As we’ve previously shown, wrestlers have died in the ring. Whether it’s being an unfortunate victim of a move gone wrong or wrestling in poor health.
Here we look at 12 instances where wrestlers didn’t just die — they were murdered.
12. Iron Mike Steele
While he may not be a household name, 6’1″ 240 pound wrestler “Iron” Mike Steele, real name John Meek, was trained by Boris Malenko (the father of Dean Malenko) and NWA heavyweight Tor Kamata.
A Florida native, according to Online World of Wrestling, Steele took part in several matchups with notable names in the 90s including Marc Mero and Dean Malenko.
In 1994, Meek’s wrestling career came to a close. He was struck while driving his motorcycle in Gibsonton, Florida, a suburb south of Tampa. Sadly, thirteen years later, it would be another incident while Meek’s was on his motorcycle that would cut his life short.
In the early morning hours of August 29, 2007 at a Riverview, Florida bar, Harry Brian Taylor, aged 38, became agitated with Meek’s. Meek’s daughter Leyla stated “pro-fighters are often harassed by drunk idiots who want to fight them. One such drunk idiot approached my father in a bar. My father refused to fight the man, and decided to just leave.”
Witnesses stated Taylor made agitating comments that Meek “wasn’t a real biker” and that he could take the former wrestler in a fight.
Around 3am, both men left the bar – Meek on his Harley Davidson motorcycle and Taylor driving a work van. Shortly after, Meek was found lying on the roadside, his damaged motorcycle beside him. Taylor intentionally ran over Meek from behind in his work van, fleeing the scene. Meek died two hours later.
Shockingly, this wasn’t the first time Taylor had been to prison for killing someone. From 1988-2000 Taylor served prison time for a separate second-degree murder after he stabbed a 60 year old man in Ocala, Florida after being confronted stealing the victim’s vehicle. Taylor’s sentence for that incident was 40 years, but he was released after serving only twelve.
On July 10, 2008, a jury found Harry Brian Taylor guilty of second-degree murder for the killing of John Meek. He received life without parole.