Nostalgia can make us blind to reality. This is true for many things, but even more so in the world of professional wrestling. Fans will whoop and cheer at the return of one of their favourite former wrestlers, regardless of the fact they have been accused of racism, assault, substance/domestic abuse, or any number of other problems not befitting of a “hero”. Aside from that, it can also make us believe that our heroes are in fact invincible. We see our favourite wrestlers as these god-like legends who gave our lives great joy, which makes it difficult to accept that they actually might be suffering.
When famous wrestlers step away from the big stage, the real world can cut them down very quickly. Some stars have to continue to wrestle anywhere they can to make ends meet, while others were never able to shake their road-living habits and live a healthy retired life. Addictions and personal problems have led to many former stars suffering a myriad of health and financial issues.
While you may think some of your most fondly remembered heroes are doing fine basking in their golden years, the opposite is actually true for many of them. The following list looks at some WWE Superstars who we may have thought were doing OK but are actually in serious trouble.
15. Jake Roberts
Anyone who claims to be a fan of pro wrestling needs to know who Jake “The Snake” Roberts is. He and his iconic snake named Damien terrorized their opponents for decades in the wrestling world. While he was always seen as an enigmatic and mysterious character, we eventually became aware that “The Snake” also carried his share of demons in his bag.
After struggling with serious substance abuse problems, Jake sought the help of friend Diamond Dallas Page to turn his life around. This appeared to work, with Roberts being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. However, recent reports of relapse and illness have shown that Jake’s demons may have resurrected.
14. Scott Hall
Scott Hall was also featured in the documentary that saw Jake “The Snake” Roberts get his life back on track, and it appeared that Hall was able to do the same as well. His story of recovery from illness and addiction was inspiring, and the WWE universe welcome “Razor Ramon” back with open arms.
However, a recent report of an alcohol induced brawl with a former wrestling legend has many fans worried that the “Bad Guy” may be back. Hall recently got into a rage after drinking and got into an altercation with King Kong Bundy. Hall had claimed to be sober for years, and it is truly tragic to think that he may fall back to the state he was in despite all the hard work he put into getting back on track.
13. One Man Gang
The One Man Gang (or Akeem to some) did not have an illustrious run in WWE, but that does not mean he was not memorable. Known for his large physique, the one man gang became part of wrestling lore with his “interesting” gimmicks. Upon retiring he opted for a quiet life and lives with his wife and 8 cats (it looks like he is not a one man gang anymore!).
While many knew he was definitely not basking in riches, his life took a hard hit when flooding struck his area in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. There was a substantial amount of damage done to his home, and he unfortunately did not have insurance. Because of the more than $75,000 price tag of the repairs, One Man Gang moved into a friend’s trailer while he raises funds to repair the home.
Vader will always be remembered as a scary, larger-than-life character that easily squashed his opponents in the ring. Clearly he was very good at it, as he still has yet to hang up his boots! Yes, at 62 years of age Vader is still putting on matches.
While many fans are probably not surprised to know he was still wrestling, they may be shocked to know that he continues to perform despite recently passing out in the ring during a match. Vader was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and was warned to stop wrestling, but he insists he will never stop. We can only hope to not see a headline soon involving another health scare for this wrestling legend.
Sheamus has had a great year in the WWE. Ever since forming “The Bar” tag team with Cesaro, the two have had wind in their sails as they have won over the entire WWE universe and captured the Tag Team Championships. Earlier this month it was revealed that Sheamus is actually suffering from a very serious spine injury. The Irish grappler is affected by spinal stenosis, an ailment that has ended many WWE careers including those of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Edge, and Daniel Bryan.
With “The Bar” set to defend their tag titles, the danger is ever present that Sheamus may get seriously hurt. It would be a shame to see him suffer a career ending injury (or worse) and we can only hope that he puts his health before his WWE career.
Kamala may not be remembered by some of the younger members of the WWE universe, but he was a beloved mainstay on the roster for a number of years when he was active. After leaving wrestling behind, Kamala’s life has been anything but easy.
Kamala suffered from diabetes, and complications from this caused him to eventually lose both of his legs. Despite this, he always seemed to be in pretty good spirits until a recent health scare that had many believing that he wouldn’t make it. Kamala was recently in a coma, but since waking up has shown signs of improvement. Many knew he was doing great, but these recent events had many fans very worried for the legend.
9. Paul Orndorff
Paul Orndorff may have been known as “Mr. Wonderful” during his mediocre WWE career, but his life since leaving the company has been anything but wonderful. Recent photos have emerged of the former star participating in a match at what appeared to be a local recreational centre before a very tiny crowd.
