Man, the life expectancy of pro wrestlers seems pretty poor. Not even counting the ones who have died in accidents, such as Owen Hart or Adrian Adonis, look at the list of the guys who have died very young who were stars over the past 20 years.
Off the top of my head, these are the ones I can name:
Road Warrior Hawk
Big John Stud
Mr. Perfect Curt Henig
Junk Yard Dog
5 of the 6 von Erichs (though one committed suicide)
Bruiser Brody (though he was stabbed)
Miss Elizabeth (not technically a wrestler, but still)
Crash Holly (another suicide)
Ravishing Rick Rude
Anyone else think of people I’m missing?
If you ever get the chance, read one of Mick Foleys books. He does a great job of telling how the business really is and describing what a grind it is to be on the road 250-300 days a year.
True we soemtimes don’t think of professional wrestlers as athletes, but in truth, they are. I remember years back when I first saw the Undertaker aka Mean Mark Calous, a man 6’10" and over 300, walk out on the top rope unassisited ans stand ther balanced for a good 5 seconds, then leap off. That takes some serious athletic skill.
Do a lot of those guys have drug and substance abuse problems? Maybe. But look at the stress they’re under, and then look at the percentage of use in the general population of people and the stress we’re under. In America today pychotropic med use for stress and anxiety is a huge business. And still a lot of folks prefer to self medicate with alcohol or street drugs.
If you are under strerss you will try and find relief and stress is relative to that person. What drives you to a breakdown might be what I deal with daily. And vice versa.
My point: don’t be quick to judge a business by the actions of a few and also don’t put down the actions of one man to cope while your neighbor or cubiclemate is doing the same and worse.
My deepest sympathy goes out to the Guerrero family and all the families of athletes who have lost loved ones.