Leon 'Vader' White Discusses His 1995 Backstage Altercation With Paul Orndorff
According to White, he and Orndorff were friendly prior to their altercation. However, a misunderstanding lead to Orndorff getting in Leon's face. Leon, feeling threatened, slapped Orndorff, knocking him down. However, when Paul got up, White realized that he could lose his job or be imprisoned and didn't want the matter to escalate.
"It was pretty much just a disunderstanding. I wasn't who I am today. I was drinking a lot. Paul had thought I showed up late and he was one of the agents and he was kind of dressing me down for it," White expressed. "I responded in kind, saying, 'Excuse me. Mr. Bischoff has said that I had to take a photo session.' So Paul didn't know that I was on assignment from Eric Bischoff. The boss.
"Eric had sent me over to the CNN Towers where the offices were and this was center stage. It was right at traffic time," White continued. "So, I took my photos, got dressed and came directly over and I was an hour and a half late but -- again, Eric said, 'I know you're going to be late.' Eric told me that he would let everyone know I would be late as I was taking a photo session that I had to do.
"Apparently I had been asked to do this a few times and I had put it off and put if off and he said, 'Now, you have to do it.' Again, he told me that he would let everyone know that I was coming but I would be late. Paul took exception to that and we we squared off. Paul was threatening me four or five inches from my face and I slapped him. He came off of his feet and landed on the back of his head."
According to White, there was a steel shed near the incident and Orndorff was less than a handful of inches away from hitting it with his head. Realizing the danger of the fight, Vader was apprehensive about fighting back.
"There was this steel shed that they had these big, giant steel tools in [that were used] to put the ring together and his head must have missed that by three inches," White recalls. "My God, if the back of his head would have hit that, he could have been hurt and killed and I would have been in jail.
"Everyone said I sucker-punched him... You know, when a man is four inches from your face, calling you a fat bleepity-bleepin'-bleep saying he's going to bleepin' bleep you -- that's threatening in nature. So, I felt I was defending myself so I just slapped him and his feet literally came off the ground.
"Then, I backed up against the wall and Sting was to my right and I crossed my hands in front of me and I was just not going to fight," White stated. "[I was] thinking that I could end up in jail very easily and Paul hit me three or four times directly in the face and I let it happen. I didn't move, I had my hands crossed in front of me and he puffed my eyes and bloodied my lip. Again, I didn't fight back and finally as he was going for a fifth hit, I grabbed him. I grabbed him and front-face locked him and we went to the ground. He got up first and kicked me a few times in the face. Before I could get up, he had been ushered into the agent's room."
At this point, White stated that he was now ready to fight, angered by the situation. However, company officials wouldn't allow it to happen.
"I got myself together and went after him in the agents room -- and I'm not saying that Paul was running from me because that's certainly not the case. Paul's a big, tough guy. But I think that some powers-that-be said, 'Paul, you're an agent. What the hell are you doing fighting one of the wrestlers?' They had gotten him in that room and I went in after him and they said, 'Leon, you cannot fight in here. Get out.' So, I told Paul, 'Let's go out in the parking lot and finish this.' Now, I was very upset and I was ready to fight. Now, I'm not saying that Paul wouldn't have went out to the parking lot with me but he wasn't allowed to and that's pretty much the way it ended," Leon suggested.