Throughout the history of professional wrestling, so many names have come and gone. While some wrestlers like Hulk Hogan, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and The Rock have become household names, a great deal of wrestlers have been lost in the sands of time. While these wrestlers may have been forgotten by most fans, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve some recognition for their contribution to the wrestling business.
Each wrestler on this list was relevant at some point during their careers, but their run in the spotlight eventually ended. While they may have been forgotten in the minds of wrestling fans, their lives still had to go on. Some of the people on this list couldn’t handle life outside of the limelight, and they would end up going into a deep depression, relying on drugs and alcohol to get by. The abuse on their bodies is what ultimately caused most of these wrestlers to end up on this list. Not all of the wrestlers earned a spot on this list because of bad life choices, a few just sadly pulled the short straw when it comes to health problems.
Here are 15 forgotten wrestlers you might not have realized passed away.
15. The Zombie
In 2006, the WWE brought back ECW as a third brand extension. There was a great deal of skepticism about how the WWE would pay homage to the legendary promotion. The WWE decided to try and pull of prank of sorts by having the first ever match include a wrestler whose gimmick was that of a zombie, a gimmick that would have got laughed out of the arena in the old ECW days. The Zombie, as the character was simply named, made it’s way slowly to the ring and grabbed a mic and started to hilarious moan for a minute. Thankfully The Sandman showed up and caned the crap out of The Zombie and pinned him in ten seconds.
Tim Roberts, who played The Zombie, wouldn’t have another match in the WWE, but he still used the zombie gimmick on the independent circuit. The last couple matches of his career were actually against Marty Wright, who WWE fans know as The Boogeyman. It’s safe to say that would be an interesting match to witness. It turns out Roberts wasn’t actually a zombie, as he sadly passed away of unknown causes on January 7, 2015 at the age of 38.
14. Al Green
Al Green made his professional wrestling debut in 1990 as part the WCW tag team The Master Blasters. Green’s tag team partner was named Steele, who later to became the man we know as Kevin Nash. While Nash went on to become one of the top guys in the business, Green didn’t do a whole lot during his career. After The Masters Blasters broke up, Green then became a part of the team called The Wrecking Crew. The team had a good push to start, but they ended up leaving WCW after just one year.
Green made his return to WCW in 1998 after a four-year hiatus. Although he did win a handful of matches, he was used mostly in a jobber role losing matches to the likes of Goldberg, Curt Henning, and Diamond Dallas Page. In 2000, Al Green was rebranded as The Dog, a character who had all the habits of a real dog, including drinking out of a toilet. It seemed like the gimmick was created just so he could have a match against Ernest ” The Cat” Miller. That is exactly what happened on an episode of Thunder when The Cat defeated The Dog. Green would pass away at the age of 58 in 2013, after battling numerous health problems in the last few years of his life.
13. Bertha Faye
Rhonda Sing was different than most other women wrestlers in her time. She wasn’t the fittest wrestler, but she used her unique build to create herself a solid career. Sing first began her career in Japan in 1979, where she was built as a monster-like character. Sing then took her talents to Calgary’s Stampede Wrestling where she became the promotion’s first ever Women’s Champion in 1987.
In 1995 she signed with the WWE to help their fledgling Women’s Division. She was given the heel character of Bertha Faye, who’s gimmick was that of someone who was simple minded and lived in a trailer park. Sing would actually go on to win the WWE Women’s Championship but only held the title for 57 days.
Sing was not happy with her role with the WWE, so she was granted her release in 1996. She returned to the spotlight in 1999 when she signed with WCW, but she was again misused as mostly comedic relief. Sing would pass away shortly later in 2001 from a heart attack at the age of forty.
12. Ludvig Borga
The Finnish native Tony Halme started his wrestling career in 1990 competing in New Japan Pro Wrestling. He wrestled for the promotion for three years capturing the IWGP Tag Team Championship when he and his partner Scott Norton defeated The Steiner Brothers. In 1993, Halme joined the WWE as Ludvig Borga, a heel Finn who was anti-American. Borga was given a huge push, squashing all of his initial opponents. He was then put into a main event feud with one of the WWE’s top baby face’s in Lex Luger. Borga then was given the job of being the person to end Tatanka’s near two-year undefeated streak.
After competing in the main event of Survivor Series, Halme unfortunately suffered an ankle injury that would ultimately end his big push. He not only left the WWE in 1994, but he left the wrestling business altogether. He then competed in MMA, with his one notable fight being a 56-second submission loss to Randy Couture. Halme then began a political career in Finland where he was known for his controversial remarks.
11. Battle Kat
Brady Boone had a fairly lengthy wrestling career, but he will always be remembered for his brief run in the WWE as Battle Kat. The gimmick was that of a man who wore colorful spandex with a cat mask. As dumb as the character might seem, Boone fitted the role pretty well as he was actually very “cat-like” with his quick movement in the ring. He actually got a pretty good push, winning most of his house show matches, but it wasn’t too long before the gimmick was scrapped.
