Wrestling Deaths

 If you have not heard in the news this week, another Pro Wrestling death occurred.  During the weekend of June 23, 2007, Chris Benoit, 40, committed suicide but also took the lives of his wife and 7-year-old son.  As horrible as the details are of this murder/suicide, the other issue that many people are missing is the amount of deaths that have occurred in the Goldberg - WWEwrestling industry. 

This year alone, eight former or active WWE superstars have passed away.  And since 1985, 96 wrestlers have died before the age of 65.  Yeah 96!  What a staggering number.  No other entertainment or sport industry can boast the morality rate that pro wresting has. 

So what is the cause behind all these deaths?  Eric Cohen at About.com brings up several factors that contribute to this high mortality rate - recreational drug use, steroids, overdoses of pain killers, large bodies (extra weight that causes cardiovascular issues) accidents and old age.

Should there be the creation of an oversight board that regulates the industry or some sort of government intervention from either the state or federal level that helps prevent any more deaths?  Maybe pro wrestling needs to apply for a license to operate in each state they perform in like boxing.  This directive would be one good way to regulate or police an industry that fails to police itself.

What should be done?  I would like to hear you opinions on this. 

Famous Wrestlers that have died since 1985 before the age of 65

  1. Chris Von Erich – 21
  2. Mike Von Erich – 21
  3. Louie Spiccoli – 27
  4. Art Barr – 28
  5. Gino Hernandez – 29
  6. Jay Youngblood – 30
  7. Rick McGraw – 30
  8. Joey Marella – 30
  9. Ed Gatner – 31
  10. Buzz Sawyer – 32
  11. Crash Holly – 32
  12. Kerry Von Erich – 33
  13. D.J. Peterson – 33
  14. Eddie Gilbert – 33
  15. The Renegade – 33
  16. Owen Hart – 33
  17. Chris Candido – 33
  18. Adrian Adonis – 34
  19. Gary Albright – 34
  20. Bobby Duncum Jr. – 34
  21. Yokozuma – 34
  22. Big Dick Dudley – 34
  23. Brian Pillman – 35
  24. Marianna Komlos – 35
  25. Pitbull #2 – 36
  26. The Wall/Malice – 36
  27. Leroy Brown – 38
  28. Mark Curtis – 38
  29. Eddie Guerrero – 38
  30. Davey Boy Smith – 39
  31. Johnny Grunge – 39
  32.   Vivian Vachon – 40
  33. Jeep Swenson – 40
  34. Brady Boone – 40
  35. Terry Gordy – 40
  36. Bertha Faye – 40
  37. Billy Joe Travis – 40
  38. Chris Benoit – 40
  39. Larry Cameron – 41
  40. Rick Rude – 41
  41. Randy Anderson – 41
  42. Bruiser Brody – 42
  43. Miss Elizabeth – 42
  44. Big Boss Man – 42
  45. Earthquake – 42
  46. Mike Awesome – 42
  47. Ray Candy – 43
  48. Nancy Benoit (Woman) – 43
  49. Brian “Crush” Williams – 44
  50. Dino Bravo – 44
  51. Curt Hennig – 44
  52. Bam Bam Bigelow -40
  53. Jerry Blackwell – 45
  54. Junkyard Dog – 45
  55. Hercules – 45
  56. Andre the Giant – 46
  57. Big John Studd – 46
  58. Chris Adams – 46
  59. Mike Davis – 46
  60. Hawk – 46
  61. Dick Murdoch -49
  62. Jumbo Tsuruta – 49
  63. Rocco Rock – 49
  64. Sherri Martel – 49
  65. Moondog Spot – 51
  66. Ken Timbs – 53
  67. Uncle Elmer – 54
  68. Pez Whatley – 54
  69. Eddie Graham – 55
  70. Tarzan Tyler – 55
  71. Haystacks Calhoun – 55
  72. Giant Haystacks – 55
  73. The Spoiler – 56
  74. Kurt Von Hess – 56
  75. Moondog King – 56
  76. Gene Anderson – 58
  77. Dr. Jerry Graham – 58
  78. Bulldog Brown – 58
  79. Tony Parisi – 58
  80. Rufus R Jones – 60
  81. Ray Stevens – 60
  82. Stan Stasiak – 60
  83. Terry Garvin – 60
  84. Boris Malenko – 61
  85. Little Beaver – 61
  86. Sapphire – 61
  87. Shohei Baba – 61
  88. Dick the Bruiser – 62
  89. Wilbur Snyder – 62
  90. George Cannon – 62
  91. Karl Krupp – 62
  92. Dale Lewis – 62
  93. Gorilla Monsoon – 62
  94. Hiro Matsuda – 62
  95. Bad News Brown – 63
  96. Bulldog Brower – 63
  97. Wahoo McDaniel – 63

35 responses to “Wrestling Deaths

  1. Drug use, steroids, overdoses of pain killers are the prime cause of unnatural deaths among the professional athletes.

