WWE Wrestlers put their bodies and lives on the line night in and out, as they perform for fans all around the world. There have been several wrestling superstars who were taken from us prematurely. These include Owen Hart, Brian Pillman, Crash Holly, Bam Bam Bigelow, Curt Hennig, Yokozuna and Eddie Guerrero. Each of these stars have contributed greatly to the sports entertainment field, and their memories live on in hearts of fans.
Real Name: Allen Coage
(October 22, 1943 – March 6, 2007)
Birthplace: New York, New York
Weight: 260 lbs
Finishing Move(s): Ghetto Blaster
Allen Coage is best known to WWF/WWE fans as "Bad News Brown". Coage won the 1976 Bronze Medal in Judo (heavyweight division) at the Olympics, the only American to have won a medal in the heavyweight division. He began his wrestling training in 1978 in Japan and attempted to wrestle in the New Japan Pro Wrestling and World Wrestling Federation early. After short stays, Coage joined Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling organization from 1982-1988. In 1988, Coage returned to the WWF/WWE, this time as "Bad News Brown", a classic heel wrestler. During his time with WWF, he had feuds with Bret Hart, Macho Man Randy Savage and champion Hulk Hogan. Bad News Brown was famous as a heel who respected nobody, not even his fellow heels. He even attacked WWF commissioner Jack Tunney during a "Brother Love Show" segment. Bad News left WWF in 1990 after Summerslam, due to his claims that "Vince McMahon failed to live up to promises" (to make him a WWF Champion). Coage retired from wrestling in 1998 due to knee damage. He later taught wrestling and worked as mall security.
Coage died in the morning of March 6, 2007 in his hometown of Calgary at Rockyview Hospital, having been rushed to the hospital after complaining of chest pains.
Bam Bam Bigelow made his WWE debut in 1987, as part of a storyline where various managers were all trying to sign him to their wrestling stall. Bam Bam surprised all by turning "babyface" and hiring Oliver Humperdink to be his ringside manager. Bam Bam had feuds and stories in the WWE involving Nikolai Volkoff, King Kong Bundy, Tatanka and the Million Dollar Man. At one point Bigelow entered a feud with ringside WWE fan and NFL legend, Lawrence Taylor. Wrestlemania XI featured Bigelow vs. Taylor as part of its main event, with Lawrence Taylor defeating Bigelow. Bigelow went on to leave the WWE for the ECW in 1997 where he became a dominant force in the ring. He went to the WCW in 1998 which was eventually purchased by WWE in 2001. Bam Bam's contract expired the next year, and he went on make in ring appearances in USA Pro Wrestling. His final match was on October 25, 2006.
Real Name: Charles Scott Bigelow
(September 1, 1961 – January 19, 2007)
Birthplace: Neptune, New Jersey
Finishing Move(s): Greetings from Asbury Park( Over the shoulder reverse piledriver), Wham-Bam-Thank You Ma'am! (Diving headbutt), & Bigelowsault
On the morning of January 19, 2007, Bigelow was found dead in his home by Remiesiewicz at approximately 10:00 A.M. in Hudson, Florida. On March 3, 2007, the Tampa Tribune reported that autopsy results showed that Bigelow's death was due to multiple drugs found in his system including toxic levels of cocaine and benzodiazepine (anti-anxiety drug). Bigelow was also suffering from a heart problem, specifically arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
Bam Bam's Wrestling Titles Held:
- ECW World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- ECW World Television Championship (1 time)
- WCW Hardcore Championship (1 time)
- WCW World Tag Team Championship (2 times)
Real Name: Eduardo Gory Guerrero Llanes
(October 9, 1967 – November 13, 2005)
Birthplace: El Paso, Texas
Weight: 228 lbs
Finishing Move(s): Frog Splash and "Lasso from El Paso"
Eddie Guerrero started his career with Paul Heyman's ECW in 1994, where he reached success with Dean Malenko. The 2 both signed with WCW in the following year. Guerrero enjoyed singles success in WCW for a good 4-5 years, before signing with WWE in 2000. Guerrero debuted in WWE along with other former WCE members Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko & Perry Saturn in a group known as the "Radicalz". Guerrero particpated in many storylines with the WWE including a romance with his "mamasita", Chyna, feuds and partnerships with his brother Chavo (Los Guerreros) and a feud/storyline with good friend Rey Mysterio. Guerrero's crowning moment came On February 15, 2004 when he won the WWE Championship at No Way Out 2004, defeating Brock Lesnar. Eddie continued to be a major player in storylines on the Smackdown brand of WWE through 2005, including feuds with Kurt Angle and Rey Mysterio.
