3 controversial deaths that rocked Pro-Wrestling

Bruiser Brody is still a huge influence on Wrestling!
Bruiser Brody is still a huge influence on Wrestling!
Aviral Shukla

Professional wrestling is full of shocking deaths. Reports have it that wrestlers die at a far younger median age than any other sport. Whether it's because of direct drug abuse or because of effects of years of steroid use, or even due to travel hazards, pro wrestlers generally have shorter life expectancies.

Wrestling, and wrestlers, in particular, seem to attract scandals like probably no other sport. Some ridiculous, and some are downright tragic. All these have managed to affect the way the audience looks at the sport.

So, let’s take a trip down memory lane and examine some of the most controversial deaths in pro-wrestling history.

#3 Chris Benoit double-murder and suicide

Benoit was a great wrestler but a terrible personality!
Benoit was a great wrestler but a terrible personality!

One of the most shocking deaths in pro wrestling was the demise of Chris Benoit and his family. Chris Benoit was one of the biggest WWE superstars, and was at the height of his popularity, when he murdered his wife Nancy Benoit and their four-year-old son. After murdering his wife and son, he then killed himself by stringing a weightlifting cord around his neck.

For several weeks, the mainstream media put pro wrestling under a microscope, searching for the motive behind this vicious and disgusting murder-suicide. Many theories were brought forward, such as prescription painkiller abuse, steroid abuse, and brain trauma. In fact, the Sports Legacy Institute stated that Benoit, a 40-year-old man, had a brain that resembled an 85-year-old Alzheimer's patient.

The toxicology report released after Benoit's death listed Xanax, hydrocodone and elevated levels of testosterone. Unfortunately for Vince McMahon and the WWE, the investigators did not piece together clues that Benoit was the murderer until a few days after his body was found.

On June 25, the day the bodies of Benoit and his family were found, WWE aired a 3-hour tribute to Chris Benoit. Just a couple of days later, they would learn they had dedicated their show to a murderer. Since then, WWE has erased any mention of Chris Benoit from their history books.

#2: Bruiser Brody

Sadly, his killer got away with murder!
Sadly, his killer got away with murder!

In July 1988, Bruiser Brody was murdered by fellow wrestler Jose Gonzalez. Gonzalez stabbed Brody in the stomach in a dressing room before a live show, and Brody later died from his wounds. Gonzalez has always claimed self-defence.

Bruiser Brody was a professional wrestler many new fans may have never heard of. But his death is one of the most gruesome and shocking incidents in pro-wrestling history. Brody was a 6 foot 8 inch, 300lb monster who tore through the competition wherever he wrestled.

He travelled all over the nation, making a name for himself in all the different territories he worked. He is perhaps most famous for his match with a young Lex Luger. The two were wrestling each other in a steel cage match, when in the middle of the match, Brody decided to stop selling Luger's punches. Brody strayed from the planned match and just stopped working with Lex. Rumour has it that Brody also had taped several razor blades to his fingers that night, but that was never confirmed as truth.

On July 16, 1988, Bruiser Brody was wrestling in Puerto Rico, a place he had wrestled several times before. However, he would not be returning from this tour. Just before his match, a man named Jose Gonzalez, who was a wrestler and also the promotion's booker, asked to speak to Bruiser in the showers. It was during this time that a fight between the two broke out, and the entire locker room could hear Bruiser crying out for help.

Gonzalez had stabbed Bruiser Brody in the stomach. Fellow wrestler Tony Atlas, a WWE Hall of Famer, carried Brody to the paramedics that evening. Unfortunately, Brody did not survive the injuries. Less than a year later, Jose Gonzalez was acquitted of all charges, citing self-defence. Brody was 42 years old at the time of his death.

#1: Brian Pillman

If Pillman was still alive, he would have been one of the most influential names in Wrestling history!
If Pillman was still alive, he would have been one of the most influential names in Wrestling history!

When “The Loose Cannon” died the night before a major WWF PPV in 1997, no one could believe it. A lot of people thought it was all planned at first; with all of the things that Pillman had pulled in the year or so leading up to his death, no one would have been surprised.

Brian Pillman managed to always beat the odds all his life. He survived numerous bouts of throat cancer as a child. He lived through a near-fatal car crash in 1996. An ex-girlfriend and the mother of one of his children killed himself while she was on the phone with him. Still, Pillman seemed destined to survive everything. Everything except the heart attack that killed him at the age of 35.

His death brought the lifestyle of wrestlers to the limelight. The mix of drugs, alcohol, and other means that were 'required' to survive the lifestyle of a WWF wrestler were brought to light, and it was an unflattering spotlight that the promotion found themselves in.

Throw in the live Raw interview with Pillman’s widow, Melanie, on the day after his death, and Vince McMahon found himself in the middle of a firestorm. Two decades later, there are still questions about how the company handled Pillman’s death.

Edited by Tobi Amoo


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