Professional wrestling cops a lot of stick for being a staged ‘sport’ but there was nothing fake about the infamous hotel brawl that took place between Sid Vicious and Arn Anderson during World Championship Wrestling’s (WCW) 1993 European tour.
Having spent almost 24 hours travelling – including a flight from the US to the UK, a bus ride to Wales for a show then a bus to their hotel in Lancashire – the wrestlers and crew were tired, frustrated and on edge. Heading to the bar the wrestlers began drinking heavily as they waited for their food and started airing out their grievances.
Veteran hard man Arn Anderson led the chorus of wrestlers unhappy with WCW’s lack of drawing power, pondering why they were struggling to beat their archrivals in the ratings. A number of other wrestlers chipped in with their two cents before bleached blonde rising star Sid Vicious had his say. Bragging about his recent pay rise (knowing full well Anderson had taken a pay cut), Vicious also let it be known he thought it was time for legendary wrestlers like Ric Flair and Anderson to step aside and let the younger talent have their shot at leading the company.
There’s no denying Vicious was right, as WCW had a habit of letting the old guys run the show, but his cockiness didn’t go down well with Anderson, one of Flair’s closest friends. The two got into a heated argument, traded insults and lobbed beers at each other before being separated by Too Cold Scorpio and head of security Doug Dillinger. Both men were escorted to their rooms, with Anderson hurling more profanities at Vicious, who claimed Anderson smashed a beer bottle and threatened to kill him, although the former Four Horsemen member has disputed this over the years.
As Vicious stewed in his room he became more and more livid and decided Anderson needed to be taught a lesson. So like any normal six foot nine, 144-kilogram mountain of muscle would do, Vicious broke off a chair leg and went to Anderson’s room. This is where the story differs depending on whom you believe, as there were no witnesses to detail what unfolded. Anderson claimed he heard a knock at the door and when he opened it, was hit by the chair leg and knocked unconscious. Vicious says they exchanged words but he never used the chair leg, and after calming down, headed back to his room. This is when things really took off.
Anderson came charging out of his room and made a beeline for the former WCW Heavyweight Champion with a pair of scissors, stabbing Vicious multiple times, including a nasty gut wound.
In the ensuing scuffle, the gargantuan pair broke a window and Vicious managed to get hold of the weapon. Bleeding, enraged and heavily intoxicated, Vicious lived up to his name and stabbed Anderson over 20 times. Most of the wounds were to Anderson’s shoulders and back but one stab wound was an inch below his eye while another was a five-inch slit on his throat. Neither can remember much more about the fight, although Vicious does recall Anderson yelling, “You’re fucking killing me!” as he repeatedly stabbed him. Scorpio heard the commotion and when confronted with the bloody scene managed to intervene, saving Anderson’s life.
Both men were taken to the Blackburn Royal Infirmary hospital and patched up, with hospital staff informing Anderson that if he’d lost any more blood he would have died. Neither man pressed charges and both were sent home the following day. It wasn’t long after the incident Vicious was fired by WCW president Eric Bischoff after several wrestlers threatened to walk out if he didn’t get the boot, while Anderson got off with a light suspension. Vicious has since apologised and the two are said to be on good terms, although they keep their distance when together around sharp objects.