As evidenced by countless pre-mature wrestler deaths in the past, the WWE in particular needed to do something about this type of epidemic. We applaud the WWE for their recent work nowadays; if health is a concern, the wrestler has no shot of stepping in the ring. As fans, we wish such tactics were deployed sooner, but nonetheless, it’s nice to see Vince and the company finally stepping in.
However, along with prior deaths, the WWE has also had numerous scares in the past pertaining to its talents. Even most recently, the great Ric Flair underwent a huge treatment that almost saw him lose his life. Flair wasn’t the first nor will he be the last high profile wrestler to undergo such a scare; we’ll feature nine other high profile names in this article that almost lost it all at one point. On the flip side, we’ll also take a look at five former WWE stars who aren’t doing too well nowadays. One in particular even announced that he has only two years left to live.
Let’s now take a look at the 15 entrants on this list. We’ll take a look at 10 former WWE stars we almost lost, and five that might not have much time left. Be sure to share the article with a friend via Facebook and let us know your thoughts on the article. We now begin with the most recent scare in the world of pro wrestling.
15 Almost Lost: Ric Flair
The most recent news to rock the WWE Universe was the breaking story pertaining to the great Nature Boy Ric Flair getting rushed to hospital. The problem was very severe as Flair went under the knife to remove an obstructive piece of his bowel. The treatment was quite rigorous and in fact, we came close to losing the great 16-time World Champion. Throughout this difficult process, we saw just how much Flair meant to the wrestling industry with countless tweets and get-well comments made by his fellow peers and fans alike.
Once again, Flair overcame the battle and is said to be recovering after posting an encouraging tweet for his fanbase. Even Stone Cold Steve Austin made the claim that the two recently had a conversation in which Flair was laughing in typical Nature Boy style. At the age of 68, we wish the wrestling legend a speedy recovery.
14 Almost Lost: Kurt Angle
Seeing Kurt Angle back in the WWE seriously makes you forget that he left for over a decade. Angle left the company on a terrible note and if that wasn’t bad enough, he was in a terrible place in his life during his WWE departure.
His body was infused with drugs that he used to numb the pain. Angle himself said he was in such a bad state that he felt like he was going to die in the ring doing what he loved. At one point in his life, all Kurt cared about was putting on a great show for the fans, and his health came secondary (and it almost cost him).
Arrests and more drug battles would follow throughout his TNA run. He finally chose to enter rehab in 2013 and it changed his life forever. Kurt is now a new man devoted to his family but he also restored his relationship with a man he claims is like a father to him, Vince McMahon.
13 At Risk: Sabu
For those of you that saw the film The Wrestler, Sabu might be the closest example of "Randy The Ram" come to life. Despite the incredible wear and tear on his body, Sabu continues to endure punishment nowadays. To put things into perspective, Sabu started training to become a pro wrestler more than three decades ago back in the mid 80s. Looking at his body of work in ECW, that timespan added an additional ten years given the graphic nature of his bouts.
Sabu’s health has only deteriorated. Just recently a page was made on Go Fund Me in order to pay for Sabu’s hip replacement. You’d think following the surgery he’d be done for good but no, according to a recent interview, Sabu has made the claim that he isn’t done yet. We fear that this decision can put the New York native in an even worse state; the last thing we want is a terrible incident featuring the ECW legend inside the squared circle (like Randy The Ram).
12 Almost Lost: Scott Hall
At one point in time, we could have easily put Scott Hall in the other column, as it seemed like only a matter of time for Hall who was battling with severe drug and alcohol problems. His issues were well documented during his rehab story which was featured on a Netflix special. Had it not been for DDP and his yoga practice, it’s very likely that Hall would no longer be with us.
Showing up for his treatment, Hall admitted he was on the verge of dying before receiving Page’s phone call. Appearing in terrible shape, Hall worked hard every day as he stayed in Page’s home till he fully healed. Miraculously, the treatment worked and Hall now has a new lease on life looking like a transformed human being in comparison to his darkest days. For DDP, this wasn’t the first life he saved; scroll down to the next entry for another former WWE star who was saved by DDP Yoga.
