February 25, 2007
Tragic toll part of wrestling's way of life
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun
Michael Alfonso had a wife and two children.
He had a good job as a sales associate with Coldwell Banker in Tampa.
As wrestler Mike Awesome, he won championships in ECW and Japan's FMW.
And now, at age 42, he's dead. According to The Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer, Alfonso was found hanging in his home last Saturday.
A tragedy. But death at a young age is not unique to wrestling. Far from it.
It's just another name to add to the body count, a list that is far too long.
How about these names ... and this is just a sampling:
Louie Spiccoli, 27; Crash Holly, 32; Eddie Gilbert, 33; Owen Hart, 33; Chris Candido, 33; Adrian Adonis, 34; Yokozuna, 34; Brian Pillman, 35; Eddie Guerrero, 38; Davey Boy Smith, 39; Johnny Grunge, 39; Rick Rude, 41; Miss Elizabeth, 42; Big Bossman, 42, Dino Bravo, 44; Mr Perfect Curt Hennig, 44; Bam Bam Bigelow, 45, Junkyard Dog, 45; Road Warrior Hawk, 45; and Big John Studd, 46.
Oh, there are others ... many others. But this column only has so much space.
To blame wrestling for all the deaths would be inaccurate and unfair.
But there's little doubt that wrestling and its way of life have taken their toll.
While wrestling matches are scripted, there's no scripting what happens outside the ring ... what happens when the wrestlers can barely roll out of the bed in the morning because of the pain they're feeling.
Some wrestlers turn to painkillers. Others, looking to bulk up in an industry where "size does matter," juice up with steroids.
If you looked at the list above, painkillers and steroids have certainly contributed to deaths.
There are "wellness" policies in place to help wrestlers. But as another body was lowered into the ground, it just doesn't seem like enough.
- In the hair vs. hair match at Wrestlemania, with Vince McMahon's locks on the line against Donald Trump, Umaga will represent McMahon. Trump will announce his choice on RAW, with several sources saying it'll be Lashley. Stone Cold Steve Austin is expected to be the referee ... sorry Vince, that can't be good news for you.
- Here are the results from last Sunday's NoWay Out pay-per-view: Chavo Guerrero won the cruiserweight title over Daivari, Scotty 2 Hotty, Gregory Helms, Funaki; Jimmy Wang Yang, Jamie Noble and Shannon Moore; Chris Benoit and the Hardy Boyz beat MNM and MVP; Finlay and Little Bastard beat The Boogeyman and Little Boogeyman; Kane beat King Booker; Paul London and Brian Kendrick beat Deuce and Domino; Mr. Kennedy beat Bobby Lashley via DQ; Ashley won the Diva Invitational when she yanked off her top, revealing Playboy logos painted on her boobs; and John Cena and Shawn Michaels beat Batista and The Undertaker (who was pinned after absorbing a Batista Bomb from his partner).
- UWA will present Respect on March 9 at Cornwall's St. Lawrence College. The main event will be a Six-Sided Steel Cage match featuring The Original Sinn, Abyss and Bobby Roode.
- Check out Texas' XCW wrestling on Bite TV, via way of MavTV. The wrestling is decent, but the standout is announcer Matt Avery. Are you listening, WWE? The guy's a natural, as flamboyant and entertaining as they come.