The life of a WWE superstar is definitely something that may seem glamorous from the outside. But when the spotlight is taken off some wrestlers, their fall from grace is so severe it ends with them taking their own life. Which may be more understandable when you learn about 8 former wrestlers and their horrific life situations outside of the ring.
Included is the devastating current situation of the Dynamite Kid, the "need to read to believe" legal issues of Tammy Stych, and Kamala who tragically had his leg amputated. But if they, or you, need some inspiration there are 7 example on our list of famed wrestlers whose lives seemed to be going in the wrong direction and they turned it around.
Tony Atlas and Perry Saturn both escaped lives of homelessness and while addiction plagued many entries on both sides of our list, at least for half of our list they were able to escape with their life. Even if as Scott Hall puts it, he should have died 100 times!
These are the 8 Wrestlers Who Hit Rock Bottom (And 7 Who Managed To Turn It Around)
15 Didn't: Sean O' Haire
Sean Haire (better known as Sean O'Haire) spent 2000-2003 in the WWE, but his most notable moments definitely came towards the end when he adopted his gimmick that saw him portraying a Devil's advocate. Haire's life fell apart in November 2003 when a motorcycle accident was only scheduled to sideline him for a month. But that was long enough for the company to move on and after a brief time at the OVW, Haire was released. After attempting to work in New Japan and in the world of kickboxing, Haire elected to become a hairdresser. Sadly it was reported in 2014 that Haire had taken his own life by hanging.
14 Turned It Around: Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy is one of the most exciting wrestlers in the history of the WWE. But as exciting as his life seemed inside the ring, outside of the ring may have been even more extreme. Hardy's addictions cost him several wrestling jobs, including one with the WWE. Hardy was also at the forefront of controversy after a highly-publicized match versus Sting featured a staggering and clearly out-of-it Hardy. Hardy was also arrested in 2009 after being pulled over with an excessive amount of drugs in his car and spent 10 days in jail. However, in 2017, Jeff, injury notwithstanding, is currently perhaps doing better than ever. He, alongside Matt, made a return to the WWE at WrestleMania and prior to a shoulder injury, Jeff was heavily involved in the Intercontinental title picture. A clear sign the company at least trusts him again.
13 Didn't: Kamala
Kamala was a giant force in the ring, literally. Standing at 6'7 and being billed at over 400 pounds, it's not easy to forget Kamala if you watched him during the 80s and 90s when he was making a name for himself. But there are many complications of being that large. Kamala lost his left leg in 2011 after failing to properly treat his diabetes. And while there were moments in Kamala's life where he would have been well-paid, he admitted in 2014 that he was relying primarily on disability cheques. Let's hope that the situation has helped him be more aware of his health in general and that he can continue to live at least a long life, albeit one that is not the most ideal.
12 Turned It Around: Joey Mercury
Joey Mercury knew he had an addictive personality when he entered into the WWE, having had a past history that started as a teenager. But through the help of rehab, Mercury cleaned himself up in 2006. Only to have his face get destroyed at the PPV Armageddon, leading to an addiction to painkillers. Mercury stated in a past interview he would have been homeless had his best friend, C.M. Punk, bought his house before it was foreclosed on. Mercury is also since sober of all substances, something he also attributes to C.M. Punk's influence. He also recently made a return as an independent wrestler in September.
11 Didn't: Edward Fatu (Umaga)
There are many wrestlers on our list whose life was saved because they elected to go to the rehab offered by the WWE. But in 2009 after Fatu (aka Umaga) was found in violation of the WWE Wellness Policy (for the 2nd time), he refused. He allegedly stated that he had only taken somatropin, which was a growth hormone. Despite this, Fatu's attitude led to his dismissal from the company. Fatu attempted to build some momentum on the independent circuit to limited success. The next thing people heard about Fatu was in December 2009 when it was reported he had passed away after suffering two heart attacks during an overdose; though the specific substance used has not been released.
10 Turned It Around: Tony Atlas
There are many wrestlers on this list whose rock-bottom consisted of them being found in handcuffs. For Tony Atlas, it was over a year of homelessness that made him realize how far he had fallen. By this point, Atlas had blamed his addiction that plagued the start of his career for his issues. Thankfully things turned around for him when in 1989 a woman offered him a room in her house. Atlas also was able to re-connect with Vince McMahon. He then re-invigorated his career with the gimmick Saba Simba and in 2014 appeared on WWE television on the series Legend's House. While still not out of the woods, he is doing much better than he was just years ago.
9 Didn't: Tammy Stych
Sometimes when someone gets arrested it makes them really re-evaluate their decisions as a person and they live a clean life. For Tammy Stych, 2012 was full of the opposite of that. She was literally arrested (on a variety of charges) 5 times in 4 weeks. She then went on to receive three DUIs in 2015. THREE. Are you serious? Talk about a selfish and ignorant decision to make once, much less that often. Sunny's accomplishments, which were primarily as a manager, did lead to her being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. If you want to count it as a turn-around, though we sure don't, Stych also appeared in a "film" in 2016. Her most recent social media presence came from July of this year where she lamented how nobody loves her and that she had her heart broken by a boy who had ghosted her. Yikes.
