Professional wrestling is fake. No shock there. It's not like people actually thought a grown man could take 45 seconds to climb up a ladder only to be pulled down by his opponent and slammed into the mat below. But fake does not mean the actions you see aren't real, it means that the stunts are staged to look real. Do not be fooled, however, those are real chairs they are taking to the head (in the past) and that is a real announcer's table that is made of wood that they are being slammed through.
After spending your entire adult life taking bumps and hits to the head, there are very good chances that you will suffer from future brain damage which can have serious consequences.
Chris Benoit was always believed to be one of the good guys in professional wrestling, having wanted to do it since he was just a teenager. He worked hard and even had his father drive him several hours to amateur shows on the weekends just to become the best in the world. But his life ended after he tragically killed his wife and son before hanging himself. It shocked the world of wrestling, changing it forever.
But not all professional wrestlers end up with severe brain injuries. Some of them are actually born with mental health disorders of their own. They can range from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Dyslexia to eating disorders. There are so many that we couldn't fit them all in one article. So we decided to find the 15 wrestlers you have heard of that you probably had no idea suffered from these diseases.
15 Sean O'Haire (MDD)
After WWE's owner, Vince McMahon, purchased World Championship Wrestling, WCW, it became clear that the next step was to shut it down. Before long, there was no more WCW and the only thing remaining was the WWE, which now owned all the major professional wrestling brands.
Sean O'Haire was one of the innocent bystanders of the merger between the two companies and it ended up costing him his life. He was partnered with Chuck Palumbo and they were the WCW Tag Team Champions when the company shut down. It did not take long before he quit the industry, in 2004, and returned to his original passion, kickboxing.
After his retirement, he had several arrests including allegedly choking out his girlfriend in 2009 and again in 2011. This time he was charged with battery. He suffered from a disorder known as MDD, Major Depressive Disorder, and ended up taking his own life in 2014.
14 Chris Kanyon (Bipolar Disorder)
After debuting in WCW back in 1995, Chris Kanyon, better known as simply Kanyon, turned into a jobber. He was one of those guys that never made it to the top but was always around helping others get there. He was the grunt you wanted to have on your roster because he was always a hard working wrestler that never complained about his role. He even spent time with Raven as a member of The Flock, where his name changed to Mortis.
When WCW folded, he had trouble adjusting and attempted suicide in 2003. The doctors ended up diagnosing him with Bipolar Disorder. So add this on top of the fact that he was one of the few openly gay wrestlers in the business. The pressure to be himself and deal with the public just got to be too much and he ended up overdosing on antidepressants in April of 2010. He was 40 years old.
13 Jake "The Snake" Roberts (MDD)
Jake Roberts was one of the most charismatic professional wrestlers of our time. He could turn a crowd into his biggest fans or his greatest enemies after just one match. He had the ability to get 25,000 people on their feet and cheering as loud as they can like not many other wrestlers could do.
Unfortunately, he battled with drugs and alcohol almost his entire life causing him to become depressed and alone. That depression manifested itself into changing a man who was once the biggest star in the world, into just another drug addict looking for a buzz.
He has since turned his life around and as of earlier this year, is four years sober thanks to his friend, Diamond Dallas Page. Page made it his mission to save Jake's life and now, he is a born-again Christian that was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, in 2014.
12 Jerry "The King" Lawler (Diverticulitis)
One of the disorders that a few professional wrestlers deal with is called diverticulitis. It sounds like a really bad disease, and it is, but it isn't fatal. Even though you probably never heard of it, it is actually pretty common in the Western world, affecting 35% of people.
Without getting into the medical details, diverticulitis disease causes pain in your lower abdomen areas which can result in constipation, fever, nausea, diarrhea, and bloody stool 9does not sound pleasant). It sounds disgusting but just imagine you are a professional wrestler like Jerry "The King" Lawler and just before your WrestleMania match begins, for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, you have an attack that causes you to have uncontrollable bowels? It cannot be fun by any means.
