When former WWE wrestling star Chris "The Masterpiece" Masters learned his mother was stuck inside her burning Los Angeles home with an apparently deranged man he went into "hero mode" to rescue her, he told ABCNews.com today.
The 6-foot-4, 265 pound wrestling star "bear-hugged" a 10-foot ficus tree standing in the way of the window to his mom's room and wrenched it out of the way so he and police could break the window and pull his mom to safety.
"It's not really a tree that's meant to come down but basically I gave it a bear hug and got the tree down," Masters, 30, told ABCNews.com. "I told the police officers, 'Break the windows. Break the windows. My mom is in this room and we've got to get her out.'"
Masters, whose real name is Chris Mordetzky, called 911 around 6 p.m. Tuesday after receiving a phone call from a neighbor about suspicious activity at the Los Angeles apartment that his mother, Diane Mordetzky, 57, shares with his uncle, Leo Taliaferro.
The suspect, whom his mother knew, had barricaded Mordetzky inside her bedroom and barricaded himself behind the apartment's front door with furniture and a deadbolt.
Taliaferro and Masters, who now wrestles internationally after a 10-year career with the WWE, tried to talk down the neighbor through the front door.
"He started going into this weird thing that he's her son and she's my mom now," Masters recalled. "Once I heard that he was talking that madness I knew he had a problem. I was scared."
When police arrived they surrounded the apartment and the suspect, whom Masters knows only as a man named Daniel, threatened to start a fire and blow up the apartment. Shortly after, smoke began seeping out from under the door.
"I'm like screw this," Masters said. "I move into action, probably because it was my mom in the house and I thought, 'Every second that goes by, why are we just waiting here?'"
"If you saw what I saw coming out the front door, it was crazy," he said. "The police officers were kind of hesitant and it was like I started quarterbacking the whole thing. I went into hero mode."
Masters pulled down the tree's branches while police smashed open the two windows into his mother's bedroom. He and an officer then pulled his mother to safety.
"If it wasn't for my son I would be dead," said Mordetzky, who escaped the fire with no injuries and is staying with her son in Culver City, Calif.
Masters, who says he's "never loved my mom anymore than the moment when she popped out of that window," suffered cuts to his arms, but says what he did is nothing.
"You're not really reasonable, especially when it comes to your mom," he said. "It was probably the longest hour of my life. The main thing is I got my mom out safe."
Police arrested the suspect, according to a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department. Three police officers were also injured in the incident, the spokesperson said. One was taken to a hospital for smoke inhalation, while the other two were treated and released for unspecified injuries.
Masters says the suspect was on the verge of being evicted and was facing a restraining order from his wife.
"I think he was a guy who had reached rock bottom," Masters said.