If you've been watching wrestling for a majority of your life, there's a good chance you've seen some of your favourites of all-time pass away. The world recently lost Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, and Ric Flair had a close brush with death earlier this year. But at the age of 72, Heenan would have been the oldest entrant on our list. The 15 unfortunate passings you're going to read about are even more devastating because so many of the wrestlers were taken from this planet at a young age.
Many of them passed under circumstances that we're sure the WWE wouldn't love you to know about. Such as the incredible damage that HGH had on so many of your beloved stars, or which families of deceased performers attempted to sue the WWE for the negative impact the sport had left on their loved one's body and mind. There are also other wrestlers like Yokozuna who you may have loved for his size, which ultimately played a significant role in his passing away at the age of 34. Included is also a quote from Roddy Piper where he alludes to a lifestyle that included 20 years nonstop of partying and performing. The WWE also probably isn't thrilled about Chyna's career in the film industry (no, not Hollywood!), but that doesn't mean it isn't a perfect entrant for our list.
These are the 15 Things The WWE Doesn't Want You Knowing About These Deceased Stars.
Chyna may have been known for her intimidating style in the ring, but prior to her tragic passing, she also had many opportunities to engage with her sensual side. The WWE would be thrilled to talk about her first appearance in Playboy which came out in 2000, they even made a storyline around it. But they may be less happy to highlight her post-wrestling career that included a different kind of performing in front of the camera. But if you thought the idea of Chyna pursuing that career path was odd enough, just wait until you see that she also dressed up as She-Hulk for one her more controversial videos. Chyna also received an AVN Award for Best Celebrity Tape with her film Backdoor to Chyna that was released in 2012.
14 Roddy Piper
One of the sad things that you may start to realize as you go through this list is that many of these stars passed away at an incredibly young age. Roddy Piper who passed away at 61 is actually one of our oldest entrants. Piper's life was full of partying, something the WWE definitely doesn't condone. In an interview, he stated how he would do narcotics in order to stay up, catch a flight and then take pain pills. He has stated that it was a difficult cycle to break out of, as the constant travelling takes a toll on the mind and body. McMahon opened up about the tough lifestyle saying that superstars were free to go if they felt they didn't have the mental toughness to make it. he also believed that if a superstar needed to turn to illegal substances to stay afloat they were going to self destruct.
13 Eddie Guerrero
Eddie Guerrero passed away at the age of 38 after suffering from acute heart failure. It was reported that he had an atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease that he was also suffering from that he was unaware of. Guerrero was also one of the biggest names targeted by Sports Illustrated when they ran a story on the possible link between HGH and steroid usage and professional athletes. You can imagine that definitely wasn't the best publicity moment for the company. It was on the same day that the article was released that the WWE instrumented their own policy on substance testing. We're sure that in doing so they have saved the lives of several wrestlers you love and have clearly made a conscious effort to better the lives of their employees.
12 Doink The Clown (Matt Osborne)
Matt Osborne may have played the character "Doink The Clown" but there is nothing funny about him passing away at the age of 55. His family stated that Osborne was depressed towards the end of his life and his overdose was due to an accidental overdose of a variety of painkillers. They went on to attempt to sue the WWE, stating that the WWE created a culture of violence, where blows to the head were routinely dished out to please fans with no regard for the health of their employees. The lawsuit was eventually thrown out in court, which as you can imagine must not have made his family feel any better!
Andrew Martin, perhaps better recognized by his ring name Test, wrestled from 1997-2007 and while he was never a heavyweight champion he did have 6 different reigns with lower-tier belts. Martin came out of retirement for one match in February 2009. On March 13th, Martin was found dead after suffering from an overdose of oxycodone. More importantly, Dr. Bennet Omalu discovered several similarities between the brain of Chris Benoit and Martin. Omalu believes that both were significantly suffering from CTE, something that is brought on by multiple blows to the head. Viscera who is also on our list was also suffering from CTE. The aspect of becoming dependent on painkillers is also a very common problem among wrestlers who struggle with the dark side of the business.
10 Big John Studd
There were many people who admired Andre The Giant. For Big John Studd who stood in at 6'10 and 363 pounds he not only admired him, he wanted to be him. Billy Graham who was close to Studd said that he had aspirations of replacing Andre if he had to step down. Studd later passed away after suffering from cancer, but what he revealed to Graham probably isn't going to be openly talked about around WWE headquarters. Apparently the HGH he had taken to try and get ahead in his career may have contributed to the tumours that ultimately ended his life. With the many steroid scandals that rocked WWE in the past, we are sure they would like to forget about this.
9 Sensational Sherri
Sensational Sherri was one of the most influential managers of all-time, helping guide the careers of such legends as Randy Savage and Shawn Michaels. Though she also knew how to throw down in the ring too! Sadly Sherri's passing came roughly a year after her time in the WCW had come to a close. When an autopsy was done, it was discovered that Sherri had multiple drugs in her body but most notably a high level of painkillers. She was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in April 2006, with her passing coming on June 15th, 2007. Unlike some on our list, we're glad that Sherri was able to be alive to see herself be honoured for her accomplishments.
