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November 14 - Just Another Victim

I love wrestling, but they need a Senate hearing, pronto.

Eddie Guerrero is only the latest in a long line of dead stranglers. Peep this list:

--Bruiser Brody...stabbed in what is rumored to be a drug deal gone sour...none of the 20 people who
witnessed the stabbing would testify

--Junkyard Dog...fell asleep at the wheel leaving his daughter's HS graduation

--Flyin' Brian Pillman...painkiller and steroid mix

--Miss Elizabeth...painkillers and vodka

--Chris Candido...mixed painkillers and, yes, more painkillers after breaking his leg...as an added
slap from God, his really hot wife (Tammy Lynn Fytch, aka Sunny) got really, really fat

--Dino Bravo...gangland execution over smuggling debts

--Crash Holly...steroid and painkiller abuse

--Owen Hart...stage entrance goes terribly wrong

--Rick Rude...dies with a bottle of painkillers in his hand

--Mr. Perfect, Curt Hennig...acute cocaine intoxication

--Adrian Adonis...car crash

--Louie Spicoli...OD

--Rick Williams...heart attack

--Yokozuna...600 pounds when he had his heart attack

--The British Bulldog.. Steroid-related heart damage

--Road Warrior Hawk... Heart Attack

--Eddie Gilbert... OD

--Andre The Giant...heart attack

--Chris Adams...cocaine

--Gino Hernandez...cocaine overdose

--Anyone with "Von Erich" in their name...a few
drug-related suicides (Kerry, Mike, Lance), a hotel
room OD (David), and the living Von Erich, Kevin, once
required in-ring CPR after he passed out and turned
blue

--Big John Studd...heart attack

--Moondog Spot...heart attack, in ring

--Terry Bam-Bam Gordy...heart attack

--The Big Bossman...heart attack

--Dick Murdoch...heart attack

--Ray Stevens...heart attack

--Buzz Sawyer...OD

--Pitbull #2...home made Oxycontin, he and his wife died, leaving 2 babies unattended and starving.

Shave Bruiser Brody and the Von Erich brothers off the list, and all of those deaths have been in the
last 5-8 years...as well as scores of other names that I don't recognize.

From USA TODAY:
Since 1997, about 1,000 wrestlers 45 and younger have worked on pro wrestling
circuits worldwide, wrestling officials estimate.

USA TODAY's examination of medical documents, autopsies and police reports, along with interviews
with family members and news accounts, shows that at least 65 wrestlers died in that time, 25 from
heart attacks or other coronary problems - an extraordinarily high rate for people that young, medical
officials say. Many had enlarged hearts associated with longtime steroid abuse.

Now...a lot of these deaths could be seen happening by the village idiot. Andre the Giant had some
pituitary gland thing that made him a giant, and eventually killed him. Andre also drank 119 beers in
one sitting, and could down wine by the aquarium-full.

Yokozuna probably outlived a lot of 600 pound guys he saw at the buffet, but he was still a fat s*** who
should have been allowed nowhere near a sport. Dino Bravo simply crossed the wrong people at the
wrong time, but he no doubt used his globetrotting lifestyle to aid his smuggling.

A lot of these guys had no business dying young. Miss Elizabeth did nothing more than clap, but she
died with Vicodin in her system. Brian Pillman was a kid, fresh off 2 years with the Cincinnati Bengals.
At least two of the Von Erich brothers were total hopheads, and Kerry's death avoided the 10 years he
was about to be doing for being arrested for cocaine while on probation for forging painkiller
prescriptions.

Even shadier are the occasional police reports/news items that creep into a wrestling fan's radar.

--Steve Williams, stopped at an airport while doing his best impression of a walking pharmacy.

--Road Dogg and Jeff Hardy turning up on rival show TNA a few weeks after being dismissed from
the WWE over what must have been some copious, wanton drug abuse

--Superstar Billy Graham's kidney failure following years of steroid use

--Ken Patera (former Olympian) and Mr. Saito tearing apart a McDonald's and the 10 cops who tried to
stop them without guns.

--Scott Hall walking around so stoned that he was eventually taken off a flight

--Curt Henning and the impossibly ripped Brock Lesnar playing Bull In The Ring in an airplane aisle
about a month after 9-11

The list goes on and on, I can assure you.

Now, wrestling is a goofy, barnstorming kind of sport that has watched
America evolve past seeing it as a principal form of entertainment. Yet,
they make money hand over fist, and it wasn't unusual to see Monday
Night Raw  beat Monday Night Football in the ratings (hence, Dennis
Miller). Kids adore it, and many call it the only True sport.

It is also a seedy, lonely, painful business that spends an insane amount
of time on the road - Shawn Michaels is quoted as saying 290 days a
year. Those falls you see are staged, but there is a tremendously different amount of pain between
"staged" and "fake."

They also like it better if you are some huge, ripped guy. If people start dying from fake funbags, look
for the WWE to suffer mightily in that department, as well.

If I spent six days out of seven on the road, with chronic pain, I'd probably slip over the line into
painkiller abuse, myself. I can only imagine what sort of damage is done by wrestling...especially if
you wash Percs down with vodka while you're in the midst of a steroid (the WWE tested for 'roids after
patriarch Vince McMahon was indicted, but they stopped testing in 1996) cycle.

While wrestlers probably (and perhaps rightfully) seem like a bunch of jokers, there are a lot of
Americans who were quite attached to the exploits of Mr. Guerrero, myself included. I can only
imagine how many 10 year olds will be asking mommy what happened to Latino Heat. "Well, dear,
Eddie lived a hard life that came to cruel closure in some Minneapolis Quality Inn suite."

Imagine if an Owens, Moss, Brady, Favre, Lewis, Urlacher, Manning or Tomlinson was being carted
out of a hotel room under a sheet every year. We just had a Senate hearing because a retired Cuban
slugger wrote a book about steroids as 5 or 6 guys started putting up Ruthian power numbers.
Imagine if Kobe were carted out of a Colorado hotel room...dead?

I personally think that Vince McMahon is no better than a cruel pimp. The WWE - which will exploit
Guerrero's death tonight, claiming that "the show must go on," as they did the last time a wrestler
died - should be shut down immediately.

I wouldn't ring that bell again until some sort of legitimate stewardship of the company can be
established.
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