Being a professional wrestler is one of the toughest jobs in the world. Above that, is being a parent. Couple both of these things together and you have the makings for a difficult family life. Other sports have offseasons, while families of players normally live in the cities where they play. Even though Major League Baseball is 162 games, the players still play half their games at home, have days off, and can go home at night. Professional wrestlers, especially WWE Superstars, are constantly on the road with no downtime. There is no offseason in wrestling and that can make seeing their family difficult.
For years, it was easy to give into peer pressure while traveling as a professional wrestler. Downtime was pretty much riding in a car. Plenty of competitors would resort to drugs and alcohol during this time. Communication was limited as cell phones were not owned by a majority of people and service would have been spotty. Wrestlers only chances to communicate with loved ones would be at a hotel or a pay phone. This would create distance, as it is easier now for wrestlers to keep up with their families. Social media, emails, and cell phones with video capabilities help provide the family communication that is needed. This is why you see less problems with wrestlers today on the main stage.
Our list goes over the top 10 tragic stories of wrestlers and their children. We based this list on historical family issues or events that have occurred over the years.
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10 Davey Boy Smith
The British Bulldog had a wife and two children when he passed away in 2002. While his son, Harry, would get into the same business his dad did. In early 2000, his wife would divorce Smith with shared custody being provided. He entered drug rehab at the expense of Vince McMahon due to his issues with prescription painkillers, though he also had issues with morphine and steroids. Sadly, when Smith would get himself together, he passed away shortly after competing in some tag matches with his son, as he was attempting a comeback.
9 Kevin Nash
Kevin Nash's son, Tristen, is 18 years old. On Christmas Eve of last year, an altercation occurred between the two. Being under the legal age for alcohol, Tristen was intoxicated during the incident. According to the police report, Nash allegedly took his son to the ground after Tristen spit in his face. Nash would not be ruled the primary aggressor in this situation, as no charges were filed. Underage drinking and getting into a fight with your father on Christmas makes for a depressing story.
8 “Tough” Tony Borne
Tony Borne was an accomplished wrestler during the 50s and 60s in the Pacific Northwest. He ended up in the real estate business after retirement. There’s not much information involving the personal life of “Tough” Tony Borne, however something sadly went wrong with his son Matt, better known as Doink the Clown. Matt would suffer for years with drug and alcohol addiction, before he would accidentally overdose and pass away. It's always tragic when a father barely outlives their son, as three years after Tony passed, Matt passed.
7 The Iron Sheik
Born and raised a true athlete, The Iron Sheik made his move to America and jumped into professional wrestling. He was raised on Greco-Roman wrestling and even instilled this with his daughters in their household. Unfortunately, in May 2003, his daughter Marissa would sadly be murdered by her boyfriend. She was only 27 years old at the time of her passing. His intent was to exact revenge during the trial, but was convinced otherwise by one of his other daughters, as she didn't want to lose her father as he had lost her sister. He decided there that he'd kick his substance addiction.
6 Ric Flair
Styling and profiling was made famous by Ric Flair in the 1980s. Flair has been in four different marriages to date and he has children from his first two. David and Reid Flair would eventually become professional wrestlers, as David was heavily televised on WCW in the late 1990s. Charlotte is also his daughter and she is currently on the main roster as the the Divas Champion. Unfortunately, Reid Flair did not see the best of times. Arrests were a common occurrence and he would eventually succumb to his addictions and pass away from overdose. No father wants to outlive their son, especially under such conditions.
5 Stu Hart
The contributions of Stu Hart to wrestling are unmatched. Having twelve children that mostly went on to wrestle or to have an involvement in the industry is almost unmatched by any family. He trained numerous wrestlers over the years including Fritz Von Erich, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Edge, and many other big names. He put wrestling in Canada on the map. One of his son’s, Owen, was one of the most popular wrestlers of the mid 1990s. Owen was given a terrible character known as the Blue Blazer. He was to be lowered to the ring during a non-major pay-per-view in 1999. Sadly, the quick release mechanism triggered early, causing Owen to fall to his death. This was not shown during the broadcast, as there was a video being shown and the arena was dark. Jim Ross would later announce the death during the broadcast and the audience at the arena were not told. The event would continue, even though the death occurred. This is one of the most tragic and terrible ways to find out about your son's passing.
4 Pedro “Perro” Aguayo
There isn’t anything bigger in Mexico than lucha libre wrestling. Aztec Lucha Hall of Famer Perro Aguayo had a son who wrestled for twenty years known as El Hijo del Perro Aguayo. Tragedy stuck during a match with renowned wrestler Rey Mysterio. He would suffer a blow to his throat via a dropkick from Mysterio and would lay motionless in the ropes for at least two more minutes before others realized something was wrong. He passed away shortly after. Mysterio would be arrested and be investigated by prosecutors. It would be ruled an unfortunate accident. These stunts are practiced all the time, but things still go bad. As mentioned with other entries on this list, it's always tragic when a father outlives their children, especially while watching them follow in their footsteps.
3 Chris Benoit
The tragedy of Chris Benoit is one of the worst things in the history of sports. Benoit was married twice and had two children with his first wife, Martina. They would divorce and he would marry his second wife, Nancy. She would file for divorce and a restraining order from Benoit in 2013. Four years later, the tragic incident, which doesn't need repeating, happened and doctors later proved he had incurred severely bad brain damage over his years of wrestling. His son, Daniel, was only seven years old when he passed away.
Kamala was a big name during the 1980s for the WWE. He would compete against Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan, and Jake “The Snake” Roberts. He was portrayed as an Ugandan cannibal and normally grunted during promos. However, he would see more than his fair share of tragedy in his life. His real name is James Harri, and he currently is on nightly dialysis for diabetes, as he has lost both of his legs. Sadly, the tragedy doesn't end there for him. Frist, he lost his father when he was four years old, before he would eventually lose his mother, sister, and his son, who passed away due to AIDS.
1 Fritz Von Erich
The Von Erich family is full of tradition and tragedy. Fritz Von Erich (Jack Adkisson is his real name) began wrestling during the 1950s as he was trained by Stu Hart. He would go on to get married and have six kids. Fritz lived to be the age of 68 and died in 1997 of lung cancer. However, five of his six sons would perish before he did. His youngest passed due to a tragic accident at a very young age. David Von Erich would die of acute enteritis of the upper intestine. His other three sons, Michael, Chris, and Kerry would all take their own lives.
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