By Rev. Johnny Lee Clary
(Former Pro Wrestler Johnny Angel)
The Truth about Pro Wrestling is horrible. Kids should never choose Pro Wrestling as a career. Pro Wrestling actually died many years ago. Today you have what would be referred to as a freak show coming to town disguised as a Pro Wrestling event. When I was a little boy my daddy used to take me to the Stockyards Coliseum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to see what was then true Pro Wrestling shows. We watched it every Saturday night on WKY TV Channel 4 in Oklahoma City as Mrs. Donavon (LaVerne Bottoms) and her “boys” Dandy Jack Donavon and Jerry Brown would have an all out battle with whoever the good guys of the week were at the time. Oh yes, it was a ‘work’ ( meaning scam or deception) and always was but the guys believed in something called kayfabe and they lived their lives by it. The word “kayfabe” was carny (carnival talk) for “act like it is real and not fake.” This meant that babyfaces (good guys) and heels(villains) kept apart and were not seen socializing. Wrestlers would say the word and go into kayfabe whenever a ‘mark’ (someone who was not ring wise or smart to the fakeness of wrestling) was around.
Dandy Jack Donovan
Back in those days before kayfabe died, the wrestlers who were referred to in the business as workers, actually put on a good show and took the business seriously. . Old ladies saved their laundry money all week to come watch the wrestling matches on Friday nights. The boys respected that and knew that the fans were their bread and butter and they did their best to put on the best show possible even getting rough once in awhile to satisfy the fans. Even a lot of major newspapers wrote about pro wrestling and carried the results of matches in the sports section because in those days it was actually considered a sport, that is until Vince McMahon Jr. came along and started exposing it to the world in the 1980’s. I remember watching great wrestlers like Danny Hodge, Dandy Jack Donavon, Jerry Brown, Skandar Akbar, Gorgeous George Jr., Bolo, and Haystacks Calhoun bring the house down in matches that would excite the crowd and have them talking about it all week long. The fans would go away thinking it was real. My daddy was a big fan and that means the boys were very convincing back then because my daddy was a Golden Gloves boxer who had a record of 75 fights and won 74 by knockouts and 1 fight by decision. Daddy Clary would not have spent his hard earned money and wasted his time going to a wrestling match that looked fake like you see so many of them look today. As a matter of fact very few of the guys you see on TV today in the WWE or TNA could hold a candle to the guys I just named from the 60’s.
John “The Golden Greek” Tolos
Daddy Clary died when I was 11 years old and I was sent to go live in East Los Angeles, California. It was because of my baptism in wrestling as a little boy, that I continued watching it during my teenage years in East L.A. I would ride the city buses to KCOP Ch. 13 to watch the wrestlers film live free admission TV shows on Saturday afternoon and then I would save my money and would sometimes take the bus to go to the Olympic Auditorium to watch my favorites wrestlers, John “The Golden Greek” Tolos, Moondog Mayne, Butcher Brannigan, Black Gordman and Great Goliath, Professor Dale Lewis, Freddie Blassie, Crazy Luke Graham, Edward Carpentier, The Sheik, Pampero Firpo and a whole host of others put on the best shows possible. It was through watching the late great John Tolos that I knew I would someday become a wrestler and I did when I moved back home to Oklahoma.