    Definetly wrestling needs to be regulated.

    Vote for this story at http://www.bestofindya.com/news/story.php?title=Wrestling_Deaths__%AB_My_Observations

  2. The first thing I will point out in this seemingly endless & bizarre list of deaths in this business
    is that not one of those mentioned above had reached retirement age of 65 years !
    And furthermore there must have been benefits somewhere if & when they did reach retirement age
    I just wonder who are the beneficiary’s to these benefits? The Employers? the family?WHO???
    whom holds the insurance policies on these professional Athletes?????
    JUST THINK ABOUT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m not saying or making any accusations toward any one BUT PLEASE THINK ABOUT IT!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Yeah, I agree. There are too many bazaar deaths of these pro wrestlers, but who is actually responsible? They are all grown men and women who choose to take steroids,choose to take pain killers, become addicted to both and then choose to die. whaddya think, should someone else be held responsible?

  4. It’s also very interesting the WWE has come out to declare the Benoit incident wasn’t “roid rage.” How do they know? Didn’t realize WWE officials had secret lives as medical examiners and psychologists!

    Sounds like they are protecting their own interests. After all, steroids are their bread and butter.

  5. I find it quite intersting that the WWE celibrated the life of the this wack out roid head Benoit in a 3 hr special on USA Network… Yeah, roids are not in the WWE and neither are they in baseball – LOL!

  6. As far as insurance, check out the indie circuit. A lot of these young guys don’t even have health insurance let alone life insurance.

  7. “What should be done? I would like to hear you opinions on this. ”

    Nothing. This is a business where the competitors know what they are getting into. Steroid use is a choice many- but not most- wrestlers make. Why? Because it is the fast track to fame. We don’t need to protect grown men from their own poor choices.

    Regarding the involvement of steroids in this incidence. I for one will wait and see how the toxicology reports come out.

  8. I would agree that steroids is choice, but like any choice it must be viewed if it legal or not in our society. If these men are breaking the law then intervention is need by either on a Local, State, or Federal level. This intervention would include all sports and entertainment.

  9. Even though these are grown men and make their own decisions, I think wrestlers are bing pushed to using steroids, they obviously need to be big to make it in this career, and well this is the way they make money. Wrestling should be regulated just like any other sport. Too many deaths.

  10. All sports abuse steroids and other drugs.

    Regulation is a joke. PR to fool the public–who do NOT want to know how these sausages are made. Blind eyes and deaf ears.

    Just be violent on camera—not off.

    They all dope.

  11. These guys should be role models, not drug addicted criminals! They are in a position to make the world a much better place and instead make excuses why they need to do drugs. I have been doing natural bodybuilding for 20 + years since high school. Hope you get a chance to check out my site @ BrianChulik.com I am passionate about that premise and even included a chapter on it in my book I published…it is a shameless plug :-) but something I truly believe in. Hope you get a chance to check out the site and book. Hope these athletes start to accept responsibility instead of always trying to achieve despite the cost to NOT ONLY THEMSELVES, BUT ON OTHERS AS WELL!!!

  12. Of the 96 list how many died by accident, Owen Hart etc, list by disease such as aids, list by causes such as obesity then see what number remains due to drugs.

  13. its a shame theres not going to be any wrestlers from the 80′ early 90′

  14. Pingback: Another Dead Wrestler « My Observations

  15. You all need to remember Pro. Wrestling is a Sports-ENTERTAINMENT not a sport which can be regulated by a committee or Governing Body E.G if the WWE doesn’t accept a wrestler due to drug intake TNA and other federations can. They are Athleates yes but also entertainers, and like celebrity musicians and actors do crazy things. They are all still just people too.

  16. Joshua,

    You point is well taken, but these “Entertainers” are using these drugs illegally which does cause for and warrett Goverment intervention from a law enforcement or regulation. Same can be said with pro sports…isn’t pro sports ENTERTAIMNET?

