First, let us all agree that professional wrestling is not a sport for the faint of hearts. Like other combat sports, such as boxing and mixed martial arts, wrestlers legitimately risk their lives daily to entertain their fans. Unfortunately, some of them end up losing their lives. So, who are these wrestlers who died in the ring?
Premature death has long been a common problem in the wrestling industry. However, many wrestling-related deaths can be traced to narcotics and health issues stemming from a lengthy career on the ring.
Famous wrestlers who died in the ring
Professional wrestling is a tragic sport, and coming out alive or uninjured is often a 50/50 gamble. With some wrestlers spraining outer body parts like necks and waists, some of them die on the spot.
Here is a list of wrestlers who died in the ring during encounters with their opponents.
10. Brian Ong
Former amateur wrestler Brian Ong began preparing to enter the professional ranks and signed with Hayward, in California-based All Pro Wrestling. His passing may not have been shown on television but it does not make the circumstances surrounding this catastrophe any less heartbreaking.
Ong was already experiencing concussion symptoms and was participating in a training session with The Great Khali of the WWE, and Dalip Singh Rana. A flapjack attempt by the Great Khali went awry when Ong forgot his safety protocol for the sequence.
9. Plum Mariko
Mariko Umeda, most well-known by her ring name Plum Mariko, was a Japanese professional wrestler who competed for Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling from 1986 to 1992 and subsequently JWP Joshi Puroresu from 1992 until her passing in 1997.
Although Mariko was gifted, she was also prone to accidents, and the athlete’s injuries directly contributed to the growth of an abscess in her brain. She was the first professional Japanese woman to die in the ring.
8. Jeanette Wolfe
American professional wrestler Janet Boyer Wolfe, also known as Jeanette Wolfe, competed internationally. She was Mildred Burke’s and Billy Wolfe’s foster child. Her father, who ran a group of female wrestlers connected to the NWA, trained her.
Wolfe had two fights that day, the first of which ended in a straightforward body slam; it is never known how elevated Wolfe’s career may have been due to a terrible in-ring incident in 1951.
She continued her second battle as planned, partnering with Eva Lee against Ella Waldek, despite complaining of exploding headaches following these moves. After working briefly with Mae Young in the competition, Janet soon tagged Eva Lee to take over.
Minutes into the match, Janet was outside when she fell to the ground on the ring platform and never got up due to a deadly brain haemorrhage. She died at 18 years.
As a Mexican luchador enmascarado or professional wrestler in a mask, Jess Javier Hernández Silva was better known by the ring name Oro. At the Arena Coliseo in Mexico City on 26th October 1993, Kahoz, Dr Wagner, Jr, and Jaque Mate’s squad faced off against Oro, La Fiera, and Brazo de Plata.
The way Kobashi appeared to have broken his neck after a collision had a dramatic effect, and Oro intended to utilize the illusion to heighten the tension before their bout. Kahoz clotheslined Oro during the match; as anticipated, he twisted and fell on his head.
He had brain damage after the accident and died before being taken to a waiting ambulance.
6. Gary Albright
The work of the American professional wrestler Gary Mitchell Albright, first with UWF International and then All Japan Pro Wrestling in Japan, is what made him most famous. Albright held the title of World Tag Team Champion twice in AJPW.
On 7th January 2000, Albright took a three-quarter face lock bulldog in the ring while working an independent show in Pennsylvania and immediately passed out. Despite efforts to revive him, he passed away shortly after being taken out of the ring.
5. Moondog Spot
Larry Wayne Booker, known by the ring names Larry Latham and Moondog Spot, was a professional wrestler from the United States. One of the most well-known names in professional wrestling, Larry Booker was most renowned for his brutal manoeuvres. On 29th November 2003, he made his last appearance in the ring during a tag team match.
As the 51-year-old superstar suffered a heart attack inside the ring, the bout came to an astonishing, terrible, and devastating finish. The medical staff promptly transferred him to the hospital but could not resuscitate him.
4. Mitsuharu Misawa
In addition to founding the Pro Wrestling Noah organization in 2000, Mitsuharu Misawa was well recognized for his time competing in All Japan Pro Wrestling. His stay in the WWE made him one of the finest wrestlers Japan has ever produced.
In 2009, Misawa participated in a wrestling match against Masa Saito. Both Japanese nationals were engaged in a head-to-head battle when Saito unexpectedly caught Misawa and gave him a back suplex. Following his heart failure brought on by the heavy impact, Misawa passed away before getting to the hospital.
3. Iron Mike DiBiase
American professional wrestler Michael DiBiase was known by his ring moniker “Iron” Mike DiBiase. Ted DiBiase’s adoptive father, was also known as “The Million Dollar Man.” DiBiase died in the ring on 2nd July 1969, in Lubbock, Texas, after losing to Man Mountain Mike.
He began his professional wrestling career in 1940, and in 1969, he made one final appearance. DiBiase experienced a cardiac arrest and was sent to a nearby hospital, but he passed shortly after. As a result, wrestling lost one of its finest assets devastatingly.
2. Perro Aguayo Jr
Mexican professional wrestler and promoter Pedro Aguayo Ramrez gained notoriety in Lucha libre as Perro Aguayo Jr or El Hijo del Perro Aguayo.
He faced Rey Mysterio Jr. in the ring for the final time in 2015. The bout continued to be exciting until Mysterio finally knocked Aguayo out with a flying kick. The referee and other competitors in the match suddenly realized that the Mexican was gravely hurt.
He was taken to the hospital immediately, but nothing could be done since he died the following day. His vertebrae became separated from three sides, according to investigations conducted afterwards.
1. Owen Hart
Before catastrophe hit him at the “Over the Edge” Pay Per View in May 1999, Owen came from the illustrious Hart family and was a rising star. As with former WCW wrestler Sting, Hart was intended to be lowered below the ring, but instead, he plummeted 78 feet to his tragic death at the age of 34.
Many people in the wrestling scene were affected by his passing since his brother Brett didn’t return to the sport until years after Owen’s passing. He is one of the greatest wrestlers from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He is still regarded as one of the finest today, and his reputation endures in the hearts of many people worldwide.
Wrestlers who killed someone in the ring
And while fans may think all the deaths in the ring are natural, some are not, as other wrestlers kill their opponents during encounters. Some of these wrestlers who killed people in the ring include,
- Jimmy Snuka
- Ox Baker
- Brian McGhee
- Akitoshi Saito
- Jose Gonzalez
- The Great Khali
These are all the specifics on the top 10 most well-known WWE wrestlers who died in the ring. Fans are saddened by the deaths of the young and old professional wrestlers who met their fate in the ring, and they will remain in our memories for a long time.