8 Mike Awesome
Mike Awesome (real name Michael Alfonso) spent 17 years in the ring wrestling for a variety of companies but did manage to spend several years in the WWE. But by 2006 his career had fizzled out and he had recently retired (barring a high payday).
But roughly one year after announcing his retirement, Alfonso was found dead after electing to hang himself. While the WWE did pay tribute on their website to Alfonso, they did not elect to mention that he decided to take his own life. While you can perhaps understand where they're coming from, some may feel it is a disservice to Alfonso to not be upfront with his fans.
7 Bam Bam Bigelow
Bam Bam Bigelow spent decades of his life pushing his huge frame to the limit. But by the time he was 45, he had clearly had enough of living and had spent years out of the spotlight. He believed that the better half of his life was gone, and was left wondering what to do with himself now that he was battered and bruised. Bigelow passed on January 19th, 2007 and it was discovered that he had an illegal substance in his body as well as a medication for anti-anxiety. It's tragic that his life ended in pain and looking towards drugs for relief, but it seems this is an unfortunate reality for many wrestlers whose careers end early.
There aren't many professional athletes that were bigger than Viscera. Being billed at 6'9 and 500 pounds, it is sadly not all too shocking that he had a short lifespan. Wrestler or not, that's just a huge amount of weight to carry. Viscera's passing came due to a heart attack at the age of 43 while he was taking a shower. But Viscera's widow, Cassandra Frazier, sued the WWE when it was later revealed that Viscera was suffering from CTE - which she said led to depression, short-term memory loss, and migraines. The lawsuit was thrown out, but you can imagine CTE is something the WWE needs to be increasingly worried about in the future as more of their stars pass away and the research becomes more advanced.
5 Miss Elizabeth
There are several tragic details that have emerged when it comes to the passing of Elizabeth Hulette, who performed in the wrestling world under the name Miss Elizabeth. Perhaps the most immediate is the fact that she passed away after mixing vodka with painkillers. While it is not clear if it was intentional or not, life was definitely not going the best for Elizabeth. She had been badly beaten by her partner Lex Luger only a few weeks prior to her passing. Luger had also been pulled over by police and arrested after getting into a car accident and driving under the influence. It was also discovered that there was a firearm in the trunk. Things definitely could have escalated, but it's tragic that her life still came to an early end.
4 Davey Boy Smith
Davey Boy Smith was one of the most energetic wrestlers to ever grace the world of professional wrestling. His enthusiasm was present throughout his career that lasted decades and saw him go toe to toe with some of the biggest legends in the business. But sadly fans had to say goodbye to Davey Boy Smith too soon as he passed away at the age of 39. When talking about his passing, Bruce Hart stated "Davey paid the price with steroid cocktails and human-growth hormones." The WWE is a lot more strict about steroid usage now, but sadly it wasn't always this way and many wrestlers like Davey were able to abuse their body without perhaps knowing the long-term ramifications of his actions.
The WWE definitely was a huge fan of how big a man Yokozuna was. He was the world champion on two different occasions and had several memorable moments in the ring. But fans need to realize the significant ramifications that come with being that size.
The announcers aren't exactly going to announce the short lifespan when they're fawning over the size of a superstar, but facts speak for themselves and when Yokozuna passed away at the age of 34 he weighed close to 600 pounds. The official cause of his passing was a pulmonary edema. You can imagine the passing of wrestlers like Yokozuna (and others on our list) is going to be a sign that the WWE will move away from these "oversized" athletes.
2 Chris Benoit
Chris Benoit was a very talented and popular wrestler before his passing. We're sure that any wrestling fan who was fortunate enough to see him win the title at WrestleMania XX is a memory that they won't soon forget. But Benoit's legacy isn't defined by that triumphant moment. For those who are unaware, Benoit took the lives of his wife Nancy and 7-year-old son Daniel and then hung himself. We're sure the WWE isn't pleased with the fact that it is widely believed that Benoit's brain damage and past steroid usage had played a role in his horrific actions. The WWE has gone to extreme lengths to completely distance themselves from Benoit and his accomplishments. So much so that he has actually been "erased" from archival footage and all other media put out by WWE. While this is understandable considering the horrible nature of his crimes, it just adds to the sadness of the entire situation.
1 Curt Hennig
Curt Hennig was not exactly the most humble wrestler. But with catchphrases like "I am what I am, and I say, I'm absolutely perfect!", he probably wasn't exactly going for humble! Especially when you consider his nickname was Mr.Perfect. But aside from his perfect gimmick, he did speak the truth. Hennig is one of the most talented wrestlers of all-time and there aren't many who would argue against his placement in the Hall of Fame. But sadly Hennig wasn't around to see his induction because he had passed away years earlier after an acute narcotic intoxication which indicates an overdose. When speaking out about his son's passing, Curt's father also blamed his abuse of painkillers and steroids that he engaged in to stay competitive as a wrestler.