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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yeah yeah, we all know the story: On February 9, 1989, Vince McMahon pulled the curtain back on professional wrestling once and for all. The outcomes were predetermined. The animosity between the wrestlers was just an act (usually). The wrestlers worked with one another to help avoid injuries. It was just entertainment.

It wasn't a huge revelation, of course, because by that time everyone and his mother knew that it wasn't a real competition, regardless of what the promotions said. The problem is that, even prior to 2/9/89, the wrestling shows featured countless instances of what can only be described as assault and battery. Heels beating up faces after the match is over. Attacks backstage. Managers and other non-wrestlers getting involved in the action. All this with the promotion stating, or implying by the absence of stating otherwise, that it was real.

I have a hard time believing that law enforcement all around the country would be totally okay with this. Which leads me to wonder: Did the promotions send notice to the local police departments saying "Please don't arrest our employees"? I know kayfabe was a tight-lipped institution for a long time, but surely exceptions had to be made for the betterment of the business, right?

Can someone who was around back then enlighten me?
 

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They were probably too busy beating up innocents themselves and taking backhanders off promoters et al to care
 

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I think the accurate answer is "sometimes." It follows that if cops were being used as security for events, then at least those cops had to be in on it. But I seem to remember hearing a story (and I may have the details wrong; forgive me if so) about some '80s star or other traveling with the Wild Samoans, who were drinking in his car while he was driving. They got pulled over, and the cop was arresting the driver for the beer cans all over the car. He asked the Samoans to explain that it was their booze, and that he was sober, but the Samoans kept up their "can't speak English" act, and they all ended up spending the night in jail. Or something to that effect.
 

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This is kind of an odd question. Why would the police even be aware of a kayfabe "assault" or other "crime" within the confines of a wrestling show's venue??? Police respond to complaints. If there is no complainant to inform them that a crime is being committed then they are not going respond and take any action. If a police officer is moonlighting as a security guard at a wrestling show he would be informed by management as to what his duties are and would be well aware of the kayfabe goings on.

In the case of the police responding to a disturbance or riot within the venue it would be a response to a request for assistance. In 1957 NYPD responded to a fan riot that overwhelmed the security force in Madison Square Garden. In addition to fans being arrested Dr. Jerry Graham, Antonino Rocca, and Dick "the Bruiser" Afflis faced criminal charges for inciting a riot. This is a classic example of kayfabe crossing the line.

A similar situation occurred when police were called to respond in Calgary in the early 1960s when The Fabulous Kangaroos' dirty tactics and provocations caused a riot at the venue where the fans attempted to burn down the ring to smoke out Al Costello and Roy Heffernan who were hiding underneath.

However, as a rule the police have no contact with the goings on inside the venue that is hosting a wrestling show. It's no different than the police being involved with a boxing show, the Barnum and Bailey's Circus, or the Ice Capades. Unless called by management they have nothing to do with the show.

- Mike
 

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I think the accurate answer is "sometimes." It follows that if cops were being used as security for events, then at least those cops had to be in on it. But I seem to remember hearing a story (and I may have the details wrong; forgive me if so) about some '80s star or other traveling with the Wild Samoans, who were drinking in his car while he was driving. They got pulled over, and the cop was arresting the driver for the beer cans all over the car. He asked the Samoans to explain that it was their booze, and that he was sober, but the Samoans kept up their "can't speak English" act, and they all ended up spending the night in jail. Or something to that effect.
I think I remember reading that in Hogan's first autobiography
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This is kind of an odd question. Why would the police even be aware of a kayfabe "assault" or other "crime" within the confines of a wrestling show's venue??? Police respond to complaints. If there is no complainant to inform them that a crime is being committed then they are not going respond and take any action. If a police officer is moonlighting as a security guard at a wrestling show he would be informed by management as to what his duties are and would be well aware of the kayfabe goings on.
I was assuming that at least one of the people who bought into it would report what, in their mind, was a clear case of criminal assault beyond the confines of the "sport". Especially if said wrestler had a reputation for doing those kinds of things.

In the case of the police responding to a disturbance or riot within the venue it would be a response to a request for assistance. In 1958 NYPD responded to a fan riot that overwhelmed the security force in Madison Square Garden. In addition to fans being arrested Dr. Jerry Graham, Antonino Rocca, and Dick "the Bruiser" Afflis faced criminal charges for inciting a riot. This is a classic example of kayfabe crossing the line.
Interesting. Do we know what it was that sparked the riot?
 

