WWE News: The 15 Biggest Tragedies in Wrestling History

Jon SainzAnalyst IIMay 13, 2011

WWE News: The 15 Biggest Tragedies in Wrestling History

0 of 15

    This is not a ranking.

    I don't have the heart to rank tragedies.

    This is a list. Actually it's three lists.

    First I'm going to talk about some of the most common problems in wrestling, such as steroids or prescription drugs.

    Then I'll list some of the best known particular cases.

    And the slideshow will finish with a tribute slide listing wrestlers who have died since 1985 before the age of 65.


1 of 15

    This is not as a big topic now as it was in the 90's, but steroid abuse is still an issue in professional wrestling.

    In the mid 1990's the WWE had to defend itself against allegations of steroid use.

    True or not, this caused a lot of damage to its image.

    The allegations harmed them in the Monday Night Wars.

    Nowadays we hear less of it, but some current WWE wrestlers have had problems because of steroids.

Prescription Drugs

2 of 15

    Believe it or not, this is one of the most dangerous vices in wrestling.

    Prescription drugs are easy to get, easier to abuse and highly addictive.

    To top all of, the addiction is hard to detect.

    Dealing with pain and injuries, the most commonly used by wrestlers are pain killers, but probably not the only ones.


3 of 15

    A lot of wrestlers have been arrested; many of those detentions have had something to do with alcohol.

    A DUI, an altercation in a bar or a hotel, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, the list goes on; but the link between all of them is alcohol abuse.


4 of 15

    I'm mainly referring to accidents that don't have to do with the in ring performances.

    It could happen to any of us, but in the case of a wrestler it could also end his career.

Career Ending Injuries

5 of 15

    This  one is about the in ring accidents/injuries.

    The guys in the video were able to continue wrestling, but other guys weren't that lucky.

    Edge is the latest case in the list of wrestlers who were suffered career ending injuries.

Magnum T.A.

6 of 15

    He had the ability, the looks, everything needed to be a World Champion. But a car accident ended his career and nearly his life.

    On October 14, 1986 he lost control of his vehicle in the rain was involved in an accident which exploded his C-4 and C-5 vertebrae. Doctors doubted he would ever be able to walk again, saying that his physical conditioning saved his life.

    After his accident, he continue working in the wrestling industry, but only as an announcer.


7 of 15

    On October 5, 1999 in a match against D-Lo Brown, Darren Drozdov broke his neck.

    His career ended in that moment as he was paralyzed from the neck down.

    He has since regained control of his arms and upper body.

Brian Pillman

8 of 15

    On October 5, 1997 he was found dead in an hotel room in Bloomington, Minnesota. 

    His autopsy revealed that the cause of death was a previously undetected heart condition known as arteriosclerotic heart disease.

    That was also his father's cause of death, but in Brian's case his use of drugs and alcohol likely contributed to his early death.

    He was 35 years old.

Eddie Guerrero

9 of 15

    On November 13, 2005, he was found unconscious  in his Minnesota hotel room by his nephew Chavo. 

    Chavo attempted CPR, but to no avail. Eddie was pronounced dead as the paramedics arrived.

    Before that he had had several personal problems which he was able to overcome and became a born-again Christian.

Owen Hart

10 of 15

    On May 23, 1999, in Kansas, Missouri, during the Over the Edge PPV, Owen Hart fell 78 feet into the ring and was pronounced dead on arrival at the Truman Medical Center.

    Part of a great wrestling family, this one was a tragedy in itself and also for the way the WWE handled the situation, not informing the audience and continuing the PPV.

André the Giant

11 of 15

    A larger than life persona, a gentle giant, a lot can be said about André and all of it good.

    André suffered from gigantism and died in Paris on January 27, 1993 at the age of 46.

    Another WWE wrestler, The Big Show has the same disease, but decided to undergo surgery so that he wasn't in constant pain.

    When the WWE decided to start their Hall of Fame he was the first man ever inducted into it and the class of 1993 consisted solely of The Eight Wonder of the World, André The Giant.