Boone would go to wrestle for WCW from 1993-1994, but he didn’t make much of an impact during his time there. On December 15, 1998, he was involved in a fatal car accident on his way home from a WCW television taping. Although Boone wasn’t super successful during his career, he was a huge inspiration for Rob Van Dam. Boone was a fairly small in stature, similar to that of Van Dam. RVD was impressed by seeing the way Boone could move in the ring, and actually based his wrestling style after seeing what Boone was doing.
10. John Kronus
The Eliminators were one of the greatest tag teams in ECW History. The team was an almost unstoppable force, running right through their opponents. Their tag team finisher called Total Elimination, which was a spinning heel kick and leg sweep combination, was worth the price of admission. The team would go on to win the ECW Tag Team Championship on three different occasions. While it’s a well-known fact that one member of the Eliminators was Perry Saturn, the second member of the team John Kronus always played second fiddle.
Once Perry Saturn left ECW in 1997, Kronus tried his luck as a singles competitor with not a whole lot of success. He would eventually form a team with New Jack called The Gangstanators, where he would go on to add another tag team championship to his resume. Kronus would retire from full-time wrestling in 2001. On July 18, 2007, he was found dead in his fiancee’s home. His family had a history of heart problems so it wasn’t a huge shock to find out that he had died because of an enlarged heart.
9. The Renegade
The year was 1995, and Hulk Hogan was promising an “ultimate surprise” was coming to WCW. The fans were absolutely estatic about the possibility of The Ultimate Warrior coming to WCW. Unfortunately, all the fans got was an Ultimate Warrior ripoff named The Renegade who was played by the fairly inexperienced Richard Wilson. The Renegade was a carbon copy of the Warrior, from the face paint and long hair, to his high energy entrance.
The Renegade was immediately put into the spotlight as Hulk Hogan’s tag team partner. He would them be given Jimmy Hart as his manager and he would even go on to win the WCW Television Championship. The problem was that The Renegade was an even worse wrestler than The Ultimate Warrior. It wasn’t too long before the fans would turn on him. Wilson stayed off television for a year, before returning as The Renegade, but without the facepaint. The fans weren’t buying his new character and in 1998 he was released from WCW.
Wilson retired from wrestling after his firing from WCW. He became depressed about his failed wrestling career. He would sadly end his life with a self-inflicted gunshot to head on February 23, 1999. Wilson was just thirty-three years old at the time of his death
8. Hector Garza
While Hector Garza may have wrestled the majority of his matches in his native home of Mexico for promotions like CMLL and AAA, he did have some exposure in the United States too. Garza made his U.S debut for the WWE at the 1997 Royal Rumble in a Six-Man Tag Team match. The match was only a one time thing as the WWE and AAA had a working agreement at the time.
Garza then went to WCW as part of the incoming luchadors. He didn’t get much of a push in WCW besides an upset win over Scott Hall as well as being a member of the Latino World Order. Garza made his return to the U.S in 2004 when joined TNA. He had a brief but successful run as one of the leaders of Team Mexico. Garza’s run in the U.S was done for good in 2005 after he was deporting after being caught with steroids.
Garza would continue wrestling in Mexico until 2012 when it was revealed that he had lung cancer. In May of 2013, he succumbed to his illness. At the time of his death Garza was the Mexican National Heavyweight Champion, a belt that was retired by CMLL after his passing.
7. Brad Armstrong
Brad Armstong is probably most famous for being the son of “Bullet” Bob Armstrong and the brother of the Road Dogg, but he had a pretty successful career of his own. He began his wrestling career at the age of just 18 competing in the NWA. He became a multiple time NWA Tag Team Champion before he joined WCW in 1988. Armstrong would go on to wrestle for WCW until the company was bought out by the WWE in 2001. Armstrong was mostly used as a jobber during his time with the WCW. His most notable gimmick was Buzzkill, which was actually just a ripoff of WWE’s Road Dog character.
After wrestling on the independent scene for a few years , Armstrong signed with the WWE in 2006 to compete on the ECW brand. Armstrong would only wrestle on house shows, but he did make a couple appearances on the ECW commentary team. Armstrong would retire as an in-ring competitor, and instead took up a producing role with the WWE. On November 1, 2012, Armstrong died from a suspected heart attack. The legendary Jim Ross has described Armstong as “one of the most underrated all-time greats ever in the business”.
6. The Wall/Malice
Jerry Tuite had all the makings to have a very successful career in the wrestling business. He had the size at 6’10” and 340 lbs, and the talented Bam Bam Bigelow had made Tuite his personal project. After training at the WCW Powerplant, Tuite made his debut in 1999 as The Wall who was the bodyguard for Berlyn. The Wall was built as a monster who would leave a path of destruction everywhere he went. The Wall’s biggest feud during his time in WCW was actually against his mentor Bam Bam Bigelow.
When WCW was bought out by WWE, Tuite actually signed a developmental contract with Vince McMahon’s company, but he was shortly granted a release for personal reasons. Tuite would join TNA as Malice for their very first show in 2002. He unsuccessfully competed for the Heavyweight Championship on multiple occasions before heading to Japan in 2003.
