Eight Memorable Tragedies in the World of Wrestling
Wrestling is a dangerous sport (or form of entertainment, depending on how you want to look at it). The wrestlers themselves are at risk inside the ring and even outside the ring with everything that they do to their bodies. Over the years, there are going to be tragedies that happen and fans and non-fans alike are going to talk about them. Here are some of the most memorable wrestling tragedies that have occurred in the last couple decades.
Death of Andre the Giant
Just like any sport, athletes die all the time. But no death in the world of wrestling is as memorable as that of Andre the Giant. Andre was one of the most recognizable and loved wrestlers in the entire industry. His unique size made him a force to be reckoned with for any wrestler. But Andre suffered from a medical condition called acromegaly. This condition caused his growth hormone to be out of whack, which is why he was so large. Andre died of a heart attack (of which acromegaly was partially responsible) in 1993. He passed away shortly after his father died. It was Andre’s death that prompted the WWE to create a Hall of Fame. Of course, Andre the Giant was the first inductee.
Droz Gets Paralyzed
Anyone who says wrestling is fake needs to step in the ring and see how difficult it really is. Wrestlers get hurt all the time. Fortunately, they don’t normally get hurt as badly as Droz did in 1999. He was wrestling D-Lo Brown in a match and when D-Lo went to power bomb the former team member of the Denver Broncos, he slipped on a wet spot and dropped Droz the wrong way. This caused Droz to fracture two discs in his neck and he has been paralyzed from the neck down since then.
Owen Hart’s Accident
Few tragedies are as memorable as the Owen Hart accident in 1999. He was going to come to the ring dressed as his current persona – the Blue Blazer. He was supposed to come down from the ceiling on a cable. Unfortunately, something went wrong with the apparatus and he plunged down to the ring from the rafters. He landed chest first onto a turnbuckle. Medical personnel rushed him to the hospital, but he was pronounced dead when he got there. Despite the tragedy, the show went on and only the audience viewing from home knew that Owen Hart had died at the time.
Chris Benoit’s Murder/Suicide Tirade
This incident was truly tragic because it not only involved a wrestler, but it involved his entire family. It’s one thing when a wrestler abuses his body with drugs, steroids and the constant beating that they take. But Chris Benoit brutally killed his wife and son one night before killing himself. Many people claim that this was a result of the steroids that he was taking. Regardless of the cause, this was one of the most tragic events in the whole world of wrestling.
Bruiser Brody Killed in Locker Room
It isn’t every day that an employee of a company gets killed by his boss, but that’s what happened to Bruiser Brody in 1988. Frank Donald Goodish, a.k.a. Bruiser Brody, got into a scuffle with Jose Gonzalez, a wrestling booker and fellow wrestler, in a Puerto Rico locker room just minutes before Brody’s match with Dan Spivey. Gonzalez stabbed Brody in the stomach. An ambulance was called but it did not arrive for over 45 minutes. In that time, the crime scene was corrupted and the fatal weapon was hidden. Brody died later and Gonzalez was charged with first-degree murder. However, he was acquitted on all counts because he claimed he was simply trying to defend himself.
Junkyard Dog Car Accident
The Junkyard Dog was one of the most enigmatic and recognizable figures in the 1980s WWE. Though his persona probably wouldn’t stand up against the political correctness of today, he was cheered by the fans every time he came down to the ring. And who can forget about his singing debut on “The Wrestling Album” singing “Grab Them Cakes”? But his life after retiring from wrestling was cut rather short when he got into a car accident on the way to see his daughter’s graduation.
Death of Miss Elizabeth
The ex-wife of Randy “Macho Man” Savage was one of the most memorable valets in the wrestling industry. She brought a touch of class to the sport before the “Divas” and “Knockouts” were even thought of. Many people reading this article will even remember seeing her and Randy Savage have their wedding in the ring in front of thousands of fans. But in 2003, while at the home of former wrestler Lex Luger, she overdosed on a lethal combination of pain killers and alcohol. What made the shocking news even more shocking was the fact that Luger was arrested for domestic abuse charges for assaulting her just a few weeks prior to the incident.
Death of Randy “Macho Man” Savage
One of the more surprising and tragic deaths in the world of wrestling happened in 2011 when Randy “Macho Man” Savage had a heart attack behind the wheel of his vehicle and had a head-on collision with a tree. He didn’t survive the incident and many wrestling fans mourned when they found out this news. He was only 58 years old and had just retired from the wrestling business a few years earlier. His new wife, Lynn, was also in the vehicle but she only suffered minor injuries.
Fans of wrestling mourn whenever they hear about a death of a beloved wrestling star. Oftentimes, the death of a wrestler strikes us as being extremely tragic because many fans look to these people as being superhuman, even immortal in nature. Many of them are like the heroes of Greek mythology and others are just heroes that we want to emulate. Either way, these are tragedies that tend to stick in our memories for many, many years to come.
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