15 Chilling Photos Of Wrestlers Just Before They Died
While the wrestling business is so often championed as being full of moments of joy and happiness – well, except when the WWE is constantly trying to force-feed Roman Reigns to its reluctant fan base – there’s also so many tales of tragedy and torment attached to the industry over the decades.
Much like in life as a whole, you never know what’s just around the corner in the wrestling business, and so often those tragic moments are clearly ones that you don’t see coming. And it’s because of that, that now and then you come across a chilling, eerie picture or photo that’s been taken just before something horrible is going to happen. It’s just at the time, nobody knew what lay ahead.
We all know about the spate of wrestler deaths that have occurred over the years, and these have all happened for a variety of different reasons – sometimes shocking accidents, other times due to acts of atrocity.
So here, from the depths of the ever-expanding online world, are 15 images of wrestlers that were taken just before said wrestlers sadly took their final breaths. And it’s with these pictures, that you can fully appreciate the notion that you really don’t know what’s waiting around the corner for you – even if you happen to be a larger-than-life hero or villain from the wrestling world.
- Davey Boy Smith
Like so many in the wrestling business, poor Davey Boy Smith had spent years battling one demon or another. But one of the biggest problems for the British Bulldog was his pain pills and morphine addiction.
Davey injured his back during WCW’s Fall Brawl ’98 show, taking a bump onto a trapdoor that was put into the ring so that the Ultimate Warrior could make a grandstand entrance later in the PPV. For Smith, the injury led to spinal paralysis and a six-month stint in hospital. Oh, and his WCW release, because Ted Turner’s company were obviously kind and considerate in how they’d fire a wrestler due to an injury suffered in their ring…
Anyway, to the point of the picture. The one shown on the right is Davey Boy in his prime, but the one on the left was sadly taken just before his passing in 2002.
Just the weekend before he suffered a fatal heart attack, the Bulldog had actually wrestled some tag team bouts with his young son, Harry. Some say the picture featured here was taken over that weekend, but we’ll ultimately never know for sure.
The story of Joanie Laurer, aka Chyna, is a sad and tragic one that saw the former Intercontinental Champion slip into a life of drugs, drink, and even adult entertainment.
Despite having her good days and getting her life back on track, it seemed that poor Joanie was always struggling to battle the demons that had haunted her since she departed the then-WWF in 2001.
While there were regular claims of a newfound sobriety, sadly Chyna’s final days were dotted with incoherent video messages and worrying social media posts. As such, the above image is one of the last times that we ever saw Joanie before she passed away in April 2016.
Following an autopsy, it was revealed that this game-changing superstar had overdosed – seemingly accidentally – on alcohol combined with painkillers, anxiety drugs, and sleeping pills.
If you ever heard her full story, Joanie Laurer had a tough, troubled life way before she ever entered a wrestling ring, and it sadly felt as if she could never truly find the peace that she so sought.
- Jimmy Snuka
Groundbreaking grappler Jimmy Snuka passed away earlier this year, but the life of Superfly is one that’s certainly shrouded in a black cloud.
Despite the WWE praising Snuka following the news of his death – and the Superfly really was a huge, huge star and a true revolutionary of the wrestling business – Vince McMahon’s company chose to ignore certain elements of the Fijian’s life.
Now this isn’t the platform to delve too much into the situation or to make definitive statements, but for those unaware, have a Google search for Nancy Argentino – the girlfriend of Snuka who died in 1983. While Snuka was deemed a free man at the time of Nancy’s death, 2015 saw Superfly arrested for third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter when the case was reopened.
Ultimately, Snuka would be labelled unfit for trial on January 3rd this year due to dementia and his ever-deteriorating health. He’d pass away just 12 twelve days later on January 15th.
The picture here is one of the last ever taken of Jimmy Snuka, and it was taken during one of said court appearances. How Superfly is viewed in the aftermath of his death varies on your viewpoint, but it’s advisable to do some digging and making your own mind up, regardless of what the WWE wants to tell you.
- Eddie Guerrero
While many of those listed in this article passed away long after their wrestling careers were over or during hiatuses from the business, the tragic death of Eddie Guerrero took place while Eddie was still performing and was arguably at the peak of his career.
And so, that’s why the last images of Latino Heat are from a SmackDown match where he battled Mr. Kennedy. That match would air on November 11th, 2005, and Eddie would sadly pass away just two days after that.
Having battled drink and drug problems earlier in life, Guerrero had gotten his life back on track in the years prior to his death, even making it to the top of the mountain and toppling Brock Lesnar to become the WWE Champion. In fact, the date of his death originally had a match booked between Guerrero, Randy Orton, and Batista, with rumours speculating that Eddie was going to take Batista’s World Championship.
But our lasting image of Eddie, our last memory of him, is of doing what he does best – performing in a ring and lying, cheating and stealing his way to victory.
- Curt Hennig
There’s absolutely no doubt that Curt Hennig is seen as one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time for valid reason. As smooth as they come in the ring, and overflowing with charisma, Hennig was one of those rare performers who really are the total package.
By the time of his death in 2003, though, Hennig’s battles with his demons had firmly taken hold. Having turned up in TNA, you could see that the legendary Mr. Perfect was feeling the effects of years of punishing his body, both in the ring and out of it.
This two-time Intercontinental Champion and superstar of yesteryear was reduced to wrestling David Flair in a bizarre “Axehandle on a Pole” bout in what would prove to be his last official match. The match was luckily a short one, but it was still a sad way to remember one of the all-time greats of the game.
That match took place on January 8, 2003, and Hennig would sadly be found dead on February 10, 2003 at the age of 44. With his death officially ruled as a cocaine overdose, it was revealed by his father, Larry “The Axe”, that Curt had also been taking painkillers and steroids in the lead up to his death.