Isn't it weird that there are some things that seem to follow a lot of people throughout their childhood, and yet, we all start to collectively ignore them once we get to adulthood? Sure, there are a lot of adults out there who enjoy wrestling, but it's mostly children or teenagers who seem to find enjoyment out of watching wrestling. Odd to think that children probably won't know about some of their childhood heroes having died, what with them now having no interest in wrestlers. That being said, we suppose that's somewhat of a nice thing when you think about it. This way, they don't have to have their childhoods ruined.
For those who still enjoy wrestling or are taking a trip down memory lane in a fit of depressing nostalgia, we thought that we'd put together a list of some pretty rare photographs, some stuff you've probably not seen, of some now-dead wrestlers. Rather than getting depressing with it, we decided that we could have a more optimistic look at this side of things, allowing us the chance to get some enjoyment out of sadness. Sure, they’re dead now, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t live full lives entertaining others. That’s what's important.
So, ready to take a look at some rare photographs of the deceased? Don’t worry; it’s not going to be as sad as you think. Rare photographs of dead wrestlers coming your way right now.
There's a chance that you've never seen this lad without his makeup, the sort that made this guy look like Mike Tyson, what with his face tattoo. That being said, it seemed as if the tribal symbols had more of a cultural connotation with Umaga. Whether that was done for the sake of the show or for the wrestler, we suppose we'll never know. Either way, we like the fact that this image shows that, just like anyone, this guy was all about hanging out with the people that were close to him. Sometimes, we can get wrapped up in our own heads, especially when it comes to the lives that famous people lead. We forget that they’re just like us in so many ways, including having a want to spend time with people they care about and having a life outside of their fame.
14 Bam Bam Bigelow
Even if you didn't follow wrestling at the time this guy was involved with it, he would've given you pause for thought if you'd passed him as he walked past you. The guy was carrying around 400 pounds at his heaviest and had a flame tattooed across his bald head. Seriously, that's letting your job really take control of your personal life. When he was found dead, the tests that were made on his body showed he actually had lethal amounts of various drugs in his system, including cocaine and a form of anti-anxiety medication. These, mixed with an underlying heart condition and his obesity, sadly brought the entertainer to his death. Like most people in his condition, he was merely a ticking time bomb waiting to explode, leaving himself with a huge number of well-wishers.
13 Doink The Clown
Look, I'll be honest here and admit to you that I don't have the most extensive knowledge of wrestling. Like a lot of people, I watched it sparingly when I was younger because everybody else did, but I didn't spend a lot of time with it like others did, which is why this clown guy terrifies me. Seriously, when did somebody decide that this character, with his green wig and insane clothes, was a good idea? People like this used to make up a lot of wrestling characters, but we very quickly moved away from that sort of stuff and into the stereotype of muscular men in tight clothing. Now that I'm thinking about it, I wish that most of the wrestling roster was populated by weird characters like this. In fact, I think wrestling should start going back to this sort of stuff.
12 Sean O'Haire
This is quite possibly the most tragic story on this list, which is really saying something because most of these are pretty tragic when you really start to delve into the people's backstories. If you ask us, there's a really poisonous atmosphere surrounding these people, which is usually what happens when someone ends up making lots of money. Once some money is involved, people will try and keep that person making them money for as long as physically possible. O'Haire suffered quite extensively with mental health problems, specifically, depression, meaning he probably needed some long-term help while trying to move away from the wrestling environment that he had made his name in. This led to him killing himself, hanging himself from a bedpost, and being found by his family. Yeah, like I said, this sort of thing is pretty tragic, especially when held in the context of wrestling entertainment.
11 Chris Benoit
The events surrounding Benoit's death, one of the few modern examples on our list, are pretty unpleasant, giving us an insight into the mind of a man who was in desperate need of help. Without that help, he ended up perpetrating a double murder and a suicide. Over the course of three days, Benoit murdered his wife, strangled their son, and then killed himself, breaking his own neck with one of his weightlifting machines. Yeah, a pretty grisly way to off yourself when there are so many other ways to do the deed, which is probably yet another look into how damaged Benoit's psyche was at the time he took his own life. Before killing himself, he placed a bible by the bodies of his family and then put one by his weight machine, then killed himself. This image shows him in a much more triumphant mood.
10 Eddie Guerrero
When Guerrero died, we imagine there were a lot of people in charge of the wrestling storylines who felt pretty bad. As part of a feud between Guerrero and a fellow wrestler, the federation wrote in that his mother had suffered a heart attack, as well as Guerrero feigning a heart attack live on television while in the ring. Something very similar is what eventually took Guerrero's life. As with the last image, we wanted to find an image of the wrestler in a much happier state, showing what sort of human being he was when he was out in the ring, entertaining as many people as possible. Thankfully, rather than having the indignity of dying live on air while engaging someone in the ring, Guerrero was afforded the dignity of dying behind closed doors.
9 Dusty Rhodes
As you can see by this image, this guy managed to make it to an older age, which is great, but that doesn't mean he looked very good for his old age. You know that once you get as broad as this guy, and need to wear a suit this large, you have to start taking a look at what problems got you to that point, especially when you make it to nearly 70. Unsurprisingly, this guy ended up contracting stomach cancer, which is a highly unpleasant illness. It wasn’t long before Rhodes ended up dead, but that didn’t stop him from making public appearances before cancer took him from his loved ones. As you can see from this photograph, he was an inspiration toward the end of his life, never letting the illness bring him down and keep him stuck indoors like some people in this world would.
