Maybe you’re curious as to exactly why I went through all of the trouble to put up a site about dead wrestlers. The wrestling industry is very fast paced, and its heroes are seemingly disposable. With very few exceptions such as Hulk Hogan and Dwayne Johnson, it’s a case of “here today, gone tomorrow, out of sight, out of mind”. Long time fans, of course, can appreciate the care I’ve taken to give these fallen warriors a shrine on the internet to remember them by. But many fair weather and rookie fans will simply shrug and say, “Those were my Dad’s wrestlers, I’ve got my own”.
Have you ever thought about the stress, heartache, sacrifice, and sheer will power it takes to become a marquee name championship wrestler? It isn’t an acting gig where a performer puts on a few cosmetic pounds and dons a body suit. Wrestling may not be considered a legitimate sport, or even advertised as one by league overlords such as Vince McMahon, et al. Let me assure you, it takes a lifetime’s worth of dedication and perseverance to be able to don those tights and execute those moves in the ring, whether or not the outcome of the match is predetermined. You don’t simply recover from a fall, shake it off, and move on. Not always. Sometimes, there is a terrible price to be paid.
Some of you reading this have probably had a good chuckle over the Owen Hart “death video” which still circulates around on Youtube. “Wow, he really screwed up there. He should have taken two minutes to check that harness!” Or maybe you giggled at the news of Chris Benoit, strung out on “roid rage”, murdering his family and taking his own life. “Serves him right, the muscle headed steroid freak”. Well, let me tell you something. Before you judge someone for taking steroids and causing tragedy and irreparable harm to themselves and others, take a minute to judge for yourselves what you might do if you were in that situation.
If you’re a young wrestler, just starting out in the game, spending months on the road for little or no pay, slogging it out night after night in crappy little road houses and gyms just to try to make a name for yourself, and someone comes and offers you a contract and a quick short cut, would you take it? If someone offered you the chance to sign on that dotted line and become instantly richer by six figures -as long as you “bulk up a little” and get a bit more active in the ring- would you refuse on moral principles? Sure, it’s “unethical” and illegal, but it’s also a short cut to realizing your dreams of making it big in the ring. All the glory and privilege that comes with fame can suddenly be yours, for a few extra pounds of muscle!
Think of yourself as Eddie Guerrero. He spent years in the shadow of his brothers, desperate to break out and make a name for himself. Think of performers like Bam Bam Bigelow who didn’t break out into the big leagues until alter in life, and who, in the meantime, spent years performing at flea markets and off season rodeo halls, for $100 a match. Will you seriously condemn these performers for using steroids, if it offers them a short cut to the big arenas? And, of course, you also have to keep in mind that none of them knew anything about the risks that steroids bring.
“Roid rage”, serious manic depressive episodes, heart disease, congestive heart failure, cancer of all kinds, memory loss, burnout. All of these terrible things, and more. So many wrestlers have passed away that I found it necessary to build an entire website dedicated to their memory. And how many of you actually appreciate one tiny little bit of all that pain, suffering, and sacrifice? How many of you continue to patronize the WWE and the other wrestling federations who provide next to no support or compensation for the terrible injuries, mental and physical, that their paid gladiators undergo?
I’m not saying that professional wrestling should be banned and damned, far from it! I am saying that, before you laugh at dead wrestlers, or judge them as disposable heroes of yesteryear who received too much money for contributing absolutely nothing, you ought to stop and think that all of the pain, suffering, and heartache they underwent was on your watch, and at your pleasure. After all, you tuned in religiously for years, and filled Vince McMahon’s coffers with shekels, no matter how sloppily he ran the WWE, no matter how little attention he paid to his employee’s wounds.
So, if you have even a tiny shred of regret or remorse over the shabby treatment these fallen warriors received in life, you’ll join me in taking a moment of your time to commemorate these dead wrestlers, and to ensure that they will never be forgotten. God bless you, God bless America, and God bless our warriors, on the field of battle, and in the wrestling ring!