Although they may appear to be superhuman, WWE Superstars can be affected by a life-threatening illness just like any of us. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that these larger-than-life stars are human too.
Cancer is a disease that, for the most part, there is no cure for. The type of cancer one has and how far along the prognosis is can be the difference between life and death.
For these WWE Superstars and Legends, each had their own battle with cancer and managed to make the deadly disease tap out before it was too late.
With that said, let’s look at five WWE Superstars who beat cancer.
#5 “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
He was one of the most controversial, loud-mouthed, villains of the 80s. However, he managed to become one of the most beloved WWE Superstars of all time. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper fought many wars with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Bret “Hitman” Hart, Ric Flair, and many more.
However, his biggest battle came in 2006 when Piper was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Piper found out that he was diagnosed with the disease in November 2006. The veteran was active with WWE at the time and as fate would have it, he was one of the choices to be Ric Flair’s partner for the Cyber Sunday (2006) pay-per-view.
Piper would thank the fans graciously, he disclosed that if he wasn't picked to be Flair’s partner he would never have gone on to the hospital over that weekend. If he hadn't gone, he wouldn't have received the diagnosis in time to catch the disease.
The legend would undergo a series of radiation treatments to beat the disease and was put into remission in January 2007. Sadly, Piper died years later in 2015 after suffering a heart attack.
#4 Michelle McCool
Michelle McCool had a very successful career and won multiple WWE Women’s and Divas Championships, respectively. She notably teamed up with Layla as the team, “LayCool” as the duo dominated the Divas division in the late 2000s.
McCool retired from the wrestling business in 2011, and would begin a relationship with The Undertaker, whom she would later marry. McCool was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2016. This was due to a lack of sunscreen protection while out in the sun.
McCool had holes cut out of her skin and underwent cancer treatment. She would later be declared cancer free.
#3 Undisputed WWE Universal Champion - Roman Reigns
“The Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns is without a doubt the biggest name in WWE today. He is currently the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion and has been champion for over two years. Reigns is the leader of The Bloodline and recently defeated Drew McIntyre at Clash at the Castle to further assert his dominance in the company.
However, in Reigns’ early youth, he had to endure a scary battle with Leukemia. He beat the disease even before he became a WWE Superstar. Years later, in 2018, the cancer had returned. Reigns was forced to relinquish the Universal Championship at the time and took a leave of absence to combat the disease.
Roughly four months later, Reigns made his return to the company and announced on RAW that he was in “remission”, having beaten the disease yet again.
#2 Bret “Hitman” Hart
The man is known as "The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be,” and for good reason. Bret Hart is widely regarded as one of the best in-ring technicians of all time and had an illustrious Hall of Fame career.
The legendary superstar won multiple championships, and had legendary feuds with the likes of Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Razor Ramon, and Mr. Perfect. Hart's list of rivalries is a who’s who of some of the greatest performers of all time.
One feud Bret Hart did not expect to have to overcome was a battle with cancer. Hart was diagnosed with prostrate cancer in 2016. The WWE Hall of Famer ultimately underwent surgery to successfully remove the cancerous tumor.
He would later be diagnosed with a basic form of skin cancer (Basic Cell Carcinoma). He would have the cancerous cell removed from his body through surgery.
#1 “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
One of the most beloved figures in wrestling history, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan was known for his tough guy, no-nonsense attitude. He proudly waved the American flag and wrestled for Mid-South Wrestling, WWE, and WCW.
During his days at WCW, Duggan would announce that he was diagnosed with Kidney Cancer in 1998. The first-ever Royal Rumble winner would take time off from television to undergo treatment. The legend made his return in to WCW to announce that he was cancer free in 1999.
Years later, in 2021, Duggan would announce that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The WWE Hall of Famer would have his prostate removed in October and later announced he was once again cancer free. Unfortunately, the cancer would return in March 2022, and he began eight weeks of treatment.
As of August 2022, Duggan has declared himself once again to be cancer free.