This topic seems to be a growing concern. How many times have you looked up a former favorite wrestler of yours, only to see they are in terrible shape. The media seems to typecast the world of pro wrestling in this regard, making a claim that life after pro wrestling always seems to be negative for those involved in the business.
The WWE in particular is working hard to change this terrible dynamic of life after wrestling. The Daniel Bryan situation was a perfect example; the WWE decided to put a stop to Daniel’s career because of the numerous concussions he had sustained in the past. The company is going through great lengths in an attempt to improve the condition and well being of all their employees, past and present. With this being said, there still are so many unfortunate situations, with some that were too late to save. This article will take a look at some of those situations and will also shed some light on current pro wrestlers living on the dark side of things. We hope the best for the wrestlers on this list. Here is the dark side of pro wrestling: 15 of the saddest pictures of some of our childhood favorites.
15) Dynamite Kid
His impact in the wrestling business was vastly underrated. Dynamite Kid inspired some of the greatest wrestlers of all time, including the likes of the great Bret Hart who loved his athleticism and merging of various styles altogether. His WWE run ultimately fell short of expectations. He had one memorable run which consisted of a Tag Team Title run alongside his partner Davey Boy Smith. He would later fall on some rough times away from the ring.
The wrestling community is very sad to see the state of former beloved pro wrestler Dynamite Kid. At the age of 57, Kid is suffering from a paralyzed left leg. He has also suffered various heart problems, including a severe stroke in the past. In 2015, Kid filed a lawsuit against the WWE, attempting to sue them for concussion-related injuries. The case is still on-going at this point. Kid’s health continues to be a big concern amongst his family and friends. We all certainly hope for the best. What a wrestler this guy was in his prime. Get well, Kid.
14) Ultimate Warrior
His impact on the business will be remembered forever, as The Warrior became the first wrestler to ever rival Hulk Hogan in terms of popularity. Although his skills were rather limited, his draw value was immense and certainly worked during that era becoming a massive hit.
Still to this day, the death of the Ultimate Warrior sends shivers down my spine. Warrior passed away on April 8th, following an emotional speech the night before on RAW. This was his first appearance on the program in 18 years. What really gives you the chills is thinking about what Warrior said during his speech, telling the WWE Universe that “every man’s heart must one day beat its final beat” and that “the spirit of the Ultimate Warrior will run forever”. Remarkable to think about; this picture you see above was taken of Vince and Warrior, and it would be one of the last times the two shared a smile together. A fitting ending for the two with such a rocky past.
13) Lonely Virgil
What first started off as a sad wrestling story, later turned into something quite comedic for fans to witness. Virgil’s story was quite sad; the wrestler is still trying to live off his past fame by setting up meet and greet booths literally everywhere he can, from metro stations to parking lots to random lobbies. He’s also gotten into some serious heat with various wrestling companies in the past. Failed to fulfill promises, Virgil has enraged wrestling promoters by falling short on promises. One in which would include an empty promise claiming he would be accompanied by Ted DiBiase to set up shop at a convention or a wrestling show. Little did they know, DiBiase had no clue about this and Virgil would show up alone, claiming Ted just didn’t show up. Once word got out, DiBiase ripped Virgil to shreds, adding another chapter to this sad story.
The sadness however, would turn into laughter when Virgil set up a Go FundMe campaign in an attempt to make himself become a millionaire. To make matters worse, Virgil isn’t the most pleasant man to meet, as many fans were very displeased when meeting the former WWE star, claiming he’s only interested in your money. Ouch.
12) Marty Jannetty
At the age of 56, Marty Jannetty still to this very day is trying to live off his past fame. Marty can be found working live independent events and making various pit stops at wrestling conventions across the United States. Living off his past fame certainly isn’t his biggest issue though, as so many others in the past have tried to milk their former fame as much as they could. Marty’s issues run much deeper than that. Fans that have met Marty claim that he seems all over the place. On his Twitter account, Jannetty goes on several rants still trying to promote himself as a candidate for the WWE Hall of Fame. With his recent antics, this seems highly unlikely especially with professionalism being at an all time high with McMahon’s empire. Just recently at WrestleMania weekend in Dallas, Marty was heavily intoxicated spotted by several fans claiming he was kicked out of various bars in the area. A fan also spotted Marty in a hotel lobby fountain. Yes, he was fully clothed in a lobby fountain.