11 Almost Lost: Jake Roberts
Like Scott Hall, Jake Roberts was another wrestler infused with drugs and alcohol in his system for years. The Texas native was also just waiting for death at that point, looking completely out of shape. Again, DDP Yoga came to the rescue and somehow, someway, Roberts was saved.
Jake’s recovery was truly something to behold, he shed 50 pounds during the 18 month program along with regaining his mobility. He was even funded for a shoulder surgery. He seriously came out of the treatment with a new lease on life.
He’s had a couple of other health scares but the most important part is that he’s still kicking it nowadays and showcasing that bright smile that seemed to be lost for a lengthy period of time. Once again, our greatest gratitude goes out to DDP and his groundbreaking yoga treatment.
10 At Risk: Kamala
Residing out of the Mississippi area, the 67 year old continues to battle numerous health problems, at this point, it seems like a constant uphill battle for the former WWE Superstar.
The health issues began back in November of 2011 when Kamala needed to amputate his left leg due to high blood pressure and diabetes. Sadly, less than a year later, his right leg was also sacrificed as his problems continued to persist. Needing help to pay for the treatments, Kamala turned to the public for funding. At that point, his only source of income was selling his handmade chairs and disability payments. Life can get dark for a pro wrestler and Kamala is a big example of that.
With his health still on the down turn, Kamala has looked to the WWE for some funding recently filing a class action lawsuit against the company for brain related injuries.
9 Almost Lost: Jerry Lawler
It's crazy to think that Jerry Lawler is taking independent bookings from time to time nowadays, especially due to the fact that we almost saw him tragically pass away on Live TV.
September 10th, 2012 is a night The King will never forget. During an event at the Bell Center, Lawler collapsed at the commentary booth during a Live broadcast. You could even hear Michael Cole completely rattled on commentary as the situation was taking place. Turns out, Jerry had suffered a heart attack but thanks to the doctors on sight, he was saved and somehow, able to fully recover. Not only would he eventually recover, but he would also get medically cleared to step back into the squared circle; truly remarkable stuff for the 67 year old. Lawler was back on commentary for the WWE in Booker T’s absence during the final August episode of Monday Night Raw.
8 Almost Lost: Perry Saturn
Sadly for Perry Saturn, it was an incident outside of the squared circle that almost cost him his life. Playing the role of a hero, Saturn stopped a r*pe incident back in April of 2004. Unfortunately, his heroics came at a cost as Saturn was shot in the neck and shoulder during the ordeal.
Perry tried to suppress the pain of the situation by turning to drugs. Things got so bad, that the former WWE and WCW star fled the scene for years without any of his peers knowing where he was. Finally, after years of hiatus, Saturn returned in 2010 claiming he resolved his issues.
Nowadays, Perry continues to claim that past head injuries have also hurt his cause greatly in the past. For that very reason, he joined the class action lawsuit against the WWE in November of last year.
7 At Risk: Vader
A legend in the pro wrestling business, Vader served as the perfect heel back in the late 80s and 90s. He had the intimidating size and look to him which equalled to dollar signs. It also helped that he had the athleticism to work in the ring; at one point, the dude was hitting moonsaults on the regular.
Sadly, Vader was never able to fully let go of his life as a pro wrestler and at the age of 62, he’s still working the indie circuit. What makes this situation even more cringeworthy is the fact that the Colorado native made the claim that he has two years left to live. According to Vader, doctors told the former 90s star that his heart is set to give out due to his lengthy time in football and wrestling. One would assume he’d stop wrestling after hearing such news but it seems like that hasn’t been the case.
6 Almost Lost: X-Pac
Another tremendous performer that spiraled out of control due to drugs and alcohol, Waltman was in a very dark place at one point nearly ending it all as suicidal thoughts began to emerge for the former European Champion.
Even before the drug infused days, Waltman had a troubled upbringing growing up with a single mother and basically raising himself since the age of five. Waltman went through his darker period while undergoing a relationship with the late Chyna. After the relationship ended, things continued to go south and X-Pac contemplated taking his own life. Thankfully, Kliq buddy Kevin Nash talked his friend out of it and Sean entered rehab instead.