11 Luna Vachon (Bipolar Disorder)
Another professional wrestler that has had to deal with Bipolar Disorder was the late Women's Wrestling Champion, Luna Vachon. She also had manic depression issues that caused her to visit a rehab program several times, all paid by the WWE.
After retiring from the WWE in 2007, Luna came across the same issues that a lot of pro wrestlers deal with after the show ends, and that's learning to live your life without all the arenas of screaming fans or late night road trips between venues. In 2009, her home burnt down and she lost all of her wrestling-related memorabilia forcing her to move in with family. It was not long after the fire that she was found dead in her mother's home in 2010. She had an apparent addiction to pain medication, among others, and it caused her to reach a breaking point and she overdosed on a combination of oxycodone and benzodiazepine.
10 Bret Hart (MDD)
Love him or hate him, Bret "The Hitman" Hart is one of the most iconic professional wrestlers in the history of the WWE. However, becoming an icon isn't as exciting as it sounds. The road to becoming a legend requires hard work and a lot of losing before you get that final push to the top. A wrestler has to have a thick skin to make it in this sport and Bret Hart has the thickest.
Earlier in his career, he built quite the wrestling family but over the years, he has tragically lost many of them. Owen Hart, his brother, died after falling from the rafters of the arena when he harness broke, Brian Pillman died from a heart attack, as did his former tag team partner and real life friend, Davey Boy Smith, better known as The British Bulldog.
In 2015, Rowdy Piper's death was another in a long line of Bret's friends that have perished over the past 20 years.
The death of his friends and family members, plus his nearly fatal stroke in 2002, led Bret down the path of depression, which he suffered for a long time.
9 Alexa Bliss (Anorexia)
Of all the possible conditions to suffer from, Alexa Bliss had to struggle with the one that could have killed her much easier than most other women that have died from Anorexia because of her tiny size and weight already. She is 5'1" with shoes on so there is a good chance she doesn't clear 5'0" barefoot and weighs about 102 pounds, soaking wet. So imagine her losing 30 pounds in six weeks while in high school, when she was more than likely also lighter.
It got so bad that her heart rate dropped to 28. 28! That is barely alive. When the human heart slows down to 28 beats per minute, there are about 3,000 issues that can complicate the situation, let alone the fact that she is near death. But the good news is that she is long since removed from those days and has since become one of the biggest underdog success stories in the WWE in 2016.
8 Mark Henry (Dyslexia)
By the time Mark Henry was a senior in high school, he had learned how to manage the pain of losing at life. He lost his father when he was just 12 years old to diabetes which was followed by a diagnosis of having dyslexia and an abrupt end to his football career following a serious wrist injury that affected the ligaments in his wrist.
So football was over but that did not mean he was finished with sports as he got into powerlifting when he was very young due to his massive size growing up. He was already 5'5," 225 pounds when he was in fourth grade. By the time he got to high school, the Los Angeles Time was calling him "the world's strongest teenager," and he went on to win several medals for lifting before ending up in professional wrestling.
He did all of that and he has dealt with not being able to clearly read things because of his dyslexia.
7 The Rock (MDD)
If you get some free time today, Google The Rock's video on depression. It is one of the shortest videos you will ever see that will impact your life more then you even know.
Any time a person battles depression, it affects everyone around them too. Some people beat it, others do not. The people that beat depression and go on living their lives usually end up telling their story to others hoping it helps other people by showing them that they are not alone.
But when a professional wrestling as big and amazing as The Rock talks about how he played college football for the University of Miami, graduated, got passed on by the NFL, and then cut from the Canadian Football League, people listen. He hit a very low point in his life and thought it was over. But it was at that point in time that he decided to change directions and give up football to become a professional wrestler which has turned out to be the greatest move of his life.
