Dick Slater Death

dick slater death

Dick Slater Death – Unknown Causes 1951-2018 (Age 67) Long before there was “The Lunatic Fringe,” there was “Dirty” Dick Slater, a roughhouse redneck who brawled in and out of the ring; proving he didn’t live his gimmick – he was his gimmick. Slater established himself as one of the baddest men in wrestling during his heyday in the territories in the 1970s and 1980s, eventually retiring due to a back injury in 1996. However, Slater’s wild ways continued long after he left the ring, with some surprised he made it to the age of 67. A Common Beginning for an Uncommon Man Florida native Richard Van Slater showed his toughness wrestling and playing football at the University of Tampa, playing alongside future grappling great Paul “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff. Recruited by wrestler Mike Graham, Slater (like many athletes) heard the siren call of quick cash and entered the squared circle.

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Dynamite Kid Death

dynamite kid

Dynamite Kid Death – Unknown Causes 1958-2018 (Age 60) Born in Golborne, Lancashire (United Kingdom) on December 5, 1958, Thomas Billington would defy the odds, becoming an innovator in professional wrestling despite his height of 5’8”. Working as the Dynamite Kid, Billington became the toast of Japan where he worked legendary bouts in singles competition. However, Dynamite’s greatest fame came when he teamed with real-life cousin Davey Boy Smith to form the British Bulldogs, the hottest tag team in the WWF in the 1980s. Unfortunately, as bright as Billington’s legacy was in the ring, his out-of-ring reputation was as dark. Sadly, Billington’s high-impact style shortened his career and he spent years confined to a wheelchair. Escaping the Coal Mines Tom Billington’s father Bill worked as a coal miner, with Tom looking to escape the same path via wrestling. Billington trained in England with Ted Betley, beginning his wrestling career in

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Jose Lothario Death

jose lothario death

Jose Lothario Death – Unknown Causes 1934-2018 (Age 83) The beauty of professional wrestling is that a performer can play many roles during their career, even after retiring from active competition. Jose Lothario had a well-deserved reputation as a in-ring grappler long before he became known as Shawn Michaels’ mentor during the mid-1990s. Borderland Sensation Born December 12, 1934, Guadalupe Robledo slowly rose to fame as Jose Lothario, one of hundreds of grapplers seeking fame during the days when territories dotted the wrestling landscape. Over time, Lothario earned a reputation as a solid worker, particularly in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) where he combined his legitimate boxing skills with wrestling ability to develop a captivating style. His star rose as he teamed with fellow Mexican Mil Mascaras as well as many other stars in promotions in Mexico, Texas, Puerto Rico, and Florida. Jose Lothario became a frequent challenger for the

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Jim The Anvil Neidhart Death

jim the anvil neidhart

Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart Death – Fall 1955-2018 (Age 63) August 13, 2018: WWE has confirmed the death of Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. He was 63. The Pasco, Florida Sheriff’s Office stated “preliminary information indicates that [Neidhart] fell at home, hit his head, and succumbed to his injury. No foul play suspected. No additional information to release at this time.” Neidhart was living in Wesley Chapel, Florida – part of the Tampa Bay Area metro. WWE issued a statement, noting “Neidhart last competed in WWE in 1997 but his legacy lives on today through his daughter, Natalya, who displays her father’s signature charisma and toughness every time she steps in the ring. WWE extends its condolences to Neidhart’s family, friends and fans.” Anvil’s former tag partner Bret Hart Tweeted the following: A Wrestling Family The Hart family. If you are fan of professional wrestling, you are very familiar with this

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Brickhouse Brown Death

brickhouse brown

Brickhouse Brown Death – Cancer 1960-2018 (Age 57) Brickhouse Brown died on July 29th, 2018. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in April of 2017. The territory worker was mostly known for his work in the 80s. Brickhouse Brown False Death Report It appeared to be a false finish for Frederick Seawright, better known as territory worker, Brickhouse Brown. The 57 year old flatlined while in hospice care in Mississippi on July 20th, 2018. Brian Blair, President of the Cauliflower Alley Club first reported Brown’s death, and as expected, the social media tributes poured in. Blair had grown close to Brickhouse Brown, the Cauliflower Alley Club had been helping Brown pay his rent after his cancer diagnosis in 2017. That’s when Brickhouse decided it wasn’t quite time to go. Victoria Timmins, Seawright’s mother, said that she slept next to her deceased son awaiting the coroner, when she miraculously heard her

