WWE Stars Who Spent Time In Jail

Professional wrestlers come from all walks of life, with the best of the best ultimately earning opportunities to shine with the most prestigious promotion in the history of the industry, WWE. No matter how bright they ultimately shine as superstars, however, no matter what heights they reach or how much of a pedestal they are put on by fans, they're all still human. And humans make mistakes.

With that in mind, you might be surprised to learn that some of your favorite WWE wrestlers have actually been arrested and spent time in jail at some point in their lives. Ranging from minor infractions to some of the more heinous chaoffensesrges, many wrestlers have indeed fallen from grace. And while some recovered to go onto even bigger and better heights, others had their careers and lives derailed thanks to poor choices and harsh consequences.

Let's have a look at 15 prominent names who reached the big time as part of WWE, but found themselves in legal trouble either before, during, or after their careers, or maybe even all of the above.

Brett DiBiase

Dale "Brett" DiBiase spent three years under WWE contract, spending the majority of that time competing on the predecessor developmental brand to "NXT," Florida Championship Wrestling. A third generation wrestler, DiBiase is the son of "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, the grandson of "Iron" Mike DiBiase, and brother to Ted DiBiase, Jr. and Mike DiBiase.

In 2009, after making appearances at SummerSlam and the subsequent episode of "Raw" as part of The Legacy's (which featured Ted, Jr., Randy Orton, and Cody Rhodes) ongoing storyline, DiBiase was sent back to FCW and did not reappear on WWE television.

After training as a referee briefly before deciding to retire later in 2011 due to knee injuries, DiBiase would fade from the limelight until recent years when he was indicted on various violations involving fraud and embezzlement in connection to a case involving the state of Mississippi's welfare funds. Ted, Sr. and Ted, Jr. were also charged, with Senior being made to pay back more than $720k in misused funds and Junior still facing several charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, and more. Brett cut a deal with prosecutors, pleading guilty to a charge of making fraudulent statements about a welfare fund and paying a hefty fine, but has also since pled guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and awaits sentencing there, facing up to five years in prison.

Cain Velasquez

A surefire UFC Hall of Famer, Cain Velasquez had highlight-reel knockouts over the likes of Junior dos Santos, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Travis Browne, and even Brock Lesnar before entering the world of pro wrestling in 2019. First competing for AAA before joining WWE later that year, Velasquez came to the aid of Rey Mysterio in his feud against Lesnar on the 20-year anniversary episode of "SmackDown," breathing new life into their rivalry, now carried over to a WWE ring from the Octagon. That would go down as Velasquez's one and only televised WWE match with an injury and the COVID-19 pandemic thwarting any future plans. He was released in April 2020.

In February 2022, Velasquez was accused of shooting at a man who had been arrested and released on bond following alleged sexual abuse of Velasquez's son. The former UFC Heavyweight Champion was arrested and booked into Santa Clara County, California, jail on a first-degree attempted murder charge, as well as several others.

According to prosecutors, Velasquez chased after Harry Goularte in his vehicle and fired a shot that didn't hit Goularte, but hit his stepfather instead, causing non-life-threatening injuries. After eight months in jail, Velasquez was released earlier this year and placed under house arrest, though he was allowed to travel to Tempe, Arizona, returning to wrestling to participate at an AAA event. Following several delays, Velasquez is set to face trial in January 2024.

Teddy Hart

A quick Google search for "Teddy Hart" yields no shortage of unfortunate incidents. A member of the famed Hart Family, Edward Annis became the youngest person ever signed by the then-World Wrestling Federation, inking a developmental deal at 18 to train with Dory Funk, Jr. at the Funking Conservatory. But that head start didn't last long, with Hart released before too long, allegedly due to attitude issues. He rejoined WWE on a developmental contract again, appearing for Ohio Valley Wrestling and then Florida Championship Wrestling before being released again in late 2006.

The laundry list of allegations, arrests, and legal troubles include sexual assault charges in 2014 in Canada that were later dropped; DUI, evading arrest, and auto theft in Texas in 2017, also eventually dropped; in 2020, there was a charge for possession of a schedule III controlled substance with the intent to sell or distribute in Virginia, an arrest for violating the house arrest condition of his bail (also in Virginia), as well as charges of strangulation resulting in bodily harm (again, in Virginia); and in Florida in 2023, there were charges of possession of MDMA, as well as possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.

An incident in which Hart was never implicated, however, probably drew the most public attention, thanks to the Peacock docuseries "Dangerous Breed: Crimes. Cons. Cats." Initially intended to be a reality story as Hart attempts to resurrect his career, filmmaker Frederick Kroetsch follows Teddy through his day-to-day routines, but the series takes a sharp turn when Hart's girlfriend, Samantha Fiddler, disappears. Fiddler has been missing since November of 2016 and her case has since gone cold.


