5 former WWE stars and personalities who passed away in 2022
The year 2022 saw several changes in the landscape of WWE and could easily be considered one of the most tumultuous years in the history of the business.
While many exciting things happened, 2022 also saw the company and the pro wrestling world lose some big names who unfortunately passed away.
Here are five WWE stars and personalities who left this world in 2022. Sportskeeda Wrestling would like to send our sincere condolences to the families of these former stars and personalities and also thank them for their contribution towards the pro wrestling industry.
#5. WWE Hall of Famer Antonio Inoki
One of the greatest professional wrestlers and promoters of all time, the Japanese legend Antonio Inoki left this world earlier this year on October 1, 2022, aged 79.
A 12-time world champion in professional wrestling, including a WWF Heavyweight Championship run that is not officially recognized by WWE, Inoki played a pivotal role in establishing the industry of professional wrestling across the globe. His match against Ric Flair in North Korea allegedly drew 165,000 to 190,000 spectators, a record for the highest attendance in the history of pro wrestling.
Antonio Inoki was also the founder of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), one of the top promotions in the world today. For his achievements and contributions to the company and the industry, Inoki was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2010.
He struggled with several issues during his last years and passed away due to systemic transthyretin amyloidosis, but not before living an iconic life.
#4. WWE Tough Enough winner Sara Lee
The female winner of the sixth season of Tough Enough, Sara Lee unfortunately passed away on October 5, 2022 at the tragically young age of 30.
Married to former superstar Wesley Blake of The Forgotten Sons, with whom she has three children, Sara Lee competed on the black and gold brand after winning the Tough Enough competition. However, she didn't stick with the company for long and was released in 2016. After this, she returned to the independent circuit.
The unexpected news of her passing was shared by her mother and shocked the entire wrestling world. However, the cause of her death hasn't been revealed.
#3. Former WWE referee Dave Hebner
Former referee, promoter, and road agent Dave Hebner passed away earlier this year on June 17, 2022.
He was the identical twin of veteran WWE referee Earl Hebner, both of whom were part of the infamous WWF World Heavyweight Championship match in 1988 where they helped Andre The Giant defeat Hulk Hogan with a fast pinfall. The company tried to continue with the "evil twin" referee storyline but had to drop it soon after.
Dave Hebner also worked for TNA/IMPACT Wrestling from 2005 to 2012. He passed away at his home in Mechanicsville, Virginia at the age of 73 after suffering from an illness.
#2. Former WWE referee Tim White
Referees and officials are a huge part of the pro wrestling industry and one of the best referees in the business was Tim White, real name Timothy Rhys White.
Initially working as the agent of Andre The Giant, White became a full-time referee after Andre's death in 1993. White reffed the legendary Hell in a Cell match between The Undertaker and Mankind where the latter took a breathtaking bump from the top of the Hell in a Cell structure. White almost called the match off after that insane bump, fearful of Foley seriously injuring himself, but agreed to let him continue in the end.
After a 24-year run with the company, Tim White was released in 2009. He passed away earlier this year on June 19, 2022, at the age of 68.
#1. WWE Hall of Famer Scott Hall
Two-time WWE Hall of Famer Scott Hall left the world earlier this year, leaving the entire pro wrestling community mourning this huge loss.
Considered by many one of the greatest in the business, Scott Hall/Razor Ramon has been part of several iconic moments, including the first-ever Ladder Match against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania X. He was also a member of legendary factions like NWO and D-Generation X.
Scott Hall was hospitalized in March 2022 after he fell and broke his hip. He underwent hip replacement surgery but then suffered three heart attacks and was put on life support. He was taken off life support on March 14, 2022, and passed away at the age of 63.
His iconic speech during his Hall of Fame induction still leaves many teary-eyed. Hard work pays off, dreams come true. Bad times don't last, but bad guys do.