Pro Wrestling's Dark Side (Part 2)

Matthew HesterSenior Writer IJuly 14, 2010

Behind the closed curtains, there are many things that wrestling historians prefer you didn’t remember.

In the first part of this three-part series, we talked about the brutal slaying of Bruiser Brody, the steroid scandal, and the savage attack by Sid Vicious.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, my friends. Pro wrestling has been covered in scandals, lies, and deception since the beginning of time.

Please keep in mind that this article was not meant to slander pro wrestling. In fact, it is pro wrestling that is probably my favorite pastime.

But we just can't look at the good and forget the bad. Bad things happen for many reasons, and all we can do as people is hope to learn from our mistakes. So please sit back, relax, and enjoy the read.

The Terry Garvin and Pat Patterson sex scandal

In 1992, the WWE had more problems to deal with besides steroids. Like in most aspects in the entertainment industry, sex sells.

The media, already in a frenzy with the steroid scandal, would be given another tasty morsel to chew on, only this time it would be at the expense of Hall of Famer Pat Patterson and Terry Garvin.

The allegations would start when Barry Orton would claim that Garvin was harassing him during a long trip on the road.

According to Orton, Garvin would ask for oral sex on many occasions during the car ride. Needless to say, this made Orton very uncomfortable. They would not return in the same car on the way home.

The problems would not end there, though. A short time later, Garvin would be given a job with WWE, mainly because he was very good friends with Pat Patterson.

During Garvin’s time in the company he was known for using his influence to have sex with younger ring boys. Things would blow up shortly after Tom Cole, a ring boy, would lose his job after refusing Garvin’s advances.

Orton would be asked on a radio show if the rumors were true about Cole’s firing. He said yes, and then told the story of his car ride.

This interview would make the story covered countrywide. Vince had to defend himself on CNN and with many other members of the media.

A lawsuit would be filed by Orton, Cole, and announcer Murray Hodgson. Things would be settled a little later on, but Orton was let go because Vince felt he was the cause of the problem.

Garvin and Patterson resigned after the scandal broke, but Patterson would make his way back a short time later. Mainly because the company felt he was an innocent victim in all of this.

They felt he was targeted because he was openly gay. At the time, it was still a big deal to be gay as an open figure. Orton later said in an interview with Slam that he never saw Patterson do anything.

A family mired in a curse

There are very few wrestling families that have had a bigger name than the Von Erich’s. Throughout the years, they have been known for their style in the ring.

It all started with Fritz Von Erich, who was a 241-pound monster who would make a name for himself in the NWA and AWA. Besides being a multi-time champion. He was also the President of the NWA for a brief stint.

Sadly, this is as about as happy as it gets for this longtime family legacy. You see, besides being known for being great wrestlers, they were also known for being cursed.

Over the years, the many different family members all died in very unpleasant ways. Fritz would have to watch five of his six sons all die before him.

The first one to pass would be David Von Erich. He died in Japan because of acute enteritis in his intestine, but if you talked to his friends in the locker it was from an overdose.

Mike overdosed after taking to many Placidyl. Chris shot himself in the head with a 9mm at his parents house in Texas, and Kerry also shot himself behind his parents' house. Those are just the Suicides.

His son Jack would die from electrocution at the age of seven. He was the only one who didn’t die surrounded with some form of controversy.

The only son who is alive today is Kevin. He stuck around in the business before retiring in the 90’s.

The only active Von Erich in wrestling today is Lacey Von Erich. It is rumored though that Kevin’s sons are interested in getting involved in pro wrestling.

I’m gonna give you an offer you better not refuse

If you talk to most wrestling fans about who made pro wrestling what it is today, they would most likely say the NWA.

While that would be a fair statement to make, after all, the NWA did give us such greats as Buddy Rogers, Lou Thesz, and the list goes on and on. What isn’t often talked about is how exactly the NWA came into power.

Wrestling historians will tell you that the NWA formed in the late 1920’s. They first formed in order to unify the territories and make the title have a bit more legitimacy.

But it wasn’t until the late '40s when the NWA truly made an impact. In 1948, Sam Muchnick, along with many other promoters, would assemble one of the greatest wrestling franchises the business had ever seen.

The theory behind the NWA was to have one champion who would travel all over the different territories and defend the belt.

This would not only help unify the title in the claims of being defended all over the country, but it also helped local promoters make their own stars because of the NWA name.

In theory this concept was all well, but the problem was getting so many promotions to flip over to the NWA name.

What the NWA purists don’t like talked about is the many shady tactics it took for that to happen. While many promoters liked the idea. There were many who wanted no part of it.

This is where things got ugly. It was reported for many years that the NWA would use mob-like tactics on these promoters. It would range from a simple shake down all the way to murder.

Many of the charges brought against them were thrown out because of buy outs and other shady antics.

Towards the end, the NWA would watch various promotions leave them like the WWWF and the AWA. By the 80’s the NWA was on its last legs.

The brand still exists today, but on a much smaller scale.

Please stay tuned for part 3.


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