Tracy Smothers Death

tracy smothers death

Tracy Smothers Death – Cancer 1962-2020 (Age 58) In an era when wrestlers’ popularity could stem from where they grew up, Tracy Smothers was the perfect babyface as a tough Southern wrestler who personified everything fans wanted to be—strong, tough, honorable, and who grew up in the same area as they did. Smothers worked in a number of southern-based territories before hitting the national scene in WCW, the WWF, and ECW, finding singles and tag team success. His in-ring skills attracted promoters in Japan where he spent time in a number of promotions where in-ring skills were essential for success. Sadly, Dave Meltzer’s Figure Four Online reports that Tracy Smothers has died after “significant health issues“. He was 58 years old at the time of his passing. A Southern Boy Tracy Stanton Smothers was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and it was in Tennessee where he started his in-ring career, wrestling

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Danny Hodge Death

danny hodge death

Danny Hodge Death – Undisclosed Causes 1932-2020 (Age 88) Never judge a book by a cover is sound advice (or as Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu argued, know your enemy). After all, who would expect an 80-year-old man to be capable of crushing an apple with one hand? Such was the case with Danny Hodge, an unassuming man who became one of the most decorated amateur and professional wrestlers of all time. Grappling Greatness Professional wrestling has seen some incredible amateur wrestlers make the transition to the pros, but few with as decorated a wrestling background as Danny Hodge. Born on May 13, 1932 in Perry, Oklahoma, Hodge was a standout as a high school wrestler and was only getting started. There is simply no denying Danny Hodge’s greatness as an amateur wrestler. Hodge wrestled for the University of Oklahoma, earning a 46-0 record that included three “Big Seven” wrestling championships

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Kevin Greene Death

kevin greene wrestler death

Kevin Greene Death – Undisclosed Causes 1962-2020 (Age 58) Professional wrestling has seen a number of football players enter the squared circle, but NFL Hall of Famer Kevin Greene managed to make a huge impact in just a handful of appearances, a testament to his stardom as an NFL pro along with his commitment to learning his way around the ring. Quarterback’s Worst Nightmare Army brat Kevin Greene was born July 31, 1962 in Schenectady, New York but spent most of his youth traveling with his father who was an officer in the Army. He finally settled in Illinois, playing high school and later college football. Greene’s drive to succeed was noted by all around him and his 5th round selection in the NFL draft was all he needed to make his presence known on the field. Greene quickly impressed his coaches and the NFL. Kevin Greene entered the NFL, playing

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Brodie Lee Death

brodie lee death

Brodie Lee Death – Lung Complications 1979-2020 (Age 41) In a world where big wrestlers are no longer rare, Brodie Lee (real name Jonathon Huber) stood out as one of wrestling’s most intimidating and powerful competitors. Despite his portrayal as a brutal and calculating villain, his real-life persona was anything but, with family, friends and colleagues speaking highly of him. After a long run in the independent circuit as Brodie Lee, Huber found success in the WWE as Luke Harper, a member of the sinister group the Wyatt Family and later, as Mr. Brodie Lee in All Elite Wrestling. From Backyard Wrestling to Professional Wrestling Born in Rochester, New York on December 16, 1979, Jonathon Huber played lacrosse in high school as well as youth hockey. However, it was in backyard wrestling where he found his calling. Huber worked alongside his brother in backyard wrestling before training for the pros.

