Wrestlers Who Died In The Ring

Professional wrestling is a dangerous job,
and it’s not uncommon for wrestlers to pass away before their time. For some of them, the end comes before they
even leave the ring. Here are professional wrestlers who died in
the ring, sometimes with an audience and sometimes without. Mitsuharu Misawa is one of the biggest names
of all time in Japanese wrestling. He rose to fame in the 1980s as “Tiger Mask,”
a character who, naturally enough, wore a tiger-themed mask. He was so popular that when he unmasked in
1990, his fame only increased. In 2009, he was a 46-year-old veteran who
had been named professional wrestler of the year three times and was still competing. The tragic match that cut Misawa’s stellar
career short occurred on June 13, 2009. One of his opponents gave him a back suplex,
a fairly common move. However, what happened next shows that nothing
in wrestling is truly routine, and even the most basic moves can turn into tragedies. Misawa didn’t move after the impact. The match was immediately stopped. All the wrestlers surrounded the ring, and
the crowd softly chanted Misawa’s name as doctors and nurses tried to administer CPR. He was declared dead at a hospital, though
he was likely already lifeless before he was moved away from the ring. The official cause was heart failure. Malcolm “King Kong” Kirk was a well-known
British monster heel, and a frequent tag team partner of the even more massive Giant Haystacks. This former rugby player didn’t use a gimmick,
as his 350-pound frame was more than enough to intimidate his opponents. On August 23, 1987, Kirk faced off against
Shirley “Big Daddy” Crabtree, who said Kirk had the strength of three people. The match proceeded exactly as planned right
up until the end, when Big Daddy gave Kirk his finishing move: a big splash that saw
him jumping on his prone opponent. Kirk never kicked out from that finisher. The 50-year-old powerhouse was left lying
in the ring, but it wasn’t the finishing move that killed him. An inquest of the incident discovered that
Kirk died of a pre-existing heart condition. Big Daddy was cleared of all responsibility,
and even Kirk’s widow said she held no ill will against her deceased husband’s final
opponent. “As long as I live, I’ll never forget seeing
him laid down there, on the canvas, instead of on his feet raging and, you know, and flying
about.” Wayne Van Dyke, aka Richard Delicious, was
an independent wrestler working Florida’s small promotions. He was just 29 years old when he suffered
a series of heart attacks that started during a tag team match at an event arranged by the
Ronin Pro Wrestling promotion. He complained to his tag partner that he wasn’t
feeling well and suffered the first heart attack right after tagging himself out. After that, things went from bad to worse. The attempts to give him CPR on the scene
left Van Dyke with at least one broken rib and a punctured lung. He then suffered a second heart attack on
his way to the hospital. When he finally reached the facility, he had
a third one. At that point, hospital staff had to put him
in a medically induced coma. Unfortunately, the damage was too much for
his system, and Van Dyke’s family soon confirmed the wrestler’s passing on Facebook. Japanese wrestler Plum Mariko died in the
ring after her opponent power bombed her in 1997. It wasn’t until after the match that the other
wrestlers realized that she still hadn’t moved and was now snoring, which was a sign that
her brain was bleeding. She was rushed to the hospital, but surgery
couldn’t save her. The 29-year-old died of brain damage. Mariko had accumulated a collection of nasty
injuries over the years, including multiple concussions and an undiagnosed brain abscess. Doctors believe she died because of the combined
effects of these injuries, rather than a single one from the power bomb. They also said that if she had been examined
earlier she likely would’ve lived because no doctor would’ve let her wrestle in her
condition. Mariko’s passing was the first in-ring wrestling
death in Japan. What makes her fate even more tragic is that
the signs of brain damage were there. Owen Hart was a member of the legendary Hart
wrestling family. At the time of his death in 1999, his gimmick
was a masked superhero character known as “The Blue Blazer.” For the May 1999 “Over the Edge” show, the
WWF decided to give him an entrance befitting a superhero in which he would fly in. An elaborate system of wires was set up to
lower him to the ring from the rafters above. But the system malfunctioned while he was
78 feet above the ring, sending him plunging down as he hit the top rope and then bounced
into the ring. Though the incident never made it to television,
the 16,000 people at Kansas City’s Kemper Arena witnessed the futile attempts by the
medical staff to revive Hart, who died of internal bleeding. At first, some of the audience members thought
the whole thing was a stunt and that the falling figure had been a doll. However, this impression wouldn’t last long. The ring announcer soon informed the audience
that what had just happened was completely unscripted. Before the event was over, WWF commentator
Jim Ross announced to the world that Hart was dead. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Grunge videos about your favorite
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