In Daytona Beach News-Journal writer Jeff Wilen’s latest JAW Breaker column, he breaks down Irvin Muchnick’s seven-part series chronicling numerous sex, drug and steroid scandals to strike Vince McMahon and World Wrestling Entertainment over the past two decades. Among the topics covered include:
* A doctor by the name of George Zahorian would routinely distribute steroids and other drugs to wrestlers. It’s specifically noted that dozens of wrestlers would line up backstage at Zahorian-administered shows in Pennsylvania and openly exchange cash for “bags of drugs.” For further reference regarding this, Bret Hart goes into great detail on Zahorian’s routine in his 2007 autobiography, Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling.
* A backup ring announcer by the name of Mel Phillips â€” who also supervised setting up the rings at WWF shows â€” was exposed as a pedophile who frequently took advantage of young boys from broken homes. Phillips had a bit of a foot fetish as he would frequently play with little boys’ feet by first pretending to play wrestle. A former member of the WWF ring crew, Tom Cole, discussed Phillips’ disturbing behavior in great detail in the following interview.
“When we were younger, he (Phillips) used to have a thing where he used to play with your feet,” Cole told the Wrestling Perspective. “He would wrestle you for five seconds then he’d grab your toes and pull your shoes off and he’d start playing with your toes. Squeezing them and stuff. I was a small kid, maybe 100 pounds. I was real small when I was younger. He’d get your toes. I don’t know, I didn’t think anything sexual about it because he was playing with your feet. When you’re a young kid, you’re not thinking like…Now I look at it like, “Wow, that was a foot fetish.” Several years later I realized, “There’s something wrong here.”
* It’s been speculated that Vince McMahon wore a neck brace to appear sympathetic to the jury in his 1994 trial in which he was accused of distributing steroids to wrestlers. Also, there is an interesting note on WWE Hall of Famer Afa Anoa’i (uncle of Eddie “Umaga” Fatu, who died recently) supposedly trying to intimidate the jury during McMahon’s trial.
* An important government witness at McMahon’s trial was his former secretary Emily Feinberg, who was also a former Playboy model. During her employment to the World Wrestling Federation, McMahon and Feinberg were rumored to have had an affair. Pictures of Feinberg can be discovered online if you look her up under her professional name, Emily Arth.
* Some interesting quotes from McMahon and his defense lawyer, Jerry S. McDevitt, are noted. During an investigative interview with Henry Waxman’s committee staff, McMahon refused to answer if he had taken steroids since 1992 â€” the last year which he admitted to doing so.
* Muchnick caps off his piece by recognizing WWE’s success, but also recognizing its “horrible record of health and safety standards, of which death by drugs is but one aspect.”
To read Wilen’s column, click here.