On November 13, 2005, Guerrero was found dead, at the age of 38, by his nephew Chavo, in his hotel room in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the Marriott City Center Hotel. An autopsy revealed that Guerrero died as a result of acute heart failure, caused by undiagnosed arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Although Guerrero had not taken alcohol or illicit drugs for nearly four years, his past excesses contributed to his heart failure. At the time of his death, he had recently used narcotic painkillers.
Guerrero was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 1, 2006 by Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio, and his nephew Chavo Guerrero in Chicago, Illinois on the night before WrestleMania 22. His widow, Vickie, accepted the honor on his behalf.
Eddie Guerrero 's Wrestling Titles Held:
- ECW World Television Championship (2 times)
- WCW Cruiserweight Championship (2 times)
- WCW United States Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- WWE Championship (1 time)
- WWE Tag Team Championship (4 times)
- WWE United States Championship (1 time)
- WWF European Championship (2 times)
- WWF Intercontinental Championship (2 times)
Name: Owen Hart
Real Name: Owen James Hart
(May 7, 1965 - May 23, 1999)
Birthplace: Calgary, Alberta
Finishing Move: Sharpshooter
Owen Hart broke into wrestling via his father Stu Hart's "Stampede Wrestling". He then went on to wrestle in Japan in 1998. Owen eventually signed with WWF/WWE in 1989 and used the "Blue Blazer" gimmick, where he wore a mask and costume like a superhero. The gimmick achieved him minimal success and he eventually left WWE in 1991. He appeared in WCW in 1991, without much fanfare or reference to his WWE days.
Owen returned to WWE in 1992 and eventually formed a tag team with his brother Bret's former partner, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart. They formed the tag team "The New Foundation" which appeared on just 1 Pay Per View in 1992. Jim Neidhart left the WWE after this Pay Per View. Owen then went on to form a tag team with Koko B. Ware, and also assist his brother Bret Hart in a feud against Jerry "The King" Lawler. Owen would eventually enter into a serious feud with his brother Bret, in which he pinned his brother and eventually won a King of the Ring tournament. Owen proclaimed himself "King of Harts". He later formed tag teams with Yokozuna (managed by Jim Cornette), the British Bulldog, and then Jeff Jarrett (managed by Debra). He won the tag titles in each of these tag team situations. In addition, Hart won the European title once and Intercontinental title twice.
On May 23, 1999 Hart fell to his untimely death in Kansas City, Missouri, during the Over the Edge 1999 pay-per-view event. Owen was performing a ring entrance in which he would drop down from the ceiling to the ring. Unfortunately, a harness released too early and Owen fell and hit a ring turnbuckle. The death was not shown on the Pay Per View and Jim Ross informed fans that this was not a story and was in fact real.
