By Melissa Antoinette Garza
Years ago, one of my longtime friends had a crush on ex-wrestler Marty Jannetty. She asked me to talk to him while she conversed with him on the phone. I did. He was nice. I thought he was too old for her, but I didn’t know too much about him personally. She remains friends with him though they never dated. I ended up befriending him on Facebook too. As a child, I loved The Rockers so I thought it was pretty cool. I definitely didn’t know how it would turn out.
Every now and then, I would see strange and wild posts from Jannetty. Many of them made little to no sense. At times, I’d shrug them off as an inside joke or the ramblings of a night that went on too long. Usually, I’d ignore them. At times, I’d make a passing comment or two, either seeking clarity or questioning the antics discussed.
The latest Facebook post that caught my eye was this gem:
“To all my ninjas, I want y’alls advice..just got a call..$150,000 for 3 movies…porno movies..cant say the name but, they’re big company…Im thinking my bruh Snoop had something to do with this.. check this though, I’d get to tear up some beautiful b*tches, but, as my brother said, my family could see that..my thought is, why is my family watching porno then gonna judge me? What do y’all think on that?”
My initial thought was “YUCK! GROSS!” My next thought was to delete him off my Facebook. Why keep someone on my “friends” list who has such a low opinion of women? It appeared most of his “fans” and “friends” agreed with him by the comments made. Still, I couldn’t delete him. I had a troubling feeling that maybe he was sick or addicted to drugs. What if I deleted him without saying my peace and then he died of an overdose or a heart attack like so many other wrestlers I grew up watching? I was torn.
I Googled his name and found an article where wrestler Bushwacker Luke Williams had attempted to get Jannetty help for his alleged addictions. Jannetty didn’t go into the now well-known DDP (Diamond Dallas Page) rehab/Yoga treatment center.
Instead of just deleting him and pretending he didn’t exist, I decided to tell him the truth. I knew the backlash from fangirls and boys would be bad (it was) but nonetheless, I spoke up:
“Marty, I was a fan of yours since I was a child. When you were on WWF back in the day, you spoke like a normal individual. I don’t know why you have taken on this wangsta approach here, but it’s gross. These people are laughing with you here, but behind your back they are laughing AT you. You need something stable. You need to settle down and if you’re doing drugs, stop. Maybe, go see a therapist or a psychiatrist, because something is seriously OFF with you. I won’t say something behind someone’s back that I won’t say to their face. Calling women “bitches” constantly complaining about relationships falling apart and thinking about doing porn is a drug addict’s move. If you’re not on drugs, then you may have a mental disorder. I know you took a lot of bumps in the day. Whatever it is – you need help. I’m not a fan-girl. I’m HAPPILY married to my husband Stephen Garza and have been for 7 years. I’ve been with him for 9 and we’ve never fought. This is coming from a place of concern for someone I looked up to as a child. So many of your peers are dead. You’re alive! Don’t waste it on alcohol and drugs! Exist in reality. Go to a park. Read a book. Watch TV and just stop with this strange outdated persona of a ladies-man. Good luck to you!”
In fairness, Marty took the post WAYYYYYYYY better than most of his fans. He said he thought it came from a sincere caring place, and it did! That said, I was bombarded by comments telling me to mind my own business and calling me every name in the book.
Those that were less aggressive told me that the Marty I saw on Facebook was a façade and that he was just joking. I was dumb for taking FB seriously. Marty’s just trying to entertain. I honestly hoped that was the truth. Hell, maybe Williams saw the FB posts I did and judged by that. Still, I couldn’t make sense of saying such insane things. There were no jokes. There were no punchlines.
As a wrestling fan who attends indie events, I knew that if I ever came across him, I would avoid Jannetty. It’s sad enough to hear about someone I enjoyed on television not doing well; but seeing him in person would’ve been far worse. I don’t need to give myself reasons to get depressed. As I thought about it, I didn’t see his behavior as anything that could help him with his career or personal life. My inquisitive nature would not be silenced. It demanded to know why he was acting this way.
As Dr. Phil says, the best way to predict future behavior is to look at past behavior. I wanted to find crazy funny antics in his past that I may have missed. Maybe something paved the way for this persona he shows on Facebook. I’ve been watching pro-wrestling since the 80s but took an extended break after the 90s boom, so I could’ve missed something. Maybe, this 5+ year stint of being an insane man in need of medical treatment was a gimmick. Maybe it was some post-Milo Yiannopoulos way of trolling.
So, I searched blogs, articles, interviews and message boards. I did find “antics” but they were not funny. The image I was left with was sad. I saw a man with an insurmountable amount of in-ring talent who couldn’t get beyond his demons, and I was provided a glimpse at someone who was not only apparently involved in a sexual assault, but seemingly bragged about it in a post.
To start with the softer stuff, I found arrest incidents for domestic disturbance and attacking a police officer. I’ve never been arrested, but I know that the celebrity world is a different place. I didn’t put too much into this other than it being the reason for his WWE dismissal.
I then watched a 2013 BREAKING KAYFABE interview. It was depressing as hell. Jannetty seemed intoxicated. He discussed addiction, family issues, injuries and life struggles. It was gut-wrenching and I felt badly for him. It was at this moment that I knew his struggles were no joke; and that those who claimed it was were either clueless, were trying to protect him or were reveling in his downfall. Misery does love company. It goes back to the saying, “what am I going to believe you or my lying eyes, right?”
