More often than not, the stories behind the scenes in pro wrestling are more interesting than the angles on TV. Here are more facts and stories about pro wrestling you may not know.
A few years back we covered 7 Facts You May Not Know About Professional Wrestling, but that was just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other interesting and remarkable stories behind the curtain of pro wrestling that many casual fans, and even die-hard fans, just aren't aware of.
'Cowboy' Bob Orton Fired From WWE for Not Reporting He Had Hepatitis C
Blood-borne illnesses are a real threat in contract sports, especially for professional wrestlers as blading is such a common practice. Wrestlers' careers have been cut short by contracting a disease like Hepatitis, and it almost happened to The Undertaker.
Bob Orton Jr. is a WWE Hall of Famer who made several returns to WWE in the 2000s to help his son Randy Orton during Randy's rise to a main event star in the company. During Randy's feud with The Undertaker, Bob Orton Jr. participated in a match where he and The Undertaker were both busted open and Orton bled directly onto The Undertaker. Later it was revealed that Bob Orton had contracted Hepititis C as a teenager, but hadn't shown any signs of the disease in so long that he forgot he had it. The WWE retested Orton for the disease and released him from the company in 2006 when his test came back positive. The Undertaker was reportedly furious with Orton, but luckily did not contract the disease.
Contracted WWF and WCW Wrestlers Competed for the ECW Title
In 2000, ECW was struggling to stay afloat as their main roster was leaving for WWF and WCW. ECW Champion Mike Awesome accepted an offer from WCW and appeared on Monday Nitro while still the ECW Champion. Though he was acknowledged as being the ECW Champion by the WCW commentators, WCW did not show him with the belt out of fear of legal reprisals. Paul Heyman arranged for Awesome to appear at an ECW house show in Indiana shortly after his WCW debut, and called in a favor from Vince McMahon for Awesome's opponent. McMahon agreed to send WWF wrestler Tazz, a former ECW Champion who recently left ECW for WWF, to work the event and face Awesome.
Chyna Was Almost a Secret Service Agent
We're not talking about a wrestling angle here. Joanie Lauer actually tried to become a Secret Service agent.
Through studying in school and living for a time in Spain, Lauer could fluently speak English, Spanish, German, and French. After being part of the ROTC, its believed Lauer had hoped to put her language skills to work for the FBI or DEA. Several sites report that Lauer also applied to become a Secret Service agent, testing quite highly, but abandoning that aspiration when she found out female agents were not eligible to guard the President.
Raven is the Most Decorated WWE Superstar of All Time
With the vast history of title holders in the WWE, it might be a surprise to hear that Raven, who didn't have a very remarkable WWF run, is the most decorated wrestler in the company's history, by their own count.
To be fair, this accolade does come with some footnotes. This is taking into account titles from companies that WWE aquired the rights to, like WCW and ECW. This also takes into account the WWF Hardcore title, which was regularly passed around the roster multiple times a night due to the stipulation that the title would be defended 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Taking all that into account, Raven has the most title reigns with 32.
If you don't count the Hardcore title reigns, Raven only has 5 reigns, with Edge then claiming the top spot with 31 reigns.
'Real American' Was Not Intended for Hulk Hogan
It comes as a major shock to fans that Hulk Hogan's iconic theme song, 'Real American', was actually created for a tag team and not the Immortal One himself.
The first use of 'Real American' was by the tag team 'The U.S. Express', made up of brothers-in-law Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda, better known to WWF fans as Irwin R. Schyster (also Bray Wyatt's father). The duo held the WWF Tag Team titles on two occasions, and Rick Derringer wrote the 'Real American' song for the team. Shortly after they began using it, Windham left the WWF and the entrance music was given to Hulk Hogan, who had been using 'Eye of the Tiger' as his entrance music to that point.
You can see The US Express use 'Real American' as their theme HERE.
The Largest Wrestling Event Ever Was Held in North Korea
The single wrestling event with the largest number of people in attendance wasn't a Wrestlemania, and didn't event happen in the United States. 'Collision in Korea' was a joint event put on by WCW and New Japan Pro Wrestling that took place in May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, bringing in over 300,000 people over two days. Many reports state that a majority of those who attended were forced to by the North Korean government.
