In the wild world of professional wrestling, it’s not uncommon to hear about substance abuse issues among those that take bumps in the ring on a nightly basis. Not only do wrestlers put their bodies through bouts of torture to get the muscular look that fans have become accustomed to, but then most have to deal with pain on a regular basis due to the risks from just being in the ring and trying to entertain us.
Then there’s the wear and tear the competitors put themselves through being on the road half the year or more. During the territory days, it wasn’t uncommon for the top stars to be on the road for more than 300 days a year, as they traveled city to city to compete.
World Wrestling Entertainment, following the death of Eddie Guerrero in 2005, put together a plan to do what they could to clean up sports entertainment, and it was not usual to see a performer forced to sit for 30-60 days due to failing a drug test.
Sadly the sport of pro wrestling has seen way too many deaths of young performers due to the lifestyle, as well as the abuse of substances. Some have been lucky and have cleaned up after seeing too many of their friends pass away, but for the ones that have cleaned up, it took too many before them to pass away before they got clean.
Today we take a look at “15 Wrestlers that have Dealt with Substance Abuse Issues,” some of which are still with us, some of which sadly paid the price for their lifestyle.
15 Dynamite Kid
12 The Iron Sheik
11 Miss Elizabeth
10 Jeff Hardy
9 Lance Cade
8 Kerry Von Erich
7 Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts
6 Eddie Guerrero
5 Davey Boy Smith
4 Shawn Michaels
3 Scott Hall
2 Curt Hennig
1 Brian Pillman
“Flying” Brian Pillman struggled for years with a strong addiction to painkillers, alcohol and other substances that cut his career and life short at the age of 35. Pillman’s life was one of struggle, as he had over 30 surgeries due to throat cancer that hit him at the age of three. He overcame the odds, making it all the way to the NFL where he nearly made the Cincinnati Bengals roster in 1984. He started wrestling in 1986, and that April suffered an ankle injury after a car accident. Many say the addiction started from there, as he would try his hardest to find a way to acquire pain killers, and he also had a drinking addiction which made matters worse. Pillman died in his hotel room in Minnesota, the afternoon before‘Bad Blood’ on October 5th, 1997, leaving behind a wife and six children.
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