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Tommy “Zeus” Lister Death

wrestler zeus dead

Tommy Lister Death – Undisclosed Causes 1958-2020 (Age 62) Standing 6’5,” Thomas Lister, Jr. was a natural for playing menacing monsters in film and TV, and his size and presence made it inevitable that he step into the squared circle as well. The story of Tommy “Tiny” Lister Jr. (aka WWF Superstar Zeus) is a reminder of the fine line between sports entertainment and Hollywood as some people are naturals for both worlds. Turning a Blessing into a Curse Lister was born blind in his right eye due to a detached and deformed retina. However, the birth defect turned into a blessing when he interviewed with a talent agent, who recognized Lister’s potential as a character actor. After a number of small roles, the ironically nicknamed “Tiny” was cast in the film that would change his life. No Holds Barred “Tiny” was cast in the film No Holds Barred as

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Pat Patterson Death

pat patterson death

Pat Patterson Death – Cancer 1941-2020 (Age 79) Many prominent figures in wrestling have contributed much to the sport either in the ring or out of it, but few did so much in both spheres as Pat Patterson. Patterson’s various runs in the territories and his later success behind the scenes in the WWE established him as more than wrestling’s first openly gay man, it established him as one of the industry’s greatest workers and wrestling minds. French-Canadian Fighter The man who became famous as Pat Patterson was born Pierre Clermont on January 19, 1941. In his memoir, Accepted: How the First Gay Superstar Changed WWE, Pat recalls having four brothers and four sisters and living in a two bedroom apartment. Patterson tried his hand at various endeavors including figure skating, the circus, and even had aspirations of becoming a priest someday after his years as an altar boy. Ultimately,

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Hana Kimura Death

hana kimura death

Hana Kimura Death – Suicide 1997-2020 (Age 22) Hana Kimura, a rising star in the world of women’s wrestling and a performer who many fans and wrestling writers saw as destined to become a main eventer. Tragically, her appearance on the reality show Terrace House would increase her fame, but also lead to a backlash on social media that likely led to her suicide. A Second-Generation Star Hana Kimura was born September 3rd, 1997 in Japan. The daughter of Japanese female wrestler Kyoko Kimura and an unknown Indonesian man, she grew up wanting to wrestle (in fact winning a comedy title when she was eight years old). Hana’s childhood was reportedly troubled as some schoolmates bullied her for being Indonesian and Japanese. Kimura trained at Wrestle-1’s Professional Wrestling University, later debuting for the promotion. Kimura received praise for her beauty, her athleticism, and her skill in the ring, eventually working

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Bob Armstrong Death

bullet bob armstrong death

Bob Armstrong Death – Bone Cancer 1939-2020 (Age 80) Fans talk about wrestlers being legitimate tough guys but Bob Armstrong was double-tough before he entered the squared circle, serving as a Marine and firefighter before becoming one of the top babyfaces of the territory era. Double Tough James Melton James was born on October 3, 1939 and enjoyed watching professional wrestling with his father. The man who would become known as Bob Armstrong served in the Marines and was stationed in Korea. Following his service in the Marines, Armstrong became a firefighter, but he’d been bit by the wrestling bug and entered the grappling game in 1963. By 1970, Armstrong was wrestling full-time. Typically working as a babyface, Bob Armstrong boasted a powerful physique and had the right mix of toughness and humility that made for the perfect babyface during the territory era. It was in the 1970s that Armstrong’s star

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Road Warrior Animal Death

road warrior animal death

Road Warrior Animal Death – Undisclosed Causes 1960-2020 (Age 60) Joseph Laurinaitis’ career proved not only the power of being in the right place at the right time, but that success isn’t just opportunity, it’s what you do with it. When fate brought Laurinaitis and Michael Hegstrand together as the hastily assembled team of Animal and Hawk (aka the Road Warriors), they parlayed the opportunity into one of the biggest careers in professional wrestling, breaking records and breaking the bank. Forming a Fierce Friendship Joseph Laurinaitis was born on September 12, 1960. One of three children (his brothers John and Marcus would later become professional wrestlers), Joseph befriended Michael Hegstrand, but the two went their separate ways when a move prevented them from attending the same school. Thankfully, the two reunited when they ran into each other at a local gym and their fondness for bodybuilding (as well as their