Many fans may have thought that he would be long retired after perhaps finding a new career, but instead he had to come out of retirement to make some extra money. While we’re sure he is taking too many bumps at his age, it is still sad to see someone who should be in a rocking chair using a chair to beat an opponent. Do you think the spectators enjoyed the match?
8. Dynamite Kid
The Dynamite Kid earned his nickname by being a truly dynamite performer in the ring. His intensity and ability to put on some incredible matches made him a hit with the fans. Backstage however Dynamite developed a reputation as a little bit of a bully.
To the surprise of very few fans, many photos came out showing Dynamite confined to a wheelchair. While many of the more well informed fans had come to take this as common knowledge, recently released photos show Dynamite looking more down-trodden than ever before. His years of building up a bad reputation have made many fans and former colleagues forget about him, which is sad considering he needs friends now more than ever.
7. Lacey Evans
Another victim of intense flooding, Lacey Evans’ life took a serious hit when it appeared so many things were going well for the NXT Women’s Division star. The 27 year old Mae Young Classic competitor saw her Florida home ravaged by hurricane Irma, which managed to destroy many sentimental items that she could never replace.
She does a great job of hiding her sorrow, as she has focused on furthering her wrestling career. It is no wonder that so few fans know about her struggles, as she has taken all that sorrow and buried under her big ambitions. Seeing as she is still very young, we are sure that we will be able to recover from this tragedy and come out stronger than before.
6. Terry Funk
Terry Funk, the hardcore legend who inspired some of the greatest wrestlers in the world that came after him, will always be remembered for his willingness to sacrifice his body to entertain the crowd. Many fans remember him well, but some more casual fans may be surprised to find out that despite being 73 years old he is STILL wrestling!
It is absolutely unimaginable to think that a man that old is still spilling his blood in the ring for any crowd that will watch. A man of his legendary status should be sitting at a desk in a WWE boardroom chewing cigars with the top brass, not taking crazy bumps in front of small crowds for low pay. We hope he doesn’t hurt himself too badly at his age.
5. Joey Mercury
Joey Mercury has had some good luck in his life, but he has also suffered some really bad luck. Everyone has (or should have) seen the gruesome injury he suffered in a ladder match that led to him becoming addicted to painkillers. While he was lucky to the the ring with his life, he eventually was fired for his addiction. Good luck struck again when his friend CM Punk helped him clean up and earn his job back, but WWE eventually released Mercury unceremoniously. He has since continued to wrestle on the independent scene to little fanfare, and should probably start exploring other career avenues before he ends like many of the older wrestlers on this list.
4. Perry Saturn
No smiling mop could ever wipe away the horrible things that have happened to former WWE star Perry Saturn. Saturn was shot in the neck when he tried to save a woman from being assaulted in the street, and the ensuing injury led to years of addiction and homelessness.
Many fans only became aware of these problems when Saturn recently appeared on Chris Jericho’s “Talk is Jericho” podcast, which allowed him to use the platform to raise money on his go fund me account to help pay for some of his bills. Rumours of a documentary about his life have surfaced, but if it does not get made he may once again need help from fans to stay afloat.
Another legend of the hardcore brand of wrestling, Sabu was always ready to do some serious damage to his own body for the sake of a big pop from the audience. While he disappeared from the minds of many fans, some may be surprised to know that he still appears in wrestling rings around the country.
Sabu recently made news for apparently putting off hip surgery due to a lack of funds to pay for the operation. His good friend Rob Van Dam reached out to fans and was able to help Sabu go through with the procedure, but he was reportedly upset with RVD for reaching out for help. We hope his health improves and he can finally hang up his boots and enjoy retirement.
2. Ric Flair
The jet flying, limousine riding, styling and profiling nature boy can still be seen on our TV screens regularly beside his daughter Charlotte Flair. While she continues to get better and better, a recent health scare has shown that Ric Flair may talk the talk, but his body is struggling to walk the walk.
While many people believed Flair’s partying ways were behind him, a recent drinking binge lead to the WWE Hall of Famer falling into a coma. Many believed this was the end for Flair, but he managed to pull through. While he may still be able to work a microphone pretty well, the Nature Boy is at risk of going off the edge at any moment (though we hope he stays around for a long time).
1. 2 Cold Scorpio
Is it just me or does it seem like all the hardcore wrestlers of the past are having a really tough time in the present? The former ECW star faded from many fans memories recently, but his iconic look and ability to throw down in the ring made him beloved among fans.
This makes it all the more sad to find out that Scorpio continues to fight in front of small crowds in small promotions around the country just to make ends meet. He looks like his shape has seen better days, and is truly disheartening to see a wrestler of his age reverted to such a small-time gig in his later years.
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