Owen Hart's Wrestling Titles Won :
- WWF European Championship (1 time)
- WWF Intercontinental Championship (2 times)
- WWF World Tag Team Championship (4 times)
- WWF King of the Ring (1994)
Real Name: Curtis Michael Hennig
(March 28, 1958 – February 10, 2003)
Birthplace: Robbinsdale, Minnesota
Finishing Moves: Perfect-Plex and Perfect-DDT
Curt Hennig began his wrestling career back in 1979 with the American Wrestling Association. While in AWA, Hennig defeated the likes of legends like Nick Bockwinkel and Jerry Lawler. Curt first joined WWF/WWE in 1982 as himself in part of a tag team with Eddie Gilbert. He returned to AWA from 1984-1988, before coming back to the WWF/WWE as "Mr. Perfect" in 1988. His original promos showed him throwing touchdown passes to himself, sinking "swish" 3 point basketball shots and bowling a perfect score. He went undefeated over a year's time, defeating the likes of Blue Blazer, Red Rooster and Jimmy Superfly Snuka. In 1990, Hennig won the Intercontinental Title by defeating Tito Santana. Mr Perfect held the IC title twice until losing it to Bret Hart at Summerslam 1991. Since he was battling injury then, Hennig then acted as a consultant to Ric Flair during his WWF/WWE Championship reigns.
In 1993, Hennig went on to defeat Ric Flair in a "Loser Leaves RAW" Match. He also wrestled in Wrestlemania IX where he lost to Lex Luger and was then jumped backstage by Shawn Michaels. Hennig went on to feud with Michaels and lost to him in an Intercontinental Title match at Summerslam 93'. Hennig is said to have coined the term "The Heartbreka Kid" which is now a famous nickname of Michaels'. He also served several stints as a color commentator for the WWE, alongside Vince McMahon, Jerry Ross and Jerry "the King" Lawler. In 1996 he was able to help HHH capture the IC title, when the two were able to fool and bait then champion Mark Mero. During his ullustrious career, he was managed by the likes of Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, The Genius, Coach, Rick Rude and Madusa. Henning particpated in WCW from 1997-2000 as part of NWO, and also in singles competition where he feuded with the likes of DDP, Steve McMichael and Goldberg. He last partcipated in WWE in 2002, and was one of the final 3 competitors in the 2002 Royal Rumble. He had brief feuds with Stone Cold, Rob Van Dam and a real-life feud with Brock Lesnar on a flight back from a WWF UK show. Hennig was released from WWE/WWF on May 5, 2002.
On February 10, 2003, Hennig was found dead at age 44 in a Florida hotel room, just before a scheduled wrestling match. The Tampa Coroner's office and the Tampa Medical Examiner's office declared acute cocaine intoxication the official cause of his death. His father later said a lethal combination of steroids and painkillers contributed to his death.
Curt Hennig's Wrestling Titles Won:
- WWF Intercontinental Championship (2 times)
- WCW United States Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- WCW World Tag Team Championship (1 time)
Real Name: Mike Lockwood
(August 25, 1971 - November 6, 2003)
Birthplace: Anaheim, California
Weight: 200.2 lbs
Finishing Move: Crash DDT
Crash Holly made his WWE TV debut on August 16, 1999 on RAW is War. He entered WWE as the cousin of Hardcore Holly (since he looked a bit like him). His original gimmick involved him bringing a weighing scale to the ring to prove he was a heavyweight. Crash's most notable achievement was winning the WWE's former Hardcore Championship belt a total of 22 times. He vowed he would defend the belt 24/7 against anyone, and held to his word as he was attacked by wrestlers in all sorts of places. In 2000, WWE introduced "Molly Holly" who was billed as the cousin of the Holly's. A feud ensued with the Dudley Boyz and an eventual "Romeo & Juliet" type story, where Molly Holly dated Spike Dudley.
From 2002-2003, Holly had less success in the WWE. Since the WWF was renamed to WWE, it divided into two brands, RAW & Smackdown. Crash was drafted to RAW, with his cousin Hardcore Holly going to Smackdown. Hardcore left RAW for Smackdown to reunite with his cousin, but Hardcore suffered a serious injury at the hands of Brock Lesnar which sidlined him for a good year. Crash joined the group known as "Mattitude Followers" along with Shannon Moore, to accompany Matt Hardy to the ring. Crash enjoying less popularity, was released by WWE in July of 2003.
