When it comes to dealing with wrestler deaths, the WWE is in a much better place now. Back in the 90s and early 2000s, wrestlers were passing away at a disturbing rate, for the most part, wrestlers weren’t living past 50. Enhancement usage played a big part and the WWE knew precautions needed to be taken. Since the launch of the Wellness Policy and rehab programs, the company is now a better and safer environment. For that, we must applaud them.
However, when it comes to some wrestler deaths, the WWE has pretty much swept the details under a ring. Usually, the company will pay homage to the star but rarely do they go into detail pertaining to the cause of death. In this article, we dive deeper into the lives of deceased former WWE stars and take a look at reveals the WWE might not want us to know about.
From Owen's defective harness to Eddie’s enhancement usage behind the scenes, these are 15 shocking reveals the WWE wants to keep hidden pertaining to wrestlers that passed away. Enjoy the article and like always, be sure to share it with a friend. Let’s begin.
15 Eddie Guerrero – Used Performance Enhancements
Eerie to think that it’s been more than a decade since the passing of the late great Eddie Guerrero. The former WWE Champion was found by his nephew Chavo, and the cause of death was deemed a heart failure. He wasn’t even in his 40s yet, passing away at the tender age of 38.
The WWE didn’t really dive deep into the details of his passing, instead they simply paid homage to his brilliant career. What the company didn’t tell us is that Eddie was in rough shape behind the scenes for quite some time as his body was breaking down. A Sports Illustrated report would add to the drama listing Guerrero’s name on the list of WWE stars that were receiving enhancement drugs. With no Wellness Policy, the company lost several wrestlers before their time, including Eddie. Thankfully, the precautions are finally being taken and the WWE is a better place for it today.
14 Brian Pillman – WWE Sent Jim Cornette To Look For Him When He Passed
Pillman’s impact on the WWE is quite profound and in fact, you can call him a trailblazer as he was the first ever WWE Superstar to earn a guaranteed contract. We lost the wrestler far too early as he passed in October of 1997. His death sent shockwaves around the pro wrestling community.
On the day of his passing, Pillman was set to take on Dude Love in a high profile match at the Bad Blood Pay Per View. When the show got close to starting and Pillman hadn’t turned up, the company sent Jim Cornette to find him. Sadly, Cornette would call the hotel he stayed at and the maids would inform the manager that Brian had passed away earlier that day. His cause of death was a heart attack at the tender age of 35.
13 Umaga – Turned Down Rehab Stint
Following the deaths of Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero, the company finally instated policies that protected their Superstars. Some weren’t too crazy about the idea and that included the late Umaga. The late WWE Superstar had failed his second Wellness Policy with the company and to the WWE’s credit, they offered Umaga a stint at a rehab center, only to see their requests get turned down.
Umaga would proceed to hit the indie circuit instead and unfortunately, it wasn’t long after that he would pass. Leaving behind a wife and four children, he passed away in December of 2009, just six months after his WWE release. The cause of death was ruled a drug overdose which caused two heart attacks. Another Superstar passing in his 30s, he was only 36.
12 Crash Holly – Struggled After His Divorce
Crash is an example of a wrestler going from the highest of highs to lowest of lows pretty quickly. The deceased wrestler was on top of the world in the late 90s; not only was he performing with the WWE but he also got married as well. Things would take a horrible turn shortly after as not only was Holly released from the WWE but his wife also filed for divorce around the same time.
Hitting the indie circuit, Crash attempted to start a new life; he was bunking with Stevie Richards at the time of his divorce. Sadly, his emotions were too much to handle as he took his own life by overdosing on prescription drugs. Crash was found unconscious with multiple counts of prescription drugs and alcohol in his system. Tragically, he was 32 years old.
11 Chris Benoit – Told The WWE He Would Attend The PPV
The details of the Chris Benoit murder story are truly horrific. Benoit would take his wife's life on Friday, and would proceed to speak to the WWE and several wrestlers including Chavo after the fact. Benoit had told the WWE that he missed the live event due to his family becoming ill, while telling Chavo that he had overslept - though he would tell him that he would in fact attend the PPV on Sunday as he was set to take on CM Punk. Of course, that never happened.
After sending bizarre text messages to some of his peers, Benoit would ultimately take his own life as well. Without knowing the disturbing details, the WWE ran a special tribute show paying homage to Benoit; as we all know, that same show would no longer be replayed following the disturbing details of the double murder-suicide. Chris was 40 years old.
10 Rosey – Had A History Of Medical Troubles
A recent death that took place in April of this year featured the tragic passing of former WWE Superstar Rosey, the brother of Roman Reigns. Rosey was out of the wrestling business working back in Florida, he was also a happy father. WWE paid homage to his career, however, they did not go into greater details.
What many didn’t know is that Rosey suffered from major weight issues. He had a heart failure back in 2014, but was able to survive the scary experience. In an effort to lose weight, he even took part in the ABC show Fat March way back in 2007, though his efforts would once again fall short due to ongoing knee problems (which he likely suffered from due to his weight and his past in the wrestling industry). Rosey passed away at the age of 47. He left behind three children.
9 Davey Boy Smith – Was A Huge Bully Backstage
This one doesn’t have anything to do with Davey Boy’s passing, but more to do with his reputation behind the scenes. In a recent interview, Jacques Rougeau made the claim that Bulldog, along with Dynamite Kid, were some of the worst bullies he had ever seen in the wrestling industry. Things got so bad for Jacques that he actually contemplated leaving the wrestling business altogether due to a brutal beating he took at the hands of both British Bulldogs. Of course, the WWE hasn’t flaunted or showcased this dark fact.