11) Jimmy Snuka
His career served as an inspiration to several wrestlers, which included WWE Hardcore Legend Mick Foley who attended the show in MSG which saw Snuka fly off the cage landing one of the most iconic splashes in pro wrestling history. Despite his massive popularity throughout his two runs with the WWE, Jimmy failed to win a major championship. He is regarded as one of the greatest of all time to never win a title at the WWE level.
At the age of 73, former WWE legend Jimmy Snuka is finding himself in one of the worst situations imaginable. Snuka is currently involved in a murder case which dates way back to 1983, relating to the death of his mistress. To make matters worse, Jimmy is suffering from severe mental damage and doesn’t seem to understand what he’s being charged for. Up until a couple of years ago, Snuka was still attending wrestling conventions looking confused and in his own world, according to wrestling fans. The former WWE star is now facing charges for third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.
10) Roddy Piper
His accomplishments go far beyond what he truly brought to the table, as he was one of the greatest heels during the 80s and into the 90s. Hot Rod never won the WWE Title, but he did however rival the champion like no one else did at the time using an entertainment aspect more so than anybody else at the time.
The wrestling world lost one of its most beloved Superstars on July 31st, 2015. Piper passed away in his sleep at the age of 61. What made his death that much more chilling was his recent performance in the WWE Network program, Legends House. Piper was prone to some erratic behavior during his time in the house. In one instance in the picture you see above, Piper got up during the night and went for a walk in his bathrobe. He also stated before leaving the show that the guys in the house really helped him out with a lot of personal things. His legacy in the WWE will be remembered forever, and Piper will go down as one of the greatest heels of all-time. Hard to argue with that statement.
9) The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express
One of the greatest face Tag Teams of all time, the duo did it all, wrestling for every promotion you can think of from the WWE, WCW, TNA, NWA and even the old AWA. Although they never captured the WWE Tag Team Titles, they did receive some great reactions, making them a big draw during the 80s.
Hard to believe that The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express is still performing today. Ricky Morton is 59, while Robert Gibson is set to turn 58. As of 2015 the two were still putting their bodies on the line, wrestling for several independent shows. They were also appearing at wrestling conventions across the United States. Sad to see these guys still laying it all on the line. The WWE is very active today in trying to help some of their former Superstars find a career after wrestling. Although it has gotten a lot better, this still remains a relevant problem today. Life after wrestling can be quite dark and this is another example of a couple of dudes that just can’t seem to move on.
From various DUIs to adult Skype Sessions, things certainly got dark for the former WWE Diva once she left the company. After a rumored behind the scenes feud with Sable, Sunny was released by the WWE in July of 1998. From then on, she would never again reclaim her mainstream fame, bouncing around ECW, WCW and the independent circuit. Things would take a weird turn later when it was found out that Sunny was working adult Skype Sessions. At this point, everything started to fall apart for Sunny (picking up various DUIs at the same time). Just recently, it was announced that Sunny will continue her work in the adult entertainment business, as she signed a deal with Vivid Entertainment on a contract to work several films. A weird decision to make considering she’s turning 44 in December. You can also find Sunny at various wrestling conventions across the United States.
One of the most underrated talents of his time, Raven was one of the most underutilized wrestlers during his WCW and WWE days. In and out of the ring, he was really ahead of his time, and many believe that he lead a Wyatt-like faction back in the 90s with his group, Raven’s Flock.
Not really dark in terms of lifestyle, Raven has always been a brilliant mind outside of his wrestling persona. Look-wise, Raven looks pretty bad at the age of 51. In fact, Raven put a lot of the blame on the WWE and the way they would handle their talent during his time in the business. The former WCW star attempted to sue the WWE for “cheating them out of health care and other benefits”. The case was later dismissed with Raven claiming the WWE “paid off” the judges. Like so many others in the past, Raven claims the WWE should start a union for its wrestlers. This is likely not going to happen though, because since its origins, the company has treated its Superstars as “independent contractors”, which is clearly stated in a WWE contract.
6) Dusty Rhodes
The world of professional wrestling lost a great man on June 11th, 2015. Rhodes had fallen in his Orlando residence, and after being rushed to the hospital Dusty passed away a couple of days later. His legacy will be remembered forever. Rhodes was seen as the first ever natural entertainer to step foot in a pro wrestling ring. His promos were truly breathtaking to watch (even to this very day). His son Cody, hopes to walk in his father’s footsteps. He recently left the WWE in an attempt to recreate his legacy outside of the big company. You certainly have to admire his decision to walk away from such a big stage like the WWE. No matter what happens to Cody, you can bet his dad is smiling looking down at his son for taking such a courageous decision. Don’t expect Cody to waste any time, as he is already linked to matches with Kurt Angle, and has been rumored to be joining EVOLVE in the near future. This situation can turn out to be a career saver. Only time will tell if that comes true.
