Dead Wrestler Of The Week
July 1, 2010 7:56 PM   Subscribe

Dead Wrestler Of The Week. Every week, the Masked Man, Deadspin's pro wrestling correspondent, honors the sport's fallen and examines their legacies — famous and obscure alike. posted by The Card Cheat (22 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Whatever you do, never go full bro.
posted by docgonzo at 8:12 PM on July 1, 2010

I was so sad when Chris Benoit killed his family and himself. I never watched wrestling since. When I lived in England I was in a predominantly Muslim neighborhood in North Birmingham. Wrestling was just about the only common denominator between me, the only American, and the huge number of young Asian teens who lived there.
I remember talking to my friends in Aston the week Benoit died and sensing the same disillusionment I felt. It was such a shocking death.
posted by parmanparman at 8:21 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've been following this segment from the beginning and can honestly say it's very very good.
posted by dead cousin ted at 8:23 PM on July 1, 2010

This is neat! But also kind of depressing, because they're all dead. But mostly interesting!
posted by Neofelis at 8:27 PM on July 1, 2010

Oddly, not all of them are dead.
posted by cribcage at 8:28 PM on July 1, 2010

of course, I just looked up Sting on Youtube.
posted by parmanparman at 8:29 PM on July 1, 2010

Yeah, the Warrior one is a bit of a stretch, but that guy is a nutcase anyway.
posted by dead cousin ted at 8:35 PM on July 1, 2010

Ah, the Saturday Night Main Event, our once-a-month-in-SNL's-time-slot dose of high drama. For me, this was the apex of professional wrestling.
posted by evilcolonel at 9:23 PM on July 1, 2010

I don't even like wrestling and I found this incredibly fascinating. Good link!
posted by GilloD at 9:50 PM on July 1, 2010

> "I was so sad when Chris Benoit killed his family and himself. "

I'd long since stopped watching when Benoit did what he did, but (possibly because I've experienced a situation like that personally and it overshadows a great part of my life) that news was unbelievable. Drug related overdoses, serious injuries, worn out bodies just giving up... those you almost expect in that field of the entertainment industry. But murder-suicide? Christ. The only other comparison I can think of was the way Owen Hart died. Just terribly terribly avoidable and tragic and shocking and there aren't enough words for me.

Having said that, I love this post, as sad as death can be. There's a lot of wrestling lore there just waiting to eat my time.
posted by saturnine at 9:50 PM on July 1, 2010

Damn. I was working up to a post on this. The most recent one was a bit weak, I felt, but all the others have been fascinating. It's possible that, since totally stopped paying attention to wrestling for most of my teens, the Road Warriors were never my thing. Still, the profiles of Yokozuna and JYD are fascinating reading. The Masked Man really focuses on the racial aspect of both characters, but still manages to get across his love of the 'sport.' Pretty much every post hits the right mix of nostalgia and insight.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:54 PM on July 1, 2010

What's depressing is that the number of pro wrestlers who have died prematurely is so incredibly high this feature could conceivable go on for years and years.
posted by The Gooch at 12:07 AM on July 2, 2010

Well, they've still got Owen Heart, the British Bulldog, and now Test to write up. Shit, Test was only 33.

On the other hand, after they supposedly 'cracked down' on steroids in WWE, it was interesting to see the wrestlers' bodies change. Some, who had been behemoths (Randy Orton and Triple H especially) are suddenly lanky, even wiry. I don't doubt that there's still plenty of drug and steroid abuse in wrestling, and sadly it will probably never fully go away.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:32 AM on July 2, 2010