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Brian Christopher Lawler Death

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Brian Christopher Lawler Death – Suicide 1972-2018 (Age 46) Brian Christopher Lawler died on July 29, 2018. He was 46. The news was first broken in a Dave Meltzer tweet. Brian Christopher Lawler spent many years with the WWE, his most notable gimmick was working as “Grandmaster Sexay” in the stable “Too Cool” (alongside Scotty 2 Hotty and Rikishi). The group was hugely over during the height of the Attitude era in 1999. On July 7, 2018, Brian Lawler was arrested after police spotted his vehicle speeding and swerving. When police attempted to pull him over, Lawler refused to stop. When he finally did come to a stop, police said Lawler reeked of booze and had an open container of alcohol in the vehicle. He was arrested and booked into a Memphis-area jail, his bond was set at $40,000. On July 28, 2018, Brian Christopher Lawler tried to hang himself

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Nikolai Volkoff Death

nikolai volkoff

Nikolai Volkoff Death – Undisclosed Causes 1947-2018 (Age 70) Days after being treated and released from a Maryland hospital from dehydration, wrestling legend Nikolai Volkoff has died at age 70. A cause of death has not yet been made public. Real name Josip Nikolai Peruzović, the Croatian turned villainous Russian worked nearly three decades, making his debut back in 1967. Nikolai Volkoff was quickly signed by Vince McMahon Sr.’s WWWF, and by 1974 he was battling company golden boy Bruno Sammartino. Late in ’74, Volkoff moved over to Verne Gagne‘s AWA, wrestling under the moniker “Boris Breznikoff” (though he carried with him the same evil Russian gimmick). He was managed by the late Bobby Heenan during his AWA run. A decade later and Nikolai Volkoff would find himself back with the WWWF for a memorable run – by this time the company was under the control of Vince McMahon Jr.

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Masa Saito Death

masa saito death

Masa Saito Death – Parkinson’s Disease 1942-2018 (Age 76) Former Japanese wrestling star, Masa Saito has died after an eighteen year battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 76. Prior to his career in the WWF, Masa (born “Masanori”), was already in the spotlight – competing in freestyle wrestling in the 1964 Summer Olympic games in Tokyo. In the early 80s, Saito worked as “Mr. Saito” in the WWF, winning tag team gold on two separate occasions alongside Mr. Fuji and manager Captain Lou. By 1983, Masa Saito was working for Verne Gagne‘s AWA – once again in a tag team, working opposite Jesse Ventura as the ‘The Far East-West Connection’. Saito’s AWA run would take a detour after an incident with Ken Patera that started at a local McDonald’s. A Brawl with the Police According to the Schenectady Gazette, Ken Patera was irate after being refused service at a Waukesha,

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Matt Cappotelli Death

matt cappotelli dead

Matt Cappotelli Death – Brain Cancer 1979-2018 (Age 38) Matt Cappotelli has died after his second bout with brain cancer. He was 38. In 2003, Cappotelli won WWE Tough Enough III, alongside John Hennigan (aka John Morrison). In July of 2017, Cappotelli announced he was diagnosed with grade IV glioblastoma multiforme – an aggressive brain cancer. Cappotelli’s widow, Lindsay Cappotelli broke the news via a heartfelt Facebook message, stating: “Hey Team Capp…I’ve been struggling with what to say and how to say this, and I’ll probably end up rambling, but here goes. Today my love-my strong, sweet, beautiful love-took his last breath at 3:30 a.m. and went Home to be with Jesus…exactly one year after his brain surgery. You think you can be prepared for this when you know it’s coming, but you just can’t. The only person who’s comfort I want right now is the one who can’t give

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Vader Death

leon white vader dead

Vader Death – Pneumonia 1955-2018 (Age 63) Vader has died at age 63. The son of the legendary wrestling big man has confirmed his death via Twitter. Leon White died on Monday night, June 18th, 2018 after a month long battle with pneumonia. White had also been battling heart issues. Most of Vader’s wrestling success was in Japan and with WCW, though he took part in plenty of WWF storylines in the mid 90s. Vader’s Football Career Prior to getting into a wrestling ring, White saw success on the gridiron – and his massive frame, combined with an unfathomable agility, made him a star. In the mid 70s, White played for the University of Colorado as a top ranked center. By 1978 he was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams. Though his career in the NFL was short, Vader holds the distinction of being one of only two full-time professional

