Today, we must praise the WWE for their concern when it comes to wrestler health. Some claim they waited way too long, but nonetheless we praise the company for their new protocols whether it be regarding the Wellness Policy or dealing with concussions.
However, this wasn’t always the case and it caused some tragic events in the past. Numerous wrestlers lost their lives whether it be because of drug consumption or traumatic brain injuries. If only these pre-cautions were done earlier, several lives could have been saved.
This article takes a look at two different spectrums. For one, we look at some wrestlers we lost far too soon that you possibly forgot passed away. We also include two deaths that occurred in 2016. One of them was an ECW legend who was still competing on the indie scene at the time of his passing.
On the other side of the fence, we take a look at some wrestlers you might have thought already passed away. This list includes older wrestlers, along with some that have battled some terrible health issues over the years. Despite these factors, those wrestlers are still alive.
So now, without further ado, let us begin. Here are eight wrestlers you forgot that passed away and seven you wouldn’t believe that are still alive.
15 Passed Away: Marianna Komlos
The WWE was a weird place during the Attitude Era. Yes, it did provide some of the greatest moments in WWE history, but, at the same time, it provided some of the worst content ever witnessed on television. One of those bizarre and horrendously booked storylines involved Mosh and his valet, the late Marianna Komlos. She was known as Beaver Cleavage and took part in an incest angle with Mosh. The skits were bizarre and pretty much unwatchable for anyone with a soul. To make matters worse, the two were dating at the time of the angle, which just made it that much more surreal to digest.
The storyline was short-lived and Marianna returned to the world of fitness, where she had a prominent career as a bodybuilder. Sadly, at the age of 35, she passed away from breast cancer.
14 Still Alive: George “The Animal” Steele
Chances are that most of our Sportster wrestler readers assumed that George “The Animal” Steele had passed away. Well, after a brief search, it turns out that Steele is still very much alive and doing well at the age of 79, residing out of Cocoa Beach, Florida. His health is very much intact asides from a minor scare in 1988 when he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
Steele is best known for becoming one of the first wrestler ever to transition from a wrestling ring onto the big screen. Steele took his talents to Hollywood back in the 90s appearing in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood. As for his wrestling legacy, he is mainly remember as being a unique attraction with limited in-ring skills. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame back in 1995. We wish the legend all the best in his future and health.
13 Passed Away: The Renegade
For every bad idea the WWE had, it seemed like WCW would counter with two absurd ideas. One of them, was a recreation of The Ultimate Warrior, The Renegade. Hogan hyped up the wrestler big time, but the crowd was having none of it, right off the bat. Despite the fan protests, the company continued to push the wrestler until it was really evident he was going nowhere. After a brief stint with the TV Championship, Renegade fell to irrelevancy and fell down the card. Adding insult to his situation, The Wrestler Observer named Renegade the worst wrestler of the year in 1995. Ouch.
He was later released in 1998 and became very depressed because of it. In 1999, the wrestler took his own life with a self-induced gunshot to the head. He was only 33.
12 Still Alive: Abdullah The Butcher
Even the dude sitting next to Abdullah in the picture above looks as shocked as we are that the former WWE star is still alive today. At the age of 75, the Canadian is residing out in Atlanta, Georgia. Abdullah owned multiple restaurants in the area, but finally closed them down just this year.
His legacy is very debatable as he’s made headlines for all the wrong reasons throughout his career. The controversy began when it was made mention that Abdullah had contracted hepatitis C and was infecting others with the condition. He was later taken to court by several former wrestlers and lost a boatload of money for it. His controversy only continued when he sold his Hall of Fame ring on eBay, stating the WWE shows his content without paying him, so he has every right to sell the item.
11 Passed Away: Sapphire
The late, great Dusty Rhodes caught the imagination of wrestling fans around the world during the 80s. Despite his odd build, he could cut a promo like nobody else and captivated fans just based on his words alone. He was a once in a lifetime performer.
Somewhere up in heaven, Rhodes is sharing a laugh with the late Sapphire. The valet made her WWE debut in November of 1989 as a super fan of Dusty Rhodes. What made the situation that much more unique was that she actually loved Dusty in real-life. The two were later paired together and enjoyed a nice run as a duo.
Sapphire’s run in the wrestling business was short-lived and she would sadly pass away in 1996 after suffering a heart attack.
10 Still Alive: Rosey
Some get the two confused (Rosey and his former partner Jamal), but to make things clear, Rosey is still alive and doing quite well despite some health scares in the past. His former Three Minute Warning member Jamal, however, sadly passed away a couple of years ago.
At the age of 46, he's now residing out of Cincinnati, Ohio and has been in the restaurant business since leaving the wrestling industry. In 2014, the big man go a bit of a scare when he sustained a congestive heart failure and was rushed to hospital. Thankfully, Rosey fully recovered from the scare and has lost some weight ever since. Today, he’s mostly known as Roman Reigns’ brother and a proud father of three children outside of his wrestling legacy.
9 Passed Away: Earthquake
The name Earthquake seemed quite fitting for a wrestler that was coming into the business with a background in Sumo. Following his Sumo wrestling career, Earthquake gave the world of sports and entertainment a shot, making his debut overseas with All-Japan Pro Wrestling. He would end up catching the eye of the WWE in the late 80s and transferred over. He spent the 90s with both WWE and WCW. One of his most notable final appearances for the company was playing the role of Golga with The Oddities. Golga, now that’s a fun word to say...