Skandor Akbar and Danny Hodge
I met the late Skandar Akbar in Oklahoma City in the early 80’s. He was the booker for Leroy McGuirk’s Tri-State Wrestling and he gave me a try out. A booker is the person who runs the wrestling organization in terms of what talent they use, and how they use them. The booker decides who wrestles who and who wins. A booker has the job of deciding who will be used as star workers. Skandar was just one of the bookers. Some old jerk named Wade Martin also worked for Leroy McGuirk in some sort of authoritative capacity and he couldn’t recognize talent if it jumped up and bit him on the butt. Martin expected me to know everything the boys who were already in the business would know the first time I ever stepped into the ring for a tryout and when I didn’t he gave me a cussing ordering me to leave the arena, telling Leroy McGuirk who was blind that I couldn’t wrestle, and then telling me I would never be a wrestler. I made up my mind that I would not give up and that old fart would end up eating his words and he did. I met former world champion Danny Hodge a couple of years later and he said “Boy you have something and you know how to create heat,” and brought me into the business. Heat is a wrestling term used for when the heel gets the crowd all fired up. I went on to become the 3 time Arkansas Heavyweight Champion Johnny Angel, wrestling for 6 years. I worked for many promotions including the NWA and the NWF, and even purchased a wrestling ring and ran my own territory back in the 80’s called the United Wrestling Federation. It was during this time I starting seeing a lot of things I didn’t like. Don’t get me wrong, there were some fun times and I was booked occasionally to go work for the NWF which created great memories. I managed NWF Champion Don “D.C. Mad Dog” Drake who was a great human being as well as wrestler. I had feuds with Sgt. Slaughter and even feuded with World Women’s champion Wendi Richter, while managing her opponents. I opened shows for Bruiser Brody and Bam Bam Bigalow who are both dead now. It was cool working with them and sitting in the dressing room gossiping like old men in the barbershop about everyone in the business. (That’s what the old timers used to do.) Don Drake and I created so much heat up in Kallispell, Montana that I had to have a 20 man police escort to and from the ring. It was suggested by the police that I never return to Kallispell! Working with those guys in the NWF was the greatest moments of my wrestling career. Back in those days there was a certain amount of respect that was given in the business and also to the fans. Sometimes the villains (heels) would win over the heroes (baby faces) but good always triumphed over evil in the end. Today the fans have made heroes and role models out of the heels and evil usually triumphs over good which is not a good moral example for children.
D.C. Drake, a great champion
On the downside of things, being the promoter of my own federation I would occasionally get a call from some of the wrestlers who I had watched as a kid asking me if I could use them. I was not a large promotion at all. Most of the time I didn’t even break even on the gate after I paid the advertising, building rent, security, ring repairs, travel expenses, and all sorts of essentials. Many of the unknown wrestlers were always complaining about the money. Some of these unknown greenhorns ( inexperienced who can’t draw) who I or my tag team partner ,former NWA U.S. Jr. Heavyweight Champion Bill Ash ( my booker) had trained and not charged for training them, were demanding I pay them larger sums of money like someone with a name. Bill or I had to remind several of them on more than one occasion that if they went to work for the WWF or the NWA they would be paying out the nose for their training and may not even get a match. Some of them quit and went to see if they could get on with WWF, NWA, or Cowboy Bill Watts’ Universal Wrestling Federation and they soon found that they couldn’t even get passed the receptionists desk, so they ended up coming back to me or another small independent promoter.
It’s me back in the days when wrestling meant something
What would make me sad is to see how some of the guys that I had looked up to as a kid and read about in wrestling magazines, were now telephoning guys like me to see if they could work on a show and maybe get $100.00 if they were lucky. Some had grown older, had their muscles turn to fat, gotten grey hair and didn’t move as fast as they once did. They were now booted out of the major federations and sent down to the ‘minors’ as so to speak which were referred to as “outlaw” organizations. One major superstar that had once headlined cards all over the world was now working in the oil fields as a tool pusher running back and forth trying to make enough money to pay rent and eat. Some of the guys that once were riding in fancy cars or tour busses were now not only driving, but sleeping in old beat up clunkers. While they once dined on steaks in fancy restaurants they were now eating peanut butter sandwiches in their cars. I remember one has-been that was really up there in years that came to work on a show of mine, asking if I could leave the ring up overnight so he could sleep in it as his back and legs were hurting him from sleeping in his car. I asked him what happened to all the money he had made from years before and he told me how he had never saved money and always thought he would be on top. He said he didn’t realize that the older he got the less the promoters were interested in him and one day he found himself not being used by those who paid well. He said wrestling was all he ever knew because he had done it for so many years and he didn’t know how to do anything else. He was now well into his senior citizen years in the ring working with guys young enough to be his grandsons. Stories like that are so sad it almost breaks your heart to hear them. Some of them try to resort to selling Amway or other network marketing material, or they try to book a place to sell old pictures and autographs usually haunting the fan conventions or Walmarts. Some end up being security guards or sweeping floors as a janitor somewhere. Some even end up bartenders in some dive on skid row telling stories of how it ‘used to be.’ Sadly, some commit suicide.
The other day I saw where Vince McMahon’s WWE put up a notice that they were no longer hiring anyone over 30 years old. Vince McMahon ruined wrestling and was not only the death of kayfabe but he is responsible for the physical deaths of a lot of wrestlers. Vince destroyed the business when he broke the old unwritten rule of ‘territories’ ( an area where a promoter ran cards and did TV shows) and marketed a carnival full of side show freaks all over the world turning it into a multi-billion dollar industry and putting smaller promotions out of business. Vince encouraged his guys to use drugs like steroids to get huge and in the process caused many of them to destroy not only their bodies but themselves.
