The BBC asks, "Why do wrestlers so often die young?" After aggregating the multiple studies of professional wrestler mortality, a Manchester University researcher points the finger at "cardiovascular disease". One of the studies he examined was a grim University of Eastern Michigan mortality study of 557 former wrestlers which showed that wrestlers aged between 45 and 54 had a mortality rate 2.9 times greater than the rate for average men the same age. And the prognosis for professional wrestlers is even worse when compared to athletes in other American sports. Even when compared to NFL football. [more inside]
Professional wrestler Tommy Rogers (real name Thomas Couch), best known as one half of the tag team The Fantastics, has passed away at the age of 54. According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, Rogers "...had been having legal troubles in recent years stemming from fighting. He was to be sentenced tomorrow over a fight with police officers and feared a long prison stay." [more inside]
With WrestleMania 31 mere hours away, let's talk about representation in pro wrestling. And really, lessons that apply for any form of entertainment.
If you don’t use positive representation to speak to new fans who look different, who act different, who have new ideas, you’ll never have new fans at all.If You Can't See It, You Can't Be It: The Importance of Representation in Modern Day Wrestling [more inside]
The name Jim Harris probably doesn't mean much to many pro wrestling fans, however, most would be very familiar with his alter ego, Kamala. Billed as hailing from Uganda, Kamala, who never spoke, was portrayed as a dangerous, cannibalistic savage. After debuting the Kamala gimmick in Memphis in 1982, his career peaked in the mid-80s when he had a main event level feud with the biggest star of the era, Hulk Hogan. Unfortunately, as detailed in this article from the Bleacher Report, the past few years have been challenging for Harris both medically and financially, but he maintains a positive outlook. [more inside]
This weekend, the WWE Universe descends on the Superdome in New Orleans for WrestleMania XXX, the annual pay-per-view* that serves as the Super Bowl of professional wrestling. [more inside]
Professional wrestling's relationship with homosexuality and non-heteronormative presentation has long been downright hostile: from Gorgeous George in the 1950s, to "Pretty Boy" Pat Patterson in the 1970s, "Adorable" Adrian Adonis in the 1980s, Golddust in the 1990s, the infamous Billy and Chuck in the 2000s, and even Orlando Jordan in the 2010s, wrestlers who present as effeminate or who "might be gay" have always been portrayed as heels, drawing boos from the crowd. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the suggestion of female homosexuality has been called upon only to titillate. And although former performers like Patterson and the late Chris Kanyon publicly acknowledged their homosexuality after their active careers had ended, and though the WWE recently hired openly-gay retired professional golfer Jane Geddes as VP of Talent Relations, there hasn't been an active, out WWE Superstar until now, when Darren Young, asked if he thought there was a place for a gay wrestler, told TMZ that he's "gay ... and happy."
Frank Deford, a 50-year veteran of Sports Illustrated, once labeled Meltzer the most accomplished reporter in sports journalism. “You could cover the Vatican or State Department,” Deford said recently, “and not do as good a job as Dave Meltzer does on wrestling.”For nearly 30 years, Dave Meltzer has published the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, featuring weekly behind the locker room door insight into the business of professional wrestling. How far reaching has Meltzer's impact been? In one famous incident, Hulk Hogan, frustrated by what he perceived as consistently negative coverage in the publication, burned a copy of the newsletter during a live Pay-Per-View event.
Bill Moody, best known as professional wrestling manager Paul Bearer, passed away Tuesday at the age of 58. [more inside]
[WrestleFilter] Eddie Guerrero, a/k/a Latino Heat, was found dead in his hotel room in Minnesota this morning. He was 38. His is the latest in a years-long string of tragic early deaths in professional wrestling.
These days, we remember the age of legends by reliving them, virtually. Is it a sign of the fall of civilization when modern leaders are so bland as to be indistinguishable from one another? Oh how I miss the golden years.
RIP Mr Perfect Former WWE star "Mr Perfect" Curt Hennig was found dead yesterday at the age of 44, joining a long list of professional wrestlers to die at an unnaturally young age. It's no secret to participants and fans of the pro-wrestling industry that its performers live unusually stressful lives. With working schedules commonly encompassing upwards of 300 shows a year, their bodies take a constant beating that often leads to alcohol and painkiller dependency. Furthermore, despite the high-profile scandal of the mid-90s that eventually saw Vince McMahon acquitted of trafficking steroids to his employees, the abuse of performance-enhancing chemicals continues to be the rule rather than exception, driven by the endless quest for bigger and freakier physical size and proportions to wow audiences.