WWE Urban Legends: 5 Tall Tales Accepted as Fact That Turned out Not to Be True
Let's face it: Wrestling is full of B.S. rumors of all kinds.
Some are started by fans, some are started by wrestlers.
Some are spread just for fun, some are spread maliciously.
At any rate, some have become a lot more prominent than others to the point where the belief that they're true became widespread. Let's debunk five of the more prominent ones that are floating around...
Batista, Marriage, Cancer and Vacuuming
When WWE released Batista's autobiography "Batista Unleashed" in 2007, they promoted it with a pretty sensational summary about being a young grandfather, serially cheating on his wife while on the road, etc. Soon, this quote made the rounds online, purportedly excerpted from the book:
"Now, don't get me wrong, my ex-wife is the love of my life and I would never knowingly hurt her. However, while I was busting my butt on the road like a dog, she would sit around the house and do nothing. I mean, yeah, she had cancer, but she couldn't vacuum? And since the chemo made her "not in the mood", I had no choice but to have threesomes on the road. I mean, she's talented and I hated to see her waste her life like that when she could be a dancer, or maybe a nurse. But she's not a bad person and I take full responsibility for my actions, even though it was her fault."
Pretty shocking stuff, right? It was soon taken at face value by many wrestling fans online who had low opinions of Batista. Of course, in reality, nothing like that was in the book.
A few months ago, Batista appeared on Wrestling Observer Radio. When asked if any internet rumors really got to him, he quickly brought up the "quote" as something that deeply upset him when he saw it making the rounds and accepted as the truth.
The Name's the Same, Unfortunately for Ahmed Johnson
Tony Norris was a Texas based independent wrestler who wrestled both under his real name and as "Moadib" (moe-ah-deeb) before being signed by WWE in 1995 to wrestle as Ahmed Johnson.
They seemingly had high hopes for him, but he flamed out in large part because he was reckless in the ring in addition to being injury-prone himself. He left the company in early 1998.
In January 1999, stories surfaced online about CNN (which didn't yet have a robust website that would cover everything that was on the network's newscasts) reporting that a Tony Norris had been arrested in Florida for pimping out underage girls and some kind of drug charges.
Some of the details have been lost in the sands of time: Was it about whether another man with the same name was arrested? Was it completely made up? Either way, it was accepted as fact all over the internet without much proof.
Obviously, since it's in this slideshow, it wasn't true.
He showed up in WCW about a year later for a disastrously brief run as "Big T." Even being signed to a two year contract and showing up on national TV didn't do anything to kill the false belief that he was facing criminal charges over forcing underage girls into prostitution.
It's still easy to find people who believe that he was indeed charged with those crimes.
The Ballad of Punk and Lita
In late Summer 2009, rumors started circulating online about CM Punk dating Amy "Lita" Dumas. The primary "proof" offered at first was a set of photos posted at WrestleZone.com that included the one in this slide.
Even though the photos are all shot from behind and only looked vaguely like them, plenty of people jumped all over this as "proof." Eventually, it was reported as fact by Simon Rothstein on the UK Sun's Website and Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
Rothstein claimed that "sources close to the pair" (people familiar with the matter?) told him that they had been together for almost a year at the time. He quoted one of them as saying "It's not an issue with the WWE bosses. It has been kept very personal and both Matt and Edge know about it, because Punk was man enough to tell both to their faces."
Meanwhile, a month or so later, Punk lost the World Heavyweight Championship to The Undertaker. A story circulated about it being some kind of punishment over a dress code issue.
Quickly, it was debunked: There was a polite discussion and the only person who was making a big deal about and distorting what happened was Matt Hardy. The same Matt Hardy who Lita cheated on with Edge in an infamously public disaster six years earlier, and who eventually made public comments about her dating Punk. Funny how that works.
Neither Punk or Lita ever commented publicly on the rumors as far as I know. I debunked them independently and Punk's ex-girlfriend Maria Kanellis said they were not true when asked during her "YouShoot" interview by Kayfabe Commentaries.
Who Was Responsible for Hulk Hogan's Black Eye?
At Wrestlemania IX, Hulk Hogan showed up with a nasty black eye. Hogan's opponents (Money Inc.) were alleged during the show to have hired some goons to attack him at a gym the night before, and it was never spoken of again.
Hogan had been gone from the company for about a year before the build up to the show. During this period, Randy Savage and his wife/valet Elizabeth got divorced. Savage blamed Hogan and his then-wife Linda for talking Liz into leaving him (and publicly blasted Hogan on Radio WWF later that year), so a popular rumor began circulating that Savage had confronted Hogan over the weekend and decked him.
What actually happened is that Hogan had a jet ski accident days before the show. Even though that has been well known since it happened, the Savage story has gotten as much or more play online.
WWE's "Financial Support" of ECW
In recent years, the official company line on WWE's relationship with the original ECW was that Vince McMahon "financially supported" ECW for several years because Vince McMahon believes in helping out the little guy or something like that. Slightly more cynical versions have been retold over the years by fans, but the gist is that a lot of people believe that WWE kept the company afloat.
While WWE did pay Paul Heyman personally and ECW as a company over the years, it wasn't close to anything that would help keep the company afloat. Heyman got a mid-five figure deal as a consultant for a few years, ECW got to book some WWE-contracted talent for free, and in 2000, WWE loaned ECW at least $500,000 (approximately the amount listed as owed to WWE in the ECW bankruptcy filing).
There are at least a couple different theoretical motives for that loan (which was far less than what ECW was bleeding), and they don't necessarily have to be mutually exclusive.
The money was loaned around the time of ECW's cancellation by what is now Spike TV after WWE signed with the network. It may have been part of a deal to avoid a lawsuit, as ECW became a lame duck show very quickly as it became clear that they'd be jettisoned in favor of WWE programming.
The other theory is that WWE was anticipating ECW's eventual bankruptcy and loaned money that they never expected to be repaid as a strategic move. If they were the highest priority creditor, scooping up the key ECW assets (mainly the trademarks and tape library) would be a lot easier.
In the end, it didn't quite work out that way: Annodeous Inc. (a subsidiary of ECW video game licensee Acclaim) was a secured creditor with more than $1.5 million in outstanding loans to ECW. WWE had to pay them and other priority creditors to make sure they could get the assets.