Lawrence Wendell "Larry" Pfohl (pronounced "Foal") (June 2, 1958), better known by his ring name Lex Luger, is an American former professional wrestler and football player. He is best known for his work with the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). He is currently working with WWE, acting as a consultant for their wellness policy.
Among other accolades in professional wrestling, Luger is a three-time world champion, having held the WCW World Heavyweight Championship twice, and the World Wrestling All-Stars World Heavyweight Championship once; a record-tying five time NWA/WCW United States Heavyweight Champion; and the 1994 WWF Royal Rumble winner (with Bret Hart). Readers of Pro Wrestling Illustrated voted Luger the Most Popular Wrestler of the Year 1993.
Most recently, Luger has been traveling to various churches and giving his testimony about his life decision of becoming a born again Christian.
- 1 Football career
- 2 Professional wrestling career
- 2.1 NWA Florida (1985–1986)
- 2.2 National Wrestling Alliance / World Championship Wrestling (1987–1992)
- 2.3 World Bodybuilding Federation (1992)
- 2.4 World Wrestling Federation (1993–1995)
- 2.5 Return to WCW (1995–2001)
- 2.6 Semi-retirement
- 3 Personal life
- 4 In wrestling
- 5 Championships and accomplishments
- 6 See also
- 7 External links
Luger attended high school and played football in Orchard Park, New York. He then attended Pennsylvania State University on a football scholarship, but transferred to the University of Miami after his freshman year. A talented soccer player and lifelong fan of English soccer team Manchester United, Luger considered changing sport for some time but eventually decided his skills would be better suited to gridiron. After sitting out the 1978 season, he started the 1979 season as a defensive tackle until his scholarship was terminated. He was joined at Miami by Jim Kelly, Jim Burt, Mitch Guittar, and Fred Marion among others. Upon leaving Miami, he played professional football for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. He then signed with the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League, but never played in a game and thus is not listed on their all-time roster, though he did spend the entire 1982 season on the team's injured reserve list with a groin problem incurred during training camp. He returned to the Packers training camp in 1983, but he was released before the regular season began. In 1984, Luger finished his football career playing in the United States Football League for the Memphis Showboats. He also played for the Tampa Bay Bandits in the USFL, where he was a teammate with future WCW rival Ron Simmons.
Professional wrestling career
NWA Florida (1985–1986)
In 1985, Luger met Bob Roop at a celebrity golfing event in Florida and was given the chance to get into professional wrestling as Roop was greatly impressed with Luger's powerful bodybuilder physique. Roop arranged for Luger to be trained by Hiro Matsuda, who had previously trained Hulk Hogan and "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff. Luger adopted the ring name "Lex Luger", being a fan of the comic book villain Lex Luthor, and made his in-ring debut in September 1985. He was featured alongside Percy Pringle and Rick Rude as a bare chested silent type.
Luger began wrestling in the Championship Wrestling from Florida territory. He got his first victory on October 31, 1985 against Ed "The Bull" Gantner and won the Southern Heavyweight Championship from Wahoo McDaniel the next month. On September 1, 1986, he fought NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair for the title at a show Battle of the Belts, which resulted in a 60-minute draw. As a result, Flair retained the title. Towards the end of his run in Florida, Luger was involved in a steel cage match with Bruiser Brody, where Brody stopped cooperating, leading to Luger leaving the match.
National Wrestling Alliance / World Championship Wrestling (1987–1992)
Four Horsemen (1987–1988)
In 1987, Luger went to work for Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP), which was under the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) banner, with the nickname "The Total Package" and began using the Torture Rack as his finisher. He was first booked as an associate to Ric Flair's "Four Horsemen" stable until Ole Anderson was kicked out and he became an official member of the group. Luger started wrestling as a heel. His first big feud was with Nikita Koloff, whom he defeated for his first NWA United States Heavyweight Championship on July 11, 1987. Manager J.J. Dillon threw a chair over the top of the cage while the referee, Earl Hebner, was down. Luger knocked Koloff unconscious with it and then lifted up Koloff in the Torture Rack. A revived Hebner then dropped Koloff's arm three times with no response and awarded Luger a submission victory.