On November 6, 2003, Lockwood died at wrestler Steven Richards' house, from an overdose of painkillers. He was age 32. Molly Holly (Nora Greenwald) released an auobiographical DVD of herself in August 2005, with portions of profits going to Crash Holly's daughters education fund.
Crash Holly 's Wrestling Titles Held:
- WWF/E Hardcore Championship (22 times)
- WWF European Championship (1 time)
- WWF Light Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- WWF World Tag Team Championship (1 time)
Real Name: Sherri Martel
( February 8, 1958 - June 15, 2007 )
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana
Finishing Move: Sleeper Hold
Sherri Martel, aka "Sensational Sherri", made her wrestling debut in 1980 after training under The Fabulous Moolah. She first joined American Wrestling Association (AWA) where she won the Women's Championship several times. She enjoyed time in the AWA as both a ringside valet manager and singles wrestler until about 1986. Sherri then joined and debuted in the WWF on July 24, 1987. On this date she defeated her mentor, Fabulous Moolah, for the WWF Women's Title. At the time she was holding the AWA Women's title as well, making her the only wrestler to hold a world title for 2 organizations at once. Sherri held the WWF Women's title for 15 months straight.
Sherri went on to lend her ringside valet skills to Honky Tonky Man, as she wore a blonde wig and portrayed his manager "Peggy Sue". She then joined the side of Macho Man Randy Savage in 1989, as they feuded with Miss Elizabeth and Hulk Hogan. Sherri soon became known as "Sensational Queen Sherri". Sherri was Macho Man's manager/valet when he lost a "career ending" match at Wrestlemania VII to the Ultimate Warrior. She also provided her managerial skills to the likes of "Million Dollar Man" Ted Dibiase, Shawn Michaels, Marty Jannetty and Tatanka. She had her most serious "diva" feud with Luna Vachon as the two taunted and fought each other on RAW and WWE house shows. Sherri went over to the NWA & ECW in 1993 and WCW in 1994. She wrestled in the OVW, an independent wrestling circuit, and WCW/ECW until about 2005. In 2005, Sherri made a return to WWE, appearing on Smackdown as part of a Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle storyline leading up to Wrestlemania 21.
Sherri was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Ted Dibiase on April 1, 2006, and also made an appearance at Wrestlemania 22 with the other inductees.
On June 15, 2007, WWE.com announced that "Sensational" Sherri Martel had passed away at the age of 49. She had died that morning at her mother's residence in Birmingham, Alabama, and her cause of death has not yet been determined.
Sensational Sherri 's Wrestling Titles Held:
- WWF Women's Championship (1 time)
- AWA Women's Championship (5 times)
Real Name: Brian William Pillman
(May 22, 1962 – October 5, 1997)
Birthplace: Bloomington, Minnesota
Finishing Move: Air Pillman & Modified crucifix armbar
Brian Pillman was first a football player for the Miami Redhawks in college, and then signed as a free agent for the Bengals, before heading to the Canadian Football League. He played for the Buffalo Bills in preseason action in 1985, but was the last player cut before the season began. It is said Pillman began taking painkillers and steroids during his football career, which led to later health problems for him.
Pillman trained under the legendary Stu Hart with Stampede Wrestling (based in Canada), and eventually formed a tag team with Bruce Hart known as "Bad Company" in 1987. Pillman returned to US wrestling action when he went to WCW in 1989 and was known as "Flying" Brian Pillman. Pillman formed a tag team with "Stunning" Steve Austin known as "The Hollywood Blondes". Once the tag team split up, Pillman went on to wrestle in singles action and eventually became part of the legendary "Four Horsemen" (Pillman, Flair, Benoit, Arn Anderson). The Four Horsemen formed when Ric Flair betrayed Sting at a 1995 Pay-Per-View. Pillman also appeared in the first ever live WCW Monday Nitro match in 1995, where he defeated Liger. Pillman was fired by Eric Bischoff from WCW in 1996.
