Luger? Luger……Nope. Not On The List

Scott Hudson


Breaking News! This just in…..

Lex Luger is not dead.

Oh, it was not due to a lack of effort on his part. By his own admission, Luger imbibed and partook of the wrestling lifestyle that has torpedoed many a wrestling career and lives during the last 15 years. Ask anyone in the sport – when the wrestling death-mania began hitting its stride, Luger was on everyoneâ<80><99>s dead pool list.

And yet he lives.

I vividly recall his debut as The Lugar (of all names) in Florida being managed by Percy Pringle. His ridiculously small waist in comparison to an enormous chest with chiseled upper body development on a 6’5″ frame made him stand out in a roster full of Blackjack Mulligans, Bob Roops, Bugsy McGraws and Raul Matas. The fact that he was as immobile as a year-old Hyundai was lost on most fans. He just looked like he should be good so – hell, we thought he WAS good. He was not.

And yet he lives.

The angle turned to the newly christened Lex Luger being trained by Hiro Matsuda (a shoot) and Percy was out of the mix (he was out of the state actually. He went to World Class.) Luger gradually improved in the ring (which is like saying the ocean is gradually emptier at low tide) and got bigger – a lot bigger. Just before he made the move to the Crockett Promotions, he was booked against Bruiser Brody in Lakeland, Florida. Brody, under orders, gave Luger a going away present for the ages. I donâ<80><99>t think Lex ever found the gear he left behind as he ran from Brody, the ring, the building, the promotion and the state.

And yet he lives.

Once in the big time, Luger got bigger and bigger. In both ways. Make no mistake about it – Lex Luger in his prime was an average to above average worker who was a monster in the gym and a physical specimen to be greatly envied. He was, to coin a phrase, a total package. At some point, the bumps (such as they were) began to take their toll on that specimen and the pain rolled in. The pills made the pain go away. You know the next few chapters.

And yet he lives.

And then – depression set in. Despite his 14 year run at the top, Lex Luger was a five-alarm, four-star, card-carrying prick to work with. Not so much in the ring – just in general. Not a nice man. â<80><9c>The Narcissistâ<80> gimmick? Not a work. But it all came crashing down on May 1, 2003. The exquisite Miss Elizabeth Hullette was found dead in the metro Atlanta townhome she shared with her long-time boyfriend Lex Luger. Apparently, a lot of this came as big news to Lugerâ<80><99>s wife. More than two handfuls of criminal charges were filed against Luger. A couple of years later, he was found slumped over the steering wheel of his car – under the influence and dreaming of personal demons. Damn.

And yet he lives.

Luger hit rock bottom. And bounced. He found Christianity and that, according to him and everyone else in the world, saved him in more ways than one. Those who find Christ proudly proclaim themselves as being â<80><9c>saved.â<80> To most, its being saved from a life of sin and transformed into a new creation. For Lex Luger, its bigger, WAY bigger, than that. For Lex Luger, it saved him from following the same path as Rick Rude, Curt Hennig, Davey Boy Smith, Hawk, Eddie Guerrero, Brian Pillman or even, perhaps, Chris Benoit. Donâ<80><99>t get me wrong, Lex Luger is not, NOT, in any way shape or form, Jesus Christ. But Lex came very close to death before finally grabbing hold of something that pulled him from the depths and, seemingly, raising him from the dead.

And yet he lives.

Now Luger, who once prowled the grounds of a multi-acre estate in north Fulton County, Georgia, with his wife and children, retires every evening to a one bedroom apartment in Atlanta across the street from the facility where he has daily physical therapy to address what remains of his paralysis. Yeah. Paralysis. He can move around on his on with the use of a wheelchair and, on good days, a walker. This is how my brother-in-law saw him earlier this week at a Marietta restaurant. This once towering giant of a 6’5″ man, 275 pounds, long blonde hair and an attitude that would make Donald Trump bow in reverence – was reduced to a hunched, 186 pound cripple using a walker and requiring the hand of a friend just to sit down at a restaurant table.

And yet he lives.

Luger spends what ever time he is not in therapy brightening the days of other patients at the remarkable Shepard Spinal Center in Atlanta. A recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution feature on Luger included interviews with the families of some of these patients who spoke in glowing terms about how Lex visited with the young patients every day and laughed, played and generally made them feel like a million bucks. These same young people that are paraplegics or quadriplegics as a result of a diving accident, automobile crash or congenital condition. They look forward to seeing Lex Luger, the man, because he makes them forget their problems for a while. The same Lex Luger that was as prickly as a desert cactus when he was filthy rich and a total package – has become the Lex Luger that gloriously brightens the days of seriously injured young people now that he has nothing.

And yes, he lives.

If you call that living. When you are Lex Luger, THIS is, finally, living.

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