Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pro Wrestling Deaths 1885 to 1989


1885


Name: Clarence Whistler

Date of Death: November 6, 1885

Age: 29

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Shortly after the boxing fiasco, "all round athlete" and longtime claimant to the Greco-Roman wrestling championship"Professor" William Miller invited Whistler to tour Australia as an athlete and wrestler, and meet Miller at the end of the tour to settle the championship question between them. Whistler accepted. After a string of victories Down Under, Whistler defeated Miller in September of 1885 at the Theatre Royal on Bourke Street in Melbourne, for the graeco-roman championship.At this time, Whistler's strength and courage made him a sensation and he became an idol to the local Australian population, starved for heroes. In celebration of his championship victory, he engaged in a reckless, month-long celebration and contracted pneumonia. By November 6, he was dea. Sources referring to the nature of his early death are conflicting. Some suggest that the illness was caused by excess alcohol consumption during celebration Other sources purport that Whistler's condition was complicated by him either biting the tops off champagne bottles for sidebets or eating a champagne glass whole.

Known For: Catch-as-catch-can Heavyweight Champion



1891

Name: Sorakichi Matsuda

Date of Death: August 16, 1891

Age: 32

Cause of Death: Illness

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Remains the lone pioneer as a Japanese wrestler who became a feature attraction in America



1895

Name:Karl Abs

Date of Death: February 18, 1895

Age: 44

Cause of Death:Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known For: Won the European Greco-Roman Heavyweight Championship in 1894, a year before his death at the age of 44



1898

Name: Yousouff the Terrible Turk

Date of Death: July 4, 1898

Age: 41

Cause of Death: Drowned

Story of Death: He was heading to Turkey on the French transatlantic liner SS La Bourgogne when on July 4, 1898 the ship collided with an Irish cargo liner near Sable Island and he drowned in the disaster. His body was lost in the Atlantic Ocean. There are several urban legends surrounding his death, including people not allowing him access to a lifeboat for fear that his weight would overturn it, to the theory that he refused to remove his gold championship belt which weighed him down enough where he could not swim back to the surface of the ocean. Another story asserts that he attempted to rescue a child trapped under a bulk of irons; supposedly he saved the child but not himself.

Known For: American Heavyweight



1900

Name: Emil Naucke

Date of Death: January 24, 1900

Age: 44

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Story of Death: On 24 Januar 1900, unmittelbar nachdem er bei einer Wohltätigkeitsveranstaltung im Etablissement Sagebiel aufgetreten war, erlag Emil Naucke einem Herzinfarkt . January 1900, immediately after he had performed at a charity event in the establishment Sage Biel, Emil Naucke died of a heart attack . Am Tag seiner Beerdigung säumten Tausende von Menschen den Weg, den der Trauerzug von seinem Varieté zum Friedhof Ohlsdorf nahm, wo er beigesetzt wurde. On the day of his funeral, thousands of people lined the path of the funeral procession from his vaudeville to the cemetery Ohlsdorf took, where he was buried. Die Erinnerung an Emil Nauckes außergewöhnliches Erscheinungsbild lebte indirekt bis in die 1970er Jahre fort; noch siebzig Jahre nach seinem Tod bezeichneten Kinder in Hamburg einen bauchigen Kreisel oder eine dicke Murmel gelegentlich als einen Naucke . The memory of Emil Nauckes extraordinary appearance to indirectly lived in the 1970 years away, still denoted Seventy years after his death in children in Hamburg, a gyro or a thick-bellied marmot occasionally as a Naucke.

Known for: His partial gigantism was always the No. 1 attraction in pro wrestling



1901

Name: Dr. Vladislav Von Krajewski

Date of Death: March 14, 1901

Age: Unknown

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: the trainer of wrestler George Hackenschmidt



1917


Name: Frank Gotch

Date of Death: December 16, 1917

Age: 40

Cause of Death: Uremic Poisoning

Story of Death: After a year of health problems, what was rumored to be syphilis that he died from was false, the official cause of death was uremic poisoning

Known for: Consider to be the First World Champion in America


1933

Name: Dr. B.F. Roller

Date of Death: April 20, 1933

Age: 57

Cause of Death: unknown

Story of Death: unknown

Known For: The World's first wrestler to use a gimmick in the ring


Name: Fred Beell

Date of Death: August 5, 1933

Age: 57

Cause of Death: Gun Shot

Story of Death: On August 5, 1933, at around 3am, Beell and his partner George Fyksen investigated a break-in at the Marshfield Brewing Company. Suspects were still on the scene. Beell, according to the later report published in the Marshfield News-Herald, and a more in-depth report in a 1933 edition of True Detective Mysteries, waited near the patrol vehicle to watch the exits, while Fyksen entered the building. As he entered, the suspects began firing on Fyksen, who dropped to the ground and avoided injury, while returning fire. Beell, hearing the shots, left the vehicle to go to Fyksen's aid. As he rounded the front of the car, the suspects exited the building, firing as they ran. Four buckshot from a shotgun blast hit Beell in the head, without his being able to return fire, killing him instantly. The suspects then stole the police vehicle, but abandoned it less than a mile away. They had stolen $1,550.00 in a safe burglary.

