Friday, January 19, 2007

Another Wrestler Gone In A Flash

Completely unprovoked, I watched a Bam Bam Bigelow pro wrestling match I have on tape against Taz Wednesday just because it's one of my favorite matches. I missed watching Bigelow wrestle, because he was a good 350 or 360 pounds but moved around the ring with freakish agility while still fighting a stiff style that made every move seem like it hurt like hell, which it probably did. Bigelow was found dead in his home this morning in Florida at the age of 45. The medical reports are not available yet, but it almost doesn't matter. An enormous number of pro wrestlers, by nature of their occupation, feel the need to take enough painkillers to make every horse in the Kentucky Derby drop dead. With no evidence whatsoever, I assume Bigelow was no different. It catches up to you eventually. Maybe not after a year, maybe not after a few years, but eventually your body adds up all the things wrong with it that you don't know about because pain, which warns your body that something is wrong, is not being felt due to the numbing medicine you're piling into your system. The funny thing is, if Bigelow had died ten years ago, before literally dozens of wrestlers started dying suddenly at very young ages, some folks could have looked at his size and tossed off some aside about trying to be an athlete at his weight catching up to him. Believe me, it wasn't his fucking weight that killed him. It wasn't weight that killed the 210-lb. Eddie Guerrero in his early 40s, the 235-lb. Curt Hennig in his early 40s, the 280-lb. (mostly muscle) Mike Hegstrand (Road Warrior Hawk) in his early 40s, the 230-lb. Chris Candido in his 30s...I could go on forever. But it's easy for me to rail against painkillers because I never had the balls to go for the brass ring and pursue a career as a wrestler. If I had, who knows what measures I would go through to maintain my "spot" and keep living my dream. But I have a feeling that if those in charge of wrestling would have a heart and provide health care for their employees instead of calling them "independent contractors" and turning their backs on them, better alternatives could be provided than 20 soma pills and a bottle of vodka.

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