Nobody ever personified the professional wrestling heel quite like Dr. D David Schultz.
Dr. D was born in Madison County, Tennessee and he was trained by legendary wrestler Herb Welch.
I have always heard about the 20/20 incident between Stossel and Schultz, where Schultz slapped reporter John Stossel for asking the question IS WRESTLING FAKE???!!???
First of all how stupid does one have to be to ask a professional wrestler if wrestling was fake? And of all the wrestlers for Stossel to ask he chooses to ask Dr. D Dave Schultz!? This was a big mistake!
This is fresh on my mind because I just watched the phenomenal Viceland series Darkside of the Ring. In this episode, they took a deeper look at the “Slap Heard around the World.” This episode featured Dr. D David Schultz.
It started with the history of Schultz being trained by former shooter wrestler Herb Welch. One thing Welch noticed about the young Schultz is that he would fight back. Welch knew this guy had what it took to make it in professional wrestling.
The show showed footage from matches of Dr. D wrestling in the various territories. Right away when watching his promos you would believe in his words and believe that this man would beat you up. He was the ultimate bad guy of wrestling. Before there was a Stone Cold Steve Austin, there was David Schultz.
Schultz would become good friends with Hulk Hogan before Hogan’s WWF days. Schultz would get the attention of Vince McMahon the owner of the WWF and he would become aligned with Roddy Piper and Bob Orton, as one of their top heels.
On the other side, ABC reporter John Stossel had been investigating the wrestling business. He conducted an interview with wrestler Eddie Mansfield. In the interview, Mansfield showed Stossel how he did his wrestling moves on Stossel in the ring. Mansfield demonstrated cutting his forehead with a blade and showed how to bleed.
This would make Mansfield enemy number one in the wrestling business and with the wrestling fans. He was like a magician giving away the tricks of the trade.
This led to Stossel interviewing David Schultz at Madison Square Garden at a WWF event in 1984. It was evident that Stossel was on a quest to expose the business. It was at this point the slap heard around the world happened.
In my opinion, Stossel deserved it for looking down on professional wrestling. He insulted the wrestlers that worked so hard to do this for a living. It was their livelihood.
The problem was it was all caught on camera and it later aired on ABC. This would create a lot of buzz and controversy. I believe Schultz was set-up. Due to this Schultz was suspended. He even apologized to the commission and to Stossel.
Stossel eventually won a lawsuit against then the WWF, for $ 425,000. If you ask me it was ridiculous what Stossel did. Now some do feel Dr. D wasn’t fired solely for the slap but also because he wanted to fight Mr. T. Which according to Schultz he just wanted to talk with T.
After completing the episode, the biggest thing I came away with was that Schultz got screwed out of what he loved and protected which was wrestling. I came away feeling bad for how Dr. D’s career ended. He deserved a lot better. I also admire what Schultz did after wrestling. He became a bounty hunter taking care of really bad people.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I just wanted to put some perspective on what we have learned about Dr. D and the slap heard around the world.
I came away a bigger fan of Dr. D after the documentary. What about you?