Marshfield police chief William Paape organized a posse with Wood County, Wisconsin sheriff Martin Bey. One of the suspects, Edward "Speed" Gabriel, was hit by shots fired from Fyksen in the initial gun battle, his body being located in a shallow grave alongside a roadway in Minnesota the next day. Two other suspects, Joe "Sleepy Joe" Hogan and Elmer Digman were captured. Hogan received 25 years in prison for his part in the murder, while Digman received a life sentence.

Known For: American Heavyweight Wrestling Champion



1937

Name: Martin "Farmer" Burns

Date of Death: January 8, 1937

Age: 76

Cause of Death: Unknown Reason

Story of Death: Unknown Reasons

Known For: Feuding with Frank Gotch


Name: Jack Curley

Date of Death: July 12, 1937

Age: 64

Cause of Death: Heart attack

Story of Death: Unknown Reasons

Known For: Jack Curley promoted his first major wrestling bout between Frank Gotch and Fred Beell



1939

Name: The Mask Marvel

Date of Death: Auguest 4, 1939

Age: 60

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known For: Is believed to be the very first Mask Marvel



1940

Name: John Tunney

Date of Death: January 14, 1940

Age: 32

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known For: Father of WWF President Jack Tunney


Name: Dan Koloff

Date of Death: March 27, 1940

Age: 42

Cause of Death: tuberculosis

Story of Death: Unknown

Known For: between 1918 and 1927 during which he was undefeated and won all 1,500 matches



1949

Name: Ivan Poddubny

Date of Death: August 8, 1949

Age: 78

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: unknown

Known For: lifelong professional rivalry with wrestler Stanislaus Zbyszko. He died undefeated




Name: Ray Steele

Date of Death: September 11, 1949

Age: 49

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Story of Death: unknown

Known For: NWA World Heavyweight Champion



1950

Name: Earl Caddock

Date of Death: August 25, 1950

Age: 62

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Story of Death: Earl Caddock died in 1950 after major surgery for a heart attack.

Known for: Defeated Joe Stecher for the World Heavyweight Championship in Omaha, Nebraska..



1951

Name: Jenette Wolfe

Date of Death: July, 1951

Age: 18

Cause of Death: Head Injuries

Story of Death: Dies on her 18th Birthday in her very first Pro Wrestling match of head injuries due to a body slam she had received from Ella Waldek during a tag team match, though she was not injured by the move. Wolfe rolled out of the ring and collapsed at ringside. Waldek called for the timekeeper to assist her and get her away from the ring. Though Wolfe's death was eventually ruled to be an accident, police initially arrested Waldek and the other participants in the match—Mae Young and Eva Lee. The police reportedly considered charging the three with manslaughter, but all three women were eventually released. Ironically, as a result of the incident, people attended wrestling events to see Waldek, who had to endure crowd chants of "murderer" directed at her.

Known for: The daughter of famous Wrestling Promoter Billy Wolfe.

1953

Name: Man Mountain Dean

Date of Death: May 29, 1953

Age: 63

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Participating altogether in 6,783 professional bouts and commanding fees upwards of $1,500 for each match..

1954

Name: The French Angel

Date of Death: August 4, 1954

Age: 51

Cause of Death: Heart Disease

Story of Death: Wrestler Bobby Managoff asked French Angel on his death bed if he could make a plaster cast of his face. The Angel agreed, and Managoff made three masks of his face. One of which was given to Milo Steinborn, while two ended up with Patrick Kelly. Steinborn donated this mask to the USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame inside the York Barbell Building in York, Pennsylvania. One of the masks sat on Kelly's office desk for years, the other he donated to the International Wrestling Museum in Iowa.

Known for: The most unusual Looking Wrestler in history and worked for the famous Jack Pfefer..

Name: Jess McMahon

Date of Death: November 21, 1954

Age: 72

Cause of Death: cerebral hemorrhage

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: The patriarch of the McMahon wrestling family.. Founder of the Capitol Wrestling Corporation than changed to World Wide Wrestling Federation, than to the World Wrestling Federation now known as World Wrestling Entertainment that we see on TV


1957

Name: Cora Livingston

Date of Death: 1957

Age: unknown

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown.

Known for: One of the first ladies to wrestle in the 1900's and the mentor of Mildred Burke..




Name: Gina "Bronco" Bouza

Date of Death: Auguest 17, 1957

Age: 25

Cause of Death: Broken Neck

Story of Death: agreed to a charity wrestling match with a baboon from a local zoo which resulted in the baboon breaking her neck in seconds.

Known for: Famous Female Wrestler..

Name: Mars Bennett

Date of Death: 1957

Age: 35

Cause of Death: Car Accident

Story of Death: Unknown.

Known for: Famous Female Wrestler..