He held the title until NWA's first pay-per-view event Starrcade in November, when he dropped it to Dusty Rhodes in a steel cage. This loss set the stage for Luger leaving the Four Horsemen, as manager Dillon's interference cost Luger the match. A steel chair thrown in by Dillon was dropped by Luger and Rhodes DDT'd Luger on it prior to pinning him for the win. Luger left the Four Horsemen in 1988 after he and his stablemates (Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, and Dillon) were the sole wrestlers left in a Bunkhouse Stampede battle royal and Dillon asked the other wrestlers to eliminate themselves so he could win. Although Blanchard and Anderson complied, Luger refused and eliminated Dillon, leaving the Horsemen in the process.
Feuding with the Horsemen (1988–1989)
Luger turned babyface and befriended Barry Windham, his former Florida ally. They formed a tag team, dubbed "The Twin Towers". "The Twin Towers" first teamed on March 27, 1988 at Clash of the Champions to defeat Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson for the NWA World Tag Team Championship. Only a few weeks after the title win, a swerve took place in the NWA with Windham suddenly turning on Luger during a title defense (against Blanchard and Anderson) and joining his former stable, The Four Horsemen. Days later, the Jim Crockett, Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament was held with its first night in Greenville, South Carolina. A partner-less Luger was teamed with Sting (whose partner Ronnie Garvin had been kayfabe injured) and the impromptu team won the entire tournament, defeating Blanchard and Anderson in the finals.
Luger began a feud with the Four Horsemen and Windham. He began hunting their leader Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. At the June 8 edition of Clash of the Champions, it was announced that Luger would challenge Flair for the NWA title at The Great American Bash on July 10 in Baltimore. The contract was signed on a yacht with Flair delivering the line "You gotta make it to Baltimore..." to Luger. As Luger arrived at The Clash in a limousine he was attacked by The Four Horsemen, leaving him (kayfabe) injured and bleeding in the parking lot on live television. While Luger had Flair in the "Torture Rack" and Flair was about to submit, the match was abruptly stopped by the referee who cited (kayfabe) "Maryland State Athletic Commission" rules about a cut that had opened up on Luger's forehead "bleeding excessively". Luger faced Flair in many rematches across the country, never winning the title. The Luger/Flair feud came to an end after December's Starrcade 1988: True Gritt where Flair pinned Luger in a rematch main event for the NWA title by illegally using the ropes.
United States Heavyweight Champion (1989–1990)
He was then matched up against old foe Barry Windham at The Chi-Town Rumble winning his second NWA United States Heavyweight Championship from him. Luger defended the U.S. Championship regularly. One of his major title defenses was against Jack Victory in a dark match on the April 2, 1989 edition of Clash of the Champions.
He teamed up with Michael P.S. Hayes against Barry and Kendall Windham in a match which saw Hayes turn on Luger, setting himself as a contender to the U.S. Title. Hayes defeated Luger for the US title at WrestleWar 1989: Music City Showdown when a surprise appearance by Hayes's ex-Freebird teammate Terry Gordy helped cost Luger the match. Luger regained the U.S. Title from Hayes in a rematch a couple of weeks later, beginning a heel turn when he broke the rules by pulling Hayes's tights while pinning Hayes to win the match. The turn became "official" shortly after, when on the June 14 edition of Clash of the Champions, Luger attacked the popular Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat after Steamboat had defeated Terry Funk by disqualification. Luger and Steamboat faced each other at The Great American Bash in July with Luger winning by disqualification after Luger refused to wrestle Steamboat until the match's no-disqualification clause had been waived.
Flyin' Brian Pillman challenged Luger at Halloween Havoc 1989: Settling the Score for the US Title, which Luger won. He also defeated Pillman in a rematch on the November 15 edition of Clash of the Champions to retain the title and end the feud. After the main event of the card, which saw Ric Flair and Terry Funk in an "I Quit" match, Luger made a surprise run in, attacking both Flair and Sting, who had come out to save Flair from a post match attack by The Great Muta. December's Starrcade featured an "Ironman" tournament between Flair, Sting, Luger, and Muta.