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Rockin’ Rebel Death

rockin rebel

Rockin’ Rebel Death – Murder-Suicide 1966-2018 (Age 52) ECW alum Chuck “Rockin’ Rebel” Williams and his wife, Stephanie Burtnett, were both found dead on the morning of June 1st, 2018 after an apparent murder-suicide inside their Chester county, Pennsylvania home. Investigators first confirmed a firearm was involved, but did not immediately confirm which of the two ultimately pulled the trigger. It was later revealed in a press release from the West Goshen Township Police, that Chuck Williams was the gunman: “Initial indications support that Stephanie Williams was shot by her husband. Charles Williams then fatally shot himself.” Rockin Rebel’s Wrestling Career Trained by Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, Williams spent the early 90s with ECW, wrestling under the moniker “Rockin’ Rebel”. He squared off with Tazz, Shane Douglas, and many other notables before transitioning to tag team action with Jimmy Jannetty. In ’95, Williams

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Paul Jones Death

paul jones death

Paul Jones Death – Undisclosed Causes 1942-2018 (Age 75) Paul Jones, real name Paul Frederik, has died at age 75. Fans who grew up on 80s wrestling likely remember Paul Jones for his role as a heel manager. With Jim Crockett Promotions, Jones led Paul Jones’ Army. The stable featured a who’s who of clientele including Rick Rude, Ivan Koloff, The Masked Superstar (Ax from Demolition), Superstar Billy Graham, The Powers of Pain, and many more. But prior to the explosion of professional wrestling in the 80s, Jones saw huge success inside the ring, both in singles and tag team competition, working as “Number One” Paul Jones. A Star in the Territories Paul Jones began his wrestling career in ’61 under the tutelage of Paul Boesch. By the late 60s, Jones found himself working in the south and Mid-Atlantic regions, wrestling for Jim Crockett Promotions. In tag team competition, Jones

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Big Bully Busick Death

big bully busick

Big Bully Busick Death – Cancer 1954-2018 (Age 63) WWE has announced the passing of Nick “Big Bully” Busick. He was 63. Busick grew up in Pittsburgh, looking up to local wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino who passed last month. Busick started out as enhancement talent for the WWWF in the late 70s. He bounced back and forth between wrestling and his job as a police officer throughout the 80s. In 1989 Busick received TV time in the WWF, wrestling as “Big Bully” Busick. His gimmick was modeled after a stereotypical 1920s bully, complete with a cigar, derby hat and trademark mustache. If the bully gimmick wasn’t enough, Busick was managed by Harvey Wippleman during his WWF run, making him an easy recipient of heel heat. Though he may not have been a household name because of his short TV run, Busick locked up with many notable stars including The Texas

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Bruno Sammartino Death

bruno sammartino death

Bruno Sammartino Death – Heart Complications 1935-2018 (Age 82) Wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino has died at age 82. Sammartino was a huge star throughout the 60s and 70s. In 1963 he defeated Buddy Rogers to become the second ever WWE (then, WWWF) champion. Bruno would go on to hold the title for over 7 years, a record that still stands today. The length of Bruno’s title run speaks loudly for his drawing power. WWE gave Madison Square Garden the moniker “the house that Bruno built” – they credit Sammartino for selling out the arena 187 times throughout the 60s and 70s (though some wrestling historians dispute this). Bruno eventually lost the title to Canadian turned Russian heel Ivan Koloff. According to wrestling lore, grown men in the sold out Madison Square Garden were seen weeping when a baby faced Sammartino gave up the strap to Koloff. Life After Wrestling A

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Johnny Valiant Death

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Johnny Valiant Death – Hit by Car 1946-2018 (Age 71) Thomas Sullivan, better known as “Luscious” Johnny Valiant to wrestling fans, was killed after being struck by a pickup truck in Ross Township, Pennsylvania in the early morning hours of Wednesday, April 4th, 2018. Ross Township is a suburb of Pittsburgh. Reports indicate Sullivan was crossing a very busy road and was not at a crosswalk. Johnny Valiant’s Wrestling Career Valiant wrestled for the (then) WWWF in the 70s, capturing tag team gold on two separate occasions, including a 1974 run with kayfabe brother “Handsome” Jimmy Valiant that lasted over a year. He teamed with kayfabe brother Jerry Valiant to capture gold in 1979. The duo was managed by the late Captain Lou Albano. Arguably, Johnny Valiant’s most recognizable role took place as a manager. After retiring from in ring competition, Valiant managed Hulk Hogan in the AWA, eventually transitioning

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