Date: early ‘90s (exact date unknown)
Location: Japan (exact location unknown)
Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Armpit reader Matthew Singh
Tony Halme, who wrestled as Ludvig Borge in the WWF, had a reputation as one of the toughest wrestlers in the business. Especially in Japan, Halme’s rep as a street fighter was right up there with Steve “Dr. Death” Williams.
While Halme is famous for getting choked out quickly in a UFC fight with future legend Randy Couture, that was several years after Halme had developed his reputation. And losing to someone like Couture does not make someone any less tough, as Couture was at one point among the very best fighters in the world.
Scott Norton was almost as tough, and certainly looked like someone nobody would dare mess with. Norton was exceedingly strong, and if ever there was a worldwide arm-wrestling tournament among all pro wrestlers, Norton would be one of the favorites to win. The thought of two beasts like Norton and Halme going at it is terrifying.
Details are sketchy about what happened, and there are several versions of the story. Those in Japan believe Halme was telling Norton how he was already a better wrestler than he was, despite being so new to the game. The two had a confrontation, but it was broken up by the wrestlers.
Later that night, with far fewer witnesses, Halme suckerpunched Norton, knocking him out after three blows. Halme reportedly had rings on his fingers, which certainly didn’t help Norton’s chances any. Some say that Norton wasn’t looking when Halme struck him, so they weren’t impressed. Others said Norton was drunk and put up no resistance whatsoever. It was said to have occurred at a Japanese bar.
Whatever the real case was, Halme’s already deadly reputation had just magnified. Halme now had major heat with the wrestlers of New Japan, and it was strongly rumored that Norton planned on getting him back. Between that heat and fear of what Norton might do, New Japan officials got together to decide how to handle it. It was never released what they decided, but the result was Norton stayed with the company for years, while Halme was jobbed out. Halme ended up leaving in June of 1993, and whatever retribution Norton may have plotted, it thankfully never happened.
Halme later had a short run in the WWF during the Lex Luger era, and later, was Couture’s first ever opponent in UFC. Norton, as noted, remained with New Japan and also had runs in WCW and was part of the nWo for awhile. He partnered with Buff Bagwell, and was in the ring when Bagwell broke his neck, visibly emotional on camera while Bagwell was temporarily paralyzed.