  17. I know there are docs out there that are perscribing steroids and pain killers. Why the heck are they not being held accountable as well? I watched as my brother in law, Jeep Swenson slowly fell apart due to these drugs. (in large amounts)

  18. Most of these guys were not even wrestling when they died. It is not WWE fault if they did not die in the ring or even when they were with the company. Most of them were car crashes, suicide, diabetes, heart attacks (from old age). How is that WWE fault. If i left me job and 5-10 years later i died they would not say it was my job fault . We need to stop blaming WWE and look at the wrestlers. About 50% is their (the wrestlers) fault and 30 % is a accident not related to WWE and 20 % is the WWE fault.

  19. K.Spratt – you have some good points. How many other jobs in the work force where breaking Federal Drugs law are encouraged and are responsible for 20% of the deaths their former employess suffer? That is a pretty high number…

  20. I am not excusing anything that they did. These are grown men and women. We need to look at who really forced these drugs down there throat. Do we include the Faboulous Moohlah too on this list. How long after they stop wrestling are they suppose to be liable. May she rest in peace.

  21. FUDGE, WHY DOES CHRIS HAS TO LEAVE THIS WORLD.FUDGE STERIODS

  22. You have more names on that list then what should be. First, the head line is ‘Famous wrestlers’. Not all these on the list are ‘famous’. Second, if this list is to point the finger at steroids then there are a lot who should not be on this list. There are wrestlers on this list who died in car crashes, suicide, and other natural causes.

    Yes, there are deaths in pro wrestling related to drugs/steroids but this list should not be used as a why to point that out.

    1. Chris Von Erich – 21 Suicide
    2. Mike Von Erich – 21 Suicide
    3. Louie Spiccoli – 27
    4. Art Barr – 28
    5. Gino Hernandez – 29
    6. Jay Youngblood – 30
    7. Rick McGraw – 30
    8. Joey Marella – 30 Car Crash
    9. Ed Gatner – 31
    10. Buzz Sawyer – 32
    11. Crash Holly – 32
    12. Kerry Von Erich – 33Suicide
    13. D.J. Peterson – 33 Motorcycle Accident
    14. Eddie Gilbert – 33
    15. The Renegade – 33 Suicide
    16. Owen Hart – 33 Fell to his death
    17. Chris Candido – 33 Blood clot
    18. Adrian Adonis – 34 Car Crash
    19. Gary Albright – 34
    20. Bobby Duncum Jr. – 34
    21. Yokozuma – 34 Heart Attack
    22. Big Dick Dudley – 34
    23. Brian Pillman – 35
    24. Marianna Komlos – 35 Cancer
    25. Pitbull #2 – 36
    26. The Wall/Malice – 36
    27. Leroy Brown – 38
    28. Mark Curtis – 38 Cancer
    29. Eddie Guerrero – 38
    30. Davey Boy Smith – 39
    31. Johnny Grunge – 39
    32. Vivian Vachon – 40 Car Accident
    33. Jeep Swenson – 40
    34. Brady Boone – 40 Car Accident
    35. Terry Gordy – 40
    36. Bertha Faye – 40
    37. Billy Joe Travis – 40
    38. Chris Benoit – 40
    39. Larry Cameron – 41
    40. Rick Rude – 41
    41. Randy Anderson – 41 Cancer
    42. Bruiser Brody – 42 Murder
    43. Miss Elizabeth – 42
    44. Big Boss Man – 42
    45. Earthquake – 42Cancer
    46. Mike Awesome – 42
    47. Ray Candy – 43
    48. Nancy Benoit (Woman) – 43
    49. Brian “Crush” Williams – 44
    50. Dino Bravo – 44 Gun shot
    51. Curt Hennig – 44
    52. Bam Bam Bigelow -40
    53. Jerry Blackwell – 45 complications from pneumonia
    54. Junkyard Dog – 45 Car Accident
    55. Hercules – 45
    56. Andre the Giant – 46 Natural Causes
    57. Big John Studd – 46 Hodgkins
    58. Chris Adams – 46 Gun Shot
    59. Mike Davis – 46
    60. Hawk – 46
    61. Dick Murdoch -49
    62. Jumbo Tsuruta – 49 Transplant complications
    63. Rocco Rock – 49
    64. Sherri Martel – 49
    65. Moondog Spot – 51
    66. Ken Timbs – 53 Cardiomyopathy
    67. Uncle Elmer – 54 Diabetic Complications
    68. Pez Whatley – 54
    69. Eddie Graham – 55 Suicide
    70. Tarzan Tyler – 55
    71. Haystacks Calhoun – 55 Diabetes
    72. Giant Haystacks – 55 Cancer
    73. The Spoiler – 56
    74. Kurt Von Hess – 56
    75. Moondog King – 56
    76. Gene Anderson – 58
    77. Dr. Jerry Graham – 58
    78. Bulldog Brown – 58
    79. Tony Parisi – 58
    80. Rufus R Jones – 60
    81. Ray Stevens – 60
    82. Stan Stasiak – 60
    83. Terry Garvin – 60
    84. Boris Malenko – 61 Cancer
    85. Little Beaver – 61 emphysema
    86. Sapphire – 61 Hear Attack
    87. Shohei Baba – 61 Cancer
    88. Dick the Bruiser – 62
    89. Wilbur Snyder – 62 Cancer
    90. George Cannon – 62 Cancer
    91. Karl Krupp – 62
    92. Dale Lewis – 62
    93. Gorilla Monsoon – 62 Natural Causes
    94. Hiro Matsuda – 62 Cancer
    95. Bad News Brown – 63
    96. Bulldog Brower – 63
    97. Wahoo McDaniel – 63 diabetes