1961

Name: Chick Garibaldi

Date of Death: February 18, 1961

Age: 46

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Story of Death: Chick Garabaldi (46) died after a match against Bruno Sammartino upon suffering a heart attack

Known for: Wrestling Bruno Sammartino..


Name: The Blimp Martin Levy

Date of Death: November 8, 1961

Age: unknown

Cause of Death: unknown

Story of Death: unknown

Known for: The heaviest Wrestler in history


1963

Name: Billy Wolfe

Date of Death: March 3, 1963

Age: 67

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: The ex-husband of Milred Burke that ended in disaster as Him and Mildred Burk feuded over the control of the Ladies Bookings in the US


Name: Gorgeous George

Date of Death: December 26, 1963

Age: 48

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Story of Death: In 1962, Wagner was diagnosed with a serious liver condition. On advice of his doctors, he retired. This, combined with failed finances (due to bad investments) worsened his health. He suffered a heart attack on December 24, 1963 and died two days later, at age 48.

Known for: Gorgeous George Wagner from what my Grandfather told me that his own mother my great Grand Mother was his Biggest Fan and he was very famous for his golden locks and his Valet's & Butlers who he had and was the first Person to come up with the gimmick of the golden boy in the USA and was the first wrestler to become a TV Star


1965

Name: Yukon Eric

Date of Death: January 16, 1965

Age: 65

Cause of Death: Sucide

Story of Death: Following his divorce, Eric drove into a church parking lot in Georgia and committed suicide with a gun.

Known For: Former WWWF Tag Team Champion..


1966

Name: Lady Angel

Date of Death: February 25, 1966

Age: Unknown

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown.

Known for: Legendary Female wrestler trained by The Fabulous Moolah




Name: Ed "Strangler" Lewis

Date of Death: August 8, 1966

Age: 75

Cause of Death: Natural Causes

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: involved in the longest running match in history against Joe Stretcher to 5 and half hour draw in the year 1916

1967


Name: Stainless Zbyszko

Date of Death: September 23, 1967

Age: 88

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: noble feud with Frank Gotch

1968

Name: "Major Little" Lacy Myrle Bateman

Date of Death: January 11, 1968

Age: 39

Cause of Death: Pneumonia brought on by a viral infection

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: the world's smallest midget wrestler




Name: George Hackenschmidt

Date of Death: February 19, 1968

Age: 90

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: The first widely recognized World Heavyweight Champion in wrestling history, Hackenschmidt is believed to be the creator of the professional wrestling version of the bear hug




Name: Wladek Zbyszko

Date of Death: June 10, 1968

Age: 76

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: The Brother of Stainless Zbysko




Name: Oklahoma Kid

Date of Death: August 11, 1968

Age: 29

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: The Oklahoma Kid defeated Killer Kowalski in an upset victory in roughly a minute and a half the day before he died


1969




Name: Iron Mike Dibiase

Date of Death: July 2, 1969

Age: 45

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Story of Death: Lubbock, Texas, DiBiase suffered a fatal heart attack in the ring during a match with Man Mountain Mike. Harley Race, realizing that he was suffering a heart attack, attempted to perform CPR on DiBiase and then rode in the ambulance to the hospital with him. DiBiase was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Known for: Father of WWF Star "The Million Dollar Man" Ted Dibiase & The Grandfather of WWE Star Ted Dibase


1970

Name: Skull Murphy

Date of Death: March 23, 1970

Age: 39

Cause of Death: Over-dose of Sleeping Pills

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Former WWWF United States Tag Team champion


1971

Name: Tor Johnson

Date of Death: May 12, 1971

Age: 67

Cause of Death: Heart Failure

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Although he started off as a wrestler in the early 30's, he is more known as an Actor in B Horror Movies, Until this very day, he is still consider a Horror Icon


Name: Hercules Cortez

Date of Death: July 24, 1971

Age: 39

Cause of Death: Car Accident

Story of Death: Hercules Cortez died of injuries suffered in a one-car accident near St. Cloud, Minnesota early in the morning.. Hercules and partner Red Bastien were returning to Minneapolis-St. Paul after a tag team match in Winnipeg just hours earlier.. Hercules, who was reported to have been the driver of the car, had been scheduled to wrestle Nick Bockwinkel later that day. .

Known for: AWA (American Wrestling Association) World Heavyweight Tag Team titles w/Red Bastien


1972

Name: Luther Lindsay

Date of Death: February 21, 1972

Age: 47

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Story of Death: Lindsay was facing local wrestler Bobby Paul at Park Center in Charlotte. After only ten minutes into the match, Lindsey pinned his opponent with a diving belly-flop. He apparently suffered a fatal heart attack when he made the pin and died on top of his opponent. When Lindsay did not respond to the referee after scoring the pin fall, the police were called. Lindsay was taken back to the dressing room where he was declared dead shortly thereafter.