Though Sting eventually won the tournament, Luger was the only participant to go undefeated (Sting got pinfall victories over Muta and Flair, giving him the most points to win the tournament). This elevated Sting to the status of #1 contender for Flair's world title. With Sting and Flair set to square off at WrestleWar in February, Luger was booked to defend the U.S. Title against "Dr. Death" Steve Williams on the card. A legitimate injury to Sting, however, caused the entire booking of the card to get changed. Luger was elevated to face Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. An injured Sting appeared in Luger's corner during the match, eventually being attacked by Ole and Arn Anderson. When Luger left the ring to help Sting he was counted out, giving the match to Flair. The idea here was to build Luger up as a "changed man" that had "gained self-respect" by saving Sting. Luger challenged Flair across the country in rematches. In the final match of the feud, a few months after WrestleWar, another screwjob finish occurred where Luger won by disqualification against Flair in a steel cage match when the cage rose up from the ground and outside interference marred the match.
In mid-1990, Luger's focus went back to defending his U.S. Championship while the NWA focused on Sting and his reign as World Heavyweight Champion. When Stan Hansen entered the company and the two of them feuded for a brief period of months, Luger eventually dropped the title to Hansen at Halloween Havoc, though he won it back at Starrcade 1990: Collision Course beginning his fourth NWA United States Heavyweight Championship reign. Luger's third title reign lasted a total of 523 days, making him, the longest reigning United States Champion in history. WCW withdrew from NWA in 1991 and the U.S. Title was renamed the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship. Luger started a feud with Dan Spivey, whom he defeated at WrestleWar to retain the U.S. Title. Following their match, Nikita Koloff suddenly appeared to attack Luger, reigniting their feud from 1987. It did not last long, however, as Koloff found himself being pushed into an angle with Sting instead of Luger, which began at SuperBrawl I: Return of the Rising Sun when Sting and Luger challenged The Steiner Brothers for the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
During the match, Koloff interfered and hit Sting with a chain, which was intended for Luger. Luger again began to challenge Flair for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship after becoming #1 contender by defeating The Great Muta on the June 14, 1991 edition of Clash of the Champions. With the history of "screwjob finishes" between Flair and Luger, their title match was set to be contested at The Great American Bash in a steel cage match with the added stipulation that, should Flair get disqualified he would lose the title. The match never occurred, however, as Flair began to have disagreements with Jim Herd, the head of WCW, over his future and salary. He eventually quit the company (being "stripped" of the title in the process) and took the World Title belt with him.
World Heavyweight Champion and departure (1991–1992)
With the WCW Title now vacant, Barry Windham was declared the #2 contender and was set to face Luger in the cage match at The Great American Bash. During the match, a double turn took place when Harley Race and Mr. Hughes came to ringside and "ordered" Luger to execute a piledriver on Windham. He did it, winning his first WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
After Luger won the WCW Title, he got over as champion and top heel, participating in a controversial racial angle with Ron Simmons where he asked Simmons to join his entourage, but as a chauffeur. It was also around this time he abandoned the Torture Rack and started using the piledriver, which he dubbed the "Attitude Adjustment", as his finisher. Luger retained the title at Halloween Havoc in a two out of three falls match. Eventually, Luger began to have his own issues with WCW, and the contract he had seemed to have him wrestling less and less while still collecting money. After ending his feud with Simmons, Luger had a brief feud with Rick Steiner, defeating him on the November 19 edition of Clash of the Champions. The next month's Starrcade was booked with the BattleBowl format, with Sting winning #1 contendership at the end of the night.
Luger's contract only required him to work a specific number of dates, and having fulfilled them he "sat out" the end of 1991 and beginning of 1992. This left Sting to build the feud against him on his own. Aside from one title defense against Masahiro Chono at WCW/New Japan Supershow II (Starrcade in Tokyo Dome), Luger did not wrestle a match until SuperBrawl II, where he lost his WCW title cleanly to Sting.
World Bodybuilding Federation (1992)
After losing to Sting at SuperBrawl, Luger negotiated a departure from WCW and joined Vince McMahon's World Bodybuilding Federation (WBF), appearing regularly as a co-host on its Saturday morning program, WBF BodyStars. He also made an appearance at WrestleMania VIII, taking part in an on air interview with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon. He was slated to guest pose at a WBF pay-per-view event, but was injured in a motorcycle accident. By the time he recovered, the WBF was out of business.
