Without question, a large majority of professional wrestlers suffer immensely in the health department following their retirement from the squared circle. Although pro-wrestling isn't "real" in the sense that the wrestlers aren't actually punching or kicking their opponents for real, the fact remains that the bumps every wrestler takes are very real (and painful). Unlike other similar sports including MMA where performers fight a few matches a year, pro-wrestlers perform pretty much every day of the week (or perhaps every other day).
As you'd expect, the constant wear and tear from wrestling nearly 365 days a year mixed in with potential substance usage (whether it be PEDs or other illegal substances to deal with pain or psychological issues), many wrestler's bodies start to fall apart much more rapidly than normal people as they age. Many former wrestlers suffer from all kinds of health-related problems, and this should really be expected considering the gruelling profession and lifestyle they chose to lead. However, some wrestlers age better than others, and performers such as Bruno Sammartino still look great and are in relatively good health despite being a whopping 82 years old.
With that being said, today's article delves into 8 wrestlers who are approaching the end, and 7 who are surprisingly still going despite getting up there in age, and potentially suffering from numerous health issues.
15 Approaching The End: Perry Saturn
The story of Perry Saturn post-retirement has been a fairly sad one thus far. No longer in the spotlight, Saturn has unfortunately sunk to new lows stemming from substance abuse and various health issues (traumatic brain injury being a big one). Recently (and thankfully), Perry achieved his GoFundMe goal of raising 40k for living expenses (to avoid becoming homeless), so at least he doesn't have that to worry about at the moment.
However, it's very clear that Saturn's health is deteriorating quite rapidly with age, and it's highly unlikely that his health will improve (it will probably only worsen with time). Some of you newer wrestling fans may not be all too familiar with who Perry Saturn is considering he was never a top-tier Superstar, but he was still a respected and talented performer back in his heyday - he was a solid wrestler without a doubt.
14 Surprisingly Still Going: Mick Foley
Mick Foley is a hardcore wrestling icon. The man is responsible for creating some of the most infamous and legendary moments in Sports Entertainment history (his fall from Hell In A Cell '98), and he's a former 3-time WWE Champion, an 8-time Tag Team Champion, and a 1-time Hardcore Champion. As you'd probably expect, with the kind of career Mick Foley has had (beyond extreme), his health is far from the greatest - yet he's still kicking around surprisingly enough.
Although Mick doesn't have a particular "health problem" at the moment, there's no doubt that his health is far from being good, hence why it's somewhat surprising that he's still able to function fairly normally. In the past year or so, Mick Foley has underwent both knee and hip replacement surgery, and this has obviously made life a bit easier for Foley who had previously felt pain on a day-to-day basis.
13 Approaching The End: Ric Flair
As much as I hate to say this, "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair is sadly approaching the end. Though he recently powered through his health scare, this is only a signal of things to come for Ric due to his overall lifestyle and the wear and tear it has taken on his body.
After years of substance abuse (mainly alcohol) and living the lifestyle of a rock-star, Ric's not in great shape unfortunately. It's not arguable that Ric Flair's one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, and his legacy will live on forever. However, despite not being in the greatest condition, Ric Flair continues to live his life to the fullest, and I'm sure we'll be seeing him pop up in WWE at least a few times in 2018 alongside his talented daughter, Charlotte Flair.
12 Surprisingly Still Going: Tugboat
If you have since forgotten, Tugboat is mainly remembered by pro-wrestling fans for his tenure in WWE as one-half of The Natural Disasters alongside Earthquake, as well as the infamous "Shockmaster" in WCW. Tugboat, real-name Fred Ottman wrestled for much of the 80's and 90's before quietly retiring from Sports Entertainment in the early 2000's.
That being said, Tugboat and his family have been going through some rough times recently due to Ottman's poor health, and he had an extended stay in the hospital back in January because of this. Tugboat is doing a bit better now (thankfully), but it's clear that his health isn't getting any better with age. Now in his early 60's all while packing on nearly 400 pounds, it doesn't take a genius to realize the kind of stress his body is put under everyday - not to mention being thrashed around for nearly two decades prior.
