‘Date Rape’ Drug Invades WWF TV Taping

‘Date Rape’ Drug Invades WWF TV Taping

Pro wrestling and drugs have never been a good mix. Throw GHB (the ‘date rape’ drug) into the mix, and suddenly you have potential for some really dangerous ribs that are hilarious in hindsight.

Date: 1990? (exact date unknown)
Location: unknown
Source: John Clark’s Wrestling Flyer Interview Collection #1, WrestlingClassics.com message board

GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate), known as the ‘date rape’ drug because of its ability to make women partially unconscious, is a medication used to treat sleeping problems and is available by prescription only. There are legal restrictions on its use, depending on which country you live in.

GHB was popular among pro wrestlers as both a party drug and also because it helped them sleep back when the road schedule in the WWF was much tougher than it is now. Use tapered off a bit after the laws changed, but when it was legal, a high percentage of the WWF roster was using it.

Marty Jannetty has told the story of a WWF TV taping, believed to be in 1990, in which someone played a practical joke using GHB and it really messed up the whole day.

marty-jannetty
Marty Jannetty

Background

WWF TV tapings in the 1980s and early 90s were notoriously brutal. WWF Superstars of Wrestling was taped every three weeks, as was WWF Wrestling Challenge. Both were syndicated shows that aired in most markets on the weekends, and before the days of Monday Night Raw, it was Superstars that was the “A” show and Challenge that was the “B” show. Prime Time Wrestling, which pre-dated Raw in the Monday night time slot on the USA Network, was a collection of house show matches and repeats of some of the syndicated material.

The tapings usually began at 1pm in the afternoon. Back when house shows were a lot more important, the wrestlers did localized interviews and promos backstage that would air in each market. For example, Randy Savage would cut a local promo for Oakland, CA, and then after that he’d cut a promo for the show in Los Angeles. Then he’d do a promo for San Diego, etc. Each promo was largely the same, just tailored for each market with the belief that it helped house show attendance.

The process was incredibly long and tedious, not just for the wrestlers but also for the production crew. Localized interviews went away as the Monday night wars and cable television eventually eliminated the need for them. This is the #1 reason the promos of today are nowhere near as good as they were in the 80s. The ‘scripted’ aspect gets the blame, and that’s justified, however it’s the elimination of the repetitive promos that has made today’s interview segments so inferior to the past. Back then they got to practice their craft over and over, a million times each month, and it forced them to get good. Nowadays, they barely get to practice at all.

After the hours of endless promos, the matches in the arena would begin. With three shows per taping, some guys wrestled more than once. Segments like the Brother Love Show, for example, would run three times.

The bottom line is, the TV tapings were mentally and physically exhausting. The boys hated them, and to relieve the pressure, they’d crack jokes and play ribs on each other to keep them from going insane.

The Incident

When telling the story, Marty Jannetty never outright said who pulled this particular prank. He strongly hinted, however, that it was Curt Hennig. Hennig was known as the ultimate prankster, and in reading the story, it’s clear he’d be the #1 suspect in this rib.

curt-hennig
“Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig, master of backstage pranks.

During the day, there was a catered buffet backstage. Afterwards, there was coffee, soda, and other drinks. On this night, somebody decided to take an entire bottle of GHB and pour it in the coffee machine.

In small amounts, GHB can give you a buzz, and it also increases sex drive. In large amounts, it will put you to sleep no matter how hard you try to stay awake.

Everyone drank their coffee as usual. Before long, it was a scene straight out of the “Salud” episode of Breaking Bad. All the people who were normally running around and taking care of things swiftly were slowing to a crawl.

Marty himself remembered feeling buzzed, but was alert enough to remember some of the funny scenes and antics he saw.

Most notably, the Bushwackers completely fell asleep. They were sitting side by side, knocked out, with their heads leaning against each other. The Bushwackers were older than the rest of the locker room and may have been more susceptible to its side effects. When Chief Jay Strongbow was freaking out because one of the wrestlers passed out before his promo, he woke up the Bushwackers and hurried them along to do their promos early. They got up, stumbled around, and went to get more coffee to wake up. Unbeknownst to them, they were only making things worse.

Bad News Brown was seen shaking his head like he wasn’t sure what was going on. Nobody knew why this was happening, except for of course the person who did it and possibly Marty himself knew too.

bushwackers
The Bushwackers, who fell asleep on each other, side by side, after consuming GHB.

Barry Horowitz was also doing something weird and funny, but Marty couldn’t remember exactly what. All he remembered was Barry scratching his butt over and over and saying how good it felt.

Pat Patterson, who helped run the tapings as Vince McMahon’s assistant, was wobbling around and forgetting who he was looking for. With Patterson working at half capacity, the tapings didn’t run anywhere near as smoothly.

The Iron Sheik was seen walking in circles, twisting his mustache, and chopping his own chest. He’d laugh and smile to himself, repeatedly saying, “Ah, this is nice coffee, I like coffee.”

Sherri Martel

One of the unfortunate victims of this prank was “Sensational” Sherri Martel, who may have been doing her “Queen Sherri” gimmick during this time.

There was a really long line at the coffee machines, because everyone was feeling tired and thinking the coffee would wake them up (if they only knew). Sherri was completely unconscious, asleep in her chair. She had a really short dress on, and the way she was positioned, she fell over and her dress came all the way up as her legs were spread wide open. As she was out, someone shaved her eyebrows and painted a mustache on her.

When Sherri woke up, she finally figured it out and started screaming at Curt Hennig, figuring he was responsible (and he probably was). Hennig either was glassy eyed himself or possibly pretending, and told her he didn’t know what she was talking about. Hennig had either taken a small sip of coffee to get a buzz, was acting loopy, or (least likely) completely innocent and just another victim of the GHB-spiked coffee.

sherri-martel
The always sexy “Sensational” Sherri Martel

There were two coffee machines in catering, and Sherri took her best guess as to which one was spiked, and emptied it out. Hennig then leaned over to Marty, laughed, and whispered under his breath, “Wrong one!” Obviously this would seem to implicate Hennig as the prankster behind this rib.

Hennig later found the empty GHB bottle and said, “Watch this.” He put the bottle in Sherri’s purse, and later walked by and ‘accidentally’ kicked the purse. The empty bottle came rolling out, and he ‘accused’ her of being behind it all. Sherri screamed back at him and told him and everyone else to kiss her ass because she didn’t do it.

The Aftermath

By the end of the day, Marty estimated there were 20 guys passed out all over the place. Vince McMahon walked around screaming, “What the HELL is going on here!!”

Because so many promos couldn’t be taped, they had to double up the next day at the next set of tapings. The joke was ultimately on Hennig, who had to do a double round of promos. Although really the joke was on everyone here.

This could’ve ended pretty badly if someone had overdosed, as GHB can make people very ill if too much is consumed. Since that didn’t happen, the entire story is utterly hilarious in hindsight. Curt Hennig will be sorely missed, not just for his in-ring ability and persona, but also his reputation backstage as the ultimate practical joker.

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