Ernest Mack Shell was arrested late Saturday night in Brushfork, West Virginia after the wrestlers who participated on his show billed as "Dare to Compare" show learned that he didn't have any money to pay them or others who worked the event.
"He had promised to pay and provide motel rooms for all of the wrestlers who appeared Saturday night," said Deputy W.E. Rose of the Mercer County Sheriff's Department. "Two of the wrestlers, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart and Diamond Dallas Page flew in to participate in the event, but all of the others drove here. Some of them came from as far away as Nashville, Tenn., Louisville, Ky., and other areas. Most drove 6-7 hours to be part of this."
Rose added that he and the other deputies arrived at 6 p.m., and at approximately 11:10 p.m., Shell's booking agent told the officers that they should keep a close eye on him.
"He said that Shell didn't have any money and that he thought he might try to skip out," Rose said. "About five minutes later the armory manager came and got us and said: 'You guys might want to get up here. This guy's about to get his butt kicked."
Several wrestlers cornered Shell backstage. "I said: 'Can you pay us and the rest of these here?' When he said he couldn't, I said: 'Put your hands behind your back. You're under arrest.' He said this was his 174th wrestling promotion,' Rose said. "Some of these wrestlers didn't have the money to drive back home. Just like us, they were planning to get paid. He was lucky he hired us. Otherwise, he would have had to deal with all of those wrestlers."
Shell was charged with 10 counts of obtaining services on false pretenses. "Those were just the counts in Mercer County," Rose added. "He is facing another 19 counts where he was calling people when he was in Kentucky to participate in the event. He was making deals with the wrestlers as the matches were going on. He said that all he had was an ATM card with a $400 limit."
Shell's bail was set at $50,000 Sunday afternoon. He was being held at the Bluefield City Jail after his appearance in magistrate court.
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