Known for: One of the first African American wrestlers to become a major star


1973

Name: Jim Crockette

Date of Death: April 1, 1973

Age: 54

Cause of Death: Unknown Reasons

Story of Death: Unknown Reasons

Known for: The Founder of the Jim Crockette Wrestling Promotions




Name: Dory Funk Sr.

Date of Death: June 13, 1973

Age: 54

Cause of Death: Natural Causes

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Legendary Wrestler and the Father of the now ledgendary wrestlers Dory Funk Jr. & Terry Funk




Name: Wild Red Berry

Date of Death: July 23, 1973

Age: 66

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Story of Death: A year and a half before he died, Berry suffered a stroke which inhibited his ability to speak. In 1973 he died of a heart attack

Known for: Berry began managing wrestlers in 1958, including The Fabulous Kangaroos (Al Costello and Roy Heffernan). He also managed Gorilla Monsoon and Hans "The Great" Mortier.He was often seen at ringside wearing a warm up jacket with the phrase, "I am Right" emblazoned on the back.

Berry Was mentioned at WWF's Wrestlemania 4 telecast When discussing Berry as a former manager of Monsson


1974

Name: The Swedish Angel

Date of Death: February 10, 1974

Age: 66

Cause of Death: unknown

Story of Death: unknown

Known for: The Swedish Angel was one of Jack Pfefer's ripoff versions of the popular "French Angel" Maurice Tillet




Name: Jack Pfefer

Date of Death: September 13, 1974

Age: 79

Cause of Death: Natural Causes

Story of Death: unknown

Known for: Pioneered an earlier form of sports entertainment, as he was one of the first promoters to visualize the pro wrestling business in the mold of theater. However, he developed an infamous reputation when he exposed the sport’s inner secrets to the mainstream press in a spiteful attack that nearly destroyed the entire industry.


1975

Name: Bobby Shane

Date of Death: February 20, 1975

Age: 27

Cause of Death: Plane Crash

Story of Death: Bobby Shane died in the crash of a private airplane near Tampa, FL.. ~~~Wrestlers Buddy Colt, Austin Idol and Gary Hart were also injured in the crash..

Known for: The King of Wrestling


Name: Miss Sherri

Date of Death: Unknown

Age: unknown

Cause of Death: Suicide

Story of Death: Miss Sherri was never the same after the divorce with Bobby Shane and even got worse after his death that she took her own life..

Known for: Bobby Shane's Valet


Name: Jim Londos

Date of Death: August 19, 1975

Age: 78

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Considered to be a national hero in Greece, Londos once drew a crowd estimated to be made of nearly 100,000 fans to see one of his matches when he traveled there ..


1976


Name: Toots Mondt

Date of Death: June 11, 1976

Age: 82

Cause of Death: Illness

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Legendary Wrestler & Booker... Was the CO Founder of the Capital Wrestling Corporation w/ Jess McMahon than later with Vince McMahon Sr. known as the World Wide Wrestling Federation and then the World Wrestling Federation and now the World Wrestling Entertainment that we see on TV now


Name: Pepe Lopez

Date of Death: July 27, 1976

Age: 39

Cause of Death: Car Accident

Story of Death: Died near Dickson, Tennessee on 7/27/1976 in the crash with Sam Bass & Frank Hester

Known for: Popular Tag Team Wrestler. .



Name: Fuzzy Cupid

Date of Death: 1976

Age: 48

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: WWWF Midget Wrestler


1977

Name: Zebra Kid

Date of Death: January 1977

Age: 53

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: The Zebra Kid defeated Buddy Rogers for the Ohio version of the World Heavyweight title


Name: Pancho The Bull

Date of Death: 1977

Age: 62

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: famous midget wrestler

Name: Sam Bass

Date of Death: July, 27, 1977

Age: 41

Cause of Death: Car Accident

Story of Death: Died in a car crash along with Frank Hester & Pepe Lopez near Dickson, Tennessee

Known for: Sam Bass was the man who dubbed Jerry Lawler "King Of Wrestling" while working a program in Memphis


1978

Name: Antonio Rocca

Date of Death: March 15, 1978

Age: 55

Cause of Death: Urinary Infection

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: WWF Hall Of Fame 1995




Name: Michel "Mad Dog" Martel

Date of Death: June 30, 1978

Age: 33

Cause of Death: unknown

Story of Death: On the night of June 30, 1978, Martel was wrestling at a WWC event in Ponce, Puerto Rico appearing on the undercard in a 6-man tag team match Pierre Martin and Jack Lafarb facing Carlos Colon and "The Invaders" (Invader I and Invader II). Although showing no signs during the match, he complained of suffering discomfort during the match to his tag team partner while backstage preparing to leave for the night. Although Martin had offered to take him to a hospital, Martel claimed he felt better and instead wanted to go back to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Within minutes of leaving the arena, however, Martel began suffering some sort of heart attack and asked Martin to pull over to the side of the road. Martel attempted to vomit, but was apparently unable to and his lips began turning blue. Although Martin drove Martel to a nearby hospital only five minutes away, Martel was pronounced dead on arrival and attempts to resuscitate him failed. Rick Martel, then 21 years old, would eventually be flown in to Puerto Rico to identify his brother and eventually charged with bringing his body back to Quebec. His death was not only announced by Bob Leonard in Stampede Wrestling but also the World Wrestling Council where promoter Carlos Colon and Jose Gonzalez would use Martel's death to promote a long running feud between The Invaders and Pierre Martin and Rick Martel with the promotion claiming that Martel's attack had been caused by Gonzales using the then banned "heart punch" during their last match.