World Wrestling Federation (1993–1995)
The Narcissist (1993)
After his accident and the closure of the WBF, Luger joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Bobby "The Brain" Heenan "unveiled" him with the persona of "The Narcissist" at Royal Rumble 1993. Luger posed before full-length mirrors before every match. The WWF also incorporated his motorcycle accident into his gimmick, capitalizing on the fact that he had a "metal plate" inserted into his forearm which was said to cause more damage when it struck an opponent. This caused a number of his opponents to demand that he wear a cover over it during matches when he had a streak of knocking people out. This eventually led to WWF officials demanding that Luger wear an elbow pad, though he would often remove it. The Narcissist's one major feud was with Mr. Perfect. The feud was based on Heenan, his advisor, referring to him as being "Beyond Perfection," in a slight at Mr. Perfect, his former managerial client. The rivalry ended at WrestleMania IX when Luger defeated Perfect. During a WrestleMania IX press conference, Luger (kayfabe) knocked out Bret Hart, leading to a house show feud between the two, mostly concentrated in Canada, with few (if any) of these matches being televised. At King of the Ring, Luger participated in the first-ever King of the Ring tournament on pay-per-view, but was eliminated in the quarterfinals after a time limit draw with Tatanka.
The All-American (1993–1994)
In mid-1993, after Hulk Hogan's departure from the company, Luger was transformed from a heel to a "mega-face" with the nicknames "Made in the USA" and "The All-American". On July 4, he took part in a memorable event where he arrived (by a red helicopter) on the dock of the USS Intrepid and body slammed the near 600 pound (270 kg) WWF Champion Yokozuna after a number of other athletes, both inside the WWF and out, attempted and failed. Following this he began the "Lex Express" tour, traveling the country in a Red, White, and Blue painted bus to greet fans and to "campaign" for a shot at the WWF Title, thus beginning a feud with the champion Yokozuna. Luger got his shot at SummerSlam 1993, with the stipulation that this would be Luger's only shot at the title. Luger, with the use of the metal plate in his forearm, eventually won the match, but the count-out victory meant that Yokozuna retained the title.
In late 1993, Luger began a feud with another foreigner Ludvig Borga who disliked America because of pollution. At Survivor Series 1993, Luger captained a team dubbed "All-Americans" (Lex Luger, The Undertaker, and The Steiner Brothers) against Yokozuna's team "Foreign Fanatics" (Crush, Yokozuna, Ludvig Borga, and Quebecer Jacques) in a 4-on-4 Survivor Series match. Luger's team won the match after he pinned Borga. At Royal Rumble, Luger participated in the Royal Rumble match where he and Bret Hart were declared "co-winners" of the Royal Rumble match after both men went over the top rope and had their feet hit the ground simultaneously. As such, both received shots at the WWF Championship at WrestleMania X. Luger was disqualified in his title match against Yokozuna, and later that night Hart went on to win the title from Yokozuna.
Ever since he became a babyface in the summer of 1993, Luger aligned himself with Tatanka until kayfabe rumors began to swirl that Luger was planning to join Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation in the summer of 1994. Tatanka and Luger's friendship was strained by the lack of trust between them, and a match between the two took place at SummerSlam. At the event, Tatanka defeated Luger and joined the Million Dollar Corporation. Luger continued to feud with The Million Dollar Corporation, leading a Survivor Series team consisting of himself, Mabel, Adam Bomb, and The Smoking Gunns, dubbed "Guts & Glory", to a loss against the Corporate team of Tatanka, King Kong Bundy, Bam Bam Bigelow, and The Heavenly Bodies at Survivor Series - with only King Kong Bundy and Bam Bam Bigelow surviving.
The Allied Powers and departure (1995)
In the beginning of 1995, Luger formed a team with Davey Boy Smith, dubbed The Allied Powers and they continued to feud with the Million Dollar Corporation. They made a good impact on the tag team division and made their pay-per-view debut as a tag team at WrestleMania XI, defeating the Blu Brothers. They wrestled and defeated jobbers on Raw and, after a victory over the newly turned heel team Men on a Mission in June 1995, earned a shot at the WWF Tag Team Championship against Owen Hart and Yokozuna at In Your House 2: The Lumberjacks but failed to win the titles. Bulldog turned against partner Diesel in a match against Men on a Mission which Luger, who was scheduled to team with Smith, was unable to participate in. While Diesel fought King Mabel at SummerSlam, Sir Mo tried to interfere but was attacked by Luger, who chased him to the back. The August 27 pay-per-view appearance proved to be Luger's last in the WWF.
