Professional wrestling is, when stripped down to its very core, a performance show that is meant to entertain audiences watching in-person or via some other means. It has been decades since it was not public knowledge that the outcomes of matches were scripted, and fans of the product are also well aware that the moves that are put on display during contests are not actually intended to cause any serious physical harm to opponents. The hope is that all of the wrestlers involved in a match will be able to shake hands and wish each other well behind the scenes when all is said and done.
With all of that said, performers inside of the ring take significant risks during matches that do not just include aerial maneuvers that feature wrestlers taking leaps off of the top rope, off of cages and off of ladders. What looks to be a simple bump to the majority of fans who have never wrestled can be a serious blow to different parts of the body, most notably to the chest, head and neck regions of a person. Any unnatural jolt that rocks such a fragile part of an individual can lead to a serious injury that even, in certain cases, results in the unthinkable occurring in front of fans.
What is arguably the most-famous case of a wrestler passing away inside of a ring is one that was completely 100 percent avoidable, an incident that never should have occurred in the first place. That day continues to be one of the darkest in the history of the wrestling business, one that shocked all who were in the industry and one that resulted in thousands of paying customers witnessing that horrific event right in front of their eyes. The only positive to come from that evening is that the company involved has never again taken such a risk with one of its performers.
10 Malcolm Kirk
9 Plum Mariko
7 Gary Albright
6 Larry Cameron
5 Mike DiBiase
4 Luther Lindsay
3 Mitsuharu Misawa
2 Perro Aguayo, Jr.
1 Owen Hart
The younger brother of Bret Hart was playing the “Blue Blazer” superhero character when the WWE decided to have Hart be lowered from the top of the arena to the ring via a harness at the 1999 Over the Edge pay-per-view event. The stunt ended disastrously, as Hart plummeted approximately over 70 feet downward before whiplashing off of the top rope and into the ring. While Hart was not pronounced dead until he was taken to a local medical facility, it has been widely believed for years that he died upon impact. World Wrestling Entertainment has since never again attempted such a needless and silly stunt.
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