There are a handful of quality redemption stories within this group and MVP's leads the way. Alvin Burke, Jr. spent time in a street gang as a young teenager, finding himself serving a six-month sentence in a juvenile detention center for his part in a robbery and later, completing nine and a half years of an 18-year sentence for armed robbery and kidnapping.

In prison, looking to change his ways, Burke became a Muslim and adopted the name Hassan Assad, though he has since proclaimed himself an atheist. Regardless of religious affiliation, he came out of his time behind bars a different man, making a connection during a work release program with Prime Time Darryl D, a corrections officer who also worked as an independent wrestler. After being trained by the likes of Soulman Alex G and Norman Smiley, Burke spent several years on the independent circuit before getting a developmental contract with WWE in 2005 and being assigned to Deep South Wrestling.

The MVP character made its debut on a 2006 episode of "SmackDown" and the rest is history, with two United States Championships to his credit, a Tag Team Championship alongside Matt Hardy, and a run as the figurehead of one of the most dominant factions in recent history, The Hurt Business.

Tammy Sytch

For every redemption story, there are usually several falls from grace just around the corner. Enter: Tammy "Sunny" Sytch. Beginning her wrestling career in 1992, simply as an extra money gig alongside her boyfriend Chris Candido in Smoky Mountain Wrestling, Sytch caught the eye of the World Wrestling Federation and debuted in 1994 as Tamara Murphy, a live event news commentator. Soon after, she would accompany Candido, as Skip, to the ring, showcasing the Sunny persona for the first time, and Tom Prichard, as Zip, would join the two as The Bodydonnas.

Representing various wrestlers and tag teams over the years, Sunny would soar in popularity very quickly, even being named in 1996 as the most downloaded woman on AOL. After a hiatus during which she appeared with Candido in ECW on a handful of occasions, Sunny would return to the WWF in 1998 before rumors of backstage drama and drug abuse began to surface, leading to her release. Back with ECW under her real name, Sytch was used regularly before being arrested for violating a restraining order and leaving the company in 1999.

From 2000-on, Sytch would appear for WCW and various independent promotions and made sporadic appearances on WWE television culminating in a Hall of Fame induction in 2011. From there, things seemed to spiral for the former Sunny. Her latest arrest, on DUI manslaughter charges after a crash in Ormond Beach, Florida resulted in the death of a 75-year-old man, saw her enter a no contest plea, and Sytch is currently awaiting sentencing, facing up to 25 years in prison.

Lex Luger

Lawrence Pfohl is a two-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion and was the second man, after Ric Flair, to be recognized as a Triple Crown Champion in the promotion. He also had successful stints in different NWA territories and the WWF. His surprise return to WCW on the premiere of "Nitro" was a key moment in the burgeoning Monday Night Wars. Luger also played college football at the University of Miami, and had professional stints in the Canadian Football League and the USFL.

But no amount of accolades can guarantee a life free from trouble and Lex Luger is no exception. In 2003, Luger encountered a series of legal problems beginning with a domestic dispute with girlfriend Elizabeth Hulette, better known to wrestling fans as Miss Elizabeth, with whom Luger lived with at the time. He was charged with battery in that incident and released on bond, but found himself back in trouble just two days later, arrested for DUI after allegedly rear-ending another vehicle. Sadly, in May of that year, Hulette died of an overdose in the townhome she and Luger lived in together, and upon a search of the residence, Luger was arrested again on 13 felony counts of drug possession. While Hulette's death was ruled an accident, Luger pled guilty to the charges and was placed on probation for five years. Following a violation of the conditions of that probation, namely permission to leave the country after Luger, Scott Steiner, and Buff Bagwell were all removed from a flight to Winnipeg, he was sentenced to four months in a Georgia jail.

In the years since, Luger has become a born-again Christian and has stayed out of trouble.

Velveteen Dream

At one point, former "NXT" North American Champion Velveteen Dream looked like a sure bet to become a big-time star on "Raw" or "SmackDown," even going so far as to wear tights emblazoned with "Call me up, Vince!" in a match against EC3 at "NXT" TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 in 2018.

That call-up would never come, however, as Patrick Clark Jr. was accused on two occasions of sending inappropriate images to children in 2020. No charges were assessed from these allegations, nor did he face any official recourse from WWE. He went on to challenge Adam Cole for the "NXT" Championship before participating in various other storylines to close out the year. In 2021, Velveteen Dream was not seen on WWE TV and he was released in May.

