Five Biggest Scandals in WWE History

of 05

Vince McMahon's Steroids Trial

Vince McMahon
Vince McMahon. John Sciulli/WireImage for LIONSGATE/Getty Images

In 1991, Dr. George Zahorian was convicted of illegally giving drugs to WWE Superstars over the course of several years.  Three years later, the federal government went after Vince McMahon for allegedly distributing the drugs to his wrestlers.  The trial that took place was a media circus and featured several wrestlers testify, including Hulk Hogan.  Vince McMahon wound up winning the case as he was found not guilty.

of 05

Ring Boy Sex Scandal

Pat Patterson
Pat Patterson. Miguel Discart - (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In the early '90s, there were several allegations of sexual harassment against WWE employees for offering a better career in the company in return for sexual favors.  The most disturbing of the allegations involved an underage ring boy that claimed Pat Patterson's assistant Terry Garvin and ring announcer Mel Phillips made inappropriate advances on him.  At the around the same time, wrestler Barry O and announcer Murray Hodgson also made claims that they were sexually harassed.  Patterson, Garvin and Phillips all wound up leaving the company.  Patterson wound up returning to the company about a year later.   

of 05

Owen Hart Dies on Pay-Per-View

Owen Hart
Owen Hart has his brother Bret Hart trapped in the Sharpshooter. Russell Turiak/Getty Images

On May 23, 1999, Owen Hart died after a stunt went wrong at Over the Edge.  Owen, who was portraying his alter ego The Blue Blazer, was supposed to enter the ring from the rafters above the ring.  Tragically, something went horrifically wrong and Owen plummeted from the rafters into the ring and was pronounced dead a short-time later.  Despite this tragedy, the company callously decided to continue the show.

of 05

The Death Epidemic in Professional Wrestling

Eddie Guerrero
Eddie Guerrero at WrestleMania XX. Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images

Wrestling has a problem with too many of its stars dying at a very young age.  The first time this topic was covered in a national television platform, Vince McMahon swatted the notes out of an HBO reporter's hands.  Following the death of Eddie Guerrero, the company finally decided to do something to help their former and current stars and implemented a Wellness Policy.  While far from perfect, the rate of famous wrestlers dying in their 30's and 40's has at least slowed down.  But just to give you an idea of how bad the problem was, the following is a list of wrestlers that appeared at WrestleMania VI only twenty five years ago that are no longer with us today (as of August 1, 2015):

  1. Andre the Giant
  2. Earthquake
  3. Hercules
  4. "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig
  5. Bad News Brown
  6. Roddy Piper
  7. Dusty Rhodes
  8. Saphire
  9. Randy Savage
  10. Sherri Martel
  11. Miss Elizabeth
  12. Dino Bravo
  13. Big Boss Man
  14. Rick Rude
  15. Ultimate Warrior
of 05

Chris Benoit Double Murder Suicide

Chris Benoit
Nancy and Chris Benoit. George Napolitano/FilmMagic/Getty Images

On June 25, 2007, Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy Benoit (aka Woman) and their son Daniel were found deceased in their home.  After a tribute featuring all of his greatest matches and moments aired on Monday Night RAW, the news broke that Chris murdered his family before killing himself.  In the aftermath of this incident, Chris Benoit's brain was studied and it was determined he had suffered from brain damage due to all of the concussions he received in his career.  This concussion issue appears to be the next scandal to hit the wrestling business.  Following in the footsteps of the NFL-concussion lawsuit, there have recently been several concussion related suits filed against WWE by former wrestlers and their relatives.

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Your Citation
Cohen, Eric. "Five Biggest Scandals in WWE History." ThoughtCo, Nov. 22, 2015, Cohen, Eric. (2015, November 22). Five Biggest Scandals in WWE History. Retrieved from Cohen, Eric. "Five Biggest Scandals in WWE History." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 18, 2017).