10 Things I Learned Watching Dark Side of the Ring: Bikers, Bombs & Bedlam: Johnny K-9

Image Credit: (SlamWrestling.com)

The best part about watching documentaries is that you get to learn something that you have never heard of before. Well there are some episodes where you enter and you have little to no knowledge coming in. This was me as I have never heard about Ion Croitoru who wrestled as Johnny K-9 and Bruiser Bedlam. When I saw the trailer for the second half of season 3’s Dark Side of the Ring I saw his name bought up and I am like who is that guy. So while I continue on my journey watching Dark Side of the Ring they did an episode on him and I learned many things about Croitoru.

10. Johnny K-9 was one of the More Notable Jobbers during the 1980’s in WWE

A jobber is basically when a wrestler gets payed to loose and make the other wrestler look stronger. There are a much of notible ones like Barry Horowitz, Gillberg, James Ellsworth, The Brooklyn Brawler, and etc. Well in the 1980’s the more notible job guys was Johnny K-9 and he put over a lot of rising wrestlers. In the documentary they showed his matches against Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Hulk Hogan, and Tito Santana. He was such a high profiled Jobber that even Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brian” Heenan talked about him on a segment on TV. 

9. Ion Croitoru (Johnny K-9) had a Rough Childhood 

Croitoru was known as one of the most legit tough guys in the wrestling buisness. One of those reasons was that Ion Croitoru had a really rough childhood. He was abused by his father multiple times who was an alcoholic. One of the stories told was during Christmas, Croitoru’s father got so drunk that not only did he beat his wife, but would chase his kids (Ion especially) around with a broom. Ion was so scared he would hide under the bed and climbed the steel frame to avoid getting hit with the broom while underneath the bed.

First off, shame on Ion’s father for doing that as no kid should ever have to grow up in an environment like he did. Second it was clear that his childhood not only would be a factor being a legit tough guy in wrestling, but also contributed to why he also fell into the crime world.

8. Johnny K-9 would threaten promotors would would stiff him or others on pay.

Back in the old days of wrestling, almost every promoter in the wrestling buisness would always stiff wrestlers on pay. It is still done in smaller independent wrestling companies today, but back in the day it was very bad. Wrestlers were scared to step up as if they did, then they probably would not be booked by that company ever again. Well Johnny K-9 did not care and there was one story that was crazy.

According to former pro wrestler Scott D’Amore he told a story of when he was in his first years of the buisness he got stiffed out of a lot of mone. Johnny K-9 and him would always travel place to place and finding out he was pissed. So he stormed out of the car to find the promoter and threatened him. He even chocked the promoter and told him to give D’Amore his money. D’Amore was terrified that he was going to be blackballed and Johnny K-9 was going to kill him. Luckily he did not and the promoter paid D’Amore. Johnny K-9 was happy and said that he won’t stiff you from money ever again. Which sounds great, but both D’Amore and Johnny K-9 were never booked in that promotion ever again.

7. The story of the “True to the Crew” tattoo

When looking at photo’s of Johnny K-9 what stands out to me is that big tattoo on his belly. It did with Jim Cornette as that tattoo, along with how big of a physique body Johnny K-9 had is what got him to Smokey Mountain Wrestling (SMW). Something crazier is the story behind that tattoo. So Johnny K-9 was in prison and a lot of inmates he was around agreed once they got out of prison, they would get the tattoo True to the Crew. The thing is, once you say you are going to do something in Jail, you can’t back out of it. So Johnny K-9 once he got out of jail he got the tattoo. The strange thing is that he was going to leave prison and did not have to get the tattoo, but just did it due to a kept promise in prison. The tattoo also made Jim Cornette question, whether Johnny K-9 chose a life of crime or the life of crime just chose him.

6. What Attracted Johnny K-9 to the Satan’s Choice Motorcycle Club

Now they start diving into the beginning of his ties with the Satan’s Choice Motorcycle Club which at the time was a rising criminal organization. I always heard of some terrible stories involved with Satan’s Choice. While watching there were two reasons why he joined with them. The first of course is money and there was one point he made 20-30 thousand every twenty minutes which is just insane. Plus he was rising the ranks quickly and made more and more money which of course made him happier as he loved making money.

The secound reason is due to wanting to be like his brother. His older brother was with I belive with the Red Devils gang and  his brother would always come home on a motorcycle. The gang would sometimes even all come to the house with him and it really attracted Johnny K-9. Ever since those moments he always wanted to be a part of a biker gang and that just triggered him joining the club and working the ranks.

5. Johnny K-9 was living with Chris Jericho during there SMW days

This was something that i was never aware of, and I am a big Chis Jericho fan. So in Smokey Mountain Wrestling, there would be a flophouse where wrestlers would live with each other. Every time Johnny K-9 came to SMW he would always choose to live with Chris Jericho. Now Johnny K-9 was a good roommate and always did his share around the house. Now they talk about the way he washes dishes and let’s just say you should never hire him at a restaurant. So what he does is that he would hold the dish by the water and do a quick shake of them. Thats it and he would just put them in the cabinet and of course the Plates would always have food crusted all over the plates. It got to the point that Jericho told him to do garbage duty only and you know what, I don’t blame him.