6 "Macho Man" Randy Savage (OCD)
One of the most recognizable professional wrestlers ever was the "Macho Man" Randy Savage. His career began in the early 1980s and lasted through 2005, when he retired from the industry to spend time with his family. He died in 2011 following a sudden heart attack while driving on the highway.
Not many people knew, outside of the hardcore wrestling fans, that he had obsessive compulsive disorder. A big part of his success hailed from the OCD because he would plan all of his moves throughout his matches in advance with his opponents. He discussed each move with his opponent earlier in the day and never changed a thing during the match. It made him very difficult to work with backstage because some of the wrestlers did not want to do that.
He even got into scuffles backstage with other wrestlers following a match if that wrestler did anything different in the match. It is incredible to think that some of the most amazing matches that he was a part of were completely rehearsed and planned to the tee.
5 Diamond Dallas Page (Dyslexia)
By the time he was 31 years old, Diamond Dallas Page, DDP, was managing a nightclub in Fort Myers, Florida. Although he was successful at his job, he could only read at a third grade level due to his combination of dyslexia combined with Attention Deficit Disorder.
Imagine not being able to read a book as an adult because the words just don't seem to make any sense. Now imagine that while trying to focus on the book too. The combination of ADD and Dyslexia is scary for a man that would eventually become a three-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
He would later figure out how to handle the two disorders simply by pushing himself harder than anyone else would have if they knew about his conditions.
4 Hulk Hogan (MDD)
Being the greatest professional wrestler does not mean your life is going to be all roses and rainbows, it means you are going to have fans that expect you to handle all of the crap life shells out including divorcing your wife of more than 25 years, losing close friends to drugs and suicide, or having a sex tape released by your closest and most trusted friend.
Hulk Hogan was one of the most entertaining men in wrestling but he was also a victim of depression after his entire life began to crumble right before his very eyes. He lost control of everything that he once had in the palm of his hands. Even his kids were beginning to become adults and his son even spent time in prison.
"I kinda hit rock bottom. Everything got dark, everything happened at once. I was drinking alcohol very heavily. It just all kept piling up, it all kept mounting and mounting, I didn't know how to handle it," Hulk discussing his depression to Oprah Winfrey during an interview.
3 Brock Lesnar (Diverticulitis)
Jerry Lawler knows about diverticulitis but even he did not have it as severe as Brock Lesnar does. The gastrointestinal disorder ends up developing pockets in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract which can cause not only pain but severe diarrhea, nausea, fever, and blood in your stool. It is almost like having the flu when it flares up.
But Brock Lesnar has had it worst. Between his years of professional wrestling and fighting in the UFC, Brock Lesnar had surgery to remove a ton of diseased bowel that built up in his system. It sounds disgusting but just imagine what it felt like to have such a build up in your stomach that you could not get rid of. It's like being constipated while someone is stabbing you in the stomach.
2 Vince McMahon (Dyslexia)
If you had no idea, Vince McMahon is dyslexic and has been his entire life. Dyslexia is a disorder that makes it very difficult in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols. Although it does not affect your IQ, it slows down your ability to learn but that hasn't stopped Vince McMahon.
When he was 37 years old, he took over the WWF, later turning it into the WWE, and completely changed the professional wrestling business. He turned it into the sports entertainment empire it has become today. And he did not do it because he was born on third base, he did it because he had a vision for the sport and then guided it towards his vision using various methods. He did all of this without being able to clearly read a contract or wrestling card.
1 John Cena (OCD)
One of the longest running rumors in professional wrestling is whether or not John Cena really has OCD. Even during his time on the reality show, Total Bellas, it appears that he does just based on the way he acts around his house and how incredibly anal he is about everything and everyone around it. But that is a show that is probably scripted and he could simply be playing a role.
But over the years he has done such great work, both in the ring and out of it, that it isn't a stretch to think that one of the WWE's all-time most popular guys got to the top because of his attention to detail and his inability to control his actions when it comes to being in control, especially when it involves his stuff, like his house in Total Bellas.
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