8 Jimmy Snuka
One of the most recent deaths on our list, Jimmy Snuka actually died at the beginning of 2017, making his passing quite fresh to anybody out there who remembers watching him when he or she was younger. He suffered from neurological problems, including a long-running battle with worsening dementia that plagued him till his death. It was these problems that got him out of having to appear on trial for the death of his girlfriend in 1983. He was actually arrested in 2015, meaning that if he did commit the murder, he was able to get away with it for a very long time. That being said, I know very little about the trial and don’t want to assume that this guy was guilty, but it would’ve been interesting to see how it would've all turned out had this guy been able to stand trial.
7 Randy Savage
Even I, as someone who knows little about wrestling, know the name "Macho Man Randy Savage," so I know that all of the wrestling fans reading this will know this man, along with his many catchphrases. He's quite possibly one of the most iconic wrestlers of all time, along with people like Hulk Hogan, who was popular during the same era of wrestling. Savage has seen a recent upswing in cult popularity after a mod for the popular game Skyrim was released, turning every single dragon into a flying Macho Man Randy Savage. Seriously, it was pretty funny, but it didn’t really afford the dead wrestler the right sort of respect. The man had a sudden heart attack at the wheel of his car, meaning he ended up crashing his car and dying. Pretty crazy way to die, if you ask me.
6 The Ultimate Warrior
As you can see from this rare and candid shot, The Ultimate Warrior was pretty crazy back in the day, using a lot of excitement and over-the-top theatrics to pull in as many members of the audience as possible, something that placed him at the top of the list for many people’s favorite wrestlers of all time. To this day, he's considered to be a total legend in a way that many wrestlers can only hope to become, as well as a personification of the crazier ends of the wrestler spectrum. Also, you only have to take a look at this image to see that the guy had a very specific concept of what his body should look like. The guy was huge! Like many people in his line of work, this guy had a heart attack, most likely due to the wrestling lifestyle.
5 Rowdy Roddy Piper
As I've already said, I don't know a lot about wrestling, including the legends that made their name on the wrestling circuit, but I do know this guy because of his foray into other things after he retired from wrestling. As you can see from the above image, he went on to work on It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, this picture showing a rare behind-the-scenes look at how much fun he had on the show. He only died a couple of years ago while he was still appearing on the show. Thankfully, he was a lot older than many of the other wrestlers on this list, dying in his sleep at the age of 61. That’s hardly the oldest he could’ve been, but a lot of wrestlers sadly seem to die at a much younger age, so it’s nice that Piper managed to make it to the age of 61.
Sadly, this woman is most likely known for a foray into adult entertainment before she died, rather than for her years and years of entertaining people in the wrestling ring. I still think about the fact that women decide to get into wrestling, and while I don't want to pretend that I understand everyone in this world, it always seems weirder than when men decide to get into it. It's pretty much entirely male-dominated after all. That being said, it’s great that she managed to carve out a niche in the wrestling world, along with other women, meaning that young girls watching the live events were able to dream of becoming like them, not knowing the tragedy that lay behind the public façade. I would've liked to see what could’ve become of Chyna if she had managed to find happiness and contentment within her life.
3 Andre The Giant
As you can probably tell by the setting this photograph was taken in, Andre The Giant was famous for loving a drink. Not only that, but he was one of the hugest men to ever make it big as an entertainer. He suffered throughout his life with gigantism, something that affected every part of his life, and yet, he decided that he would still continue into the world of the entertainer, never letting his lifelong problems get in the way of what he wanted to do with his life. This ended up with him being a wrestler, which fit his huge and bulky figure, but also becoming somewhat of a cult figure. He also went into the world of film, most famously appearing in The Princess Bride, something that became a defining moment of his career.
2 Giant Haystacks
Yet another giant here, someone that you can see is physically struggling as we look at him, almost as if these people need to have someone tell them to pull back a little bit when they're wrestlers. Believe it or not, this man was nearly seven feet tall and ended up just under 49 stone. Yet, he didn’t end up dying in the way that you would assume, following complications from a heart problem like most of the people on this list. Instead, his giant figure was brought down by Lymphoma. Unlike Andre The Giant, Haystacks didn’t have a longstanding illness that made him the size and shape he was; it seems like he just decided that this was how he wanted to look. Do you think he would’ve looked like this when he died if it wasn’t for the fact that he was a wrestler? We’re not so sure.
1 Owen Hart
Unlike the rest of the people on this list, many of whom were arguably killed indirectly by their choice to take part in wrestling as a career, this man was directly killed by his involvement. Yes, if you don't know the famous story, this man ended up falling many feet onto the top rope of the ring and died while being looked after on the side of the ring. This was during a live event, and the people running the event decided to keep going, rather than letting the people know what had happened and refunding their tickets. Honestly, looking back, we really hope that everyone involved has made the effort to look back and feel bad about what they did. It's quite possibly one of the most irresponsible things that I’ve ever written about.