In a business as zany as professional wrestling, there are bound to be numerous incidents that defy description or logic.
This is going to be true any time you have a group of people traveling together. Speculation becomes rumor, and rumor becomes an urban legend. The fans certainly don't help matters either, coming up with their own wild theories and abject fantasies of what goes on 'behind the curtain' in sports entertainment.
Some myths persist to this day, despite evidence to the contrary, while others that are dismissed are actually true. Here are five wrestling rumors that turned out to be false, and five that might be for real.
False: There were two Ultimate Warriors
Just to be clear, there is only one man who has portrayed the Ultimate Warrior character; Jim "Warrior" Hellwig. However, the rumor still persists that he was replaced by a ringer at one point in his career, with the culprit usually being depicted as Kerry Von Erich.
This was due to Warrior taking some time off from the ring, and returning with a different look. His hair had been dyed a lighter color and was longer, his ring gear had become more colorful, and--most confusing for fans, and likely the start of the urban legend--he had a much leaner physique.
The truth was, Warrior leaned up to deal with health issues, and to improve his movement in the ring. Still, despite the evidence, there are fans who believe that one of the Warriors was an imposter.
True: Referee Mark Curtis's ashes were mixed with the opening pyros for Monday Nitro
Referee Brian Hildebrand--known more by his stage name of Mark Curtis--was one of the most beloved referees of all time. Not only was he fantastically skilled at his job--the 'third man' in the ring is more essential than most people realize--but he was one of the kindest people you were likely to meet.
When Curtis realized he was losing his battle with cancer, he requested that his remains be cremated, and some of his ashes be mixed with the opening pyro of the wrestling show he loved so much, Monday Nitro. WCW agreed and gave a fitting tribute to a fallen friend.
False: Superstar Billy Graham drank Clorox bleach on a bet
Backstage at wrestling events is often a matter of 'hurry up and wait'. After you've done your last pump up rep, slid into your ring gear, and went over the match with your opponent, there's not much to do.
Naturally, bored people look for entertainment, and bets and practical jokes are often the go-to for a cure. Rumor has it that another wrestler bet perennial self-proclaimed tough guy Superstar Billy Graham that he couldn't drink a half gallon of bleach without vomiting. According to urban legend, Graham then proceeded to chug the contents of a small bottle of Clorox and responded only with a belch.
Ingesting a small amount of bleach, say a mouthful, will only result in a mild case of nausea. However, according to the poison control center website, drinking as much of the sodium based cleaning regent will cause burns in your intestinal tract, vomiting, diarrhea and massive cramping, and could lead to internal bleeding.
The fact that Graham suffered none of these effects means either the rumor is false, or Superstar tricked his hapless mark into thinking he was drinking Clorox when it was really another liquid in the bottle.
True: Andre the Giant drank 119 beers in one sitting--and then had wine with dinner
This urban legend sounds too incredible to believe, but there are numerous witnesses--among them Andre's anesthesiologist--can confirm that the big man did indeed have incredible tolerance for alcohol.
While most wrestlers have their height and weight exaggerated--Hulk Hogan was billed as six foot eight when he was closer to six foot four--Andre's height and weight were legit seven feet, four inches and nearly five hundred pounds. That amount of mass means that he would have incredible tolerance if he weren't a dedicated drinker. Men like Hulk Hogan can personally attest to his tolerance.
And boy, was Andre ever a dedicated drinker! When his anesthesiologist asked about his tolerance in preparation for back surgery, Andre told him it took two liters of vodka just to get a buzz.
Andre's legendary drinking turns out to be more truth than myth.
False: Andre had never been slammed in his career before WrestleMania 3
You can't blame WWE for putting this legend out there, because it made the story of Hogan vs. Andre that much more dramatic.
Legend has it that Andre had never been body slammed before Hulk Hogan pulled it off in WrestleMania 3. However, a quick web search will reveal that there are numerous men who have slammed Andre, including Stan Hansen and Ernie Ladd. However, it should be pointed out that Andre's condition meant he kept growing larger, and he was at his heaviest when Hogan accomplished the feat.
True: Sid Vicious put a squirrel in his pants and was then bitten where no one wants to be bitten
Despite portraying a 'psychopath' character in wrestling, Sid Vicious is actually one of the kinder, gentler men in the wrestling business (his altercation with Arn Anderson notwithstanding). He has been active in charity work, gave Harlem Heat a place to live while they tried to break into the wrestling business, and has a soft spot for small animals.
Sid often brought a pet squirrel on the road with him. When a group of wrestlers dared him to put the squirrel in his wrestling trunks, Sid obliged--and was promptly bitten in the exact place no one wants to be bitten.
This urban legend has more truth than its ludicrous nature would otherwise indicate.
True: Shawn Michaels busted a beer bottle over his own head on a dare
When you're a slender, good-looking young wrestler, the older guys will constantly rib you and question your toughness. Sometimes the harassment can get a little personal, and the wrestler being mocked will go to extremes to prove he belongs 'with the boys' in the locker room.
This happened to a young Shawn Michaels during his first tenure with WWE. Veteran performer Jimmy Jack Funk was ribbing the Rockers for their lack of real tough guy status. The confrontation grew close to becoming a full-fledged fight, until Shawn Michaels busted a full bottle of beer over his own head.
Michaels ended up needing medical care and had to miss some scheduled dates. Vince McMahon was furious and fired the Rockers, though they would be rehired soon after.
True: Macho Man Randy Savage kept Elizabeth in isolation in the locker room
Macho Man Randy Savage had married his valet Elizabeth in real life, though the WWE didn't acknowledge this publicly. While Savage was one of the most dedicated and talented wrestlers of all time, he sometimes let his paranoia and temper get the better of him.
When he thought that some of his fellow wrestlers were getting too 'friendly' with Elizabeth--which in his eyes meant they were having a simple conversation--he would grab her by the hand and drag her away. He even took to ordering his wife to remain in her own, separate locker room so the other wrestlers could not even speak to her.
This rankled other wrestlers, particularly Andre the Giant, who brutalized Randy more than was necessary to sell the match. He even pulled out the Macho Man's hair and sat on his head! Macho Man's treatment of Elizabeth also led to the rumor he'd punched Hulk Hogan prior to Wrestlemania 9, leaving the Hulkster with a black eye. The reality was Hogan had been struck by a jet ski during a day at the beach and competed with a broken eye socket.
There you have it; three wrestling legends that are false, and five that seem true. Thanks for reading, and please leave your questions or comments below.