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I expect the cops would be in the know, especially with all that mes with Brian Pillman/Stone Cold gun issue.
 

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I was assuming that at least one of the people who bought into it would report what, in their mind, was a clear case of criminal assault beyond the confines of the "sport". Especially if said wrestler had a reputation for doing those kinds of things.

Interesting. Do we know what it was that sparked the riot?
In response to the first statement, I suppose a fan could make a police report regarding something they had seen at a wrestling show. I can't make a blanket statement and say that noone has ever done this, but I've never heard of it.

And, if some fan actually did make a complaint it would more than likely be after the conclusion of the event. Any subsequent police investigation would be undertaken by detectives who would first contact the promoter or venue management. You know what they would be told and the investigation would end right there.

Regarding the quesiton about the MSG 1957 riot, this was the result of everyone getting completely emersed and wound up in the kayfabe - both fans and wrestlers.

Heels Dr. Jerry Graham and Dick "The Bruiser" Afflis squared off against the much beloved Antonino Rocca and very popular Canadian, Edouardo Carpentier in the main event. On the flip side of the coin Dr. Jerry Graham was one of the most vicious heels in the game and his partner, Dick "The Bruiser" Afflis, was also a notorious heel back in the day.

The match was extremely heated and brought the fans and the grapplers to such a frenzy that a riot broke out. Fans started tossing chairs at the ring. I understand that Rocca went down into the crowd and started leading them on. MSG security people couldn't contain the spreading violence and the NYPD was called and 50 police officers went into the Garden swinging nightsticks and restoring order.

Rocca, Graham, and Afflis were fined something like $1,000+ each by the NYS Athletic Commission for their part in instigating the riot. Carpentier got off the hook, because he was deemed not to have taken an active role in aggravating the situation.

This is by no means an isolated incident. There have been periodic fan riots in Chicago, St. Nick's Arena in NYC, and elsewhere back in the day (i.e., 1950s and early 1960s). However, this one got a big play in the press since it occured in MSG and resulted in wrestling shows temporarily suspended in that venue.

- Mike

DR. JERRY GRAHAM DURING THAT INFAMOUS NIGHT AT MSG
[/IMG]


ANTONINO (ARGENTINA) ROCCA RALLIES HIS FANS DURING MSG RIOT
[/IMG]
 

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Not sure about the old days but in the early 90s, WCW did an angle where Arn Anderson and Erik Watts fought at a gas station. Watts beat his ass, I think hit him with a car door and put him in an STF in the gas station parking lot.

Cops showed up and legit arrested Watts for assault, roughing him up in the process.


Captured on video:

 

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I remember reading about Skandor Akbar telling about the time the New Orleans police showed up at his hotel room before one of Mid-South's Supershows at the Superdome. He was given a bulletproof vest and was told they couldn't guarantee his safety as there had been threats against his life.

In Ric Flair's autobiography "To Be The Man", he talks about the plane crash that broke his back and that Wahoo McDaniel came to the hospital to visit him. Security and doctors tried to keep Wahoo out because they thought he was there to finish off Flair as they had been feuding at the time.
 

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Not always. Often times the local cops and off duty guys wanted to kick the heel's ass just as much as the fans.
 

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Not sure about the old days but in the early 90s, WCW did an angle where Arn Anderson and Erik Watts fought at a gas station. Watts beat his ass, I think hit him with a car door and put him in an STF in the gas station parking lot.

Cops showed up and legit arrested Watts for assault, roughing him up in the process.


Captured on video:

That was the incident I was trying to remember. I knew I'd read it somewhere.

Also, weren't police called after the NWO threw Rey Mysterio into a truck. It's probably hyperbole but it gets mentioned a lot on the WWE documentaries
 

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In Ric Flair's autobiography "To Be The Man", he talks about the plane crash that broke his back and that Wahoo McDaniel came to the hospital to visit him. Security and doctors tried to keep Wahoo out because they thought he was there to finish off Flair as they had been feuding at the time.
That is an awesome story.

This thread reminds me of a scene from this 80's movie called "Bad Guys" where two cops go undercover as pro wrestlers. At the end, one of the Russians grabs the American flag during a match and a uniformed cop watching from ringside exclaims, "He's got the American flag! Put it down or YOU'RE UNDER ARREST!".
 
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