Award-winning ECW original found dead in motel room
Tragic news for the wrestling community and fans all over the world, as Axl Rotten, (real name Brian Knighton) passed away today, aged 44. Rotten was best known for his 6-year stretch with ECW.
Following his one-year stint in WCW in 1991, Axl would form the Bad Breed with Ian Rotten and enter the ECW due to his previous association with Paul Heyman. A feud would soon develop between the tag partners, fuelled in part by actual ill-will, and a series of memorable hardcore matches were their legacy.
Their feud consisted of a hardcore fan’s dream matches, including a ‘hair vs hair match’, a ‘barbed-wire baseball bat match’, a ‘barbed-wire chair match’ and most famously concluding in a ‘Taipei Death Match’, where both men fought each other with taped fists coated with shards of broken glass.
Their rivalry was named ‘Feud of the Year’ by Pro Wrestling Illustrated in 1995. The two would reconcile and reunite for a stint in 1996. Axl would continue to compete in ECW as a singles wrestler before teaming with, on different occasions, Balls Mahoney, New Jack and Spike Dudley.
Rotten performed at WWE’s 2005 PPV ‘One Night Stand’ and in several house matches for the company. He made a one-off appearance in TNA’s 2010 ECW tribute show, ‘Hardcore Justice’.
Rotten was found dead in a motel room in Baltimore, Maryland by the police. He tweeted this 10 hours before his death: