Vader will enter the WWE Hall of Fame this year, but the relationship between him and Vince McMahon wasn’t always great.
Vader is unquestionably a legend of professional wrestling, having wrestled in every major promotion during his time, and redefining what it means to be a larger-than-life performer in the industry. In one of his final matches, Vader wrestled renowned high-flyer Will Ospreay at a Revolution Pro Wrestling event in London, England.
During his mid-1990s stint in the World Wrestling Federation, however, ‘The Mastodon’ would find himself arrested during a WWF tour of Kuwait in April 1997. Vader’s arrest stemmed from him strangling the host of Good Morning Kuwait – where he had appeared as a guest alongside The Undertaker – upon being asked if wrestling was fake.
For his troubles, the former three-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion would be detained for two weeks by Kuwait authorities, while also being fined $164. In contrast, that’s now worth $287.28 in today’s money.
While appearing on Sportskeeda’s The Bro Show, the topic of Vader’s arrest was brought up by Vince Russo, as the controversial wrestling personality revealed Vince McMahon’s immediate reaction to the news (h/t Sportskeeda):
“When I was there, he was the b*ttend of everybody’s joke. I’ll never forget – and this is an absolute shoot – do you remember when he was in Kuwait and got physical with that TV reporter? Bro, they threw his b*tt in jail.
I was at Vince’s [McMahon] living room table, working with Vince when he got the call from Vader. Bro, Vader was scared to death. He’s in prison in Kuwait. What do they do? They’re not accepting his phone calls and they’re laughing about it like it’s a big joke.”
Vader was recently unveiled as the second inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2022, joining The Undertaker as this year’s so-far-confirmed class. His in-ring debut for Vince McMahon’s sports entertainment giant came in the 1996 Royal Rumble match, though he’d left the company by the end of 1998 after being reduced to enhancement status.
Regarded as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, Vader sadly passed away in June 2018 at the age of 63-years-old after a lengthy hospitalisation for pneumonia. The real-life Leon White had previously battled a number of health issues. His son Jesse, who wrestled as Jake Carter enjoyed a brief stint in the early days of NXT once it transitioned away from its game show origins.