Return to WCW (1995–2001)
Alliance to End Hulkamania (1995–1996)
In late August 1995, after expressing to Sting that he wanted to leave the WWF, Luger got a call from World Championship Wrestling Vice-President Eric Bischoff to set up a meeting about a contract and Luger possibly "jumping ship". Eight days after his appearance at SummerSlam, Luger made his return to WCW on the premiere of Nitro, coming out during a match between Sting and Ric Flair. After Luger's debut, he acted as a sort of tweener character, not making his allegiances known, except for his long-time friendship with Sting. He merely claimed that he wanted to stake his claim at Hulk Hogan's World Heavyweight Title, facing him on the September 11, 1995 edition of Nitro, which Hogan won by disqualification. At Halloween Havoc, Luger officially turned heel, attacking Hogan after his match with The Giant and joining Kevin Sullivan's Dungeon of Doom stable. Later in the pay-per-view, Luger had a match where he lost to Randy "Macho Man" Savage. Luger and Savage had a rematch at World War 3, which Luger won. Later that night, Luger participated in the first-ever three-ring, 60-man battle royal for the vacant World Title, which was won by Savage.
Despite being a heel, Luger retained his friendship with Sting. At Starrcade, Luger participated in a WCW vs NJPW World Cup of Wrestling where he represented WCW in a winning effort against NJPW representative Masa Chono. Later that night, he participated in a triangle match with Sting and Ric Flair; Flair won after both Sting and Luger got counted out, making Flair #1 contender to the WCW title. The two men teamed up to defeat Harlem Heat for their first World Tag Team Championship on the January 22, 1996 edition of Nitro, with Luger constantly threatening dissent due to his allegiance to the Dungeon of Doom, but always seeming to stay on the same path as his friend. Luger also defeated Johnny B. Badd for the WCW World Television Championship on February 17, losing it back to him the next night. He regained the television title from Badd by beating him on March 6.
The Dungeon of Doom aligned with the Four Horsemen to form the Alliance to End Hulkamania, which feuded with Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. At Uncensored, nine members from the Alliance participated in a "Tower of Doom Steel Cage match", but were unsuccessful in defeating the team of Hogan and Savage. Luger was blamed for the loss because he accidentally punched teammate Ric Flair and was kicked out of the stable, thus turning him face again.
Feud with the New World Order (1996–1997)
During the summer, Luger began a feud with The Giant for the World Heavyweight Championship, unsuccessfully challenging him at The Great American Bash. During this time, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, both former WWF superstars, began appearing on WCW television and claimed they were "taking over" the company. Randy Savage spearheaded the WCW wrestlers against them, with Luger and Sting by his side. Luger, along with Savage and Sting, took on Nash and Hall (who called themselves The Outsiders) and a third, mystery, partner that they claimed was an "insider" at Bash at the Beach. In the first few minutes of the match Luger went down to a kayfabe injury, leaving Sting and Savage on their own when the mystery partner revealed himself to be Hulk Hogan. With Luger no longer around, Savage and Sting were "easy prey" for the three who announced themselves as the New World Order (nWo).
Luger continued to be one of the leaders for the WCW's siege against the nWo, wrestling and feuding with a number of their members. At SuperBrawl VII, Luger and The Giant defeated the Outsiders to win the World Tag Team Championship. The title was returned to the Outsiders by nWo member and WCW President Eric Bischoff. Luger won a Four Corners match to become the #1 contender for Hogan's WCW Title at Spring Stampede, and teamed with his new ally, The Giant, to defeat Hogan and basketball star Dennis Rodman at Bash at the Beach. On the August 4, 1997 edition of Nitro, Luger defeated Hogan to win his second World Heavyweight Championship in an impromptu match, before dropping the title back to Hogan just five days later at Road Wild. His victory, however, marked the first time in a year that WCW had "won their world title back" from the nWo.
