Few men had a bigger fall from grace in the professional wrestling business than former wrestler David Starr.
Starr was an American wrestler from Philadelphia in the United States, but became a popular star in the United Kingdom. His hard-hitting and technical style endeared him to the British fans, but his character work also made him a big star.
He was also seen as a nice guy backstage, and a champion for workers rights. He was a big proponent of unionizing the wrestling business, something that had previously got stars like Jesse Ventura fired from the WWE.
In an interview with VICE in 2020, David Starr spoke about his company’s push to make working conditions for the wrestlers, including providing food and water backstage for the stars of the show, even on the indies.
He said to VICE “The organizations we speak to say, ‘Reach for the low-hanging fruit.’ And that’s what we were saying. The first thing we wanted to get done is to make sure that there was food and water available at all wrestling shows for wrestlers.
“Just something to eat. Most of us drive hours and hours back and forth without a hotel,” he says. We also got Equity to push their insurers to include wrestlers in their disability welfare policy. Equity used our campaign to force that issue.”
He seemed like one of the good guys in wrestling, yet has not been heard of for a number of years, despite being in the prime of his career.
So, what happened to David Starr?
What Happened To David Starr?
David Starr was accused of sexual abuse by his ex-partner, during the Speaking Out movement that took over pro-wrestling in 2020.
He had been a well-respected member of the UK indie scene, but that respect evaporated once information came out about his personal life (which we will go into detail with later in the article).
David Starr was the OTT Champion at the time of the accusation, and was one of the best titleholders over all of Europe.
Because of the severe accusations, the company were forced to strip him of the championship, removing him from any future shows he was booked on.
Other promotions he held titles in also stripped him of their belts.
Over The Top Wrestling, Revolution Pro, and TNT Extreme Wrestling stripped Starr of their respective championships in light of the allegations and severed ties with him.
The Speaking Out Movement
The Speaking Out Movement was a key time for the British Wrestling scene.
The indie business in the UK had been thriving, but was cut down at the knees by two things – NXT UK and Speaking Out.
While the WWE signed up all the top talent, like Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne, it was the Speaking Out movement that hit the killing blow for the indie scene.
In June 2020, a number of women finally spoke out about sexual abuse happened in the wrestling business in the UK. It mirrored the “#MeToo” movement in Hollywood, which exposed a number of abusers in the business.
David Starr was the first of the men accused of some horrible things during the Speaking Out movement.
While he was seen as quite a respectable member of the wrestling community, the fans impression of him was shattered when his former partner levied some serious accusations toward David Starr.
In a series of Tweets, David Starr’s ex-girlfriend Tori accused him of various levels of sexual assault and abuse, during their time together.
Tori accused David Starr of various levels of sexual abuse, ranging from manipulation to full-on rape.
You can read the full accusation down below;
“Speaking of being fooled, there are screenshots of convos w Starr coming to me confirming some things I’ve said for all the proof lovers who don’t believe women. I see you.
He’s a sack of shit who mentally, emotionally, and sexually abuses his girlfriends. He kept old screenshots from 2016 to ever use against me if I were to speak up making me look angry and crazy. He has folders for several people.
I don’t Lind [sic] posting my own screenshots. Here’s now an open letter to David Starr. What kind of piece of builds a case instead of apologizing to the girl you hurt? Sociopathic serial rapists/abusers. Just to be clear.
I don’t want anything. You want to book him, book him. You like his wrestling, whatever. This is for me because for years while I was trying to heal, he told everyone who would listen that I was a crazy liar. Every woman who’s dealt with David Starr is tired.
I already did come out better. Unfortunately I’m not the only one with terrible stories, I’m just the only one ready to post right now. This is so much harder to do than people think. No one wants to tell the world this shit. It’s embarrassing.
Is David Starr still going to use the Aziz Ansari defense to raping your girlfriend? When allegations came out against Aziz, his defense was he didn’t know it was consensual. But what Max doesn’t mention is he did know because I wanted to talk about it.
