WWE News: Infamous biker and former WWE wrestler Ion Croitoru passes away
The man known as Johnny K-9 passed away this past Tuesday.
What’s the story?
As reported by cbc.ca, former WWE wrestler and infamous biker Ion Croitoru has passed away. The name may mean little to younger fans but older pro graps followers may well remember the names Johnny K-9 and Bruiser Bedlam from various promotions in North America in the 1980s and 1990s.
The cause of death is as yet unknown but natural causes are expected. It has been confirmed that Croitoru passed away at a federal halfway house in Toronto, Canada, just six months after he was released from prison.
In case you didn’t know
A former AWA Southern Heavyweight Champion, Johnny K-9 signed for the then-World Wrestling Federation in 1985 where he worked as an enhancement talent all the way up until 1989. Johnny K-9 mostly performed in losing efforts against stars like Tito Santana, Pedro Morales and One Man Gang, and he also took part in a televised match against Hulk Hogan.
After leaving the WWF K-9 worked briefly for New Japan Pro Wrestling, taking on legends such as Antonio Inoki, Tatsumi Fujinami and Riki Choshu. After a few years away from the sport he resurfaced in Smokey Mountain Wrestling as Bruiser Bedlam and had one reign as SMW Beat the Champ Television Champion, winning the title from Mike Furnas before vacating it after five successful defences.
The heart of the matter
Johnny K-9 and Bruiser Bedlam experienced mild success in the professional wrestling ring but Ion Croitoru wasn’t so lucky outside the squared circle when it came to interactions with the police. Croitoru was a notorious biker in the Hamilton (Ontario) area and spent 10 months in prison during his stint as president of the Satan’s Choice Outlaw bike club for trafficking cocaine.
In 1998 Croitoru was sentenced to 33 months in jail for blowing up a local police station (the initial target was a strip club), but his most notorious run-in with the law came in 2005 when he was charged with the murder of a couple some six years earlier. Croitoru avoided major jail time because of a lack of evidence, but his links to gangs and crime in the Ontario area wouldn’t go away.
In 2013 he was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to 13 years in prison. In September of last year, Croitoru was released and allowed to live in a halfway house provided he did not have any contact with organised crime groups.
Croitoru was just 53 years old and leaves behind three children and a wife. More news will surely break over the coming days.
Pro wrestling history is littered with famous stories of stars going off the rails and experiencing difficulty later in life, but for every well-known icon, there is a Ion Croitoru who was completely forgotten and left to deal with the negative side of the business.
All deaths are tragic, and we would like to send our condolences to Croitoru’s wife and children.