Randy Orton, Vader and 5 Crazy Incidents Where Pro Wrestlers Attacked Reporters
Sometimes the ring isn't big enough to contain a pro wrestlers' rage, whether it is scripted or otherwise. TV hosts have fallen victim to open-handed slaps, chokeholds and intimidation. With as talented as wrestlers from WWE or elsewhere are at blurring reality and script, one has to examine all of these incidents armed with skepticism.
In Mexico, Kuwait and Madison Square Garden, fans saw unexpected clashes between reporters and wrestlers.
Which ones were simply an extended part of the show and which ones were genuine? Half the fun is trying to figure that out.
Richard Belzer vs. Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan isn't known for his submission holds, but he once put an opponent to sleep on live TV.
His victim was one Richard Belzer. Before he worked alongside Ice-T on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Belzer hosted the cable TV show, Hot Properties.
That show's most famous moment came courtesy of Hulk Hogan. Mr. T and Hogan appeared to promote the inaugural WrestleMania. When watching the full segment, one can feel the rising tension between Belzer and his guests.
Belzer treats them both with condescension when asking about their WrestleMania match.
He later asked Hogan to demonstrate a wrestling move. Hogan wrapped one of his bulging arms around Belzer's neck. Belzer soon went limp.
When Hogan let him go, Belzer fell violently to the floor, cracking his head open.
It appeared at the moment that Hogan was the victor here, but Belzer won in the end. He told Vulture.com, "My wife and I sued and settled out of court a few years later. We then put a down payment on a house in France."
When asked if he was now on good terms with Hogan, he answered, "He split my head open. I haven't spoken to him in 23 years."
John Stossel vs. David Schultz
"Dr. D" David Schultz was backstage at Madison Square Garden in December 1984, apparently still in the mood for fighting. 20/20 host John Stossel interviewed the then-WWF wrestler.
Schultz appeared hostile and defensive, so it's surprising that Stossel would then say to him, "I think this is fake." That angered Schultz to the point that he began to box Stossel’s ears. He slapped him hard and asked him, "Is that fake?"
Stossel told the New York Times that the blow caused him to have prolonged ringing in his ears. He came back with one of the only moves available to him, a lawsuit. Stossel wrote on FoxBusiness.com that he sued Schultz and that one doctor told him he had a jurosomatic illness, the kind only cured by a hefty settlement.
Vader vs. Bassam Al Othman
In Kuwait to promote a match between him and Undertaker, Vader almost gave the Kuwaiti fans a bonus match.
Bassam Al Othman, host of Good Morning Kuwait asked the same inflammatory question that got John Stossel in trouble. He asked Undertaker and Vader if wrestling was fake.
Taker answered calmly and managed to make himself and wrestling as an industry look good in the process. Vader admitted himself that he was not nearly as diplomatic. He shot up from his seat, flipped over a table and grabbed Othman by the tie.
According to Wrestlezone.com, the incident led to Vader being arrested for assault. Bill Behrens writes that Vader "spent ten days under house arrest, eventually being allowed to leave the country after paying a small fine."
If it seems odd how unnatural it was for Vader to go from sitting calmly to barking in Othman's face, that may be because Vader was playing out a staged scenario.
Mark Angeles of Philly.com wrote "an American producer told the wrestler to "ham it up," according to WWF. He was not told, however, that the host knew nothing about wrestling antics."
Babi Slymm vs. Michael Moody
Director Michael Moody compiled a number of interviews about the pro wrestling industry for his documentary, 101 Reasons Not to be a Pro Wrestler. Independent wrestler Babi Slymm appeared in the film alongside more notable names such as New Jack, Chyna and Vampiro.
The former Alternative Wrestling Show world champ is a large, burly dude. It appears from this video that Slymm is angered by Moody's questions and retaliates by smacking the camera out of his hand.
If that blow and the subsequent chase scene comes off as staged at all, that's because it was just that.
Moody wrote in a column for WrestleZone.com, "Up until now I told everybody that the punch was real but the truth is, it was faked. I thought it was a cool idea to get people talking about the DVD and it worked."
He was right. The incident did create some buzz for the DVD. In this age of easily accessible information it's tough to pull something like this over people. Moody managed to do so, at least for a while.
Randy Orton vs. El Furby
The Viper's interview with the Mexican reporter known as El Furby did not start out well.
When the reporter asked Orton what he ate for breakfast, Orton looked visibly annoyed. He was perhaps hoping for some deeper questions.
His next question was about Orton's durability, and things quickly turned ugly.
Orton has lost his cool on many occasions. El Furby got off easy compared to the other guys on this list, coming away from the incident with just some spittle on his face.
It all looks legitimate until in the middle of storming off, Orton turns around and gives a "cut" signal. This convincing performance is proof that Orton is a far better actor as a heel.
The blow-up came off as so real that media outlets, including Deadspin, took it at face value.