Boys and girls the world of professional wrestling is nothing like it used to be. I have witnessed drug deals going down from some people who are still on TV today. It might surprise you if I named names.
Drugs, foul language, alcohol, sexual perversion, child molestation, homosexuality, HIV, AIDS, and other STDS are just some of the things that goes on in the world of Pro Wrestling, oh excuse me I meant “Wrestling Entertainment” as it is now called. It is not a profession where any decent parent would want their child to pursue it as a career. No young man or woman should ever join the world of professional wrestling “entertainment” especially if they are a Bible believing Christian. God’s word tells us specifically “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)
Take a look at some of the things Vince McMahon’s WWE has promoted. Remember foul-mouthed beer swilling ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin shooting the middle finger on TV and blaspheming Jesus Christ by making fun of a wrestler Jake “The Snake” Roberts who had converted to Christ? Austin beat him in a match and then loudly proclaimed on TV that John 3:16 did Jake no good because “Austin 3:16” just whipped John 3:16’s a**. Austin ridiculed Jake’s faith in Christ in front of millions of viewers. Jake was never the same and ended up being released from the WWE after that and he also ended up backsliding, returning to the filthy ungodly lifestyle he lived before his conversion to Christ. He became a sad shell of a man, even doing a video called “Beyond The Mat” where he talked about how he has lost his relationship with his daughter and turned to drugs and alcohol. His life was ruined. Stone Cold Steve Austin went on to become one of the biggest superstars in World Wrestling Entertainment. They marketed shirts that said “Austin 3:16” which was blasphemy.
Lesbians promoted on WWE
Remember WWE’s “Satanic Sacrifices” involving Vince McMahon’s supposedly kidnapped daughter? How about the Same Sex Marriage wedding of two male wrestlers Chuck Palumbo and Billy Gunn in the ring or the HLA (Hot Lesbian Action) with two girls all over each other right there on TV? How about the time Edge and Lita did the very first Rated R version of sex in a bed in the middle of the ring? All those little kids watching. Or who could ever forget Triple H climbing into a casket and having necrophilia sex with the dead girlfriend of arch rival Kane? Yep..I am sure that is something every grandparent would want their 9 year old grandchild to watch that. Shall I mention the time 80 something year old Mae Young came out in a bathing suit to join a beauty contest along side of young divas and then exposed her breasts that hung all the way down past her waist because she thought in her words “Everyone wants to see my puppies!”
80 year old Mae Young pulls down her top and shows her sagging breasts to the crowd
Let’s not stop there. How about when old Mae Young was sitting backstage in a chair and 20-something year old Snitsky was down on his knees with her old foot in his mouth licking and sucking her 80- something year old toes? Then there was those wonderful adulterous scenes of Vince McMahon being caught by his wife backstage with his pants down around his ankles after telling a young female diva to come in and get on her knees to pleasure him if she wanted a job. There was Vince McMahon’s “Kiss My A** Club” where if wrestlers wanted to keep their job, they had to get on their knees in the middle of the ring while Vince dropped his pants and made them pucker up and kiss his behind literally.
Vince McMahon’s disgusting “Kiss My A** Club”
If all of that is not enough to sicken as well as anger you, who could ever forget the horror of the wrestler Mohammed Hassan coming out to the ring with a band of guys dressed up in ski masks looking like Middle East terrorists, jumping Undertaker and acting like they were going to sever his head off with a knife, while Hassan tells the TV audience that America deserved what they got on 9/11? Remember they did all of this at Madison Square Garden in New York City! What a slap in the face to America! No one needs to tell me what a great guy Vince McMahon is or how many times he has put shows on for the troops. He was in charge of that 9/11 fiasco with Mohammed Hassan because it is his show and he promoted it! I don’t care if it is a “work!” That was way out of line and an insult to everyone who lost a loved one on 9/11 . It was a slap in the face to America.
WWE stages an attack by Middle East Terrorists on the Undertaker
Let’s not let TNA off the hook either. Dixie Carter, Jeff Jarrett, Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan are not any better than Vince McMahon and have all promoted some vulgar language as well as filthy gestures on the show which should not be rated R but rated X. The f-word has been used so many times one can’t count. Although they bleep it, it is obvious to anyone including a 6 year old what is being said. Other vulgar language is being used with words that would have caused a network to be shut down 20 years ago. TNA copied WWE’s “Big Dick Johnson” with the “Fat Oily Naked Guy” which was a short fat nearly naked man in a g-string that comes out and dances for male wrestlers shoving his “package” in the face of another man.
