100 Wrestlers Who Died Before Their Time


The cause of death was later speculated in the official police report to have been a cervical spinal cord injury that caused cardiac arrest; however, Misawa’s family invoked a Japanese law that requested the police not publicly release the official cause of death. Misawa’s death has caused several wrestling promotions to work toward a stronger approach to regulating professional wrestling in the country.

70. Moondog Spot (1952-2003) – 51 Years


Worked For: WWF, TNA

Achievements: WWF Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Moondog Rex, USWA World Tag Team Championship (13 times) – with Moondog Spike (3), Moondog Cujo (2), Moondog Splat (4), Moondog Rex (3), and Moondog Rover (1), AWA Southern Tag Team Championship (5 times) – with Wayne Farris (3), Bill Irwin (1) and Moondog Rex (1), NWA Mid-America Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with Wayne Farris, CWA Heavyweight Championship (3 times)

Latham died of a heart attack in the ring during Jerry Lawler’s “birthday bash” show on November 29, 2003 in Memphis, Tennessee.

71. Mr. Perfect (1958-2003) – 44 Years

Worked For: AWA, WCW, WWF, TNA

Achievements: WWF Intercontinental Championship (2 times), WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2007, AWA World Heavyweight Championship, AWA World Tag Team Championship – with Scott Hall

On February 10, 2003, Hennig was found dead in a Florida hotel room. He was 44 years old. The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office declared acute cocaine intoxication to be the cause of his death. His father said that steroids and painkillers also contributed to his death.

72. Nancy Benoit (1964-2007) – 43 Years

Worked For: ECW, WCW

She managed many wrestlers in WCW and ECW. Murdered by her husband, along with her son, in their home on June 22nd, 2007.

73. Owen Hart (1965-1999) – 34 Years

Worked For: Stampede, NJPW, WCW, WWF

Achievements: WWF European Championship, WWF Intercontinental Championship (2 times), WWF Tag Team Championship (4 times) – with Yokozuna (2), The British Bulldog (1) and Jeff Jarrett (1), King of the Ring (1994)

On May 23, 1999, Hart fell to his death in Kansas City, Missouri during the Over the Edge pay-per-view event, Hart was in the process of being lowered via harness and grapple line into the ring from the rafters of Kemper Arena for a booked Intercontinental Championship match against The Godfather.In keeping with the Blazer’s new “buffoonish superhero” character, he was to begin a dramatic entrance, being lowered to just above ring level, at which time he would act “entangled”, then release himself from the safety harness and fall flat on his face for comedic effect—this necessitated the use of a quick release mechanism.

It was an elaboration on a Blue Blazer stunt done previously on the Sunday Night Heat before Survivor Series in 1998. While being lowered into the ring, Hart fell 78 feet (24 m), landing chest-first on the top rope (approximately a foot from the nearest turnbuckle), throwing him into the ring.

74. Paul Bearer (1954-2013) – 58 Years

Worked For: NWA, WCCW, WWF/E, TNA

Achievements: PWI Manager of the Year (1998), WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2014)

On March 2, 2013, he attended the annual Gulf Coast Wrestlers Reunion in Mobile, AL. According to club board member “Cowboy” Bob Kelly, Moody was having breathing difficulties at the event, was coughing, and told friends he was going to seek treatment for respiratory problems.

Kelly said that Moody was treated for a blood clot after the reunion. On March 5, 2013, Moody died in Mobile, Alabama at the age of 58 due to a heart attack. The cause of the heart attack was Supraventricular tachycardia, which causes a dangerously high heart rate.

75. Peter Maivia (1937-1982) – 45 Years

Worked For: NWA

Achievements: WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2008)

He is the maternal grandfather of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, part of the famous Anoa’i wrestling family, and was a promoter for the National Wrestling Alliance in Hawaii. In the 2016 Disney animated film, Moana, the character design of Maui was derived from photographs of Peter Maivia, according to interviews with his grandson. In 1981, Maivia was diagnosed with cancer. He died on June 12, 1982.

76. Pitbull #2 (1967-2003) – 36 Years

Worked For: WWF, ECW, JAPW

Achievements: ECW World Tag Team Championship – with Pitbull #1, ECW World Television Championship

Anthony Durante (right) died on September 25, 2003 along with his girlfriend, Dianna Hulsey, both from drug overdose of fentanyl. He and his girlfriend were found after lying in their home dead for days, all while their two small children, a 21-month-old boy and 8-month-old girl, were apparently alone in the house among the bodies.

77. Randy Anderson (1959-2002) – 42 Years

Worked For: JCP, WCW

Anderson was an amateur wrestler in high school, winning a state championship in the 119-lb class. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 36. He was diagnosed after recognizing his symptoms while reading a medical magazine. Because of a malignant tumor, he had to have his left testicle removed. Anderson died on May 5, 2002 as a result of the testicular cancer.

78. Randy Savage (1952-2011) – 58 Years

Worked For: WWF, WCW, TNA

Achievements: WWF World Heavyweight Championship (2 times), WWF Intercontinental Championship, WCW World Heavyweight Championship (4 times), WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2015)

On the morning of May 20, 2011, Savage died after suffering a sudden heart attack while driving with his wife in Seminole, Florida, a town on the Pinellas County side of the Tampa Bay area. He was 58 years old. Savage became unresponsive and lost control of his Jeep Wrangler, crashing into a tree.

79. Ray Candy (1951-1994) – 42 Years

Worked For: JCP

Achievements: AWA Southern Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with Elijah Akeem, many other tag team championships.

After his retirement from professional wrestling in 1990, Canty returned to Decatur to work as a dispatcher and supervisor for a local transport firm. He was also responsible for training New Jack. Died of a heart attack in 1994.

80. Reid Flair (1988-2013) – 25 Years

Worked For: WCW, AJPW

Achievements: The Anderson Brothers Classic 4 Tournament – with George South Jr., NWA Mid-Atlantic Heritage Championship, XWW United States Heavyweight Championship (2 times)

On March 29, 2013, Fleir was found dead in bed at a Residence Inn in the SouthPark hotel room in Charlotte, North Carolina. In June 2013, Fliehr’s autopsy revealed he had died from an accidental overdose of heroin and the prescription drugs clonazepam and alprazolam.

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