Bruiser Brody

12 of 15

    On July 16, 1988 in Puerto Rico, Brody went into the showers to discuss something with José Huertas Gonzalez, a fellow wrestler and booker.

    Nobody know what exactly happened in there, but when Tony Atlas went over there after hearing two loud groans, he found Brody bent over holding his stomach and a knife in José's hand.

    Atlas himself carried Brody into the waiting ambulance as the paramedics arrived.

    González, who always maintained his innocence, was initially charged with first-degree murder but was later reduced and tried for involuntary homicide.

    In January 1989, González was acquitted on all counts, citing self-defense.

The Benoit Family

13 of 15

    On June 25, 2007 the police, asked by the WWE to see what was going on with Chris Benoit, discovered three bodies in the Benoit household in Fayetteville, Georgia.

    The case was ruled a double murder suicide.

The Von Erich Family

14 of 15


    That is a quote from the 2002 movie "John Q".

    The exact opposite happened with the Von Erich family.

    Fritz Von Erich was only survived by one of his six sons, Kevin.

    Out of the six brothers, Kevin was also the only one to live past the age of 35.

    As Kevin himself once said:

    "Ten years ago I had four brothers. Now I'm not even a brother."

Wrestlers Who Died

15 of 15

    Here's a list of known wrestlers that have died since 1985 before they reached the age of 65. 

    This list is without a doubt incomplete, since the lesser known wrestlers and other wrestlers in this article are not included in it. 


    Louie Spiccoli

    Art Barr

    Gino Hernandez 
    Lance Cade 

    Jay Youngblood
    Rick McGraw 
    Joey Marella 

    Ed Gatner 

    Buzz Sawyer
    Crash Holly 

    D.J. Peterson
    Eddie Gilbert 
    The Renegade 
    Chris Candido 

    Adrian Adonis 
    Gary Albright 
    Bobby Duncum Jr.
    Big Dick Dudley 

    Marianna Komlos

    Pitbull #2 
    The Wall/Malice 
    Emory Hale

    Leroy Brown 
    Mark Curtis 
    John Kronus 

    Davey Boy Smith
    Johnny Grunge 

    Chris Kanyon
    Vivian Vachon 
    Jeep Swenson 
    Brady Boone 
    Terry Gordy 
    Bertha Faye 
    Billy Joe Travis 

    Larry Cameron 
    Rick Rude 
    Randy Anderson

    Miss Elizabeth 
    Big Boss Man 
    Mike Awesome
    Biff Wellington 

    Brian Adams (Crush)
    Ray Candy

    Dino Bravo 
    Curt Hennig 
    El Gigante/Giant Gonzalez

    Bam Bam Bigelow
    Jerry Blackwell 
    Junkyard Dog 
    Toni Adams

    Big John Studd
    Chris Adams 
    Mike Davis 
    Mitsuharu Misawa

    Ludvig Borga

    Luna Vachon
    Steve Dunn 
    Cousin Junior

    Dick Murdoch 
    Jumbo Tsuruta
    Rocco Rock
    Sherri Martel
    Steve Williams

    Moondog Spot 

    Bastion Booger/Norman the Lunatic
    Ken Timbs

    Uncle Elmer
    Pez Whatley
    The Angel of Death

    Eddie Graham 
    Tarzan Tyler 
    Haystacks Calhoun
    Giant Haystacks 

    Buddy Rose 
    Kurt Von Hess
    Moondog King 

    Gene Anderson 
    Dr. Jerry Graham
    Bulldog Brown 
    Tony Parisi 

    Rufus R. Jones
    Ray Stevens 
    Stan Stasiak 
    Terry Garvin  

    Boris Malenko 
    Little Beaver
    Shohei Baba

    Sir Oliver Himperdink
    Dick the Bruiser 
    Wilbur Snyder 
    George Cannon 
    Karl Krupp
    Dale Lewis 
    Gorilla Monsoon
    Hiro Matsuda 

    Bad News Brown
    Bulldog Brower
    SD Jones
    Wahoo McDaniel