Jimmy Rave Death – Undisclosed Causes
1982-2021 (Age 39)
James Guffey’s wrestling career as Jimmy Rave saw him battle a number of stars across the country as he campaigned in Ring of Honor, Total Nonstop Action and a number of smaller promotions including Combat Zone Wrestling, Dragon Gate USA, and Full Impact Pro.
Rave would go on to turn his battles with personal demons into a means of helping others with similar problems. Unfortunately, severe health problems plagued his last years of life, resulting in him becoming a triple amputee.
James Michael Guffey was born on December 8, 1982 in Atlanta, Georgia.
After training with wrestler Murder One, Guffey debuted in the ring in 1999, initially performing as XTC but later adopting the name Jimmy Rave. Rave worked on the independent circuit, making a name for himself in the junior heavyweight division. This led to him eventually winning the NWA Georgia Junior Heavyweight Championship twice and the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship twice.
A Self-Proclaimed Innovator
Rave found work in Ring of Honor, where he joined Prince Nana’s heel group, the Embassy. Rave began a gimmick where he used other wrestlers’ finishers, claiming they’d stolen the moves from him. This led to Jimmy using AJ Styles’ finisher the Styles Clash, but calling it the Rave Clash. After dropping a match to Styles, he was forced to stop using the Styles Clash and instead adopted “Greeting from Ghana,” his take on Triple H’s Pedigree.
Although championship gold eluded Rave in ROH, he did win the promotion’s 2006 Trios Tournament alongside Abyss and Alex Shelley.
Rave also battled Nigel McGuinness in a heated feud from 2007 to 2008. Rave also worked in Total Nonstop Action, teaming with Lance Hoyt and Christy Hemme as the Rock-n-Rave Connection.
Rave’s career would see him battle some of wrestling’s most talented stars including AJ Styles, CM Punk, and Johnny Gargano.
Like most wrestlers, Rave did not escape injury during his career.
In 2008, Rave broke his jaw during a match with Samoa Joe and was prescribed painkillers. Rave later became addicted to painkillers and his life began to deteriorate.
In 2009, Jimmy Rave’s personal demons had caught up with him and he was released from Ring of Honor. Thankfully, Rave was able to work through his problems with the help of a rehab program. In a 2013 interview, Rave revealed the childhood experiences that contributed to his problems:
“Growing up was difficult because when I was five I was molested by an uncle. My mother was an alcoholic, and she died at the age of 34, so I really felt like I was on my own since I was 15.” As a pro wrestler, Guffey became addicted to pain killers after being injured in a match. He became depressed and attempted suicide in 2009. Eventually, Guffey underwent treatment for drug addiction and learned many of his mental health issues stemmed from his past.
Rave took these lessons to heart and would later help others in similar situations when he took the job of the director of the Peer Support, Wellness and Respite Center in Georgia.
Guffey suffered severe health problems in his later years.
In 2020, a severe infection resulted in the amputation of his left arm, ending his wrestling career. In 2021, a MRSA infection led to Rave losing both his legs. He tweeted about the situation, apparently hoping to dispel any rumors about the reason for his absences:
Apparently it’s time for me to come clean. This past June I began having trouble walking & went to my surgeon. He determined I had MRSA in both legs & they needed to be amputated immediately. Promoters can tell you along with my peers, I’ve had a history w/this and would cancel shows often due to this condition. I don’t know where rumors started this was due to something else, but I hadnt been to shows for so long. So where did someone see me do something? *I* have ALWAYS been honest with my past. *I* went on podcast n interviews being super candid. Pro Wrestling is all I ever loved. It sucks to think that the tribe I would have died for, would say untrue things about me. I’ve gone this whole time not disclosing my legs because of this embarrassment. Sorry I fell short of your expectations. I tried … I really did.
In October 2021, Guffey tweeted a request for help with his medical bills:
Thank you to all those who have been supportive of this journey thus far. Your contributions have helped in my daily living and getting life back in order. I just recently got this bill in the mail …WOW! If you can help …
Guffey’s fans and the wrestling community rallied to his side, including WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley.
Jimmy Rave Death
On December 13, 2021, agent Bill Behrens, who had represented Rave, tweeted the news of his client’s passing:
Ok this sucks
Kailah helped write it pic.twitter.com/WfY7v8uQ6g
— Bill Behrens (@WilliamBehrens) December 13, 2021
Mick Foley shared the news on Facebook:
This really hurts. Jimmy Rave has passed away. He was only 39. He had lost both legs to the MRSA virus this past October, but seemed to be in good spirits when I checked in with him two weeks ago. He was a great wrestling character and worker; someone who gave so much more to the business than he received. May God bless you, my friend.
The circumstances of Jimmy Rave’s death remain undetermined as of the writing of this article. He was 39 at the time of death.
Other pro wrestlers we lost in 2021 include Blackjack Lanza, Bobby Eaton, Butch Reed, Corporal Kirchner, Daffney, Jody “Assassin” Hamilton, New Jack, Paul Orndorff, Ryan Sakoda, and The Patriot.
What are your favorite memories of Jimmy Rave? Let us know in the comments below.