Wrestlers Who Had Their Lives Fall Apart

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17 Pro Wrestlers Who Had Their Lives Fall Apart

By Devon Taylor:

The life of a pro wrestler can be hard. It comes with constant travel, constant physical punishment, and a litany of temptations. Many former wrestling superstars have fallen into a world of steroids, painkillers, alcohol, and/or recreational drugs. Some have thankfully recovered and are enjoying retirement. Some still battle with their issues to this day. Others, sadly, became victims of their vices and have already passed away. In no particular order, here are 17 pro wrestlers who have their lives unravel.

17. Matt Hardy

At one point, Matt Hardy was part of the hottest tag team in the business with his brother Jeff. Their high-flying style was a hit with fans and they both seem destined for greater things. Unfortunately, Matt developed an addiction to painkillers. When his girlfriend, Amy Dumas (aka WWE Diva Lita), left him for his real-life friend Edge (Adam Copeland), Matt took a turn for the worse. Multiple arrests and a trip to rehab later, Matt seems to have his life back together for now. He is currently wrestling for TNA.

16. Chyna

Chyna (real name Joan Laurer) was a wrestling character like no other. Instead of the standard model-esque female manager that wrestling had previously known, Chyna was a mean, muscular giant of a woman. She was a perfect heel character, and was a big part of the success of the original D-Generation X faction. After she left the WWE in 2001, she wandered around the independent wrestling circuit for a while before eventually releasing her first porn movie, 1 Night In ChynaShe would go on to appear in five more adult films and had her battle with substance abuse popularized on the reality show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.

15. The Ultimate Warrior

James Hellwig, better known as his gimmick The Ultimate Warrior, defined pro wrestling in the 80s. He was a concentrated ball of energy, and fans loved his wild hair, amazing physique, and mysterious promos. He partnered with — and then feuded against — the iconic Hulk Hogan. Post-wrestling career though, the Warrior kind of went crazy. He legally changed his name to ‘Warrior’. He posted weird rants on the internet and somehow became a right wing motivational speaker, coming under fire for some anti-gay comments he made in 1999. He also became estranged from the WWE itself, filing multiple lawsuits against the company. Somehow, fences were mended and he was welcomed back to the WWE to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014. He appeared on Raw shortly after Wrestlemania XXX for the first time in almost 18 years. He died the next day of a massive heart attack.

14. Mr. Perfect

Mr. Perfect is probably the greatest Intercontinental champion in the history of the WWE. He was also known as being a tremendous technical wrestler and an incredible athlete. Hulk Hogan once said that “you couldn’t out-work him, you couldn’t outshine him and you couldn’t out-perform him. He was the best of the best.”

He also had a bad habit of drinking too much, including an infamous tussle with Brock Lesnar on a plane, which lead to his release from the company in 2002. He signed with TNA shortly after, but was was found dead in early 2003 from a cocaine overdose.

Read the rest of the list here.