The Nasty Boys and Ken Shamrock Hotel Incident

When Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags of The Nasty Boys felt the numbers were in their favor, they were not afraid to confront anyone. On this night in 1990, “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Ken Shamrock was no exception!

When Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags of The Nasty Boys felt the numbers were in their favor, they were not afraid to confront anyone. On this night in 1990, "The World's Most Dangerous Man" Ken Shamrock was no exception!
Things got ugly when the Nasty Boys and Ken Shamrock had a run-in at a hotel back in 1990.

The Nasty Boys and Ken Shamrock Hotel Incident

Long before Ken Shamrock was a world-renowned star in UFC, he wrestled as Vince Tirelli in a small-time promotion called South Atlantic Pro Wrestling in the Carolinas. This particular incident took place in October 1990 when Shamrock was with the promotion, and the Nasty Boys were fulfilling their final date with the company before going onto the then-WWF.

After the show, a few of the wrestlers were at a local bar called Funk Crazies, and Shamrock was there with a friend from the ring crew and his friend’s girlfriend at the time. Brian Knobbs was sat at a table nearby.

“We went out drinking, I got loaded, there were a couple of things said, and I went up to [Shamrock] and gave him a mug,” admitted Knobbs in a recent shoot interview. “That really made him mad. By the time they got me home, I was passed out because I was really loaded off my a**. I was sleeping, so you really have to ask Sags what happened after that!”

Knobbs continued. “The next thing I remember was when I woke up in the bed where we were sleeping was that the bed was facing the wrong way. We were at a Ramada Inn and the bed used to be this way and now it’s that way, so I went, ‘Sags, did something happen last night?'”

Related: The Shoot Fight Between The Nasty Boys, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash

Ken Shamrock, in a 2017 interview with Hannibal TV, shed light on the situation.

“I was carrying the strap for [South Atlantic Pro] at the time, and we were at a club. I was with a friend of mine, the guy who set up the ring, a nice guy. We had traveled together from time-to-time, and he had his wife or fiance with him. We were sitting up at the bar, and [The Nasty Boys] were already there. We had come in, and they had already had a few drinks and were tipsy and messing around when they reached over and grabbed her tit.”

Shamrock continued, “My buddy goes, ‘Hey! Come on!’ She was really mad and shocked, like, ‘What are you doing?’ She was well endowed, but I wasn’t saying anything because you don’t want to get in the middle of the boys, you know? Whatever, let it roll, but- [Knobbs] did it again. Now we’re talking about borderline rape. He was grabbing her! She made it very clear that it wasn’t okay.”

“My friend was a little bit more upset,” Shamrock went on, “but he can’t take these guys, so I said, ‘Come on, guys, enough is enough!’ And they went, ‘Ooohhh, what are you doing? Are you sleeping with her?’ I thought, ‘Oh man, whatever…’ and then Knobbs did it AGAIN. That’s when I lost it.”

“I got up to go after him,” Shamrock remembers, “and what I didn’t know was that the bartender had already told the bouncer what these guys were doing and were just about to kick [Sags and Knobbs] out when the bouncers luckily saw [Knobbs touch her boob again].

“This is a bouncer who had just got out of jail, a real big dude, 260-pounds. He saw me going at Sags, so he grabbed me from behind and squeezed me, saying, ‘Hey Ken, it’s me, man. Chill out.’ I was like, ‘I want to kill him!'”

By this point, the other bouncers had kicked Sags and Knobbs out of the bar.

“I was fuming,” Shamrock admits. “Big-time fuming. I knew they were staying at the hotel downtown; I knew that’s where they were at. So as soon as [the bouncers] let me go, I told everyone, ‘Alright guys, I’ll see you later.’ This was about half an hour after Knobbs and Sags were thrown out of the bar.

“I went to the hotel and knocked on their door because I was going to get in their face and say, ‘Listen, that’s uncalled for! Do you want to end up in prison? That’s exactly what’s going to happen!’

“Nobody answered,” Shamrock continued, “but I knew they were in there, so I ended up kicking the door down. And as I kicked the door down, the shorter and heavier one, the blonde one [Sags] was laying on the bed face down, so I just kind of paused–and that’s the last thing I remember.