11 Approaching The End: "Mean" Gene Okerlund
Though "Mean" Gene Okerlund was never an in-ring performer, he's still regarded as being a Sports Entertainment legend due to his countless years spent as WWE's infamous backstage interviewer, as well as a host for various WWE shows back in the 80's-90's. Most recently, Gene Okerlund was a cast member in the fairly popular Legends House show which airs on the WWE Network, as well as narrating WWE's Story Time show.
Gene Okerlund's body certainly doesn't have the same wear and tear as some of his co-workers who performed inside the ring have, but his health is far from being the greatest. Okerlund has some issues with his kidney's, and many fans realized this after noticing that one of Gene's arms appeared to be larger than the other on Legends House. Perhaps Gene's not in as bad of condition as some of the other wrestlers on this list, but he's not "out of the woods" either unfortunately.
10 Surprisingly Still Going: Harley Race
Harley Race is one tough guy, that's for sure! At 74 years old, it's hard to imagine the devastating effects of taking a nasty spill leaving both of your legs broken - this is exactly what had happened to Harley after taking a spill at his home in Missouri back in June, though he has assured the wrestling community that he's far from being on his "deathbed".
Needing some medical assistance for a short while following his fall, Harley Race has made it clear that he's not a quitter, and that he's on the road to making a full recovery. Capturing multiple World Championships, including being the first NWA United States Heavyweight Champion (now the WWE US Title), it's a relief that we won't be losing this legend anytime soon - at least if Harley has anything to say about it!
9 Approaching The End: Dynamite Kid
Although we may have our opinions when it comes to the controversial Dynamite Kid, we need to set that aside and be able to look at things objectively considering Kid's not in great shape presently. After suffering from a stroke fairly recently (2013), the Dynamite Kid's health has continued to deteriorate - it was rumoured that his current condition is pretty grave.
If you weren't aware, Dynamite Kid has been wheelchair-bound since the late 90's due to the large number of back and leg injuries he suffered throughout his career in the ring, and it's also rumored that he now suffers from some heart issues as well. It's clear that Kid's health is in a pretty sad state right now, and we can only hope and pray that he's getting the help he needs.
8 Surprisingly Still Going: Jake "The Snake" Roberts
Without question, Jake Robert's turnaround story has been one of the most positive stories to come from former professional wrestlers. Prior to seeking the assistance of one of his good friends Diamond Dallas Page, Jake Robert's was at one of the lowest points of his life - a low point filled with substance abuse and a general lack of care when it comes to his overall health, as he was overweight and totally out of shape.
He has since regained his life, and he's leading a much healthier lifestyle now which is great. Had Robert's failed to sober up and take a look at his deteriorating life, there's a very high possibility that he wouldn't be with us today. What's even crazier, is the fact that after getting his life back on track, Roberts was then diagnosed with cancer - though he has since overcome the disease.
7 Approaching The End: The Iron Sheik
Although The Iron Sheik comes across as robust in his Twitter rampages, the fact remains the former WWE Champion is nearing the end unfortunately due to poor health. On top of being overweight, The Sheik has suffered from substance abuse for much of his adult life, and it doesn't seem like his addiction has waned away with age.
However, it seems as though Sheik is enjoying whatever time he has left to the fullest which is a positive, but perhaps we could do without all the Internet meltdowns (probably stemming from being high). That said, for the most part, The Iron Sheik is nothing but entertaining when it comes to his Twitter account, and he continues to remind us of the crazy wrestler he once was. When it's all said and done, Sheik will go down in professional wrestling history as being one of the greatest heels of all time, without question.
6 Surprisingly Still Going: Razor Ramon
Thanks to Diamond Dallas Page, the legendary former Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon is still going strong despite having a very checkered past. 6 years ago, if someone were to have told me that Razor would still be alive today, I probably would've argued that notion considering he was in absolutely terrible shape due to substance abuse and other unhealthy habits.