Shortly, after retiring from the pro wrestling scene, Earthquake’s health began to worsen. The former WWE star was diagnosed with bladder cancer and the disease only spread from them on. He passed away at the age of 42 back in 2006. Both Raw and SmackDown recognized the wrestler’s passing.
8 Still Alive: Bruce Hart
The forgotten member of the Hart family, Bruce Hart was a travelled wrestler throughout his career. For those of you that forgot, Bruce is the brother of Bret and Owen Hart. At the age of 66, Hart is still doing quite well and loves to discuss the business. Just recently, Bruce was a guest on a wrestling podcast and discussed the fact that the WWE should add more kayfabe to their program. We’re with you on that Bruce!
His role in the WWE never really panned out, but he’s known to be an excellent teacher back in Alberta, educating the youths that are entering the pro wrestling business. Despite his lack on involvement with the WWE, he keeps a good relationship with the company to this day. We wish Bruce nothing but the best in his future endeavors.
7 Passed Away: The Fabulous Moolah
When thinking of The Fabulous Moolah, we also remember Mae Young. Mae recently passed away in 2014 at the age of 90. What a character she was. What many forget was that her sidekick, The Fabulous Moolah, had passed years before in 2007 at the age of 84.
Moolah was a trailblazer and a brilliant in-ring talent. She started way back in the 40s and continued remarkably all the way till the 90s. In 1995, Moolah set a record that will likely go untouched forever by becoming the oldest title holder in WWE history, winning the Women’s Championship at the age of 76. This would be her eighth and final run with the title. In November of 2007, Moolah passed away from a heart attack. Her legacy lives on as a trailblazer in the women’s division.
6 Still Alive: One Man Gang
Life hasn’t been the easiest for One Man Gang, but at the age of 56, he’s still alive despite his struggles residing out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Things got pretty bad for Gang when his Baton Rouge home was flooded. Gang, along with 125,000 others, did not have any insurance on their homes which pretty much caused the wrestler to go homeless. Luckily, the former WWE star was able to raise a significant amount of money with a GoFundMe campaign, in an attempt to relocate after the horrible disaster of losing his home.
Along with his GoFundMe page, the former wrestler is also trying to make some money at the WWE’s expense by filing a class action lawsuit against McMahon’s company for traumatic brain injuries sustained during his time with the company.
5 Passed Away: Lance Cade
Trained by Shawn Michaels, the WWE initially had big plans for the Iowa native. His WWE career was ultimately filled with ups and downs, despite some pushes as a singles star, Cade would end up thriving best as a tag team wrestler. His run with the company would ultimately come to an end in October of 2008 when the WWE released the wrestler as a precaution because of a seizure he sustained during a flight.
He’d leave the WWE and join the indies until the unthinkable happened. Cade would pass away in the summer of 2010 before even entering his 30s at the age of 29. Lance suffered a heart attack in San Antonio, Texas, and the cause of death was later revealed to be accidental because of a mixture of toxic drugs.
4 Still Alive: Droz
Despite the fact that he sustained one of the most horrifying in ring injuries in WWE history, Droz is still alive and well after suffering from a botched maneuver that caused him to be in a quadriplegic state from the rest of his life.
The injury took place during a SmackDown taping back in October of 1999. During the finish, Brown picked up Droz trying to hit a powerbomb, but instead the wrestler landed on his neck. The result was two fractured disks in his neck which resulted into temporary paralysis.
Still today, Droz keeps a great attitude about the entire ordeal. In an interview in 2014 with Fox Sports, Droz made it clear that he does not blame D’Lo and that the error took place because of his loose attire on the night. At the age of 47, we wish the former Attitude Era star nothing but the best.
3 Passed Away: Blackjack Mulligan
We tend to forget because of how hectic 2016 was, but the wrestling world lost a great man this year. The football player turned pro wrestler recently passed away at the age of 73 in early April. He was survived by his three children, including former WWE star Barry Windham. Blackjack was also the grandfather of WWE stars Bo Dallas and Bray Wyatt.
He enjoyed a great career in the pro wrestling business and would eventually hang up the boots. In recently years, sadly, his health began to worsen and he even filed a lawsuit against the WWE for it. His time would come after several trips to the hospital and he ultimately passed away after suffering a heart attack. The former WWE star was hospitalized, but it was too late.
2 Still Alive: Nicole Bass
If you thought Nicole Bass had passed away, we don’t blame you, as she looked like the female definition of someone on steroids during her wrestling days and had some major health scares along the way. One incident that took place was in 2006 when Bass was hospitalized for a pancreatic attack due to steroid consumption. She would end up surviving the scare, but sadly her husband Richard Fuchs would end up passing away in 2013, at the age of 64.
Since her time away from the WWE, Bass has been a bit of a trainwreck with some unusual activity on Twitter. She was also recently caught stealing over $1,200 worth of groceries which only added to her debacle. She was recently featured on Howard Stern playing her old role as a stripper. Viewer discretion is strongly advised.
1 Passed Away: Balls Mahoney
Along with Axl Rotten, ECW lost another legend in 2016 by the name of Balls Mahoney. Mahoney was a legend with ECW, enjoying a run with the company during their prime. He started off in 1997 and stayed until the very end in 2001. He’d join the WWE for a little bit and was then off to the indie scene, the same place he was still performing before his sudden death.
Just a day after his 44th birthday, Mahoney died in his home of a sudden heart attack. According to his wife, Balls was doing just fine watching television in a great mood as the sudden attack came out of nowhere. The autopsy would show it was in fact a heart attack, ending the legend’s life far too soon. Our thoughts remain with his family.