“From what I was told, when I came through the door, the big one [Sags] was hiding because they were afraid because I was pissed. The other one was lying there on the bed, saying, ‘He ain’t coming, he can’t come in!’

“Well, when I came through the door, the big one [Sags] grabbed this phone, and the bottom had a steel metal plate underneath it, and as soon as I came through, he hit me in the back of the head. I went down, and then he put the boot to me. They both had steel-toe boots on. They broke my sternum and my nose and pretty much almost killed me.

“They dragged me outside to throw me over the railing from the second floor onto the ground below. At this point, one of the guys, I don’t remember who, but he was an older gentleman [Col. Robert Parker], he came in, and he said, ‘Hey guys, you need to stop!’ He stopped them from doing what they were about to do. Had he not done that, I wouldn’t be here today.”

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What Happened, According to The Nasty Boys

According to Sags and Knobbs, when Ken Shamrock came looking after them, he found their room, jumped on top of Knobbs, and punched him across the head. All the while, according to Knobbs, he was out cold sleeping at the time.

“That’s when I got involved,” claimed Sags. “It was a bad fight, and [Shamrock] ended up in the hospital. That’s what happened.”

“[The paramedics] had to revive me,” Shamrock admitted. “I had passed out. I was dying. They did that much damage.

“When I got home, I was laid up for months recovering. In my head, I was like, ‘When I see them, I’m going to kill them. I’m going to end their days!'”

The day after this incident took place, the Nasty Boys were off to the WWF, while Ken Shamrock was off to New Japan shortly after. But as the years went by, Shamrock kept hearing from others that Sags and Knobbs were always bragging about how Sags beat him up.

“I kept hearing people say that Sags was bragging that he beat me up- that he faced me one-on-one, and he just beat me up. The only truthful thing that [Sags] has said was that Knobbs was passed out on the bed. But when I went through that door, he wasn’t passed out for real because he jumped up as soon as the jackass [Sags] hit me from behind! They both started putting the boots to me after I was knocked out.”

“I don’t like talking about it,” admits Sags, “because it was a heavy-duty situation. It’s not something I like to think about, but [Shamrock] has stirred s*** about it over the years. After [the incident], he and I went our own ways, and he became a great [fighter in UFC].”

A few years later, when Shamrock was wrestling for WWF, the three of them bumped into one another at an airport. This lead to a confrontation between Ken Shamrock and the Nasty Boys for the first time since their initial incident in October 1990.

“That thing happened years ago, get over it!” grumbled Knobbs, remembering back to the incident at the airport.

Owen Hart, who was traveling with Shamrock at the time, approached Sags and began stirring the situation a bit further.

According to Sags and Knobbs, Shamrock came right up to Knobbs’ ear; he was all riled up. Knobbs, in his recollection of the event, calmly said, “Listen, you’re going to miss your flight.”

Sags then continued to Shamrock, “First of all, if you have a problem with it, do something about it because I don’t.” Sags then turned to walk away.

At this point, Owen Hart took Knobbs’ bags out of his hands as Shamrock started to get more heated.

Knobbs continued. “[Ken] was bright red saying, ‘Thanks to you, because of all these lies…’ [Ken] was just a different guy than who I knew as Vince Tirelli wrestling for George Scott. Now he’s coming off the whole tough man deal and everything. He was a lot bigger, the whole deal. And I saw him storm away. That was pretty much that, and I haven’t seen [Shamrock] since.”

Sags added, “We later heard from a few friends that Owen started to stir things up. And on the airplane, Stone Cold [Steve Austin] got in front of the plane saying, ‘Jerry Sags- the toughest man in professional wrestling!’ while Ken Shamrock was there with his head in his hands.”

Ken Shamrock, looking back on the incident that took place at the airport, had a very different take on how things went. “The reason I was so angry and really wanted to get at them was because of the intent that they had [when they almost killed me in 1990].

“It wasn’t that I didn’t like them or that I didn’t know them, I mean, we didn’t talk before that even took place, we weren’t friends beforehand- at least not what I thought, but they were wrong.

“For them to go to that extent, to know somebody and do something like that, to me, I don’t know how they can do that. Even if you’re around somebody and you don’t like them, to go to the extent that they did, to me, I don’t know how somebody can do that unless they’re not normal.