Known for: Working for WWC in Puerto Rico and the brother of WWF & WCW Star Rick Martel




Name: Lonnie Mayne

Date of Death: August 13, 1978

Age: 33

Cause of Death: unknown

Story of Death: unknown

Known for: As a Moondog in WWWF


1979

Name: Chris Taylor

Date of Death: June 30, 1979

Age: 29

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: AWA Wrestling Star


1981

Name: "Killer" Buddy Austin

Date of Death: August 12, 1981

Age: 51

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Buddy Austin was a long-time partner with Fred Blassie before they turned on each other in California..




Name: Mike Marino

Date of Death: August 24, 1981

Age: unknown

Cause of Death: Leukemia

Story of Death: Marino died in August 1981 whilst returning to his South London home from a tournament in Folkestone. He had been booked to wrestle Big Jim Harris at the town's Leas Cliff Hall but after being adjudged unable to perform was taken to Ashford Hospital where he was treated for a swollen tongue. Marino discharged himself the same night and left with fellow wrestler Mal Sanders but suffered from a convulsive attack as they travelled on the M20 motorway. He died by the roadside and was afterwards revealed to have been suffering from leukemia. A Mike Marino Memorial Shield was later contested, with Sanders winning the inaugural tournament

Known for: Marino won the World Mid-Heavyweight Championship in 1957 and went on to hold the title four times




Name: Ali Baba

Date of Death: November 16, 1981

Age: 80

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: 1930's era wrestler who gained his greatest fame under the Arabic gimmick of "Ali Baba"..


1982

Name: Sterling "Dizzy" Davis

Date of Death: 1982

Age: 70

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: The Wrestling World's first admitted Bisexual, also wrestling in Mexico was considering the first wrestler in history to use the flamboyant Gimmick... Gave Gorgeous George permission to use the same gimmick in the USA only because he didn't think it would get over with the fans..


Name: Georgette Krieger

Date of Death: January, 1982

Age: 82

Cause of death:

Story of death:

Known for: Named Pro Wrestling number 1 fan in the WWWF Ring in 1979




Name: George "Scrap Iron" Gadaski

Date of Death: June 12, 1982

Age: 52

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Wrestling Ric Flair in Flair's debut match (went to a time limit draw)..




Name: Peter Myvia

Date of Death: June 13, 1982

Age: 47

Cause of Death: Cancer

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Peter Myvia is the Father in Law of former WWWF Star Rocky Johnson and the grandfather of WWE & Hollywood star The Rock.




Name: Bearcat Wright

Date of Death: August 8, 1982

Age: 50

Cause of Death: Sickle Cell Anemia

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Capitol Wrestling Corporation Star and had a noble feud with Classy Freddie Blassie


1983

Name: Frank Tunny

Date of Death: May 10, 1983

Age: 70

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: During a trip to Hong Kong, Tunney died in his sleep on May 10, 1983 at the age of 70

Known for: Canadian professional wrestling promoter and the Uncle of Jack Tunny, the WWF President from 1984-1995




Name: Grand Wizard

Date of Death: October 12, 1983

Age: 54

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: The WWF Grand Wizard of Wrestling in the 70s and 80s


Name: Lana Lamar

Date of Death: October 12, 1983

Age: 54

Cause of Death: unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: famous girl wrestler


Name: Art Nelson

Date of Death: October 20, 1983

Age: unknown

Cause of Death: unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Art Nelson formed a tag team with Jerry Lawler in Georgia

1984

Name: El Santo

Date of Death: February 5, 1984

Age: 66

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Story of Death: Just over a year after his retirement El Santo was a guest on Contrapunto, a Mexican television program and, completely without warning, removed his mask just enough to expose his face, in effect bidding his fans goodbye. It is the only documented case of Santo ever removing his mask in public. Santo died from a heart attack on February 5, 1984, at 9:40 p.m., a week after his Contrapunto TV appearance. As per his wishes, he was buried wearing his famous silver mask. His funeral is considered one of the biggest in Mexican history as fans and friends flocked to see "el Enmascarado de Plata" (the Silver-Masked Man) one last time.

