It's no secret that the wrestling industry has claimed the lives of several prominent Superstars at a relatively early age. There's a hope that the WWE Wellness Policy as well as the industry's overall improvement to health standards and testing - not to mention a drastic reduction in head-focused bumps - can have an impact on lengthening the lives of present-day Superstars, but that means very little for those who were stars within the industry during the 1980s through to the WWE Attitude Era. There's only so many times an individual can be dropped on his or her head before suffering long-term repercussions; that's why 51 former wrestlers filed a joint lawsuit against the WWE over a year ago, and it's something the company will have to continue to deal with moving forward.
Some of the wrestlers involved in that lawsuit are hoping to help their families out when they're gone as there doesn't appear to be much hope in them living a long, healthy life. Beyond those individuals, there's also a host of former wrestlers who have quite simply let themselves go or suffered from other health issues. Conversely, many Superstars who you might have expected to fall into bad habits in retirement remain in incredible shape. Below are nine former WWE wrestlers we might be forced to say goodbye to in the near future as well as six that appear to be in perfect health.
15 Might Lose Soon: Perry Saturn
A once-talented wrestler who joined WWE during the WCW Invasion angle, Perry Saturn is a two-time WCW World Tag Team Champion, one-time WCW World Television Champion, two-time WWE Hardcore Champion, and one-time WWE European Champion. At the height of his career in 1999 with WCW, he was ranked by Pro Wrestling Illustrated as the 47th best singles wrestler in the world.
14 Might Lose Soon: Terry Funk
Given the amount of bumps he took over the years, it's almost hard to believe that Terry Funk is still with us today. The 73 year old's career has spanned five decades, during which time he has won a pair of ECW World Heavyweight Championships, a NWA World Championship, and a WWE Tag Team Championship. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009.
13 In Perfect Health: Ken Shamrock
"The World's Most Dangerous Man" just might also be The World's Most In-Shape Senior. Shamrock, a Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Hall of Famer and former WWE Intercontinental Champion, turned 53 years old last February, but remains in unbelievable shape, which, given his background in training for both mixed martial arts and professional wrestling, is hardly a surprise.
12 Might Lose Soon: Harley Race
Reaching 70 years old is almost a feat in itself for retired professional wrestlers, so it shouldn't be a surprise that Harley Race, now 74 years old, could be nearing the end. The decorated grappler and NWA Hall of Fame member is best known for his memorable feuds and matches with the likes of Dory Funk Jr., Dusty Rhodes, and Ric Flair. He won the WWE King of the Ring in 1986 and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2004.
11 Might Lose Soon: The Iron Sheik
This one might not be much of a surprise if you're on Twitter, where The Iron Sheik has carved out quite a platform for his hateful, often controversial views (he inspired Internet lists such as The Iron Sheik's 100 most insanely hilarious tweets and 23 times The Iron Sheik didn't give a f**k on Twitter). It's clear following his Twitter feed that he's perhaps not all there, though those that know him well note he has always been rather eccentric. Maybe Twitter is just the perfect platform for him.
10 In Perfect Health: Sycho Sid
As wrong as he is about Kevin Owen as a top draw in the WWE, you have to give Sycho Sid credit for still being a semi-respected voice in the wrestling community. Although the big man might not have been one of the best in-ring performers of his time, he continues to work despite being 56 years old and with a plethora of injuries behind him. However, it's hard to question his health these days as he continues to work sporadic indie shows.
9 Might Lose Soon: Kamala
Not to be confused with Democratic Senator Kamala Harris, James Harris is a lifelong wrestler who is best known as WWE's Kamala, although he also spent time with the USWA and WCW. During the height of his career, Kamala was billed at 6-foot-7 and 375-pounds and, given the fact he's now 67 years old, it should be no surprise that his life is coming to its conclusion. However, his real-life troubles are nothing like the health issues suffered by the other wrestlers on this list.
8 In Perfect Health: Diamond Dallas Page
The career trajectory of Diamond Dallas Page is rather interesting. He didn't break into the business until 1988 when he was 32 years old and didn't sign with WCW until he was 35 years old. By the end of his decade-long run with the company, he had held the WCW World Heavyweight Championship on three occasions and later had relatively successful runs in both the WWE and TNA. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2017.
7 Might Lose Soon: Typhoon
Fred Ottman had a wrestling career spanning 16 years in the WWE, WCW, and various promotions worldwide. He was best known in the WWE as Tugboat and later as Typhoon, one-half of the Natural Disasters. He also starred as the Shockmaster in WCW, where he was best known for creating one of the more infamous moments in wrestling history as he tripped over a piece of lumber and fell forward through a wall, losing the helmet he was supposed to wear and exposing his face.
6 In Perfect Health: Ricky The Dragon Steamboat
A WWE Hall of Famer, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat is a one-time Intercontinental Champion who had the bulk of his success in NWA and WCW, where he was a four-time United States Champion and one-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion. He began wrestling in 1976 and worked steadily for a 20-year period, but has since worked sporadically with the WWE in roles such as road agent, ambassador, and NXT trainer.
5 Might Lose Soon: Rico
Americo Sebastiano Costantino debuted in the WWE during 2002 as Rico, the stylist for the tag team of Billy and Chuck. It's a testament to his talent that he was able to parlay that awful gimmick into a semi-respectable career in the ring. In fact, before being released by the company in 2004, he had won a pair of Tag Team Championships with Rikishi and Charlie Haas.
4 In Perfect Health: Shawn Michaels
Most wrestlers battle their personal demons upon retiring from the ring, but "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels did so when he was at the height of his popularity within the WWE. Throughout the 1990s, Michaels battled alcoholism and drug addiction before becoming a Born Again Christian and seemingly turning his life around both in the business and outside of it. Since retiring as a full-time performer in 1998, Michaels has returned to WWE on numerous occasions to play out memorable feuds against the likes of Hulk Hogan and Chris Jericho.
3 Might Lose Soon: Vader
Vader was one of the most dominating presences in the WWE when he debuted in early 1996 opposite the likes of fellow big men Mabel and Yokozuna. Although those two unfortunately passed away in recent years, Vader continues to wrestle to this day, despite the fact that he turns 63 years old in March of next year. To date, his career in the business spans over 30 years.
2 In Perfect Health: Bruno Sammartino
There actually may not be any 81 year olds in better shape than Bruno Sammartino. The WWE Hall of Famer, known for his power moves and charisma, was one of the most popular wrestlers in the world, not to mention the World Wide Wrestling Federation's flag bearer before the company became the WWF in the 1980s. The big man is a two-time WWWF World Heavyweight Champion and three-time Tag Team Champion. He's also the recipient of five Pro Wrestling Illustrated Match of the Year awards.
1 Might Lose Soon: Ric Flair
The world would be a much worse place if we were to lose the "stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin' n' dealin' son of a gun" Ric Flair, but given recent events it might be best if we prepare for the worst. The 68 year old was hospitalized for routine monitoring in early August, but it was soon after determined he was facing multiple organ issues. Flair was put into a medically-induced coma to the heartbreak of millions of wrestling fans worldwide, who feared the worst, but hoped for the best.
Fortunately, The Nature Boy had successful surgery and came out of the coma feeling fine with a message for fans. He posted an update on Twitter on September 10, and while he's certainly showing his age, it's incredible to see him smiling once again. Here's hoping we're wrong about this one.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!