“The anger just kept inside me the whole time, and the minute I saw them at the airport, I was in the WWF, and they were out because of their antics and the way they treated people and the things that they had done. They had got kicked out [of the WWF], which didn’t surprise me.

“I had heard the stuff that they said [about me] and of course the boys were there with me at the airport ribbing me about it because they knew it was a sore subject, so I said, ‘Hey, whatever!’ but they kept ribbing me.

“I had no problem going up to Sags and finishing the job,” Shamrock reveals. “He knew exactly where I was and had no problem proving it.

“I kept calling him out and telling him to step up and show everybody how tough he is because I was willing to do it. I’m willing to stand in front of him and let him beat me up the way he did before, the way he claims he did.

“‘Please, show everybody in the world how tough you are! I’ll be there waiting, and I’ll even let you throw a few punches!’

“That’s the statement I always made.

“‘I’ll let you throw the first punch. And I’ll let you hit me! And I bet you I’ll still stand there, and when you’re done throwing that punch, I’m then going to kill you. Literally, put you in the hospital as you did me, except I’m going to be facing you.’

“These were the promos that I cut before I even ended up finding him. And when I did find him at the airport, I was with Billy Gunn and Road Dogg. We were checking in at the ticket counter, and I saw the short one [Knobbs], and I just turned red. I dropped my bag, and he saw me and he just b-lined out of there.

“Well, then I saw the taller one [Sags], and I looked at him, and I started to go after him, and Billy grabbed me, and he goes, ‘Not here, not here.’

“I was shaking! So I dropped my bag and [Sags] b-lines, right? And I’m shaking the whole time, but I had to get checked in, so I get checked in, and we head towards the gate, and they’re gone. I was fuming. I was just so angry and trying to calm down, and Billy was like, ‘Dude!’ He had never seen anybody that intense.

“While we’re walking up to the gate, I hear this voice. ‘Hey man, what’s wrong with Shamrock, man? Somebody needs to give that dude a chill pill!’ – and I saw him [Sags].

“I made a b-line straight towards him, jumped over the seats, spun him around, looked at him, and I said, ‘I’ll kill you! I’m going to kill you!’

“The minute I said that he turned around. He had a bag in his hands, and he bent his back towards me like he was going to take a swing towards me, right? Because he looked like he was turning like he was going to come back at me. He dropped his bag, and I’m like, ‘Go ahead!’ Like I said, ‘I’ll give you the first punch!’

“What came out of his mouth next, all of the anger and all of the aggression I had pent up in my body just–and all the boys were there. They were all sitting there at the gate, and he goes, ‘If you hit me, it’s a federal offense!’

“I was like, ‘That’s it? After all this time and after how tough you said you were going to be, THAT is your comeback? That’s your play? Really?’

“Literally, everything that took place right there and then just proved my point. I was like, ‘If I hit you, you are going to be dead! Who cares about a federal offense? I’m going to be on friggin’ death row!’

“I was so angry all that time, and when he said that, it was like–all the boys were around. I didn’t have to do anything. There was nothing else I could have done that would have been better than that.

“The way he completely cowered down and pussied out in front of everybody, the way he was talking about how, if he saw me, he’d whip my a** again, yet here I was and, ‘If you hit me, it’s a federal offense.’ I was like, ‘Whatever, man. Go away, dude. Your days are over.’

“So for me, that was it. I didn’t have to lift a finger. I didn’t have to beat him up. Nothing. That right there was enough for me. ”

Brian Knobbs later admitted, “It was just a drunken night that got blown out of proportion.”

Jerry Sags followed up with, “It’s a sad thing that I wish never happened, but it happened because of a no-good [ring] rat, and a rat should never come between the boys.”

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JP Zarka founded Pro Wrestling Stories in 2015 and is the creative force behind the website as editor-in-chief. From 2018-19, he was the podcast host and producer for The Genius Cast with Lanny Poffo, brother of WWE legend Macho Man Randy Savage. His diverse career includes work as an elementary school teacher, assistant principal, and musician, notably as a singer-songwriter with the London-based band Sterling Avenue. Zarka has appeared on TV programs like “Autopsy: The Last Hours of” on Reelz (U.S.) and Channel 5 (U.K.) and has contributed research for programming on ITV and BBC.