Pillman moved on to ECW in 1996, but never wrestled for the brand. Pillman was seriously injurred in an auto accident when he fell asleep at the wheel of his Hum-V and it crashed into a tree later that year. The injury limited his mobility and also increased his use of painkillers. Pillman signed with the WWE/WWF in June of 1996, and acted as a commentator while recovering from a broken ankle injury. He eventually turned on a fan in the crowd on a Saturday Night WWE show, and then began wrestling again. He aligned himself with Hart Foundation following Wrestlemania 13, and had feuds with Stone Cold Steve Austin and Golddust. One famous storyline was called "Pillman's Got a Gun" and featured Stone Cold Steve Austin being dragged out of Pillman's home by friends of Pillman. Pillman was aiming a gun at Austin and claiming he was going to shoot Austin. WWE/WWF later apologized for this scenario.
During the night or early morning prior to the October 5, 1997 In Your House: Badd Blood pay per view in St. Louis, Pillman died in a Minnesota hotel room. Pillman was just 35 years of age. Pillman had a documented history of abuse of prescription drugs, but an autopsy found that a previously undetected heart condition - arteriosclerotic heart disease - is what led to his death.
Brian Pillman's Wrestling Titles Won:
- WCW Light Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- WCW World Tag Team Champion (1 time)
Real Name: Rodney Anoi'a
(October 2, 1966 – October 22, 2000)
Birthplace: San Fransisco, California
Weight: 589 lbs
Finishing Move: Banzai Drop
In his early wrestling career, Rodney Anoi'a wrestled throughout Japan and Mexico, but he was in front of a camera for the first time while with the AWA (American Wrestling Association). He was managed by Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie and was known as Kokina Maximus. He was signed and brought into the WWF in 1992 by Vince McMahon. In the WWF/WWE he was managed by the legendary Mr. Fuji, and had the gimmick of a Sumo wrestler heel. He was named "Yokozuna", which is the highest rank available in Sumo wrestling. This provided a new feud for champion Hulk Hogan, as fans hated Yokozuna, and cheered for Hulk Hogan's American values. Yokozuna's first WWF World title reign was short, as it lasted just minutes. Yokozuna defeated Bret Hart at WrestleMania IX in 1993 for the belt, and then Mr. Fuji taunted Hulk Hogan into a title match immediately after. Hogan quickly defeated Yokozuna using his famous leg drop and recaptured the WWF Title belt.
Yokozuna regained the belt by defeating Hulk Hogan at 1993's King of the Ring in a controversial match. A Japanese photgrapher was planted at ringside and Hogan was hit by fire coming from the cameraman's camera. This was the last Hogan was seen in the WWF/WWE for some time and led to a near 1 year title-reign for Yokozuna. He eventually lost the belt to Bret Hart at Wrestlemania in 1994. Yokozuna held the tag team titles in 1995 several times, when he teamed up with Owen Hart. They were managed by Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji. Yokozuna suffered a devestating leg injury at the hands of Vader, and it was reported that Yokozuna was then told to lose weight or leave WWF. Vince McMahon fired Yokozuna from the ring following Survivor Series 1996. His last appearance on television came at a Heroes of Wrestling event in 1999. Yokozuna was also the nephew of legendary tag team wrestlers "The Wild Samoans", Afa & Sika.
Yokozuna was found dead at the age of 38 in Liverpool, England. Reportedly, Yokozuna died of heart failure. His battle with his weight has been public knowledge for many years and at last word, he had trimmed down in order to return to the wrestling ring.
Yokozuna's Wrestling Titles Won:
- WWF Championship (2 times)
- WWF World Tag Team Championship (2 times)
- Royal Rumble Winner in 1993
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