You might love watching wrestling, but you might not find yourself jealous of the life they live. Especially if you followed wrestling over the course of the past few decades. Several of your childhood idols such as Roddy Piper wouldn't have managed to make it out to the ring at all without some help from illegal substances. Others like Perry Saturn saw his life fall apart after an injury forced him out of the company - including facing some very serious addictions.
Though that might not be as bad as someone like Sunny who has found herself in police handcuffs throughout her career, not to mention being painfully aware of what a rehab facility looks like. Scott Hall could also talk to you about that, as his addictions have cost the company hundreds of thousands to try and remedy.
We apologize if the stories here ruin some of the images of your childhood heroes, but we assure you we have nothing but the truth as we cover perhaps the most shocking (and sometimes fatal) cases of 15 Wrestlers Who Struggled To Stay Clean.
15 Perry Saturn
Perry Saturn's career in the WWF ended in 2002 after he suffered a torn ACL. It didn't help his case that towards the end of his time he had been abusing banned substances so heavily that he says he doesn't remember years in the ring. Matters were made worse when he was wounded by a gun shot trying to help a woman who was being attacked during a robbery.
After he fell even further he turned to even harder substances. Saturn ended up on the streets but was later helped in getting sober, partly due to a fellow female homeless addict who he later married. He is somewhat better off now, but is still paying dearly for the years he spent in some dark situations.
14 Roddy Piper
Roddy Piper once described the life of being a WWE superstar as being similar to that of a rock star, which for him meant making sure you embraced all elements that came with that. Partaking in the consumption of illegal substances was absolutely part of that.
Piper admitted that he spent 20 years using narcotics as one of the biggest rallying points to help him have the energy to keep fighting and surviving the gruelling schedule that came with being a superstar. His destructive lifestyle led to him predict that he wouldn't live to 65, a prediction that sadly became true when he passed away at the age of 61.
13 Dustin Runnels
Dustin Runnels is best known for his ring name Goldust, but during the toughest parts of his life he was wrestling for TNA under the ring name Black Reign. In an interview, Runnels admitted that he was dabbling in illegal substances and alcohol on a regular basis, as well as an addiction to painkillers that led to him taking upwards of 40 a day.
Runnels also struggled with weight issues that were brought on by his substance abuses. Runnels was able to turn his life around in part due to help offered by the WWE to get him into rehab. He has admitted that he has been drug and alcohol-free since May 20th, 2008 and recently made his 5th return to the company.
12 Davey Boy Smith
Davey Boy Smith sadly passed away at the age of 39 after suffering from a heart attack. His life could have been defined by his talents in the ring, but sadly it's his substance abuse that people may remember the most. This includes allegations from Bret Hart that Smith was often using extremely hard stuff, including during their memorable match at Summerslam 92. That was an incredibly dangerous and irresponsible thing to do. It's amazing that the end result was such an amazing match, but perhaps things like this are also what allowed Smith to feel his addiction wasn't a hindrance. Smith was also one of the many wrestlers during that era that abused steroids, which absolutely had an impact on his overall level of health.
11 Ric Flair
There are many wrestlers on this list who by the end of their life were popping more pain pills than you could possibly imagine. But Ric Flair admitted in an interview in September that he has never taken a pain pill in his life. What he did do, however, was drink on an incredibly regular basis at the best bar he could find in every town with his wrestler buddies. His history of alcohol abuse (and allegedly occasional illegal substance use) led to Flair nearly passing away earlier this year from kidney failure and congestive heart failure. Flair has thankfully also said he has since stopped drinking - so here is hoping he will still have a long life.
10 Rob Van Dam
Rob Van Dam faced some serious consequences when he was pulled over and officers found several grams of a certain green substance as well as several prescription pills in 2009. Over the next two nights, RVD proceeded to lose both WWE Championships that were around his belt and he was then suspended for 30 days.
RVD's affinity for smoking is well-documented, including him saying that he would utilize it in all areas of his life - including to get pumped up and make sure he had positive thoughts going on when he was competing in front of millions of people. Which means he probably wasn't thinking about how badly he'd punished if he got caught using! The success of his career points to someone who thought he was able to manage his habit, but there is no denying it perhaps ruined his career.
9 Tammy Sytch
Tammy Sytch had a solid career as a female entertainer in the wrestling world lasting over a decade. Her contributions to the WWE led her to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011. But just because her life has some moments of glamour, doesn't mean she doesn't have plenty of moments that earn her a spot on this list.
Along with issues that landed her in rehab, Sytch has been arrested several times including 5 times in only 4 weeks. That same year (2012), she also missed several scheduled WWE events due to her addiction issues. Life outside of the ring also included a round of action in the film industry, filming Sunny Side Up: In Through the Backdoor. Yikes!