Ric Flair was one of my role models back in the 80’s when I was a worker, and I had the utmost respect for him. I told everyone for years that he was the greatest worker in history. Now here he is on TNA at 60 something years old, an old balding man with white hair , standing outside the ring sticking his tongue out at young 18 year old girls acting like he is performing oral sex on them. How disgusting! Can you think of any parents in the world that wants to see an old man making tongue gestures for sex with their daughter? I can’t. TNA has also figured out how to turn a real life unfortunate situation into a way to make money and sell tickets. Kurt Angle brought his wife on the show and she had a real life affair with wrestler Jeff Jarrett who is part owner of TNA. She ended up leaving and divorcing her husband Kurt Angle and marrying Jeff Jarrett. Now Jarrett has been on TV bragging about how he took Angle’s wife and kids away from him. Real nice.
Of course when I was in the business I saw things like that all the time. These guys would say how much they missed their wife and kids and then pick up a “rat” (wrestling carny talk for female fan) and take her to the motel. Most of them never bother to ask the age of the girls either. Therefore parents can be comforted with the thought that when their teenage daughters attend a “wrestling entertainment” event, they could end up in a motel room with their favorite “star” getting an STD passed on to them. Even back in my day, I would be sitting in the dressing rooms and some of the promoters would talk about how this wrestler or that wrestler had 3 or 4 rats in the motel room doing all kinds of perverted things which the rats are happy to do since they are “star struck.” To the promoters, a worker is a meal ticket who can keep the rats coming to the arenas. They can care less if it is underage girls in the motel room with the wrestlers or not. I have often wondered why the police do not crack down on this.
The truth of the matter is a lot, not all, but a lot of Pro Wrestlers that are in the business today are losers, uneducated and would be great candidates for the Jerry Springer Trailer Park Festival show. Many of them are in debt up to their necks and do not have a pot to spit in or a window to throw it out of. They wear fake jewelry, drive rented cars and give the impression they are some sort of millionaire when the truth of the matter is they are spending almost every dollar they make on drugs. Some of the boys that worked for Vince McMahan’s WWF back in the 80’s were spending 5 thousand dollars a month on cocaine to snort up their nose.
The midgets and the women workers were not any better. The fans are given the impression that the cute little midgets are good clean fun little guys, when the truth is most of them I met would sit in the dressing room and talk so vulgar it made you sick. Many of the women workers were involved in lesbian relationships or they were sleeping with a different guy in a different town. Many of the boys were either homosexual or bisexual as well as child molesters. One wrestler was in jail down in Mississippi for committing sodomy with a young boy that attended one of the wrestling matches. He called one major promoter friend of mine begging him to help get him out of jail in which the promoter refused. I don’t blame the promoter.
So many wrestlers lead perverted lifestyles that they are taking a huge risk when they “juice” which is when the wrestler cuts himself on the forehead with a razor blade corner in order to bring blood. Fans that get close to the wrestler who happens to be brawling at ringside, or in the crowd, or just walking back to the dressing room, are also taking their lives into their own hands if they get splattered with blood containing HIV. Given the perverted lifestyles of most of the wrestlers, the risk of this happening is very high. In March of 2010 at a TV taping, Ric Flair who brags about sleeping with more women than anyone in the world, opened up a cut on his forehead and cupped his blood with his hands and threw the blood on fans in the crowd. Flair supposedly received a tongue lashing backstage for the incident that was edited from the show, but since he is Ric Flair, he got off with only a reprimand.
Ric Flair after ‘juicing’
Well I have enough stories to fill a book but I think you get the picture. It is not a nice business anymore. McMahon killed the real business and ‘old school’ replacing it with a new marketed version designed to attracted every pervert and trailer park dweller this side of the moon. From a worldly business viewpoint it was great money making strategy. From a moral viewpoint is was filthy and ungodly. Oh sure you hear about some of the workers that are born again Christians and some of them even promote Christ in their ring gimmicks which is a good thing. Former WWE Women’s Champion Nora Greenwald, aka Molly Holly was one of those. She refused to do storylines or anything vulgar after she dedicated her life to Christ which ultimately ended with her release from WWE. Then there was Sean Michaels who made it no secret that he followed Jesus Christ, and referred to Him as his tag team partner but Vince McMahon exploited that too. In a disgusting segment of blasphemy, Vince and his son Shane McMahon go into a church looking for Sean’s “tag team partner.” Vince stands up in the pulpit yelling something like, “Hey God! This is Vincent Kennedy McMahon and I don’t like you. I challenge you to come on down here so I can kick your a**!” Real nice Vince. I sure wouldn’t want to be in your shoes when you stand before God on Judgment Day. I can see Vince telling God, “Oh it was just a ‘work’!” ( as stated previously, a work is a scam or a deception) Yeah like God is going to accept that as an excuse, for Vince putting something like that on worldwide TV for all the kids to see! I wonder how many kids mimicked Vince and yelled blasphemous things at God challenging Him after they saw Vince do it?
