Bam Bam Bigelow, 45 (January 19, 2007, of an overdose of cocaine and benzodiazepine) – After the unpleasant Crusher Yirkov experience in Texas, Bigelow will be remembered for 3 things: 1) Carrying Lawrence Taylor to a damn good match at Wrestlemania XI, 2) Not living up to the potential he showed early in Japan; and 3) The sad state of his life after his 2002 retirement. Two of those are not good. God, he deserved better but maybe, hopefully, he has the solace and normalcy he sought.
Mike Awesome, 42 (February 17, 2007, of suicide by hanging) – Ask anyone who knew him. He was too nice to be in wrestling. The fact that Mike took his own life is Exhibit A when trying to figure out if wrestling is the career for you. If he canâ<80><99>t handle it, Iâ<80><99>m surprised any one can. Recovered from the Fatchick Thriller and 70’s Guy gimmicks in WCW to close out his career in Japan and on ECWâ<80><99>s One Night Stand (and One End Table) PPV in the match of the night against Masato Tanaka. I really miss Mike Awesome.
Sherri Martel, 49 (June 15, 2007, of an overdose of oxycodone and other drugs) – At one time the best female in the sport. Combined psychology, looks, athleticism, mic work and in-ring ability to remain on top for over 15 years. Unfortunately, her tragic end and its timing will forever tarnish her legacy and under-represent how truly talented she was.
Nancy Benoit, 43 (June 23, 2007, murdered) – The most beautiful ever. Period. She radiated class and knew how to get heat at ringside like no other. I farking hate Chris Benoit.
Biff Wellington, 42 (June 24, 2007, of a heart attack) – After years of, ahem, personal demons, a bum ticker dropped Beef. Could never make the leap from superstar in Calgary to employee anywhere else. At one time, there were those who lumped him in with Benoit, Owen Hart, and Brian Pillman as potentially the next Bret Hart.
Daniel Benoit, 6 (June 24, 2007, murdered) – I have 7 year-old child and to think that anyone could do to her what Danielâ<80><99>s father did to him gets my blood boiling. Daniel, from the bottom of our collective hearts – we are sorry. We never saw it coming either. Rest in peace, big man.
Chris Benoit, 39 (June 25, 2007, suicide by asphyxiation) – Headlining house shows in at the Hell Middle School every weekend. Forever. I do not care how good he was or how well he was liked (hell, I had convinced my darling wife to name our then unborn child Chris if it was a boy), he killed his wife and son before taking the cowardâ<80><99>s way out and killing himself. â<80><9c>Wait, Scott, are you going to let what happened last summer – as awful as it was – completely void what was otherwise one of the greatest careers ever?â<80> Youâ<80><99>re damn right I am. Chris who?
John Kronus, 38 (July 18, 2007, of a heart attack) – Yeah, it was a heart attack. But, like The Missing Link and Biff Wellington, the damage had already been done. But Kronus learned. After wrestling (and the ill-advised foray into the XPW home video biz), he escaped. Alas, he did not escape unharmed.
Brian Adams, 43 (August 13, 2007, of an overdose of painkillers and antidepressants) – Not surprised by this one. Enough said.
Sean Evans, 36 (October 2, 2007, of lung cancer) – A Georgia indy talent who would not otherwise make the list except for 2 reasons: 1) he was a friend; and 2) he never smoked a day in his life. He did work at a bar for years and years, though. If you say you never heard of anyone dying from second-hand smoke, you have now. â<80>~Bye Shocker.
But look closely at the chronological list. No one under 50 died of personal demons or their residuals after August. Could Chris Benoit, the bastard, have done in death what no one has been able to do? Did what happened to Benoit function as a bucket of cold water in the face about lifestyle, substance abuse, steroid use and mental health issues? The rate of wrestler deaths certainly tapered off after that awful June afternoon in Fayetteville. Lets keep it up. My fervent prayer is that next yearâ<80><99>s list includes no one under 60 – and precious, precious few over.
Check for Part I: I Was Never Much Good At Goodbyes on the main page and join me in the forums for your thoughts on those we lost (including any you feel deserve mentioning but were omitted).