Though rumors have come and gone regarding a possible return, it seems unlikely these days as Clark has found other trouble. In August of 2022, he was arrested and charged with first-degree battery and trespassing, and then again just days later for violating probation.

Matt Hardy

One of the most decorated tag team wrestlers in history — and no slouch as a singles act either — Matt Hardy's place in wrestling lore was cemented long ago. His career has seen no shortage of reinventions and character changes across major promotions and the independent circuit.

Matt, alongside his brother Jeff (who also makes this list, unfortunately) rose to prominence as part of The Hardy Boyz, drawing critical acclaim for their feud with Edge and Christian in 1999. Into 2000, those two teams along with The Dudley Boyz, would help revolutionize tag team wrestling in the first ever triangle ladder match at WrestleMania 2000. That match was a predecessor to a pair of TLC matches at SummerSlam later that year and WrestleMania X-Seven, and they all tie these six together for eternity.

But despite Tag Team Championships across several promotions, an ECW Championship, two TNA World Heavyweight Championships and much more, Hardy has found himself in hot water on more than one occasion. In 2011, he was arrested and charged with DUI and then again, days later, charged on various drug possession charges following a raid at his home. In 2014, Hardy and wife Reby Sky were both arrested at a Virginia motel following a domestic dispute. Both parties eventually dropped respective restraining orders against each other. In the years since, Hardy has reinvented himself time and again, now wrestling for AEW, and he and Sky have four children together.

Jimmy Snuka

As a performer in the ring, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka is one of the most popular wrestlers of all time, a WWE Hall of Famer, and a multiple-time champion across dozens of promotions in a career that spanned more than 40 years. Unfortunately, a cloud of uncertainty will always be associated with the late James Smith, stemming from an incident in 1983 that resulted in the death of his girlfriend, Nancy Argentino.

Snuka called for an ambulance mere hours after performing in Allentown, Pennsylvania, for the injured Argentino at their motel room. She was transported to Sacred Heart Medical Center where she died soon after arrival of craniocerebral injuries. A coroner's report determined that Argentino died of traumatic brain injuries which were consistent with a head striking a motionless object and her autopsy revealed several other injuries as potential signs of domestic abuse all over her body. Though the coroner informed the district attorney, Snuka was not charged at the time but the case was left open.

Fast forward 32 years and in 2015, Snuka was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, pleading not guilty. His attorneys argued that his physical and mental health were deteriorating at a rate where he should not be made to stand trial, having been diagnosed with stomach cancer earlier that year, while the opposition argued by showing video of Snuka wrestling as recently as six months prior. Ultimately, the charges were dismissed on January 3, 2017 with Snuka deemed mentally unfit. Jimmy Snuka died a little less than two weeks later.

Jeff Hardy

Like his brother Matt, Jeff Hardy is an all-timer when it comes to tag team wrestling and nothing can take that away. Also like Matt, Jeff has found his share of trouble along the way and if this were a competition for run-ins with the law, the younger Hardy would have the slight edge.

In September of 2009, Hardy was arrested and charged with drug trafficking in controlled prescription medications, as well as possession of anabolic steroids following a raid of his house, ultimately costing him a reported $100,000 fine to go with 30 months of probation and 10 days in jail. In July of 2019, Hardy faced public intoxication charges and then just two months later, he was arrested again, charged with DWI in North Carolina.

In 2022, Hardy was arrested in Florida on felony DUI charges and blew a 0.29 in a blood alcohol test, nearly four times the legal limit. Now working for AEW, Hardy was suspended pending completion of alcohol rehabilitation and returned to the company a few months after being credited for serving 38 days in jail, and given two years' probation, and several other DUI-related sanctions. Jeff Hardy has always rebounded from his mishaps, but one has to hope this last one will indeed be the last.

Scott Hall

To say that Scott Hall's career encompassed both the highest of highs and the lowest of lows would be an understatement. Battling alcoholism and substance abuse for most of it, it's amazing he was able to accomplish the things that he did. From the territories to the AWA, WCW, tours of Japan, WWE, and so much more, Hall's impact in the ring is legendary and as a primary force in the original nWo, his defection back to WCW bolstered business immeasurably as well.

Hall's brushes with the law began in 1983 when an altercation outside of a club in Orlando, Florida ended with a man dead. Hall was charged with second-degree murder, shooting a man with his own gun after wrestling it away from him. He claimed self-defense and the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence, but it is well-documented that the incident haunted Hall throughout his life.

