Wrestlers are professionally trained athletes. They work for years to become as good as they are at what they do, but none of this training prepares them for a fight that they could be having with themselves.
Many athletes pick up health problems following the end of their career, but an unlucky few have actually come down with illness while still being active on the wrestling circuit. Many wrestlers have passed away in recent years and the WWE Universe has mourned the loss to the circuit as a whole and said goodbye to some of the biggest stars of the business.
The problem with illness and wrestling is the fact that the two do not go hand in hand. It isn’t a job that anyone can perform if they are at any less than one hundred percent. Wrestling is a forgiving sport though and the WWE Universe are always behind any wrestler who is struck down with illness regardless of whether or not they are still on WWE TV on a weekly basis.
The following list of Superstars were all sadly diagnosed with cancer, one of the illnesses that almost every person in the world has been exposed to either through a family member or themselves. Cancer is something that needs to be fought in a different way than a wrestling match and sadly no one is ever prepared for that.
Luckily this is a list of stars who managed to defeat the disease much like it was just another opponent. These stars have proved that they have the strength to take on the disease and come out on top.
15. Michelle McCool
The current wife of WWE Superstar and legend The Undertaker, Michelle McCool was only diagnosed with skin cancer earlier this year. Michelle posted on Instagram that she had gone to have some routine moles removed and one of them turned out to be cancerous.
Luckily Michelle got the appropriate treatment and is now said to be cancer free. The former WWE Divas Champion has been seen out and about with her husband over the past few months looking well and preparing herself for her husband’s WrestleMania return (the yearly spectacle where her husband is the most sought after opponent). Michelle was one of SmackDown’s biggest attractions while she was still wrestling, but decided to retire after she lost the match that held that stipulation back in 2011.
14. Roddy Piper
The late, great ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper had become one of the best-known wrestlers in the world before his death last year. Piper had survived stabbings, a plane crash, and even cancer before he sadly passed away following a heart attack last year.
It was made public knowledge that Piper was battling Lymphoma back in 2006 and the entire WWE Universe backed the Legend. It was announced a few years later that Piper had beaten his cancer and even made many appearances on WWE TV following this news before he was taken suddenly in the summer of 2015. (The eerie thing about Piper’s death is that he actually predicted that he would not survive to a certain age.) Piper is considered by many to be the greatest heel in WWE history.
13. Jim Duggan
‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan has become a household name following an incredible career with WWE, but his career could have been cut much shorter than it actually was. Back in 1998 Duggan announced that he had been diagnosed with kidney cancer.
Duggan took time away from WWE so that he could recover and receive the appropriate treatment and then returned to the company when it was said that he had successfully beaten his cancer. Duggan then went on to have a lengthy career with WWE following his time away and is still a healthy WWE legend right now. Duggan was last seen as part of the GFW roster earlier this year. As we know, Duggan is currently living a healthy and happy life as a WWE legend.
12. Kris Travis
Kris Travis could be a somewhat controversial addition to this list, but the British Superstar was heading towards a career with one of the top wrestling companies until he was struck down with the disease back in October 2014.
Travis was forced to come away from the sport and drop out of TNA British Bootcamp in order to recover from the illness. Travis overcame stomach cancer following surgery and returned to wrestling in 2015 where he picked up the Tag Team Championship with his Project Ego partner Martin Kirby. Sadly his cancer returned and Travis was once again forced to walk away from wrestling. He retired in late 2015 and sadly passed away back in March.
11. Adrian Street
The ‘Exotic’ Adrian Street was an ex-miner who became a sadist in sequins during British Wrestling’s glory days. The former South Wales wrestler was talking about making a musical about his life in the good old days of the sport at 75-years-old. British Wrestling has been through so many changes since these days, and it would be interesting to see his story on the stage.
Adrian recently revealed that he had survived an incredible battle with throat cancer earlier in his career which he thought was caused by the amount of smoke he had inhaled when he was performing many years before. Street was a flamboyant character in the 1970s and one of the first of his kind of performer in the days of Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks.