As much as fans find wrestling matches to be one of the most entertaining sporting events to watch, these matches can also be immensely dangerous for the wrestlers.
In fact, some have even died in the ring, including:
From a blow to the head ending in severe brain trauma to heart attacks in the ring, these deaths are nothing short of terrifying.
Granted, some of the wrestlers who have died in the ring had pre-existing health conditions that contributed to their death. But others were perfectly healthy and ended up getting badly hurt to the point of death.
These are the 12 wrestlers that died while performing in the ring:
1. Moondog Spot - was a wrestler performing at one of Jerry Lawler’s shows in Memphis when he suffered a heart attack. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
2. Jeanette Wolfe - had been complaining of a headache after her first match but decided to continue the show. In her second match, she collapsed and was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead at the age of 18. She died from a brain hemorrhage and a ruptured stomach.
3. ‘Iron’ Mike Dibiase - died on July 2, 1969, in a match against Mountain Mike. He collapsed after having a heart attack. He was declared dead shortly after, at the age of 45.
4. British wrestler Kevin Cawley performed under a number of different names, under a hood. While performing as The Black Baron for All-Star Promotions, Cawley collapsed into the corner after suffering a heart attack. Officials removed him from the ring, and the match continued, with everyone in the audience unaware that he had passed away.
5. Luther Lindsay - held the NWA Hawaii Heavyweight Championship, the NWA Canadian Heavyweight Championship, and the All Asia Tag Team Championship. He was one of the first African-Americans to break through racism and become a major wrestling star. Luther was wrestling an opponent and defeated him with a big splash that wasn’t executed properly. Right after that, he had a heart attack in the ring and didn't get up after the referee counted the pinfall.
6. Emiko Kado died during her match on March 31, 1999, against Mariko Yoshida and Mikiko Futagami. After the twenty-minute mark, Kado received a stiff blow to the head and collapsed to the mat. It was determined that she suffered an acute sprained membrane. She was rushed to the hospital to receive treatment. The 23-year-old died from bleeding in her brain.
7. Malcolm Kirk was a British wrestler who had previously been a coal miner. He later wrestled under the name King Kong Kirk’ where he entered a feud with Big Daddy and teamed up with King Kendo to take him on. A heart condition occurred moments after Big Daddy hit him with a Big Splash for the finish.
8. Larry Cameron played professional football for the first half of his adult life, and he became a big name in the Canadian Football League, where he played for the Ottawa Rough Riders. He suffered an injury and had to stop playing football, and decided to try out professional wrestling. He became Pro Wrestling America’s Heavyweight Champion. It was in Germany in 1993 when Larry Cameron was wrestling with Tony St. Clair, suffered a heart attack, and fell to the mat.
9. Plum Mariko was a very popular female wrestler in Japan. In the weeks leading up to her death, people close to her suspected there was something not right with her health. She teamed up with Command Bolshoi to take on Mayumi Ozaki and Carlos Amano. Ozaki hit Mariko with a Liger Bomb to finish the match. She didn’t get to her feet and was rushed to the hospital, where she died of bleeding in the brain at the age of 29.
10. Perro Aguayo Jr. was the son of Perro Aguayo and made his in-ring debut when he was 15 years old. On March 20, 2015, he teamed with Manik to take on Rey Mysterio and Xtreme Tiger. Mysterio sent Perro Aguayo into the middle of the rope to prepare for his 619’ finishing move. Manik was sent to the middle of the rope after, and Aguayo wasn’t moving. He had suffered a cervical stroke caused by multiple fractured vertebrae, and he died instantly.
11. Jesús Javier Hernández Silva found his greatest success as Oro, and he was a real up-and-comer in lucha libre. He died on October 26, 1993, when he was tagging with La Fiera and Brazo de Plata. Oro said before the show that he had wanted to take a bump that would look like he had broken his neck. It turns out he did break it, and while he was being carried out of the arena, he died. It is believed he died of a brain aneurysm. He was only 21 years old.
12. Owen Hart, a younger brother of Bret Hart, was playing the character Blue Blazer.’ He was to be lowered into the arena by a harness at the 1999 'Over the Edge' pay-per-view event. The stunt ended in disaster, and Owen fell over 7- feet downwards and whiplashed off the top rope and into the ring. He was pronounced dead later at the hospital. WWE has never attempted a stunt like this since then.