Rather than run down the laundry list of the rest of his legal troubles, it's probably more important to stress the fact that all of them had everything to do with his drug and alcohol problems. Hall bounced back in a big way after getting sober with the help of Diamond Dallas Page in 2013 and was inducted twice into the WWE Hall of Fame; in 2014 as Razor Ramon, and as part of the class of 2020 with the nWo. Hall died in March of 2022 and amid all of his career successes and personal struggles, "The Bad Guy" may best be remembered for the end of the speech he gave during his first Hall of Fame induction where he said, "Hard work pays off. Dreams come true. Bad times don't last. But bad guys do."

Jimmy Uso

The wrestlers involved in The Bloodline angle, as it has played out over the last two-plus years, have seen their stock elevated exponentially. Jimmy Uso is no exception but he, along with twin brother Jey, already cemented his place in wrestling history thanks to a prolific run in the tag team division. The Usos are eight-time Tag Team Champions and arguably in the discussion for best of all-time.

Jimmy, whose real name is Jonathan Fatu, has toed the line, however, in terms of getting in his own way with no less that four DUI-related arrests. On one occasion, in July of 2019, Fatu was found not guilty, but in other instances there were repercussions, including making it very difficult for both he and his brother to wrestle in Canada over the years, although he was there for 2023's eventful Elimination Chamber event.

Hopefully, Fatu's troubles are behind him and the positive momentum from The Bloodline saga can continue. More importantly, his life and livelihood remaining in a positive place, as well as those around him, should be prioritized as well.

Booker T

In another tale of redemption, Booker T overcame the death of both of his parents as a teenager and then a 19-month stint in jail for armed robbery thereafter. His autobiography is titled, "Booker T: From Prison to Promise" and with two WWE Hall of Fame rings, one on his own and one with Harlem Heat along with his brother Stevie Ray, a more apropos title would be tough to nail down.

In 2017, Booker T, whose full name is Robert Booker Tio Huffman, told ESPN that his first Hall of Fame induction was the greatest moment in his career.

"Getting the ring, the Hall of Fame ring, going to the trenches," said Huffman. "You know, we are like soldiers, we are bruised, battered, and torn. ... For me, going to the trenches, WCW, WWE, seeing it all, now being able to give back, you know, becoming a Hall of Famer, thanking the fans for this long ride as well as my wife, for being a big, big part of it. I think that's been my biggest and better achievement."

Kurt Angle

One of the greatest wrestlers of all-time is a top-of-the-mountain distinction for anyone who ever laces up the boots. To be able to say that in both the professional and amateur wrestling ranks is almost unthinkable. But that's where Kurt Angle lies in the pantheon of both the squared circle and in American freestyle wrestling and there may not even be any debate. Angle famously won the gold medal in the 1996 Olympic Games and is both a WWE and TNA Hall of Famer, but his accolades go much, much deeper. In the interest of brevity, the fact that USA Wrestling named him the greatest shoot wrestler of all time effectively speaks for itself.

Unfortunately, we must also invoke brevity when discussing Angle's legal troubles. The Olympic gold medalist and Hall of Famer has faced charges for DUI/DWI several times over since 2007, but in 2013 committed to rehab and has been clean ever since.

A lot of Angle's troubles can be attributed to not just alcohol but painkiller addiction, stemming from his neck injuries including several breaks and multiple surgeries. Winning an Olympic gold medal with a broken freakin' neck comes with collateral damage and over the years, Angle went through the ringer with his neck problems. In recent media appearances, including WWE documentaries on Peacock, Angle has expressed being proud of his commitment to sobriety, hopes to never let his demons get the better of him again, and is devoted to helping others overcome their struggles.

Steve Austin

You would be hard-pressed to find a professional wrestler more commonly known to the layperson than "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. As the story goes, Austin's run as the antihero opposing the evil boss in Mr. McMahon was something that every Average Joe and Jane could relate to and his rise to superstardom remains the face of The Attitude Era to this day.

But Austin, too, has had some issues with the law. Married in 2000 to former wrestling manager Debra Marshall, the couple had enough of a dispute two years later in their Texas home for the police to be called and enough evidence once they arrived for Austin to be charged with misdemeanor assault. Ultimately, Austin pled no contest and was given a year of probation, a fine, and community service. The couple filed for divorce roughly a month after the incident and that was made final early the next year. Marshall never again appeared on WWE TV, but Austin has remained an iconic figure, with sporadic appearances, hosting "The Broken Skull Sessions," and most notably, appearing on both nights of WrestleMania 38, defeating Kevin Owens in a No Holds Barred match on Night One and stunning Austin Theory, Vince McMahon, and Pat McAfee on Night Two to the delight of the crowd.