Speaking of dead wrestlers, my grandfather was a professional wrestler, he started in the depression doing the carnival circuit. He was the heel who people would try to beat to win 100 dollars, which back then was like... a billion dollars. He wrestled under an Irish-sounding pseudonym usually, though he was also one of the first wrestlers to wear a mask in the US. He ended up doing the Southern circuits for a long time, finally becoming a vendor at shows when he was too old to fight. He had huge cauliflower ears from so many years of wrestling. As kids we used to go to the fairgrounds and hang out and watch the shows and the fans, he would tell us what was going on, the mechanics of the match, and would introduce us to all of the wrestlers. It was odd to see these guys we'd seen on tv, babyfaces and heels, out of character.
My grandfather wasn't really the nicest guy though, so I wasn't too torn up when he died. In fact, I forgot about his funeral and took a rather large dose of windowpane about six hours before the funeral. That made for an interesting experience, a bunch of sad, huge old guys with big rings on gnarled hands, standing around uncomfortably in suits.

Open caskets. Ugh.
posted by Red Loop at 3:25 AM on July 2, 2010 [5 favorites]

Late last year I came across this tribute vid (SLYT warning: wretched music) and was completely floored by the amount of characters from my youth who have died. Sure there were high profile ones like Andre and Hart, but Bigelow? Rude? Bad News Brown? Probably the saddest was Miss Elizabeth, who wasn't even a wrestler, just suffered at the hands of one.

I'd read the JYD article before, but now I'll go back for more. Good post.
posted by Chichibio at 4:47 AM on July 2, 2010

I am strangely happy that I have discovered that Baron von Raschke is still alive. The Claw Master made a deep impact on me, I guess.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:48 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Needs more Von Erich.
posted by punkfloyd at 5:05 AM on July 2, 2010

The antidote to this post is this heart-warmer: George "The Animal" Steele and Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, spending their post-wrestling days together, fishing. This is the pilot episode to their (never-made?) series called "Something Fishy".
posted by not_on_display at 6:25 AM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've said all this before: I grew up in Charlotte, where wrestling was HUGE in the 70s. Ric Flair lived in the same neighborhood as a buddy of mine, and we'd see him out in the yard every now and then, mowing the lawn--he'd give us a big "WHOO!" when he saw us looking. I carpooled to elementary school with the Super Destroyer's daughter (and would see Wahoo McDaniels and others hanging out at his barbecues), and was in 5th grade with Black Jack Mulligan's son--Blackjack came to our 6th grade graduation, one of the only men I'd ever seen who was bigger than my dad. And Baron Von Raschke would come to our Junior High band concerts to see his daughter perform.

Oh, and I have a Benoit story, too.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:33 AM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

The lack of posts using the "RoadWarriorHawk" tag is a failure on the behalf of MetaFilter. Also, the CurtHennig tag needs to merge with the "gratuitouswang" tag.
posted by charred husk at 9:53 AM on July 2, 2010

"we'd see him out in the yard every now and then, mowing the lawn--he'd give us a big "WHOO!" when he saw us looking."

Oh my god I love this. Reminds me that someone on reddit recently posted pictures of when they went to Hulk Hogan's son's birthday party.
posted by saturnine at 11:41 AM on July 2, 2010

saturnine, it's a treasured childhood memory. It was in a real middle-class neighborhood--this block, though I don't remember exactly which house. My buddy and I were 12, and would ride our bikes up to the second-run theater to see Star Wars once again all summer long. Flair would be out there in his cut-off shorts and tube socks, no shirt, glorious platinum mane and all. He was a classic "bad guy" at the time, and it was just so incongruous to see him pushing the lawnmower around and being friendly.

We'd also save up our allowances and have our parents drop us off at the Charlotte Coliseum (the old one, now wonderfully renamed) or the Civic Center to see the matches; I got some of Flair's blood on a program once, and saved it for years. Good times.

A few years later, he moved to a slightly more upscale place (here maybe--somewhere around there. Not fancy, but not "starter home" territory, either), next door to another friend of mine, and across the street from Blackjack Mulligan. This was right when the two of them were bitterly feuding in the rink and on the air, but they'd hang out together afterwards and play street football with the neighborhood kids.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:37 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

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