Nowadays, Waltman is not only looking better than ever but he’s also the proud host of his own podcast which is actually quite entertaining. He’s had some great guests on the show including most recently, welcoming the Texas Rattlesnake Stone Cold to his program.
5 Almost Lost: Bret Hart
If you’ve followed the Hart family throughout the years, you know the family has had to endure some tragic deaths. From Owen, his youngest brother, to the recent death of Smith his older brother, Hart has seen tragedy strike around him quite a bit. In fact, Bret himself almost lost his life a couple of times in the past.
Severe health problems for the Hitman began back in the early 2000s when he suffered a terrible bike accident that resulted in a stroke. Hart was paralyzed on his left side following the accident as he flew over his bike landing on the back of his head. Thankfully, he’s regained full mobility.
Another recent health scare took place for Bret as he announced via Facebook in early 2016 that he was battling Prostate Cancer. Thankfully, the doctors found the cancer cells early on and he was once again able to make a full recovery. Given his recent interviews, Hart appears to be looking much better, recently turning 60.
4 At Risk: Dynamite Kid
Back in the 80s, Dynamite Kid made his name be known across wrestling circles. The UK native was a tremendous in-ring performer and arguably during his time, one of the very top. Unfortunately, problems backstage with his peers set him back.
Health problems dating back to 1997 would set him back even further, sadly. From paralysis to his left leg, to heart problems, to traumatic brain issues, Dynamite Kid has struggled with his health for years. Even recently, he sadly made the headlines asking for funding to return home following another severe stroke and lengthy hospital stay. Inching towards his 60s, his health appears to be getting worse. Nowadays, his family continues to bad mouth the WWE, claiming his current state is in large part their fault and that they haven’t stepped in at any point to aid his cause with some type of financial aid.
3 Almost Lost: Hulk Hogan
Hogan has had one hell of a roller coaster-like life with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, both in the wrestling ring and his personal life. Things took a huge turn once he agreed to expose his family’s personal life on the VH1 program Hogan Knows Best. To Hulk’s credit, the show was an instant success and one of the first ever reality type shows. Though, things would “come crashing down” for the Hulkster when he was involved in an infidelity scandal with one of his daughter’s acquaintances, out of all people.
The divorce led to Hulk’s downward spiral. Not only did his family split apart, but he also lost a staggering 70% of his total assets. Hulk claims he bought a gun and almost ended his life during that time period, really hitting rock bottom. Thankfully, he saw the light and got his life back together.
2 Almost Lost: Brock Lesnar
Although Brock seems untouchable nowadays, that wasn’t always the case. Lesnar struggled mightily in the past, especially during his first WWE run. You know things are bad when you don’t remember two years of your career, and that’s exactly what transpired back in the early 2000s as Brock infused his life with alcohol and pain killers, consuming bottles of Vodka to himself on a daily basis.
Brock’s health received the worst scare when he was diagnosed with diverticulitis. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Lesnar claims the Canadian hospital he was at made things worse; had it not been for American doctors Lesnar claims he might have not survived the ordeal. Brock lost over 20 KG during the time he was ill and left his UFC career behind (for the time being at that point) following the terrible scare.
1 At Risk: Marty Jannetty
Since his time as an active WWE performer came to an end back in the 90s, Jannetty’s life has seriously hit rock bottom. Just check for yourselves on the worldwide web, there’s a slew of drunken Jannetty pictures available (there’s even one that features the former IC Champion fully clothed in a hotel pond. Yup, he’s not doing all that well).
As if that wasn’t bad enough, you can see just how out of it he is via Twitter. Marty is constantly posting erratic posts, from bashing the WWE to even contemplating sleeping with a family member, all signs point to Jannetty not being the most stable nowadays as he edges towards his 60s. Like many others, Marty has recently joined the class action lawsuit against the WWE. For a guy trying to get into the Hall of Fame, he’s got a weird way of showing it, given his history and new lawsuit against the company. We hope Jannetty can clean up his act sooner rather than later.