  23. there should be more strict control from goverment to all wrestling bodies/organisations

  24. I agree with wayne, but 16 was a result of what the wwe wanted him to do also. So it is WWE fault for not securing Owen.

  25. Plus, most of these wrestlers did when they was old 60 is not young. I believe once you leave the WWE they are not responsible for you. Unless you die within a couple of months leaving , not years.

  26. If WWE is not responsible, then I guess the NFL isn’t either. So, I guess Mike Ditka is wrong by lobbing for benfits from the NFL for former players. Since they are no longer playing, I guess they are on their own.

  27. Benefits yes. Just like any other job. But, holding the WWE or the NFL accountable for deaths that happened way after no. I used to work for CVS. So if something happened to me now are they going to say it is there fault.

  28. K. Spratt,

    Maybe the NFL was not the best example. How bout mining for coal. A miner retires and ends up years later with black lung. Is the employeer responsible or subsitute any high risk job or hazard in here?

  29. I said long afterwards. Some jobs should have it and some should not. If they develop cancer 20 years later are they still responsible. Come on.

  30. Sabastian Dupuis

    It is interesting to find that someone on here gave only half of the story to make the WWE look bad. Yes they did air a 3 hour special for Chris Benoits death but that was before they had figured out what was actually wrong. IF you would have paid attention to another episode of raw Vinbce mcmahon came out himself and said that all mentions of chris benoit will not be aired his merchandise was to be taken off of shelves immediately

  31. Look guys, yes Vince is some what to blame.
    You are too! You want the pumped up guys,
    the ecw/tna high risk moves.
    Even what I’m doing right now killed k’fabe!
    We all are to blame becauce we watch, wanted more, and paid money night after night to see and more,
    And back in 97 I was the worst, town to town in the south, ECW every PPV, Ohio, R.I,N.J.,
    Lots of FF Miles,
    I Pushed Myself!
    And I was a fan .
    Vince has a job, he’s the boss,
    If we need to do something it all starts here becauce it’s our money that pays all the bills, and some of us have been around for a long long time.
    And Vince will Listen.
    kevin

  32. i love wrestling but most wrestlers are crack heads

  33. I spent 4 years in the indy’s trying to make a name for myself. I was (allegedly trained) by none other than Buzz Sawyers younger brother Brett. As a result I spend an hour getting out of bed every morning. most of the people I made as friends I have been to their funerals. Among the people I have personally wrestled who are now dead are Bruiser Brian Cox, Louie Spicolli, and Renegade. I was sold steroids by the people who trained me nd had control over my career. I have seen wrestlers (well known to all) and even a WWE hall of famer actually paid in Soma (muscle relaxent) for their appearance. By the way this is the same drug which combined with wine killed Louie Spicolli. There will continue to be deaths as long as the people in control (The Vince’s) supply the drugs that kill. Does anybody remember 20 years ago when Vince was a ninety pound weakling calling matches with gorrilla. If you dont think he has used steroids think again. Enjoy every match you watch as it may be the last you ever see your favorite in.

  34. Wow Al M, thank you for the insight in world a lot of us are not privy too. I had no idea the extent of the depth of drugs played in wrestling. The statement that a former WWE was paid Soma just floors me…wow! I would also agree that the “Great” Vince McMann had to be juicing over the years. To turn into a small man in the 80’s to now this 60+ year old Hulk is unbelievable. Thanks again for your great commentary and insight.

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