Former WWE superstar Ashley Massaro was sent to Kuwait in 2006 by World Wrestling Entertainment to visit American troops. During the trip, as a civil war raged in neighboring Iraq, Massaro — then known as Ashley, a WWE diva — was sexually assaulted at a US military base, she alleges in a lawsuit against the WWE.
Massaro, who became a Playboy cover girl and “Survivor: China’’ contestant during her WWE tenure, says she was examined by a company physician after she returned from Kuwait. She alleges the doctor reported the incident to WWE executives, who met with her “to apologize for their negligence, but they persuaded her that it would be best not to report it to appropriate authorities.’’
The allegation is one of several health and safety complaints Massaro made against the WWE Nov. 9, as she and seven additional former professional wrestlers joined 52 others who are suing the billion-dollar company. They allege the WWE concealed the dangers of repetitive head injuries that have caused them neurological damage.
In Massaro’s case, the former WWE star alleges she suffered several concussions, including one that rendered her unconscious for five minutes in the ring, while she performed for the company from 2005 to 2008. Massaro says she received no care after she was knocked out and alleges she was told to “shake it off.’’
Massaro, now 37 and living on Long Island, says she has undergone debilitating behavioral changes since she left the WWE, including developing a drug addiction, which the company helped her treat in 2010.
She alleges she suffers depression, anxiety, memory loss, and migraine headaches, all of which have been associated with CTE, a disease that can only be diagnosed through a postmortem autopsy.
The physical toll from her WWE career, Massaro alleges, also included a hairline fracture of her spine, two herniated disks, and an ankle fracture that required the insertion of a five-inch metal plate to repair.
A knuckle on her right hand also was shattered. Massaro asserts that WWE chief executive Vince McMahon ordered a backstage crew to saw the cast off her hand several weeks before it was scheduled to be removed so she could perform in an event that night.