8 Turned It Around: Lex Lugar
Lex Luger was one of the most recognized wrestlers in the entire world during the 1980s and 1990s. But that popularity also helped pump up a bank account that was spent on partying and substances. This included a DUI in 2003, the same year that he was also arrested after physically assaulting Elizabeth Hulette (better recognized as Miss Elizabeth).
After Hulette overdosed in Luger's home, he was charged with 13 felony counts after police found multiple illegal substances. Life couldn't be more "turned around" for Luger though who in 2011 announced he was working closely with the WWE's Wellness Policy. Here's hoping he can help make a difference in people's lives who could have fallen apart.
7 Didn't: Matt Osborne (Doink The Clown)
Some wrestlers careers are defined by the amazing gimmick that they brought to the screen. Some wrestlers are saddled by gimmicks so terrible that there's just no way they were going to save it. Matt Osborne is always going to be best known as "Doink The Clown". But Osborne definitely didn't do himself any favours, including being fired from the WWF in 1993 after Bam Bam Bigelow confessed to management that Osborne had been smoking a banned substance.
He did some independent wrestling but tragically passed away in 2013 after overdosing on medication. One of Osborne's former partners later filed a lawsuit against the WWE for wrongful death, stating their working conditions led to further injuries, depression and drug use.
6 Turned It Around: Perry Saturn
We need to be really upfront here, Perry Saturn is allegedly still struggling in his everyday life. But in the middle-2000s, he was spending part of his days engaging in heavy illegal substance use, something that also put him on the streets for over 2 years. Saturn has since recovered from his addiction though, something he opened up about in 2010. Saturn, however, appears to still be struggling with injuries related to the brain trauma he received throughout his career. It also does not help that he was shot in the neck trying to help a woman who was being attacked in the street. A GoFund me page on Saturn's behalf has currently raised over $40,000 and Saturn is also part of a class action lawsuit against the WWE.
5 Didn't: Sensational Sherri
There is no arguing that Sensational Sherri is one of the most accomplished and recognizable managers of all-time. Perhaps best known for her work alongside Shawn Michaels, it's easy to see why people loved Sherri. I mean c'mon, is there really a better theme song than Michaels'? And that doesn't exist without Sherri.
But Sherri also battled an addiction that saw her get released from the WWE. When she passed away at the age of 49, addiction played a factor again as she overdosed and oxycodone was found in her system. This theme of addiction seemed to be an epidemic at one point, and is a big part of why the Wellness Policy exists.
4 Turned It Around: Scott Hall
Scott Hall is well deserving of his recognition as one of the most acclaimed wrestlers to ever lace up the boots. While the height of his accomplishments may be his induction to the WWE Hall of Fame, life outside of the ring was often just as troubling as the battles he faced inside of it. When talking to ESPN in 2011, Hall admitted his addiction should have killed him at least 100 times by now. Hall blamed his addictions in part to his decision to return to WCW in 1996 where he said there were less people looking after you. Life is positive for now though as Hall has lost the weight and adopted a more positive attitude in part due to the assistance of his long-term friend DDP. When talking about his recovery, Hall mentioned the most important thing was that he learned to forgive himself for his past mistakes.
3 Didn't: Dynamite Kid
Thomas Billington (aka The Dynamite Kid) alongside his cousin Davey Boy Smith may have been responsible for some of your fondest memories in the ring. And if they aren't your jam, Billington is also largely credited for helping the career of Bret Hart. But outside of the ring, Billington was kind of a jerk. Including allegedly waking his former wife up with a gun to her head and breaking his niece's kneecaps for insurance money.
Billington also had a long history of steroid use. His life started falling apart in a major way in 1997 when he lost the use of his left leg as a result of his history of back and leg injuries. He also suffered a stroke in 2013 and has reportedly been told he will not be able to walk again.
2 Turned It Around: Booker T
For Booker T we're going to do something a little bit different. Instead of him hitting rock bottom after he left the ring, Booker had his serious issues prior to entering the wrestling industry. It was in 1987 (two years prior to his debut) that he was arrested for robbing several Wendy's restaurants. He was sentenced to five years in jail but was released after serving 19 months. Making the situation all the more crazy is the fact that Booker was working for Wendy's at the time! C'mon man, you didn't think they'd recognize you? We're sure he spent plenty of nights in jail thinking about how to make the most of life once he got out, something he clearly succeeded at. He had an illustrious career and is still with WWE to this day.
1 Didn't: Mike Awesome
Michael Alfonso, perhaps best recognized by his ring name Mike Awesome found a variety of success in several wrestling companies, including spending 2001-2002 and a stint in 2005 with the WWE. When Alfonso's career in the ring came to an end, he went on to try and make a living as a real estate agent.
Sadly though, despite having two children, Alfonso seemed to be struggling with depression. He took his own life in 2007 when he was only 42 years old. We hope his children and wife that he left behind are able to still manage to live productive and healthy lives despite his absence. It is sad to see just how many wrestlers in the industry have continually battled with personal demons.
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