he was apprehended live on television, lead out of a USWA event in handcuffs while cameras were still rolling. Ever the marketing genius, promoter Jerry Lawler specifically requested officers take Travis in during the show, so he could use it for an angle involving his son, Brian Christopher.
Thinking he was Buff, the stuff, and that which the girls could not get enough of, Marcus Alexander Bagwell was quick to develop an incredibly high opinion of himself while working for WCW. Granted, some higher ups in the company must have felt the same, pushing him to a pretty high level almost immediately and letting him maintain his position in the company until it closed. Of course, fans weren’t always as receptive to Bagwell as his bosses. Believe it or not, Buff was actually arrested due to a backstage altercation in WCW.
So troubled that WWE named a retroactive DVD about his career “Poisoned,” Jake Roberts has been in and out of more than one jail cell in his lifetime. The problems started way back in the 1980s, when a neck injury lead him seeking relief in the form of various substances, and it was all a downward spiral from there. Prior to Roberts falling from grace, he was considered amongst the greatest interviews in the business, and a brilliant ring psychologist on top of that.
He might call himself Dr. Death, but Steve Williams was no Kevorkian. Not that the two had nothing in common, with Williams hard hitting destructive action almost equally deadly to the actions of the famed euthanasia activist. That said, his illegal actions were completely non-violent crimes. Regardless of what landed him behind bars, Williams never lost his reputation as an accomplished brawler and technical wrestler throughout America, and he would become an even bigger star in Japan—the country where his arrest took place.
Even before he went solo, Scott Steiner was building up a reputation as a bully all across the world while teaming with his brother Rick. Granted, most of the wrestling world was willing to look the other way on The Steiner Brothers taking liberties in the ring due to the incredibly high quality their matches were almost all guaranteed to have. This sort of intensity could have also made Steiner a champion in the prison yard, where he almost wound up when a minor traffic accident became something much more serious.
Professional wrestling fans view Jeff Hardy as a “charismatic enigma” for his unique style that often includes painting himself in wildly arranged bright colors. To police, however, this sort of behavior makes someone a person of interest, and Hardy’s numerous run ins with the law have intensified this standing. Hardy has been arrested more than once, with the worst offenses taking placing mere weeks after he lost the World Heavyweight Championship to CM Punk. The arrest delayed his WWE career for a good eight years, spending the interim in TNA and letting his problems spiral out of control.