Luger began a program with Hall after both men pinned each other in tag team matches (Luger's partner was Diamond Dallas Page and Hall's partner was Randy Savage) before facing each other in a 1-on-1 match at Halloween Havoc which Luger won. He had a short feud with Buff Bagwell in the fall of 1997, culminating in a match at Starrcade, which Bagwell won. In the first half of 1998, Luger feuded with Savage and defeated him at Souled Out and SuperBrawl VIII. His final feud with the nWo was against Scott Steiner, whom Luger defeated at Uncensored. At Spring Stampede, he teamed with Scott's brother and former tag team partner Rick to defeat Scott and Bagwell.
Joining nWo Wolfpac (1998–1999)
After a long war with the nWo, Luger joined nWo Wolfpac, the babyface faction of the nWo. Luger played a central role in the group's war with Hogan's nWo Hollywood, and even convinced the long-standing anti-nWo Sting to join. On the August 10, 1998 edition of Nitro, he defeated Bret Hart to win his fifth and final WCW United States Heavyweight Championship in an impromptu title match, before dropping the title back to Hart just one day later on Thunder. He also took part in the incident in which both nWo factions united against the dominant Bill Goldberg in early 1999, turning heel for the first time in many years. He remained a member of the new nWo until he was sidelined with a (legitimate) biceps injury.
The Total Package and Totally Buffed (1999–2001)
In September 1999 Lex Luger returned to WCW Monday Nitro during a Sting/Hogan angle for the World Heavyweight Championship. He eventually helped Sting win the World Title at the Fall Brawl PPV in September 1999.
After Fall Brawl Luger claimed that Lex Luger was now "dead" and he was going by the name "The Total Package". He debuted on WCW Monday Nitro in October 1999 with a Terminator-style entrance symbolizing his "rebirth" and by bringing back Miss Elizabeth as his manager. The Total Package's entrance would often conclude with Miss Elizabeth tearing off his tracksuit in the middle of the ring. Luger would then pose down as if in a bodybuilding competition ending with a most muscular pose and fireworks.
During late November and into December 1999 The Total Package began to have some disagreements with his best friend Sting. He also began treating Miss Elizabeth badly that prompted Sting to intervene. At the Starrcade 1999 PPV in December 1999 Sting and The Total Package had a match with Miss Elizabeth eventually turning on Sting. After this Luger began appearing dressed up as Sting and mocking him.
Luger continued his Total Package angle with Miss Elizabeth through January 2000. He began a storyline where he would break the arms of his opponents by placing the arm inside a closed steel chair and stomping on it. In February 2000 he formed an alliance with Ric Flair to take out Hulk Hogan from WCW. They later formed a tag team under the name Team Package with Ric Flair. The team feuded with Sting and Hogan until April 2000 when WCW was reformatted and Luger was forced out of any new story lines.
Lex Luger would not return again to WCW until November 2000 when Ric Flair was CEO. Luger would no longer pose in the ring with Miss Elizabeth and his hair was cut short. He would face Booker T on Nitro for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship and Goldberg at the Mayhem 2000 PPV and then again at Starrcade 2000 with Goldberg's career on the line. He also formed a tag team with Buff Bagwell named "Totally Buffed". They defeated Goldberg and DeWayne Bruce in a tag team match at the WCW Sin PPV in January 2001. Luger stayed in the team until the WWE purchased WCW in March 2001.
In late 2002, Luger joined the European tour of WWA. He debuted in November at Dublin, Ireland, teaming with Sting to defeat Buff Bagwell and Malice. At Retribution, Luger defeated Sting to win the vacant WWA World Heavyweight Championship after Jeff Jarrett interfered on his behalf. In Manchester, England on December 7, Luger and Sting faced Bagwell and Jarrett in a match in which both Luger's WWA World Heavyweight Championship and Jarrett's NWA World Heavyweight Championship were on the line, though neither title changed hands, as Sting pinned Bagwell. Luger made his final appearance with WWA on December 13, in Zürich, Switzerland, when he lost the WWA World Heavyweight Championship to Sting in a three-way dance that also featured Malice.
In late 2003 Luger began working for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA); he teamed with Jeff Jarrett on November 12 in a loss to Sting and A.J. Styles. Throughout 2004 and 2005, Luger made sporadic appearances on the independent circuit. He returned to TNA in 2006, first appearing during the April 27 TNA Impact! as the second of Sting's potential tag team partners for Sacrifice. Throughout September and October, he appeared on Impact! as one of the people (along with Buff Bagwell) helping Sting to "prepare" for his upcoming match against Jarrett at Bound for Glory.