Enhancement use might have had something to with it. Both Davey Boy and Dynamite Kid used heavy amounts of steroids back in their day. The cause, Davey Boy would pass away in 2002 suffering from a heart attack as past steroid usage played a pivotal role. As for Dynamite Kid, he’s also in terrible shape nowadays as his reckless past is also catching up.
8 Nicole Bass – Sued The WWE
A bodybuilder turned wrestler, Bass had a unique look that was sought-after by pro wrestling promotions. She began in ECW and shortly after, the WWE opened their doors to her due to her unique appearance. She began as Sable’s manager/enforcer and that would be her most noteworthy role in the company despite her huge potential. Her run wouldn’t last long as she quit the company due to a sexual harassment incident, something the WWE makes no mention of. According to the late Bass, she was harassed behind the scenes by Steve Lombardi, but the case was eventually dropped.
Sadly, earlier this year, Bass passed away after she was found unresponsive in her apartment. Suffering a stroke, her family would take her off life support. She was only 52 at the time of her passing.
7 Test – Took Enhancements Before Passing
He had the look to thrive with the company; McMahon loves the bigger wrestlers and Test was exactly that. Though his potential would fizzle out early on and he’d spend the majority of his time as a mid-card worker for the company. He left in 2004 only to return for a short stint in 2006. His return would come to an end early as he was caught violating the WWE’s Wellness Policy. The violation would cause his release and he’d never return to the company again.
He spent time with TNA but aspired to work in the field of acting. Still only 33 before his death, Test was looking to change fields. Though sadly, he passed away before he could. Test was spotted by a neighbour through the window of his condo passed out. The cause of death was ruled an accidental overdose.
6 Miss Elizabeth – Toxic Relationship And...
Often regarded as the first lady of the WWE, Elizabeth left the company in the early 90s and her career was never the same once she joined WCW as a background player. Off-screen, things were even worse as Elizabeth was in a toxic relationship with fellow WCW star at the time, Lex Luger. In May of 2003, the unthinkable took place.
At the age of 42, Elizabeth passed away due to an overdose. Lex tried calling for help after Elizabeth was unresponsive, though it was too late ultimately. Acute toxicity was deemed the cause of death as both pain killers and vodka were found in her system. Luger was also taken into custody following her death as drugs were found in his home. To Luger’s credit, he cleaned up his life in a big way following her tragic death.
5 Lance Cade – Enhancement Usage Was In Play
Although he never failed a Wellness Policy Exam with the WWE, he did attend a rehab stint in 2010, which indicated that drug usage was in play for the wrestler. He also suffered a seizure during his time with the company, and the situation caught the eye of WWE officials and he was released in large part due to the situation, as WWE took precautions for the purpose of his well-being.
While away from the WWE and taking the indie route, Cade shockingly passed away. He was yet to hit his 30s losing his life at 29. Lance was in rough shape prior to his death and despite getting medical treatment for problems breathing, he passed away due to an accidental overdose just two months later. The WWE paid homage to his tragic passing by acknowledging his death.
4 Roddy Piper – Predicted He Would Live Past 65
During a HBO special, Roddy pretty much forecasted his own death admitting in front of the cameras that he wouldn’t live past 65 due to his reckless past. Sadly, he was right as the WWE lost one of the true greats in the wrestling industry back in the summer of 2015. As predicted, Piper wasn’t older than 65 as he was 61 at the time of his passing - he was found in his Hollywood, California home. Rod died in his sleep of a heart attack.
As you can imagine, the WWE celebrated his legacy; sadly, the great Dusty Rhodes had passed just a month prior as well. Roddy asked for his ashes to be released at his home back in Gaston, Oregon. His legacy will continue to be celebrated by the company till the end of time.
3 Macho Man – Felt Ill Prior To His Death
For whatever reason, Macho Man was basically blacklisted by the WWE prior to his passing. The WWE rarely acknowledge him and that’s a damn shame given his immense popularity and contributions to the company. Rightfully so, when he passed, the WWE acknowledged his passing with an emotional tribute, he would also get inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame shortly after in 2015.
The details of his death were once again kept a secret by the WWE. Savage suffered a heart attack while driving which led to his passing, though a little known fact was that he was feeling ill all morning. His wife had actually offered to drive given his state, but Savage refused and drove anyways. He suffered the heart attack while driving, and it resulted in the late wrestler crashing his Jeep into a tree. The legend was 58.
2 Chyna – Was Seeking Help By The WWE
Chyna’s life was seriously like a roller coaster; she was as high as high can be with the WWE becoming one of the most popular faces. Though that moment would be completely derailed once she discovered an on-going relationship between her former partner Triple H and Vince’s daughter Stephanie. After being sent home to cool off, Chyna received her release papers shortly after. She spiraled from that point on.
From drug use to adult entertainment, Chyna was a wrecking ball for a very long time. During her downward spiral, Chyna called WWE HQ several times, though her calls would go unanswered. Chyna would request a return along with a rehab stint later on as she struggled with ongoing drug use. Ultimately, Chyna could not be saved as she passed away due to an overdose.
1 Owen Hart – His Harness Was Defective
The most shocking wrestler death in WWE history, Owen lost his life as he fell from the rafters during an entrance as he was set to appear through a harness at the Over The Edge PPV. In a shocking twist, the harness gave out and Owen crashed into the ring hitting a rope. The speed of the crash caused Owen to pass away on impact due to internal bleeding.
Behind the scenes, things were a mess for the WWE. The Hart family ruled the harness defective making the claim that it wasn’t safe enough, nor was it planned well enough either. Ultimately, the harness was ruled unsafe and the family was granted $18 million by the WWE. The harness company was also in question, though once the verdict was confirmed, the company was dismissed. Hart’s wife would start an Owen Hart Foundation with some of her earnings from the case.