I then decided I’d use my voice and this website to do an article about him. I loved THE ROCKERS as a kid. I even loved the short-lived NEW ROCKERS of the 90s with Marty Jannetty and Al Snow. I wanted to celebrate his achievements and talk about how the WWE or IMPACT could reintroduce him when/if he got clean. That’s where this whole thing began, but research took us down a rabbit-hole, I’m trying to climb out of.
Though there were signs of Jannetty’s unprofessional nature I expected it. I wasn’t surprised by indie-wrestlers who said they didn’t want to work with him again. One wrestler, Bomber Jack Lord wrote:
“I worked several shows over the years with Marty and I’m sure he still doesn’t know me because of the condition he was always in. The only time in my career I refused to work with someone was against him. He was so messed up he couldn’t find his bag (which was sitting right in front of him). Guys like him were the reason I never went out after the shows. “
I expected to hear that and hear a lot of it I did. People were angry at him and many times, rightfully so. There are entire blogs and message boards about incoherent ramblings from Jannetty. One on www.wrestlingclassics.com is over 5 years old, but still getting a lot of traffic from fans that are disappointed in him. I wish he heard from these people as these are the ones he needs to hear from. The most informative discussion began because of a quote Jannetty had written. His fans were disturbed by it.
“o hell yes, Imma ax this now.. Shawn, my good friend, what up bee otch?? I gotta book coming out..well not yet..there’s a few moral issues.., you may wanta contact me first, cause Im telling bout my life, you being a part of it, well hell..call me but in truth, I’d rather you not, the book will be soooo much better if I dont fall for your ****.. but If you say DONT SAY THATll remember what yo religious fake ass said about me in your ******** book..Anyone wanting to see real, will..I aint protecting yo ass”
It was on this blog that I learned legend Jerry Oates had saw Jannetty’s downfall himself. Oates saw him as a self-saboteur, years ago.
Again, I expected all of this. I was hoping for a different find, but I’ve been in the game long enough to know when something is wrong. That said, the next piece of information I didn’t expect. It blew me away in the worst manner possible. I had never heard this story before and I won’t read it ever again, but it turns my stomach.
The most disturbing find was something Jannetty allegedly wrote himself. This involves an account of sexual assault and was originally posted on www.wrestlingclassics.com. WrestlingClassics.com has a vetting process where they validate authenticity of celebrities and wrestlers.This, combined with the way in which the article was written, makes me believe that the post is by Mr. Jannetty. He is certainly welcome to chime in under the comments or Facebook me. I will edit this accordingly.
During his WWE days, Jannetty wrote that he was on a trip to Dallas when four drunk college kids began bothering the wrestlers. There were three men and one woman. It is said that Jannetty along with former wrestler Shawn Michaels drugged the college kids with (then legal) GHB.
Wrestlers and wrestling officials were present. “One of the Hebner brothers was the first to attack” by cutting the straps off the “big titted” girl. It goes on and on and the wrestlers include some of the best and well-known of all time. Is it possible that Jannetty along with Sgt. Slaughter, The Ultimate Warrior, Shawn Michaels etc. partook and witnessed the sexual assault of a college girl and did nothing? The girl awoke by vomiting on her naked breasts.
What sickens me even more is the tone of the piece. It is written is in the fashion of a “wow those were crazy times.” It’s not one of regret or contemplation. It also is yet another indication as how Jannetty thinks of women – and honestly how he thinks of himself.
Part of me wishes I never read that article. Drugs, alcohol, and bad choices are redeemable actions. Drugging anyone and then encouraging and partaking in a sexual deviancy is not forgivable.
Here is a link to the full article: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=132966
So what now? Do I delete Marty Jannetty? He may make the decision for me if he sees this article. I’ll post it to him. I’ll be happy to include anything he may want me to within reason.
After sitting here for hours and thinking about this, I’m still struggling. It may have happened decades ago, but it’s fresh in my mind. I’ll try to wrap my head around some conclusion that works as this shock stings through my skin.
One can’t change the past. It sucks. I remember wrestling being an outlet for me. Frequent readers know what my childhood was like, no need to revisit that. Still, wrestling was amazing and I adored The Rockers. They were my favorite tag team. Marty was awesome in the ring. Marty was great behind the mic.
From a purely professional status, if Marty were to get clean he could have a positive impact on pro-wrestling. There are so many great angles to bring him in with. The best idea would be to start with Shawn Michaels bringing in a tag team of high flyers who quickly obtain the belts. He could call them The Rockers, which would irritate Marty enough to return to WWE. He could have his own team and then a lengthy and entertaining feud could emerge. In the end, the teams could join forces and become a stable with Marty and Shawn co-managing until it blows up in their faces again. The stable turns on one of them, thus we have another feud. This could really last a few years if done right.
And when Marty is at his best, he has the charisma, timing, and old-school wrestling skills that could help increase the dwindling WWE audience.
In the end, I never wish ill on anyone (aside my father who is dead so it’s moot). I do believe in one way or another, karma has a way of making all of us atone for our negative actions one way or another.
If there are any updates or comments that help with perspective, I will report on them.