In his autobiography, Flair noted he was incredibly concerned at being in North Korea when finding out high-ranking officials within the government believed it to be a legitimate sporting event and expressed confusion when it was clear that wrestlers were helping each other to perform moves. Before leaving, Flair was told by North Korean officials that they wanted him to give a propaganda speech, saying he sees why North Korea is so much better than America, which Flair refused to do.
As this is one of a few WCW PPVs that are not available on the WWE Network, you can see Collision in Korea HERE.
Daniel Bryan Was Supposed to Wrestle Charlie Sheen
During a recent episode of 'Untold' on the WWE Network, Daniel Bryan confirmed that plans were in motion for him to wrestle Charlie Sheen at a WWE event on 2012. Bryan was in the middle of a gimmick where he was incredibly angry all the time, and Sheen had just started his TV show 'Anger Management' after leaving 'Two and a Half Men'. Sheen Skyped in to WWE Raw a few times, bashing Daniel Bryan for his anger issues and setting up the feud. However, according to Bryan, Sheen and the WWE could not come to terms on a contract, and Bryan ended up facing Kane instead. This proved to be fortuitous for Bryan as this was the begging of he and Kane's highly successful 'Team Hell No' gimmick that undoubtedly led to Bryan's main event push and World Title win at Wrestlemania 30.
I do wonder if 'Sheen and WWE couldn't come to terms on a contract' is just a nice way of saying they found out Sheen wouldn't have been able to pass the physical due to his HIV diagnosis.
Gino Hernandez's Father Was Only Recently Revealed
The life and death of Gino Hernandez has resulted in many rumors and urban legends in the professional wrestling world. But with a recent documentary on Viceland, at least one of those legends was put to rest.
During his rise in Texas wrestling, Gino's parentage was brought into question. Many speculated that the reason the young wrestler was receiving such a push was due to being the illegitimate son of Houston wrestling promoter Paul Boesch (featured in the picture with Gino).
The rumor that Boesch was Gino's father outlived Gino himself, and wasn't publicly dispelled until Gino's mother was interviewed for a recent episode of 'Dark Side of the Ring' on Viceland. Gino's mother confirmed that she was 16 when she had Gino, didn't know who Paul Boesch was at that time, and Gino's father was actually a security guard who would later work at the events where Gino wrestled and didn't know Gino was his son until Gino's obituary published his real name, Charles Wolfe Jr.
You can see the clip of Gino's mother revealing who is father is HERE.
Jeff Hardy Lied About His Age, Debuted in WWF at 16
Many fans remember Matt and Jeff Hardy debuting in the WWF in 1998 as The Hardy Boyz. But a few fans with a keen eye realized they'd seen the Jeff a few years prior.
Former wrestler Gary Sabaugh brought Jeff Hardy along with a group of other wrestlers to WWF Raw in Youngstown, Ohio in 1994 with the intention of the guys being used as enhancement talent to make the main WWF stars look good in the ring. When Keith Davis, another wrestler brought to the show by Sabaugh, backed out of his match with Razor Ramon, Hardy stepped up and volunteered to face Ramon. When asked his age, Hardy said he was 18, but was actually 16 at the time.
Brian Pillman Tricked WCW Into Releasing Him
Towards the end of his WCW run, Pillman began his 'Loose Cannon' gimmick, where he would act crazy and impulsive on TV, including breaking kayfabe by referring to Kevin Sullivan as WCW's booker (head writer) during a match. Though his was all part of the plan between Pillman and WCW, Pillman ultimately used this gimmick to get out of his WCW contract.
Pillman came up with the idea that if he really was this out of control, WCW would have no choice but to fire him. He convinced WCW to use that idea in a story line, and to make it as believable as possible, Pillman suggested they fill out a real WCW release form. As soon as WCW officials filled out the release form for the story line, Pillman went straight to the WWF and began negotiations since he was technically no longer under a WCW contract and legally prevented from doing so.