4. Macho Man Randy Savage wanted to put Johnny K-9 over

Hearing stories like this are why I will always respect Randy Savage as it is not often that you hear a wrestler at the spot he was in and at the time he was performing willing to do these actions. He had a reputation when doing one night deals with companies to always put over the Top Heel of face of the company. Johnny K-9 now going under the name Bruiser Bedlam was booked in a match with the Macho Man in SMW. So Savage decided to go up to Jim Cornette who was the booker of the Company and recommended that he would loose to Bedlam and make him the top star of the company. So that is what happened and the Macho Man lost to Bedlam giving him the best moment of his wrestling career.

3. He was involved in bombing a Police Station

I new something about a bomb was going to be talked about entering this episode. After all it is in the title, however the details of this is just insane. So Johnny K-9 formed a partnership with a rival gang member named Michel Dube. Michel Dube is one of the most violent and dangerous bikers ever. So they decided to go to a strip club called the Solid Gold and have a good time hanging out. Well the solid Gold has a policy where nobody is allowed to wear there colors (Patches on there jackets are often refered to as colors in a gang) at this location. Johnny was a very prideful guy and loved showcasing that he was in a motorcycle gang by showing his colors.

So he enters the club with the colors on to send a message that he means business and well it did not go well. The club refused to serve him and asked him to leave as he was showing his colors, which angered Johnny K-9. So an altercation happened where the police were called and the Satans Choice were about to fight the police. Well they backed down and both Johnny K-9 along with Dube are pissed. So they decide to start plans to bomb the strip club. Yes, because it is such a great idea to start bombing places when things don’t go your way.

So once the explosives arrived the group was about to bomb the club. Well Johnny K-9 does not know that there was a change of plans. Michel Dube decides to instead bomb a police station because the guy is crazy. So the bomb is placed in an allyway where the police station is and it blew a hole in a brick wall. Johnny K-9 was confused when the bomb was at the wrong place.

The big mistake here was that bombing basically signaled the end of Johnny K-9’s district as the police would storm there headquarters. Later on 50 SWAT team members came to Johnny K-9’s house and arrested him. This bombing would ultimately result in him being thrown out of the Satan’s Choice gang, Johnny’s family leaving for Vancouver, and being sentenced to 33 Months in prison. Later in life he was also alleged in being involved in a double murder as well.

2. Johnny K-9 was also involved with the United Nations Gang.

So many years pass and Johnny K-9 relized that he needed to make money to support his family. He tried getting in the Movie Industry, but that ultimetly failed. He wanted to open up a wrestling school, but due to the arrest earlier that never happened. The only thing  Johnny new was crime and he decided to join another gang called the United Nations. That angered Tracey as she wanted to start a new life along with Johnny and she did not want him back in crime. 

Johnny K-9 would have a ton of weed all around the house including the kitchen. What he decides to put in the weed is Coca Cola and Whisky in the weed to make it weigh more and get more money. Now Johnny K-9 is back making 20-30 grand a week like he did in his Satan Choice days. Now with him back in the game Johnny K-9 was part of a botched hit resulting in the death of an innocent person. So yet again he is in prison for a crime and he just could not get out of the life of crime.

1. His Death is a Mystery to this Day

Now we get into his death, as Johnny K-9 is living in a halfway house in a few weeks as part of his sentence. Well Johnny K-9 was found dead by the police dead in that house of February 21st, 2017. So this resulted in many wondering how he died. Well there are a few theories as to how he died 

  • Theory #1 – Heart Attack 
    The police believes this to be the case due to the way he lived his life.
  • Theory #2 – Given a Hot Shot (Drug Overdose) by a gang.
    According to a fellow gang member who worked with Johnny K-9, a lot of people were trying to get him. Especially as he ratted out a few people and they had a fear he would keep doing it. So, there was talks that he was killed by someone via a drug overdose by forcing him to take a Hot Shot
  • Theory #3 Suicide
    Another theory was that the stress got to Johnny K-9 and realizing that there was no way out, he decided to commit suicide.
  • Theory #4 Respiratory Illness/Lung Issue
    According to his wife Tracey it was a Lung issue. Johnny K-9 got maced by the police in prision and they had to at one point scrape his lungs. That incident would contributed to his death.

Now we will never know How he died and I never have seen or heard of his autopsy report results. The point is the guy died in a very suspicious way. Could all of the theories above be true, maybe but it was clear he had a lot of people coming after him due to his choices in life.

My Thoughts On The Documentary

This was a well made documentary. Like I said coming in I never knew much about Johnny K-9 and boy was there a lot that learned here. It is clear that the man was a nice guy to many in wrestling and in the locker room. However him falling into a life of crime with many chances at a new life can’t be ignored.

MVP of the documentary I have to give to Johnny K-9’s wife Tracey. Getting her on the documentary was a big queue as this was the first time she actually came to the public and spoke about this. Scott D’Amore, Jim Cornette, Lance Storm, Chris Jericho, and the police were great speaking points. The gang member interviewed was a good talking point as well and I was shocked the documentary was able to get him on the documentary.

I recommend that you watch this episode of the show as you will learn about Johnny K-9 story.


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