5) Lex Luger
WWE chose Luger to replace Hogan once the Hulkster decided he was leaving the wrestling business for a career in Hollywood. Within weeks it was evident, Luger was not the one. Despite being given the torch, Lex would eventually leave for WCW becoming a marginal player at best.
His personal life started going downhill quickly following his time in the spotlight. In 2003, Luger made headlines when he was linked to the death of Elizabeth Hulette, when she was found unconscious in a home they shared. Luger was arrested for drug possession and was sentenced to five years probation. To make matters worse, Luger’s health would also take a major hit. Lex suffered from a nerve impingement in his neck which led to temporary paralysis. After a dark period of paralysis, Luger’s condition did improve and in 2010, he was once again able to walk. Unlike most of the wrestlers on this list, this story does end on a brighter note with Luger doing much better today and becoming a motivational speaker, sharing his story at conventions all over the world.
When you look up the sad, dark side of pro wrestling, Kamala’s name will most probably always come up. His in-ring career was marginal to say the least, although he did have some memorable feuds with the likes of Andre The Giant, on and off the screen. After leaving the WWE in 1993, Kamala left the wrestling business going back to his previous job as a truck driver. Like countless others in the past, he would return to the ring joining WCW, only to be eventually replaced by other talents that were less outdated. He would later makes stops at ROH and TNA before finally calling it a career for good.
In November of 2011, the former WWE wrestler had his leg amputated. He later got the same procedure to his other leg, and things got really sad when Kamala was trying to raise funds to cover these procedures. As of 2014, Kamala was getting by with disability checks and selling his handmade wooden chairs.
3) Eddie Guerrero
Eddie’s career reads like one of a Hollywood movie; he began as a Cruiserweight with limited time on the air with WCW, to the face of a multi-million dollar company over in the WWE. After a terrific run with McMahon’s company, Eddie did what many believed he would never do by claiming the WWE Championship by defeating Brock Lesnar at No Way Out. This made him a Triple Crown and allowed him to walk into WrestleMania holding the WWE Championship that he would go on to successfully defend in one of the main events of the night.
November 13th, 2005, will be a day wrestling fans will never forget. On this day, beloved wrestler Eddie Guerrero, lost his life after he was found unconscious in his hotel room. His legacy will live forever and to this day, his name is still being mentioned by several WWE stars, including Sasha Banks and JBL on commentary. His WWE Championship victory will go down as one of the most heartwarming, feel good moments in WWE history. This picture helps to remind us of that special moment.
2) Hulk Hogan
It seems like Hogan’s been stuck in some sticky situations since forever, particularly as of late, going from court battle to court battle. Let us not forget how much he has done for pro wrestling, and despite some horrible antics we hope Hulk can redeem himself eventually.
Even if you’re the most celebrated wrestler in the world, things can go seriously wrong for you. Ups and downs sum up the last couple of years for The Hulkster. Hogan went from a shocking divorce to almost taking his own life after losing everything in his separation from his ex-wife. Hogan would later get back on his feet only to fall again after a s*x tape was leaked, causing his dismissal from the WWE for racial remarks being made in the tape. After a long court battle with Gawker, the company that released the tape, Hulk was finally able to smile again after winning a massive amount of money (rumored to be more than $100 million in personal damages).
The wrestling world was devastated to find out that pioneer Chyna, had passed away in her California home. Many of us thought Chyna was getting better, however it was later revealed that she had been taking anxiety and insomnia pills.
Despite her troubled past, the former Women’s Champion kept several relationships from her time with the WWE. One of them in particular was with Mick Foley. Before her passing, Chyna and Mick were able to share one last laugh together at a wrestling convention. We all hope to see Chyna’s name in the WWE Hall of Fame for 2017. Rightfully so, her spot should be a guarantee. Chyna was an absolute trailblazer when you think of all her accomplishments, from entering the Royal Rumble to becoming the first woman to ever win a major male championship by winning the Intercontinental Title. For all she did, a Hall of Fame induction is the least thing the company can do for one of the greatest women to ever step foot in a WWE ring.