When One of Wrestling’s Biggest Stars Got Beat Up (For Real) in CNY
October 14th will be the 27th anniversary of a rather unusual incident that happened in Central New York-- wrestling star Shawn Michaels got the crap beat out of him in a Syracuse night club.
In October 1995, stars of the WWF (now-WWE) were in town for an event at the Onondaga County War Memorial. As the story goes, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Michaels decided to go out partying with fellow wrestlers "British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith and Sean "1-2-3 Kid" Waltman at Syracuse's Club 37 with just an hour before the 2 a.m. curfew.
Back in those days, wrestlers partied like rock stars, and all three men were reportedly pretty loaded on booze and painkillers.
Allegedly, the 30-year-old Michaels attempted to flaunt his starpower on a female clubgoer who was spoken for... by a United States Marine. The Marine -- 23-year-old Douglas Griffith -- voiced his disapproval, which Michaels promptly ignored. Michaels continued to dance with the girl and invited her back to his hotel room.
Club 37's bouncer sensed trouble brewing, and convinced one of the girl's friends to drive the inebriated wrestlers back to their hotel before things could escalate. A barely-conscious Michaels was loaded into the woman's passenger's seat, with the other two wrestlers in the back. Griffith and a few of his Marine buddies -- who were lurking in the parking lot waiting for the wrestlers -- took some verbal jabs at the "phony wrestlers," drawing the ire of "The British Bulldog," who took an awkward swing at the serviceman from the back seat.
That was enough provocation for Griffith to seek revenge on Michaels, who yanked the superstar out of the car and slammed the door on his head. Griffith continued his assault, putting the boots to Michaels' face with his military-issued steel-toed boots.
Waltman and Smith attempted to come to Michaels' aid, but being drunk and crammed in the back of a 2-door coupe meant they were slow to do so. Eventually, Club 37's bouncer was able to break up the fight. Worried the servicemen might return with weapons, he told the driver to take the wrestlers back to their hotel where they were met by an ambulance and treated for injuries.
Michaels suffered a torn eyelid, lacerations to the face, two black eyes, and bloody ears where his earrings had been torn out. He did not appear at the Onondaga County War Memorial, despite being advertised for the event.
Shawn Michaels rebounded from his injuries and enjoyed several years of success, being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.
THE FORMER 'CLUB 37' NIGHTCLUB
The once-popular Club 37 in Syracuse no longer exists. First opened in the 1970s, it was located at 3717 Brewerton Road in the north side of town. After a few decades of business, it closed down.
In the early 2000s, former Syracuse University basketball player Chandu Carey had plans to rebrand the club as "Club NV", but the town of Salina rejected it.
The former club now sits graffitied and vacant, completely overgrown with trees from the street side.