Known for: The Greatest Mexican Star of all time

Name: David Von Erich

Date of Death: February 10, 1984

Age: 25

Cause of Death: Acute Enteritis

Story of Death: David died during a tour with All Japan Pro Wrestling on February 10, 1984, with many theories about what caused his death being proposed for many years after. The most popular theory suggests that David died of a drug overdose,[1] as Ric Flair had mentioned this theory in his autobiography, claiming that Bruiser Brody (the Von Erich's long-time friend) removed the evidence. The Von Erichs however claimed that David's death was a heart attack, caused by ruptured intestines resulting from acute enteritis. In the documentary Heroes of World Class: The Story of the Von Erichs and The Triumph and Tragedy of World Class Championship Wrestling, Kevin Von Erich and former referee David Manning both attested to the heart attack theory, as they claimed that the autopsy supported the myocardial infarction. Manning and Kevin also claimed that David had been complaining about a pain in his stomach prior to his excursion to Japan. David had been taken to the emergency room at Spohn Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas less than two weeks before his ill-fated trip to Japan. He had complained of dizziness and flu like symptoms and been put on an antibiotic at that time.

Known for: From the Famous Wrestling Family The Von Erich's in World Class Championship Wrestling




Name: Helen Hild

Date of Death: March, 1984

Age: unknown

Cause of Death: Illness

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Wife of Legendary Iron Mike Dibiase, The Mother of former WWF Star Million Dollar Man & The Grandmother of current WWE Star Ted Dibiase


Name: Andy Kaufman

Date of Death: May 16, 1984

Age: 35

Cause of Death: Cancer

Story of Death: At Thanksgiving dinner with his family on Long Island in November 1983, several family members grew concerned over Kaufman's persistent coughing during the dinner, and openly expressed worry about it. Kaufman claimed to them that he had the cough for nearly a month, but also claimed that an initial visit to his doctor told him that nothing was wrong. After returning to Los Angeles, Kaufman consulted a physician where he checked himself into Cedars-Sinai Hospital for a series of medical tests and a few days later, he was diagnosed with a rare type of lung cancer. Despite his doctor's prognosis that there was no hope for recovery, he was committed to fighting the disease until his death. After audiences were shocked by his gaunt appearance during his performances in January 1984, Kaufman acknowledged having an unspecified illness, which he hoped to cure with "natural medicine" including an all-fruit and vegetables diet, among other measures. Kaufman received palliative radiotherapy, but by then the cancer had rapidly spread from his lungs to his brain. His last resort was "psychic surgery", a debunked procedure that includes the use of sleight of hand, performed in Baguio, Philippines, in March 1984. Kaufman died in a hospital in Los Angeles on May 16, 1984 of kidney failure, caused by metastasized large cell carcinoma, and was interred in the Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, New York (Long Island). He was 35 years old. Because he kept the true nature of his illness a secret—almost until the day he died—fans have, over the years, doubted Kaufman's death, thinking that he staged it as the ultimate Andy Kaufman stunt. Kaufman allegedly told many people—including Bob Zmuda—that he wished to fake his own death prior to his actual death. This has caused some fans to believe Kaufman is still alive. Kaufman himself purportedly claimed that if he were to fake his death, he would return 20 years later, which would have been in 2004.

Known for: Hollywood Actor & Comedian but more so known for his Memphis Wrestling feud with Jerry Lawler that gain National media Attention




Name: Vince McMahon Sr.

Date of Death: May 27, 1984

Age: 69

Cause of Death: Pancreatic cancer

Story of Death: unknown

Known for: The Owner of the World Wide Wrestling Federation than the World Wrestling Federation, now the World Wrestling Entertainment owned by his son Vince McMahon Jr.




Name: Brute Bernard

Date of Death: July 14, 1984

Age: 63

Cause of Death: Gun Shot

Story of Death: He died in 1984 of a self-inflicted gunshot; it was not determined if his death was a suicide or an accident. One story states that Bernard was playing Russian Roulette

Known for: WWWF United States Tag Team Championship - with Skull Murphy


Name: Argentine Apollo

Date of Death: August 2, 1984

Age: 41

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: WWWF Star, WWWF United States Tag Team titles w/Don McClarity & WWE Hall of Fame

1985

Name: Eddie Graham

Date of Death: January 20, 1985

Age: 55

Cause of Death: Suicide

Story of Death: Committed suicide by gunshot after a lifelong battle with alcoholism

Known for: NWA United States Tag Team Championship (Northeast version) (4 times) - with Jerry Graham


Name: Bull Curry

Date of Death: March 8, 1985

Age: 70

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Wrestled icons such as Gorgeous George, Ski Hi Lee, Dory Funk Sr., Yukon Eric, & Don Leo Jonathon




Name: Jay Youngblood

Date of Death: September 1, 1985

Age: 30

Cause of Death: Ruptured Spleen

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Former AWA Heavyweight champion


Name: Rick McGraw

Date of Death: November 1, 1985

Age: 30

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Story of Death: McGraw was well-known in the business as having a severe drug problem, and was one of the first of many in professional wrestling to die from one. In Bret Hart's autobiography Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling, Bret wrote: "Every night he'd swallow a handful of Placidyls and wind up passed out face down in his dinner...The cause of his death was labeled a heart attack, but we all knew his heart had given out under deadly dosages of downers." McGraw died just days after wrestling Roddy Piper in a nationally televised match. McGraw took such a beating that the match had to be stopped. Though some less savvy fans felt the match led to McGraw's death, the two incidents were not related. Shortly after McGraw's death, Roddy Piper headlined a show held to benefit McGraw's family. He had left behind a wife and a baby daughter.