Vince McMahon stands in the pulpit of a church, challenging God
Some of the workers and former workers who are or were in the business will of course be angry at me for writing this article. “The righteous detest the dishonest; the wicked detest the upright.” (Proverbs 29:27) The truth of the matter is, angry or not they can’t deny that kids and some adults are gullible and look up to wrestlers modeling their lives after them. Whether the word “work” is used or not that does not stop them from being badly influenced by the so-called “role models” they see on TV. These disgusting actions are inexcusable. Luke 6:45 says “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”
“Vince McMahon with his son by his side goes to church claiming he is going to kick God’s a**”
I left the business way back in 1988. I became a Christian and began traveling all over the world preaching the good news of Jesus Christ. I speak in a lot of schools and I always get asked the question of how to get into professional wrestling. I used to try to talk to the kids about it but ‘wrestling entertainment’ has gotten so bad, that I just do not feel it is right for kids anymore and you shouldn’t either. The bottom line is if you are thinking about joining the world of “pro wrestling entertainment” don’t do it. If you are a parent who has a child that wants to get into the business, you have a moral duty to discourage them from pursuing it. It all looks like glitz and glamour but behind the scenes it is not. Only a chosen few, make it to the “top” and stay there for years, and some of them, only get there by doing sexual favors for some perverted booker who works for WWE or TNA.
There is not a business on this earth that has more backstabbing, sexual perversion, drugs, freaks and nutcases than ‘wrestling entertainment.’ These guys live in a dream world where they come to your town in the illusion they are some kind of “sports star” because they have all of these illusional fans looking up to them. The truth is pro wrestlers of today couldn’t even carry the gym bag of the true wrestlers from yesteryear like John Tolos, Danny Hodge, and Lou Thez. The so-called ‘pro wrestling entertainment’ workers of today are nothing more than carnies bringing their freak show to town. If being known as a carny freak show worker is your lifelong ambition then good luck with that. If however you wish to be a decent hard working moral citizen then choose another profession other than ‘pro wrestling entertainment.’ The only reason I am not ashamed of my past in professional wrestling is because I was in it at the very last, right before McMahon killed the sport of Pro Wrestling, replacing it with his carnival freak show called “World Wrestling Entertainment.”
Today I feel it is my duty to warn the kids as well as parents about what really goes on in order to get them to think before they end making the biggest mistake of their lives. After all the youth of today will decide what kind of world we live in tomorrow. Wouldn’t it be better to get a college education, and become a doctor or CEO with a nice house, nice car and nice wife and kids, instead of ending up like the old wrestler who slept in his car and ate peanut butter sandwiches working for a few dollars a night?
Think about it.
“Ah yes, truth. Funny how everyone is always asking for it but when they get it they don't believe it because it's not the truth they want to hear.”
©Johnny Lee Clary International Ministries
All Rights Reserved
Rev. Johnny Lee Clary is one of the leading advocates for racial unity in the United States and has appeared on countless television and radio shows such as The Billy Graham Radio show, Fox News, Morris Cerullo, Oprah, Morton Downey Jr., Rolanda Watts, Geraldo, Sally Jesse Raphael, Jerry Springer, Ricki Lake, Queen Latifah, Montel Williams, Phil Donahue, A&E Investigative Reports, ABC World News Tonight, Bertrice Berry, Sunrise Today,
The Today Show, A Current Affair, The 700 Club, and Kenneth Copeland's TV show. He has also been a regular guest on TBN's Praise The Lord show and has been featured in America's top newspapers and magazines, including a seven page feature story in Charisma magazine in April 1999, Moody Magazine, Guidepost Magazine (Sept. 1998), Kenneth Copeland's Believer's Voice of Victory magazine, as well as appearances on TV programs in Australia, England, Holland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, and Wales.