Mike Lantry, 1972
I'm sure he's having epic matches with Brian Pillman and Owen Hart in that great big ring in the sky. RIP Macho Man.
A undertaker just asked a gravedigger 'Can you dig it?'...
RIP Macho Man, and thanks for inspiring so many flying elbows off the couch as a kid.
Macho man could not have been inducted into the Hall of Fame while he was still with us.
Sad to see him go. A great performer, and one of the lasting memories from my original love of professional wrestling. His "Jealous Eyes" comment toward Hogan nearly made me hate Hogan, and that is huge for an 8-year-old.
When Lanny and Randy Poffo were hired jointly by the then-WWF, they were seen as equals by the wrestling fan community and the magazines that "stayed kayfabe." The WWE, of course, requires a steroid-built body even while giving "random tests" for drugs. Randy, who of course went by the name "Savage," went with the "requirements" while Lanny stayed natural.
Consequently, Randy was a multi-time WWF champion, holding every belt in the company at one time or another. He was in many of the angles that defined the 1980's pro wrestling boom. Meanwhile, Lanny got stuck being "The Genius," and would eventually quit first the WWE and then wrestling altogether to write children's books. Lanny also co-owns a gym in Florida. I used to talk to him often in a health food store, and didn't know who he was for a long time because his appearance has changed. Lanny is a lot wider and a lot more muscular now than he was, but he does it clean, is extremely into health, and looks twenty years younger than his brother did.
In the long term, Randy got the "better deal." But all it got him was an early death. Lanny will probably live another thirty years.
Why do I think this is relevant? Because pro wrestlers die even faster than ex-pro football players. They are often on the road 300 days a year. They are encouraged to take steroids and then get addicted to painkillers, or drugs that do both like GHB. If you don't "work through injuries," they replace you with someone who will.
Also, they get absolutely no health insurance unless they buy it themselves. When they get hurt, the are encouraged to take a "settlement." If they don't, they don't get hired anywhere ever again.
Most hardcore fans could see this coming, but it doesn't make it hurt any less. Randy "Savage" Poffo gave everything he had to the sport, and eventually sacrificed twenty or thirty years of lifespan for it.
Here is one of the best lists of wrestlers who died before 65. There are a lot who died before 50. It was written awhile ago and is no longer complete, but it is a bit of an eye-opener. The second bit is the ten worst tragedies in the "sport."
RIP Randy Poffo
Was my all time favorite, such a sad story
You were one of the few that transcended the sport.
FTR- I know it is not truly a sport, but what they do is surely more difficult and athletic than some sports.