Known for: WWF Star


1986

Name: The Beast

Date of Death: 1986

Age: 59

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Wrestled Bruno Sammartino for the WWWF title three times at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1964


Name: Gino Hernandez

Date of Death: February 4, 1986

Age: 29

Cause of Death: Drug Over-dose

Story of Death: concerned with Hernandez's well-being, two World Class officials, David Manning and Rick Hazzard, and several local law enforcement officers broke into his Highland Park apartment and found Hernandez dead (he had been dead for approximately two-three days). Initially, Hernandez's death was ruled a homicide case, but following autopsy reports, his death was ruled as a result of an overdose of cocaine. Many people believe Gino was murdered in a drug related incident. According to Manning, he said that Hernandez had three times the amount of cocaine in his system that would have resulted in a fatality, and he and Kevin Von Erich stated that Gino also had cocaine in his stomach. Manning also suspected foul play due to the fact that Hernandez's dead bolt on his door was not locked, as he made it a habit in the past to lock the dead bolt at all times. Scotland Yard in fact contacted and questioned Chris Adams, who had returned to England three days before hearing the news of Gino's death. Adams, who was never considered a suspect, was never charged in the case, as the FBI and Scotland Yard later ruled him out as a potential suspect.

Known for: World Class Championship Wrestling Star


Name: Warren Bockwinkel

Date of Death: March 25, 1986

Age: 74

Cause of Death:Heart Attack

Story of Death: Unknown Known for: National Wrestling Alliance and North American regional promotions during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s and the Father of Nick Bockwinkel who became a top star in AWA


Name: El Solitario

Date of Death: April 6, 1986

Age: 39

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Story of Death: El Solitario had suffered injuries during the latter part of his career, resulting in several infections and illnesses. During a match with Fishman, he re-injured himself and was taken to the hospital while complaining of abdominal pain. Unfortunately, his doctors initially misdiagnosed his condition, it was later discovered that he was suffering from internal bleeding that required immediate surgery. On April 6, 1986, at the age of 39, El Solitario died while on the operating table as a result of a cardiac arrest.

Known for: Consider being one of the top 10 Mexican stars of all time in Mexico

1987

Name: Tiny Mills

Date of Death: 1987

Age: 76

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: NWA World Heavyweight Championship




Name: Mike Von Erich

Date of Death: April 12, 1987

Age: 23

Cause of Death: Suicide

Story of Death: A few days before his death, Mike was arrested on drunk driving and drug charges. On April 12, 1987, he left a suicide note for his family, then went to Lake Dallas, where he overdosed on the sleeping pill Placidyl and alcohol. He was found dead four days later and buried at

Known for: From the Famous Texas Wrestling Family the Von Erichs from World Class Championship Wrestling




Name: Malcolm Kirk

Date of Death: August 24, 1987

Age: 50

Cause of Death: Car Accident

Story of Death: Kirk died after a tragic turn of events during the final moments of the match at the hippodrome circus in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk against British wrestling legend Shirley "Big Daddy" Crabtree. After Big Daddy had delivered his signature belly-splash, Kirk turned an unhealthy color and was rushed to the James Paget hospital in Gorleston in Norfolk, but was pronounced dead on arrival. The inquest into Kirk's death found that he had a serious heart condition and cleared Crabtree of any responsibility

Known for: Kirk's work rose to its prominence in the 1970s and 1980s due to the popularity of televised wrestling in the United Kingdom

Name: Scott Irwin

Date of Death: September 5, 1987

Age: 35

Cause of Death: Brain Tumor

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Former WWF & AWA Star


Name: Betty Joe Hawkins

Date of Death: December 4, 1987

Age: 57

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Legendary tag team wrestler with Penny Banner


1988

Name: Fred Atkins

Date of Death: May 4, 1988

Age: 77

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: WWWF Referee


Name: Adrian Adonis

Date of Death: July 4, 1988

Age: 33

Cause of Death: Car Accident

Story of Death: While riding in a minivan with fellow wrestlers William "Mike Kelly" Arko, Victor "Pat Kelly" Arko, and Dave "Wildman" McKigney. Adonis, McKigney, and Pat Kelly were killed when the driver, Mike Kelly, allegedly swerved in order to avoid hitting a moose and, blinded by the setting sun, inadvertedly drove into a lake. Mike Kelly survived, albeit with severe leg injuries

Known for: AWA Star 1979 to 1981 & 1987, AWA World Tag Team Champion w/Jesse Ventura, WWF Star 1981 to 1987, WWF Tag team Champion w/Dick Murdoch




