Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s Backwards City's vulnerable youth population was entranced by one gerund, shouted at the top of one's pixie stick dusted vocal chords: WRESTLING!
(Side Note: Throwing pixie sticks on a bonfire is a vaguely dangerous stunt also associated with this epoch.)
Though many of us have since lost the urge to see a freakishly large man (King Kong Bundy) battle his weight in midgets (plus Hillbilly Jim!), the titans of old claim a lonely corner within our mental hall of heroes. Now that it is firmly within our grasp to perm a mullet, grow a mustache, and don a pair of neon green tights the mystery of yesterday's heroes has waned.
This has especially been the case as of late, with the recent murder/suicide of Canadian! (almost every article I've read has stressed this a great deal) wrestler Chris Benoit and his wife and child. Mr. Benoit is only the most recent example of how life tends to disintegrate rapidly when one treads the lonely path of steroids, painkillers, hair gel, and faux rage. This is perhaps the only instance where the BCR blog will employ a quotation from Fox Sports, hosted on MSN.
In any case, look for your former favorite idol and hang your head for the days when an atomic elbow to your brother's throat was still in the realm of good fun and was never followed by any
*Ravishing Rick Rude — Died at 40 of an apparent heart attack in 1999, a bottle of prescription pills for his bad back at his side. The autopsy report said he died of "mixed medications." Rude was an admitted user of anabolic steroids.
*Louis Mucciolo, a.k.a, Louie Spicolli — Died in 1998 at age 27 when he suffocated on his own vomit after ingesting massive amounts of Soma and alcohol. Investigators also found an empty vial of testosterone, pain pills and an anti-anxiety drug at the scene.
*Brian Pillman — An admitted user of steroids, he died of a heart attack at age 35 in 1997 on the morning of WWF's In Your House: Badd Blood pay-per-view event.
* Rick "the Renegade" Williams — Died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at age 33 after being released from his World Championship Wrestling contract in 1999.
* "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig — Found dead of a cocaine overdose at age 44 in his motel room on April 10, 2003, the morning of a match. Hennig's father maintained that steroids and painkillers contributed to his death.
* Rodney "Yokozuna" Anoa'i — Died of a heart attack in 2002 at 34.
* Davey Boy Smith, "The British Bulldog" — Died of a heart attack at age 39 on May 17, 2002. An autopsy report indicated that past steroid use had likely played a part in his death.
* Michael "Road Warrior Hawk" Hegstrand — An admitted steroid user, he died of a heart attack at age 46 in 2003.
* Michael Lockwood, "Crash Holly" — In 2003, at the age of 32, he choked to death on his own vomit after ingesting 90 painkiller pills.
* Jerry Tuite, "The Wall" a.k.a. "Malice" — Died at age 36 in 2003 of an apparent heart attack in his hotel room.
* Raymond "Hercules" Hernandez — Dead of heart failure in 2004 at age 47.
* Ray "The Big Boss Man" Traylor — Found dead of a heart attack in 2004 at age 42.
* Eddie Guerrero — After a long battle with painkillers, he was found dead of a heart attack by his nephew in his hotel room at age 38. The first person his nephew reportedly called was Guerrero's best friend, Chris Benoit.
* Chris Candido — Died in 2005 at age 33 from a blood clot after breaking his tibia and fibula and dislocating his ankle in a pay-per-view event.
* Owen Hart — Fell to his death at age 34 in 1999 when the rigging that was lowering him into the ring malfunctioned.
Update: Bam Bam Bigelow died on January 19, 2007 from a mixture of cocaine and benzodiazepenes. I'd like to imagine he's currently fighting a no-holds-barred cage match with Yokozuna in Wrestler-Heaven, like some sort of scripted version of a modern Ragnarok.