Remembering Wrestlers & Personalities Who Passed Away in 2020 (2/2)

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Long after retirement, some fans may remember him as the host of TNA British Boot Camp in 2012, which included contestants The Blossom Twins, Marty Scurll, and the winner Rockstar Spud AKA Drake Maverick. This would be his last major TV appearance. Mark Rocco leaves a legacy of being one of a few British wrestlers to make himself known as a worldwide name in the business.

“Marvelous” Mitch Ryder, 48 (August 5th)

Another former WCW talents passing was announced by his longtime friend Ian Rotten. Mitch Ryder worked for the company in 1992 for a year, working as an enhancement talent against Cactus Jack, Rick Rude and others. He joined IWA-Mid South in 1997, and remained there for much of his career.

In 2007, he opened XWC Mid-West in New Albany, Indiana, and that year began expanding his own resume, working with CHIKARA, CZW, Anarchy Championship Wrestling (ACW) in Texas, and Indiana’s Coliseum Championship Wrestling (CCW). He became a mentor and trainer to many current stars, such as Chris Hero (aka Kassius Ohno), Drew Gulak, Mance Warner, and more.



Xavier, John Jairo Bedoya Jr, 42 (August 16th)

Xavier’s legacy is one of being a Ring Of Honor original. After defeating the first-ever ROH World Champion Low-Ki, he defended it against Jay Briscoe, AJ Styles and Paul London. The only man who could take it away was Samoa Joe, who started a record setting reign with the title. He remained with ROH for two more years before returning to the indie scene.

In 2009, he tried out for amateur MMA, winning his first bout by KO in 14 seconds, and losing the second by decision. He was set to return to ROH in 2020 for a Past vs. Present show, but the COVID-19 pandemic put the plans on hold. Sadly, he never got the chance to return home to the company he found his biggest success. No cause of death was given for John Bedoya’s passing.


Deja Vu Gerome Phillips, 37 (August 22nd)

He wrestled under many names, including King Vu, Black Jaws, Deja Vu, Richard Phillips, and Gerome Phillips. Perhaps best known for his tag team with Jon Moxley, called Royal Violence, along with his HWA Heavyweight title win over Moxley.


Sports Obsessive wrote a tribute with a picture of Phillips, Moxley and friends together here: The Man Called Vu: Remembering Richard Phillips


“Bullet” Bob Armstrong, 80 (August 27th)

WWE shared the following video as a tribute to Bob Armstrong:

He died after suffering with bone cancer, and will be remembered for his illustrious career, along with training his four sons Joseph Scott (current WWE referee), Brad Armstrong, Steve Armstrong, and Brian Girard AKA Road Dogg Jesse James.


Ric Drasin, 76 (August 30th)

He is known mainly for his bodybuilding and fitness instructor career, along with being a personal trainer of Mae Young in the 1960’s. Ric also trained alongside seven-time Mr Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger.  After working a few matches as Dick Allen, he moved on to founding, promoting and wrestling for the American Wrestling Federation.

“The Equalizer” wrote several books as well, including one titled So You Want To Be A Wrestling Promoter. After his wrestling company died down, he continued training new talent out of his house, two of which are current AEW stars Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus. His sons announced his passing:

“This is Sami, Adam, and Shane. It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we have to announce the passing of our father. He was everything to us. A father, role model, and friend. Not only was he an inspiration for countless people, but he truly cared for those around him. His life was steered by the desire to uplift and share his positivity. He always found a way to brighten the room with his humor. Ric’s immeasurable presence will be with us all forever.”


“Nasty” Mike Markalonis (September 2nd)

“Nasty” Mike claimed to be a member of the original Nasty Inc, which would inspire The Nasty Boyz and other similar gimmicks. It isn’t confirmed, but there are several mentions of him working with Fritz Von Erich and WCCW. He and his other Nasty Inc members spent much of their career working the indies. After his passing, five trees were planted in his honour.

Wrestlers Who Passed Away in 2020
Danie Brits (September 3rd)

Also known as ‘The Masked Tornado, Danie Brits, he was a South African Heavyweight Champion, half-brother of Danie Voges, and uncle of WWP’s powerhouse wrestler Ananzi. He was honoured for his achievements and helping to build South African wrestling in 2009.

His passing came as a surprise because it was said he remained in good health, but suffered a heart attack. iol.co.za has a tribute article here: Tributes pour in Danie Brits SA’s wrestling ‘Masked Tornado’


“Snakeman” Deven Michaels, 39 (September 6th)

Michaels has said, “I had a relatively bad childhood. The wrestlers I saw were my only heroes. When things were at their worst I would think about all the larger than life wrestlers I had seen and that would help me get through the night.

Also when I would tell people about my dream of wanting to become a pro-wrestler every one would laugh and tell me that it would be impossible for me to make it. I wanted to become a wrestler so that perhaps one day I will be hero to some one and be an inspiration to every one that has a dream.”

It isn’t known how Deven Michaels became “Snakeman”, and it has been both disputed and accepted by Jake “The Snake” Roberts. However, there is no denying that they worked together.

There is a good chance Roberts wanted to pass his gimmick on to the next generation, but perhaps forgot about it because of his alcoholism. I have seen a comment from a user of Michaels claiming to be Robert’s nephew, but she was probably told this as part of the gimmick. A tribute article can be found here: Popular KSWA Alumnus “Snakeman” Deven Michaels Suddenly Passes Away; Friends Remember Hard-Working Wrestler


Puppet The Psycho Dwarf, Stevie Lee, 54 (September 9th)

Stevie Lee was one of the most reported passing’s in 2020 due to his time on Jackass 3D, but he was a wrestler before that.

He wrestled for NWA:TNA a few times in its early days, but is better known for creating the Spike TV show “Half Pint Brawlers”. After it was cancelled, he starred in “Oz The Great and Powerful” and “American Horror Story”. No cause of death was given.

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