Another day, another dollar and another former WWE wrestler is making headlines. No folks it isn't another tragic death, Jeff Hardy didn't land himself an arrest this time, and Hulk Hogan is making headlines but only because he was injured and hospitalized over the weekend. This time it was former Heart Foundation member, brother-in-law to Bret Hart, and father of Natalya, Jim "The Anvil" Niedhart.
According to various news sites including CBS.com, Fanhouse, and AOL.com, Niedhart was seen in Thonotosassa, Florida, pumping gas, raving like a lunatic and popping pills from a bottle he retrieved from his trunk. The police were called and he was found to have 55.6 grams of Oxycontin and 17.4 grams of methadone, all of which had the name "Mary Cutillo" written on the bottle. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance, trafficking of a controlled substance, and burglary.
The burglary charge stemmed from the news that Cutillo's house had recently been robbed. However, Neidhart and Cutillo are reportedly friends, so it is unclear if the burglary charges will stick or not.
This is not the first time a former WWE superstar has made headlines in this manor and probably will not be the last. Jeff Hardy and Rob Van Dam have both had run-ins with the law due to their "outside" the ring activities and I doubt they were the first or last.
More tragic however, is the recent headline of former WWE Superstart Lance McNaught, known in ring as "Lance Cade", passing away at just 29 years-old due to heart failure.
Untimely deaths are nothing new to this business. I can remember a handful of superstars passing away in the last 10 years. After sitting down to write this article, I decided to look into this further and the results were shocking to say the least. 15 former WWE superstars have passed away due to massive heart attacks or drug overdoses in the last 10 years, with all but one of them being younger than 50-years-old. These superstars included Miss Elizabeth, Bam Bam Bigelow, Bad News Brown, Eddie Guerrero, Mr. Perfect, and more.
Some of these superstars had been known drug users, known steroid users and had fallen on hard financial times. They gave their blood, sweat, tears, and time away from their families to this business and it seems the business doesn't think twice before turning a cold shoulder to them. Is WWE to blame for any part of these deaths? Lance McNaught's father, Harley McNaught, seems to think so.
He was quoted by Ted Mann in an interview as saying "She (Linda McMahon) disrespected him," McNaught said. "She disrespected my family." The father also said he thinks McMahon and her husband, who remains at the helm of their $1.02 billion corporation, know exactly what a toll the driving pace of wrestling competition can take on individual wrestlers struggling, as his son did, to work through injuries and not be passed over for a chance to be in the spotlight. Lance McNaught "would have cut his arm off for Vince McMahon, but it wasn't there in return," his father said. "He don't care any more than the man in the moon for them, other than as dollar signs."
The article also went on claim that the WWE Wellness Policy which was designed to do drug testing, cardiovascular testing, and offer rehabilitation, was all smoke and mirrors. McNaught had attended a 30-day company paid rehab program and was released soon after. His father believes this was due to Linda McMahon running for congress and decided to speak out against the company after McMahon claimed she had only met McNaught once, when his father had seen her interact with him on more than one occasion.
It saddens me more and more, each time I read these headlines. To me, it is the same as Spiderman or Batman being arrested on drug charges. I grew up idolizing these superstars and learning of their tragic deaths or poor life circumstances is heartbreaking. It seems there are too many to be a coincidence, perhaps something can be done? I really don't know.
So my question to you BR, is WWE to blame? Should their Wellness Policy be revised? I want to hear your opinion!
Thanks to Chinmay and I Am D Real Deal Yo for inspiring the article!
**Edit** RM Herold, I saw your slideshow after I posted this! So had to give you a shout out as well!