8 Scott Hall
The WWE has spent many wrestlers to rehab over the decades, but no wrestler has allegedly cost the company more money than Scott Hall. In an interview, Stephanie McMahon admitted that the company had spent upwards of 6 figures on trying to get Hall the help he needed for a variety of addictions that he struggled with.
It was during his era that there were significantly fewer rules and testing regulations done by the WWE to help keep their wrestlers in check. With the help of his close friend Diamond Dallas Page, Hall has managed to since turn his life around. Though he would be the first one to admit that the lifestyle he led should have left him dead decades ago.
7 Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy was one of the most entertaining wrestlers in the 1990s. Alongside his brother Matt, it seemed like the two would always be willing to do whatever it took to put on a good show. But Hardy's life outside of the ring was far from glamorous. This included getting fired from the WWE in 2003 for his substance abuse and refusal to go to rehab that had badly impacted his work ethic.
Things kept going downhill for Jeff when he was arrested in 2009 and charged with trafficking controlled prescription pills as well as having anabolic steroids. He was eventually sentenced to 10 days in jail. Jeff is currently rehabbing a shoulder injury that he suffered in September that will keep him out for 4-6 months.
6 Hulk Hogan
There is no argument that Hulk Hogan didn't abuse his body with steroids during the peak of his career. When talking to Larry King, he admitted he had used them for nearly 20 years before stopping in the late 90s. But that wasn't the only way that Hogan was allegedly abusing his body.
According to The Ultimate Warrior, Hogan would indulge in narcotics as well. The Ultimate Warrior also accused Hogan of offering his wife out in the locker room. Another wrestler who went by the name Moondog Rex also stated that he would party with Hogan and that he would sometimes indulge on very hard substances.
5 Lex Luger
When Miss Elizabeth was found dead from a combination of prescription pills and alcohol, eyes went to her boyfriend Lex Luger and his destructive lifestyle as part of the problem. Luger has battled several addictions throughout the years, including abusing prescription painkillers.
Luger blamed himself for her passing, saying that she was trying to keep up with the lifestyle that he was living. Luger has worked closely with the WWE to help keep their Wellness Policy up to date and is efficient in getting the wrestlers the help that they desperately may need. While he may feel he has caused the death of Elizabeth (at least in his eyes), we're sure he has helped save the lives of many others.
Chyna's life began on a downward spiral after her boyfriend Triple H started cheating on her with Stephanie McMahon. Who just happened to have a little bit more clout around the company than Chyna. Perhaps something to do with that whole McMahon last name?While she was plenty talented in the ring, Chyna's contract wasn't renewed after the scandal broke. It wasn't long before long she found herself making a name for herself in the adult film industry and awful reality shows including one centered around addictions. From 2009-2011, Chyna appeared in 5 less than wholesome films, worked as an exotic dancer and due to her addiction, described herself as a monster. She passed away in 2016 of an accidental overdose of prescription medication.
3 Jake "The Snake" Roberts
Jake "The Snake" Roberts will always be commended for the amount of energy and personality that he brought to the ring with him. But he may also be used as a cautionary tale for young wrestlers on the importance of staying clean outside of the ring. Roberts' addiction was documented in the film Beyond The Mat in great detail. Roberts' addiction also included a great deal of alcohol consumption.
He attended rehab in 2007 but relapsed in 2012 including gaining a significant amount of weight. Thankfully Diamond Dallas Page, who also reached out to Scott Hall, lent assistance to Roberts who has since managed to lose some of his weight and is feeling better.
2 Bret Hart
Bret Hart might not be the biggest partier on his list, but the next revelation may be the most shocking. In his autobiography, Bret Hart admitted that there was one instance in which he walked into a room and found a mountain of what definitely was not flour. In order to win over the trust and support of his peers, Hart admitted to partaking in some consumption. Talk about a perfect moment for you not give into peer pressure, but alas! While it wasn't a habit that seemed to plague his career, that definitely wasn't the case for some of our other entries. Hart also opened up in his book about the fact that drugs were something that was exceedingly common in the industry during the 80s and 90s.
1 Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig
There are many things that young wrestlers can learn from Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig, but his death at the age of 44 should give an indication into the struggles he may have had. Especially when you learned of an acute intoxication brought on by the usage of a very heavy substance.
The long years of abuse in the WWE ring may have led to his need to relieve the pain, even years after leaving it. Here is hoping that if young wrestlers start feeling like they might be injured, that they take the time away they need as opposed to pushing past it to stay tough and end your career broken and battered.
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