However, DDP has been the "angel" so to speak looking over Razor, as he has undoubtedly helped Scott Hall change his ways for the better. There's still a long road ahead for Ramon to fully recover, but he's definitely on the right track, thankfully. Without a doubt, Razor Ramon is one of the greatest WWE Superstars of all time, and he's arguably the greatest star who never captured the WWE World Championship. It's certainly a relief to most wrestling fans that he's leading a much healthier lifestyle now.
5 Approaching The End: One Man Gang
Although Akeem doesn't suffer from any real "health problem" or disease, the fact remains that his health is quite poor due to being very overweight and because he's leading a rather unhealthy lifestyle. Billed at 450 pounds, it doesn't take a genius to realize that The One Man Gang would be suffering from health related issues now.
Many large wrestlers have unfortunately passed away due to their size (usually stemming from heart problems), and considering Akeem hasn't lost very much weight since retiring, it's unlikely that he'll live to a ripe old age - though Akeem could certainly prove us wrong (let's hope). Known by the wrestling community for portraying Akeem, The One Man Gang and one-half of The Twin Towers tag team, Akeem was definitely a talented big man who could move quite well for his impressive size.
4 Surprisingly Still Going: Droz
Quite surprisingly, former WWE wrestler Droz is still going strong despite suffering an absolutely horrific injury in 1999 leaving the former Superstar quadriplegic - essentially wheelchair-bound. Though this injury could have left Droz bitter and angry, he has stated on multiple occasions that he holds no animosity towards D'Lo Brown who had delivered the botched power bomb during their match-up in October of '99.
Although Droz requires 24-hour around the clock home care to allow him to function properly along with taking dozens of pills a day, he's still relatively healthy for his unfortunate condition, and he remains optimistic with an extremely positive attitude. Although Droz had a very short wrestling career, at least he was able to live out his dream for a period of time.
3 Approaching The End: Vader
If you weren't aware, former WCW World Champion Vader stated last year that doctors told him he didn't have very long to live due to the fact that he suffers from congestive heart failure - likely 2 years at most which is absolutely devastating for us wrestling fans. However, Vader has refused to let these negative health reports get in the way of his wrestling career, as the big man has stated that he desires to continue performing inside the squared circle, and that he would rather pass away in the ring than in a bed or at the hospital.
Earlier this year, Vader had collapsed following a match in Japan which has left many fans nervous and anxious when it comes to the 62 year-old wrestling. It's truly saddening that Vader's health has deteriorated, as he's one of the greatest (and most talented) big men to ever step foot inside a ring.
2 Surprisingly Still Going: Lex Luger
Despite being wheelchair-bound and suffering from numerous health problems, Lex Luger is surprisingly still going. No longer the shredded near 300 pound monster, Lex Luger looks nothing like he used to due to his tragic condition. Luger's spinal cord injury has completely changed the former WCW World Champion's life, though similar to Droz, Lex tries to keep a positive attitude and outlook on his situation.
Back in the 80's and 90's, Lex Luger was one of professional wrestling's brightest stars, and he captured the WCW Title twice, the WCW US Title 5 times, and the WCW Television Title twice. Luger was certainly "The Total Package" back in his heyday, as he possessed the looks Vince McMahon goes loony for - however, most would probably consider Luger to have been a flop in the WWE as he never became the next Hulk Hogan like Vince had originally anticipated.
1 Approaching The End: Kamala
Out of all the wrestlers included on this list, the one who's the closest to "the end" would have to be "The Ugandan Giant" Kamala, unfortunately. This past month, Kamala had been put on life support due to complications from diabetes - a condition that has taken both his legs. That being said, Kamala has improved slightly since the grim reports last month, and it's been reported that he's showing some signs of improvement - though he's still said to be under intensive care. With Kamala's current state of health, it's highly unlikely that his health will improve which is very saddening. For those of you who aren't familiar with who Kamala is, he was a wrestler who performed in the WWE during much of the 80's and into the 90's, partaking in feuds against stars such as The Undertaker and Jake Roberts.