Luger is divorced from Peggy and has two children, a son, Brian, and a daughter, Lauren.
On September 28, 2006, Luger appeared on Praise the Lord, the flagship talk program of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and declared himself a born again Christian. In an interview conducted by guest host, one-time wrestling tag-team partner Steve "Sting" Borden, Luger emotionally discussed the downward turn of his career and personal life—including the events surrounding Elizabeth Hulette's death—and how it led to his religious conversion. Luger credits Steve Baskin, the pastor of Western Hills Baptist Church in Kennesaw, Georgia, with pulling him from a terminal tailspin. The jail chaplain met Luger in early 2006.
On April 19, 2003, Luger was involved in a domestic dispute with Elizabeth Hulette, then his live-in girlfriend, in the garage of their townhouse in Marietta, Georgia, during which Luger allegedly struck her. Cobb County police found Elizabeth with two bruised eyes, a bump on her head, and a cut lip. Luger was charged with a misdemeanor count of battery and released on $2,500 bond. Two days later on April 21, Luger was arrested for driving under the influence after rear-ending another car. According to the police report, Luger had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes, and could not locate his driver's license. Luger had a 9mm handgun in the car (which was legal in Georgia). Hulette was a passenger in the vehicle and was sent home in a taxi. Luger was also driving with a suspended license for not appearing in court on March 5, 2003 for a hearing on a previous offense of driving with expired tags and having no proof of insurance.
On May 1, 2003, Hulette died in the townhouse they shared in Marietta, after mixing pills of hydrocodone, Alprazolam (Xanax), and anabolic steroids (testosterone and saizen) with vodka. Luger was arrested later that day after a search of the residence revealed a number of illicit controlled substances, including anabolic steroids, OxyContin, synthetic growth hormone, testosterone, and Alprazolam. He was charged with 14 drug possession counts, 13 of them felonies. He was released the following day on $27,500 bail. Hulette's death was eventually ruled accidental. Luger pleaded guilty to the charges on February 3, 2005. He was given a $1,000 fine, sentenced to five years probation, and required to submit to periodic drug testing.
In December 2005, Luger and fellow wrestlers Marcus Bagwell and Scott Steiner were removed from a flight from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Winnipeg, Manitoba. They were detained for several hours before Bagwell and Steiner were released, while Luger was held without bail as a result of his outstanding felony charges (he had neglected to obtain permission to leave the country from his parole officer). Luger was detained in the Hennepin County jail for two weeks before being extradited to Georgia to stand trial on December 22, 2005. Luger was sentenced to nine weeks imprisonment, and was released in February 2006.
On October 19, 2007, Luger suffered a nerve impingement in his neck that led to temporary paralysis. He underwent intravenous antibiotic treatment and was expected to make a full recovery. Nearly a month after his spinal stroke, Luger was still in a quadriplegic state, having no movement in either his arms or legs. As of June 2008, Luger was said to be able to stand on his own for short periods of time and walk using a walker. As of 2010, Luger has stated in an interview that he is able to walk more comfortably, and is able to drive around after being paralyzed from the neck down before. Luger has stated in an interview that he now resides in Atlanta, Georgia.
- Signature moves
- Tag Teams
- Made in the USA
- The Narcissist
- The Total Package
Championships and accomplishments
- WWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- NWA Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament Winner (1988) - with Sting
- Ranked #20 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the PWI Years in 2003
- Ranked #52 of the best tag teams of the PWI Years (with Sting)
- Ranked #90 of the best tag teams of the PWI Years (with Barry Windham)
- Rookie of the Year (1986)
- Feud of the Year (1987) Four Horsemen, vs. the Road Warriors and The Super Powers
- Feud of the Year (1988) vs. Ric Flair
- Feud of the Year Award (1990) vs. Ric Flair
- Match of the Year (1991) with Sting, vs. Rick and Scott Steiner
- Comeback of the Year (1993)
- Most Popular Wrestler (1993)
- Wrestler of the Year (1997)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- Most Improved Wrestler (1989)