Name: Dave McKigney

Date of Death: July 4, 1988

Age: 56

Cause of Death: Car Accident

Story of Death: While riding in a minivan with fellow wrestlers William "Mike Kelly" Arko, Victor "Pat Kelly" Arko, and Arian Adonis, McKigney, and Pat Kelly were killed when the driver, Mike Kelly, allegedly swerved in order to avoid hitting a moose and, blinded by the setting sun, inadvertedly drove into a lake. Mike Kelly survived, albeit with severe leg injuries

Known for: Wrestling Real Life Bears


Name: Pat Kelly

Date of Death: July 4, 1988

Age: unknown

Cause of Death: Car Accident

Story of Death: While riding in a minivan with fellow wrestlers William "Mike Kelly" Arko, Adrian Adonis, and Dave "Wildman" McKigney. Arian Adnois, Dave McKigney, and Pat Kelly were killed when the driver, Mike Kelly, allegedly swerved in order to avoid hitting a moose and, blinded by the setting sun, inadvertedly drove into a lake. Mike Kelly survived, albeit with severe leg injuries

Known for: Stampede International Tag Team titles


Name: Bruiser Brody

Date of Death: July 18, 1988

Age: 42

Cause of Death: Murder

Story of Death: On July 16, 1988, Brody was in the locker room before his match with Dan Spivey in Bayamón (a city near San Juan, Puerto Rico), when José Huertas González, a fellow wrestler and booker, asked him to go into the shower to discuss business. Brody entered the shower stall and a few minutes later a scuffle ensued, followed by two groans, loud enough for the entire locker room to hear. Tony Atlas ran to the shower and saw Brody bent over and holding his stomach. Atlas then looked up at González and saw him holding the knife. When the paramedics arrived Atlas carried Brody downstairs to the waiting ambulance. González, who always maintained his innocence, was initially charged with first-degree murder but was later reduced and tried for involuntary homicide. In January 1989, González was acquitted on all counts, citing self-defense

Known for: American Wrestling Association, and World Class Championship Wrestling




Name: Bad Leroy Brown

Date of Death: September 6, 1988

Age: 37

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Jim Crockett Promotions Star




Name: Leroy McGurik

Date of Death: September 9, 1988

Age: 77

Cause of Death: Unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Legendary Wrestler & Promoter and the Father of the WWF's First Female Ring Announcer Mike McGuirk and the Grandfather of former WWE Hopeful Maximus McGuirk




Name: Ricky Lawless

Date of Death: November 30, 1988

Age: 29

Cause of Death: Murder

Story of Death: Leon was shot to death in Baltimore by 22-year-old Raymond Michael Swartz, although at least one newspaper, The Toronto Star, claimed the murder had been committed by "former tag team partner" Vladimir Koloff. On January 12, 1989, Swartz was extradited to Middlesex County, New Jersey on suspicion of stealing a rental car in Saluda. While still being held in custody, Sheriff Lewis Jones III discovered via the National Criminal Information Network that he was wanted in connection with Leon's murder. Police speculated that Swartz could have used the car in the murder having rented it weeks before Leon's death. Charged with being a fugitive from justice and held without bail, the car theft charges were dropped so Swartz could be returned to Baltimore to be tried for first-degree murder. Leon's murder, specifically focusing on the aspect of his death at the hands of an irate husband over an extramarital affair, would later appear as an expose by Hustler ("Shotgun Justice: A Pro Wrestler's Final Fall") in May 1991.

Known for: Tag Team with Joey Maggs and trained ECW Legend Axl Rotten


1989

Name: Mildred Burke

Date of Death: February 18, 1989

Age: 73

Cause of Death: Stroke

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Mildred Burk is Consider next to Fabulous Moolah the most recognized woman in wrestling history


Name: Shirley Strimple

Date of Death: February 25, 1989

Age: unknown

Cause of Death: unknown

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Legendary Woman Wrestler




Name: Happy Humphery

Date of Death: March 14, 1989

Age: 62

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Notable match was a sold-out main event at Madison Square Garden, promoted by Vince McMahon Sr., against Haystacks Calhoun


Name: Villiano II

Date of Death: April 17, 1989

Age: 39

Cause of Death: Sucide

Story of Death: Alfredo Díaz died on April 17, 1989, the official cause of death at the time was that he died of injuries suffered in the ring. Later it was revealed that he had committed suicide due to a depression.The shock of his early death, he had not yet turned 40, rattled his younger brother José de Jesús (Villano I) that he was never able to show the same enthusiasm about lucha libre.

Known for: The Famous Mexican Family The Villianos




Name: Sweet Georgia Brown

Date of Death: July, 1989

Age: 56

Cause of Death: Breast Cancer

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: Pioneered Women pro wrestling as the first African American Women to ever step in the ring in the 1950's




Name: Haystacks Calhoun

Date of Death: December 7, 1989

Age: 55

Cause of Death: Diabetes

Story of Death: Unknown

Known for: WWWF World Tag Team Championship - with Tony Garea











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