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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Wrestling Obituaries: Too Many and Too Young
November 17, 2005 by Johnny LaRue


It's been a while since I wrote a column and it would be easy to write one about Eddie Guerrero. Though I do feel I am unqualified to talk about the man. I never traveled with him nor hung out with him. I'll be honest I met Eddie once before a WCW PPV and it would have been easy for him to ignore me or mention he was in a hurry. Yet he took the time to say hello and treated me like a normal human being and treated me with respect. For that I always had the utmost respect for him.

That being said my main concern is in the last decade the wrestling world has lost the British Bulldog, Curt Henning, Rick Rude, Owen Hart, Brian Pillman, The Big Boss Man, Yokozuna, Miss Elizabeth and Crash Holly just to name a few. What is scary is all of the above wrestlers were under 43 years old! If this happened in any other sport there would be outrage and a big deal. Take the death of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Belcher for example. His death was big news and led to the ban of ephedrine. Why aren't the above wrestlers deaths big news"

Unfortunately it seems the death of Eddie will be swept under the rug by the media and as I have heard the object of ridicule by ESPN. What a double standard! When any other athlete dies ESPN makes a huge deal about it and are respectful. What upsets me is sportscasters/talking heads who have never played any sports on a competitive level (whose only thing athletic about them are their gym shorts) have the gall to make light of the death of a wrestler. Not to mention it's baffling to turn on the 24 hour news channels and see them waste time talking about everything else from the David Ludwig killing to Natalie Holloway. If they can spend months upon months talking about the Holloway case is it too much to ask to have a small amount of time talking about a wrestlers death"

Another concern I have is if this many wrestlers have died at such a young age shouldn't something be done" Should there be mandatory yearly physicals" Should there be tests run on hearts on a regular basis" I know the schedule for wrestlers are rough. I played minor league hockey and I feel a wrestlers schedule is far tougher. We know athletes are prone to enlarged hearts. Shouldn't something be done prevention wise for this" I have no clue about the insides of the wrestling world so I won't sit here and pretend to be an expert and know what can and what can't be done. All I know is something should be done to prevent future losses of wrestling superstars. All I know is that I hate having to watch a tribute show because it means one less talented wrestler.

The only silver lining in the death of Eddie is the Friday night prior to Eddies death I was at the gym and my heart felt weak once again. Also, I had not been feeling well for quite some time (hence the lack of columns as of late). After hearing of the cause of Eddies death and how he felt ill prior to his death I decided to go to the doctor. I found out I did have a heart problem (supraventricular tachycardia) and need electrical cardioversion. So for me Eddies death was not for naught and may have saved my life.

When Johnny LaRue is not watching old wrestling tapes he can be reached at Easyreader2@Hotmail.com..


Brian wrote:
Well said. I don't know about any other fans out there, but I don't ever want to see a tribute show on a wrestler who died in their prime. As "wrong" as it is for me to admit it, the fans care about wrestlers; even heels, and it galls me to think that some people are making light of this situation. Oh yeah wrestling isn't a sport, funny because I think that much like any sport I can think of, it takes great athletic ability. But the outcomes are rigged... um, figureskating is an olympic event and didn't the russian mob ensure their skater got gold" Oh wait, or how about the Tyson/Mckneely fight back in the nineties" Did anyone actually think that Tyson was going to lose" Talk about a sure bet. The fact of the matter is that the world still sees professional wrestling as a joke, just some bulked up guys in neon spandex. This whole situation stinks. Eddie we'll miss you, condolances to his friends and family members.
Nicholas S. Venezia wrote:
In response to Johnny LaRue's article about the early deaths of wrestlers. I have only this to say: Wrestling is a sport that almost encourages drug use of any and all kinds. Whether it be pain killers for the bumps, or amphetamines for getting up for the match, and steroids for the physique required to participate, the environment is conducive to substance abuse. The fact that every other major professional sport tests for drugs is a primary reason that wrestlers are predisposed to abuse. Unlike most professional sports, wrestlers are often in smaller groups, traveling by themselves and not subjected to "team rules". But to say that "athletes are prone to enlarged hearts" is a stupid statement. The heart is a muscle, which also grows abnormally when given muscle stimulating drugs, like a steroid. What do the British Bulldog, Rick Rude Crash Holley, and Eddie Guerrero all have in common" All of them have frames packed full "artificial" muscle, sometimes, too much for the bodies to handle. I am not surprised that more wrestlers die each year.
Steve H. wrote:
Couldn't agree more. Too many, too young, too right. Sadly however, this is probably not the last. Some of the other responses to this piece have said that many late wrestlers had artificial muscle packed into their body frame, which is probably true. However, when I mentioned to non-wrestling fan friends about the death of Eddie, they all said the same thing: "No surprise, those guys are all on 'roids." While I think that this may have been true of wrestlers once upon a time (read Hogan's book, he said it was no big deal that they all took steroids in the wrestling world). That said, I don't think that is the case these days. But just because steroids may not be the drug of choice, these guys have an outrageously big schedule and pain killers or sleeping tablets may sometimes be the only way to help them perform. Thats just a thought, and I'm not saying its what all of the Superstars are doing by any means. But thinking back not so long ago - think of the broken Jake Roberts on 'Beyond the Mat'. He said that a wrestler needs: "drugs to sleep, drugs to stay awake. Drugs for the pain, drugs to go out there and perform" or words to that effect. Think of the toughest sports in the world. I'm from England and am a huge Rugby fan. After the world cup, there was a program in which a scientist likened a professional going through the combined impact of a 70mph car crash every game. Bodies aren't designed for that, and top players end up spending months off with serious injuries. Month's off" If only wrestlers had that luxury. Throw this into the mix - Wrestling having a season. Maybe a month off mid-December to mid-January. I know I struggle to catch all the action over the holiday period. Less house shows and only 6 payper-views a year" Would that take the pressure off of the performers we love" We don't expect so much of the other athletes of the other sport we follow. I consider wrestling a sport - I consider wrestlers athletes. I consider them worthy of a less gruelling schedule. I'm not looking at this from a point of view of lost business and money, or broken storylines - its just a thought. Finishing, I'd like to say how comforted I've been by this little community we have of wrestling fans on-line. Its a sport we love and care about. Thoughts are with all of you as well as with Eddie and family
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