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Shad Gaspard Death

shad gaspard deathj

Shad Gaspard Death – Drowning 1981-2020 (Age 39) Former WWE wrestler Shad Gaspard has died. He was 39. Gaspard, known for his WWE run in the mid to late 2000s with tag partner, JTG, collectively formed the tag team Cryme Tyme. Details on the Death of Shad Gaspard On Sunday, May 17th, Gaspard was enjoying an afternoon at Marina del Ray beach with his family – wife Siliana, and 10-year-old son, Aryeh. A strong rip current pulled many swimmers away from the shore, including Shad and his son. Lifeguards were on the scene, and reportedly Shad instructed them to go after his son first. According to ESPN, the lifeguard, who also has a middle school-aged son, was presented with an excruciating dilemma as he recognized how big Shad was – 6 foot 6 inches, around 270 pounds… “Based on the gentlemen’s size and the conditions in the water… these are

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Howard Finkel Death

howard finkel death

Howard Finkel Death – Undisclosed Causes 1950-2020 (Age 69) WWE has confirmed the passing of legendary ring announcer, Howard Finkel. He was 69. Finkel (or “The Fink” as many fans from the 80s and 90s will fondly remember him by) was the first employee hired by the WWE. He was hired by Vince McMahon Sr. in 1975. At the time, the company was known as the “WWWF” – World Wide Wrestling Federation. Howard Finkel’s booming voice to introduce 80s stars like Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior will not soon be forgotten. Many regard Finkel as the greatest pro wrestling ring announcer of all time. A Long and Storied Career Not only the voice of a wrestling generation, Finkel found himself in the middle of WWE storylines on a number of occasions. Whether it was accepting a bribe from “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase, feuding with manager Harvey Whippleman,

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Rocky Johnson Death

rocky johnson death

Rocky Johnson Death – Heart Attack 1944-2020 (Age 75) WWE has confirmed the passing of “Soul Man”, Rocky Johnson. He was 75. Johnson was the father of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Rocky Johnson Wrestling Career Rocky Johnson was born in Nova Scotia in 1944, and by age 20 was already wrestling throughout Ontario. Throughout the 70s, Johnson wrestled for the NWA territories, notably feuding with other legends of the squared circle including Harley Race and Jerry Lawler. Perhaps most notable was Johnson’s early 1980s run. Wrestling under Vince McMahon’s booming World Wrestling Federation (now WWE), Johnson could be seen squaring off against the likes of Don Muraco, Adrian Adonis, “Iron” Mike Sharpe, Greg Valentine, and Buddy Rose. Rocky Johnson also had success in tag team action. Together, Johnson and Tony Atlas became the first ever Africa American tag team champions for the WWF. They formed the team “Soul Patrol”, capturing

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La Parka Death

la parka death

La Parka Death – Lung / Kidney Failure 1966-2020 (Age 55) La Parka, real name Jesús Alfonso Escoboza Huerta, has died. He was 55. La Parka’s death is the unfortunate result of a wrestling spot gone wrong. The luchador was partaking in a four-way match against Rush, LA Park, and Murder Clown in Monterrey, Mexico for the promotion KAOZ. During the match, La Parka attempted a “suicide dive” on his opponent Rush. A suicide dive is a fairly common wrestling move that involves diving to the outside of the ring toward your opponent. La Parka had done the move many times before, but on October 21, 2019, it did not go according to plan. La Parka missed his opponent, hitting his head on the steel barrier and landing on the concrete floor. Video footage of the incident went viral on social media, albeit prior to the public knowing just how

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Kamala Death

Kamala had a difficult time in the later part of his wrestling career. He never made the kind of money that other big name wrestlers like Hogan and ‘Taker were making. This became apparent when his health declined and he retired.

Sadly, Harris’ health has declined as much as his finances. Always a big guy, he gained weight. He was diagnosed with diabetes in 1992 and the effects of the disease have rapidly progressed since his retirement. On November 7, 2011, diabetes and high blood pressure forced the amputation of the former wrestler’s left leg. In April 2012 his right leg was amputated.

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