On December 6, 2003, he was found dead in his hotel room in Japan after suffering a heart attack. He was just 36 years old.
5. Luna Vachon
Luna Vachon, who is from the famous Vachon wrestling family, wrestled for seven years all over North America before finally getting her big break with the WWE in 1993. She made her WWE debut at WrestleMania IX, accompanying the Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels. She would go on to have a long feud with Michaels’ former valet in Sensational Sherri. Luna would form a long-standing partnership with Bam Bigelow, that lasted until she left the WWE in 1994.
With the WWE now in the Attitude Era, the company felt the Luna character was perfect for the time, so they brought her back in 1997. Luna became the manager for Goldust, where they both became known for wearing outlandish outfits. Luna would then get into a heated feud with Sable, one that also carried on backstage. Luna didn’t think Sable put enough work in to deserve the big push she was getting. Luna would have multiple backstage outbursts because of things like this and she would eventually be released because of her attitude in 2000.
4. “Iron” Mike Sharpe
There aren’t a whole lot of wrestlers who can say they wrestled for over a decade in the WWE, but that is exactly what Mike Sharpe did from 1986 to 1995. Shape self-proclaimed himself as “Canada’s Best Athlete.” He was known for always wearing a brace on his arm which he would use as a weapon against his opponents. He was also known for his almost constant grunting and yelling throughout his matches.
Sharpe actually got a big push upon entering the WWE, with the legendary Captain Lou Albano as his manager. He would make quick work with jobber after jobber. His push ended after he lost a match against then WWE Heavyweight Champion Bob Backlund. Ironically Sharpe would become a jobber himself, arguably one of the most famous jobbers in wrestling history. Sharpe would wrestle his last match with the WWE in 1995, eventually retiring from the ring in 1997.
In 2007, he suffered a deep cut to his leg while landscaping. This cut became infected and would eventually lead him to be confined to a wheelchair. He was suffering from numerous health problems when he passed away in 2016 at the age of 64.
3. Sean O’Haire
Sean O’Haire was a product of the WCW Power Plant, making his debut with the company in 2000. He quickly joined the faction The Natural Born Thrillers, and would go on to win the WCW Tag Team Championship with Mark Jindrak. O’Haire would later team up with Chuck Palumbo and added another Tag Team Championship to his resume.
When WCW was bought out in 2001, the team of O’Haire and Palumbo came into the WWE as WCW Tag Team Champions. They would end up losing the titles to The Brothers of Destruction, before shortly splitting up. While Palumbo stayed on the main roster, O’Haire was sent down to OVW for more developing. He made his return to the main roster in 2003 with a new gimmick, The Devil’s Advocate. While the gimmick was unique and showed some promise, it was ultimately dropped before it really got started.
O’Haire was released by the WWE in 2004 and he spent the next couple of years wrestling on the independent scene and in Japan. After retiring from wrestling in 2006, he had a brief career as an MMA fighter. O’Haire had been suffering from severe depression and alcohol addiction when he hung himself in his home in September of 2014.
2. Mike Shaw
The name of Mike Shaw might not ring a bell to most wrestling fans, but the names of his many unique gimmicks should. Shaw first started to make a name for himself in the early 1980s for Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling. He wrestled under the name of Makhan Singh and was one of the top heels in the promotion feuding with the likes of Bret and Owen Hart. In 1989 Shaw signed with WCW where he became known as Norman the Lunatic. In 1993, he signed with the WWE where became known as Friar Ferguson. The character was highly criticized by the Catholic Church of New York and was dropped shortly after he debuted. Shaw would then become his most well-known character of Bastion Booger. His character was simply built up as a slob. His finishing move involved himself sitting on his opponents face.
The Bastion Booger gimmick actually ended up lasting two years, before Shaw was released by the WWE in 1995. Shortly after, he called it a career and started up his own wrestling school. Shaw had always been a pretty big man, so it seemed like it was only a matter of time before his weight caused some health problems for him. On September 11, 2010, Shaw died at the age of 53 after suffering a massive heart attack.
1. Lance Cade
Lance Cade was one of the many talented wrestlers to come out of the Shawn Michaels’ Wrestling Academy. After spending time in Japan, Cade signed a developmental deal with the WWE in 2001. He made his main roster debut in 2003, teaming up with Mark Jindrak. The duo had a bit of success, but they were never able to capture any titles.
In 2005, Cade started a team with Trevor Murdoch, who were billed as a couple of rednecks. This was by far the most successful time of Lance Cade’s career, as he and Murdoch would wrestle together for three years, winning the World Tag Team Championship on three different occasions. The team would break up in 2008, and it wasn’t too long after that Cade was released from the WWE altogether due to personal problems.
Cade would spend the next two years wrestling on the independent circuit as well as another stint in Japan. Cade died on August 13, 2010, at the age of 29 of heart failure due to overdosing on a combination of drugs.
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