He told me I liked what he did and gave me the silent treatment for the rest of the day. A lot of my screenshots from those times are gone cuz obviously I was trying to heal and I didn’t want to be brought back to it. But I have some.
I was manipulated into this relationship when he was still w his ex K and I was manipulated out of it. “I’m not letting you leave me” If he wants to post old screenshots of an angry confused woman going through a mental breakdown caused by it all, he can be my guest. I’m not ashamed.
We’ve all had that breakup where you don’t know why you’re being treated like that & you’re stuck w your own thoughts.”
It makes for uncomfortable reading, and shone a light on a man who was so revered in the wrestling business for his passion about workers rights.
David Starr Responded To The Allegations
After a long spell of silence (likely advised by a lawyer), David Starr responded to the allegations levied towards him by his ex-girlfriend.
He responded directly to what Tori (who he refers to as Victoria) accused him of, denying being a sexual predator, but admitting to being “an awful partner”.
Starr repeated multiple times that he was not a sexual predator, although it was a claim that seems not to have been believed by the wider wrestling world.
I didn’t do what Victoria is accusing me of.
I am not a sexual predator
I have been an awful partner.
If this is the end of wrestling for me, that’s ok. I know I’m not a predator and I know the truth of this situation. I know that I’ve learned from my wrongdoings. There’s no sense in going on the offensive. No matter what I say, I’m the bad guy. No pity party. It is what it is.
I’m gonna keep working on me so that I can be the partner i need to be to someone someday.
To be clear, I am not a sexual predator, but I’ve been a dickhead to my partners. I’m owning up to that and taking this time to grow. I will not go on the offensive. I was a cunt to Victoria. I know I’ve been an emotionally immature dickhead to my partners, Victoria especially.
In the letter, Starr addresses the night in question in a hotel room following a concert the two attended.
He began to talk about “Gray Rape”, half-admitting to committing the assault on the women, but justifying it in his own head.
This was the most damning part of David Starr’s testimony, and was the reason why he was blacklisted from the business after the accusations.
There is no way I will invalidate your lived experience. Since I’ve been beginning this course of self analysis, I have thought about what you described to me a few years ago in that DM.
I thought about my response where I basically absolved myself of responsibility because “I didn’t know”.
Even though I didn’t invalidate your feelings, I still didn’t accept responsibility. Through conversations with other women (including victims of sexual assault) about it all, I started looking into the subject of grey rape.
There’s no way that I can apologize enough for not recognizing or understanding what had taken place. At no point did I ever think that something was non-consensual, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t. At no point did I think that something was non-consensual, but that doesn’t mean it was consensual. A lack of a verbalized “no” doesn’t mean consent.
What happened to David Starr, based on the above letter, seems entirely apt.
He basically admitted to doing what was accused of, a disgusting attempt to justify what he did with the phrase “grey rape”.
David Starr has not wrestled since the accusations came out. His last match came on March 16th, 2020, where he beat Callum Newman at the Wrestletalk Showcase.
David Starr Rejected The WWE Before Being Cancelled
Despite his now ruined reputation, David Starr was once a well respected member of the independent scene.
He was primarily known as being behind the union movement in pro-wrestling, something that had not been put forth since Jess Ventura in the 1980s.
David Starr felt strongly that wrestling should be unionised, and the superstars should have perks like insurance, health care and days off as a regular part of their contracts.
It was this feeling that saw him reject the WWE when they came calling, unable to reject his beliefs in order to secure a payday with the biggest wrestling company on the planet.
In an interview with WrestleTalk, Starr revealed that he has been contacted by WWE in the past but turned down their offer.
“I’ve been contacted by them before and I’ve turned it down a couple of times,” said Starr. “The thing that doesn’t hit home with the European audience is the health care thing. Because [you’re] very fortunate to just go to the hospital. That’s one of the reasons I moved to the UK. Being a professional wrestler, it’s hard to afford health care, the things you need.”
David Starr never wrestled for AEW or WWE, with his reputation being ruined before he could accept a contract with either side.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.