Ex-champ wrestler sued over alleged assault in sports bar Patron contends 'Animal' beat him


A World Wrestling Federation former champion known as "Animal" is being sued in Baltimore Circuit Court by a man who says he was attacked by the wrestler during an ugly scene at the Original Sports Bar.

The lawsuit contends that Animal -- whose legal name has been kept a secret -- beat a 28-year-old bar patron, Ralph E. Kloetzli Jr., in a manner that was "extreme, outrageous and beyond the bounds of decency in society."

The incident is alleged to have occurred at the popular Market Place bar on the night of April 30, 1989.

Identified in the lawsuit as "Animal -- Legion of Doom," the wrestler is alleged to have beaten Mr. Kloetzli after claiming that he had made an unfavorable remark about wrestlers and the wrestling industry.

Mr. Kloetzli contends that he never made such a remark.

Mr. Kloetzli also claims in the lawsuit that his head smashed against a glass case as he was forcibly removed from the bar by bouncers.

He is suing the 6-foot-2-inch, 250-pound wrestler for $400,000 and the Original Sports Bar for $250,000.

He also is suing the bar's general manager, who swore out an arrest warrant against Mr. Kloetzli for malicious destruction of property relating to the smashing of the glass case.

The criminal charges were later dropped, the lawsuit says.

Mr. Kloetzli couldn't be reached for comment.

His attorney, Larry Polen, declined to answer questions, other than to say that he was unable to determine Animal's real name.

Dennis Wildberger, the general manager of the Sports Bar, also refused to comment.

A copy of the lawsuit, which was filed yesterday, was served on the World Wrestling Federation headquarters office in Stamford, Conn.

In the colorful world of television wrestling, Animal and his tag-team partner, Hawk, were last year's champions and are well-known for their artistic facial paint and spiked shoulder pads, said federation spokesman Steve Planamenta.

Mr. Planamenta would not divulge Animal's real name, but he did vouch for his character.

"He and Hawk are both terrific; they're great guys. People love them. As a matter of fact, today they're up in New York speaking to kids at a school about drugs and the DARE program," Mr. Planamenta said.

Animal's tough-guy screen image and Mohawk haircut "are nothing like him in real life. I don't know what happened in a bar three years ago, but he's a wonderful guy."

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