e premte, 31 gusht 2007

oh, THOSE steroids

Oops, some big names in the WWE are named in a steroid sting.

The WWE was rocked again today, after several of wrestling's top names emerged in the Albany district attorney's probe into a widespread Internet doping scandal.

The wrestling conglomerate based in Stamford announced that it will suspend 10 of its biggest stars for violation of its wellness policy.

In a list obtained exclusively by the Daily News, top wrestlers Randy Orton, Charles Haas, Jr., Adam "Edge" Copeland, Robert "Booker T" Huffman, Shane Helms, Mike Bucci, Anthony Carelli, John "Johnny Nitro" Hennigan, Darren "William Regal" Matthews, Ken "Mr. Kennedy" Anderson, Eddie "Umaga" Fatu, Shoichi Funaki and Chavo Guerrero were all identified as clients of Signature Pharmacy in Orlando, the site raided by Albany County and Florida law enforcement agencies in February for distributing steroids and other prescription drugs to clients who had not been examined by doctors. The investigation is part of a probe into illegal Internet drug distribution by Albany D.A. David Soares.

It is unclear at this time which of these wrestlers will be suspended by the WWE.

The WWE said in a statement that it issued suspension notices based on independent information received from the Albany D.A.

The WWE's announcement comes as members of Congress prepare to investigate steroid use in professional wrestling, as the Daily News reported today.

Two of its recently deceased stars - Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero - also received steroids and other drugs from Signature, as prescribed by Florida physician Gary Brandwein, who has pleaded not guilty to criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal diversion of prescription drugs. Benoit murdered his wife and son before killing himself in June and Guerrero died in a Minneapolis hotel in 2005 from heart disease.

Guerrero received the steroids testosterone and nandrolone, along with the estrogen-blocker anastozole, a drug commonly taken by men on steroids to prevent developing breast tissue, Nov. 2, 2005, just 11 days before he died of heart disease.

Guerrero's nephew, Chavo Guerrero, found Guerrero unconscious in the hotel room.

Benoit received steroids from Signature, based on a Brandwein prescription, in February, 2006.

The WWE stars are among the first athletes to face discipline for their part in the nationwide Signature Pharmacy scandal, the Internet steroid ring that has already led to guilty pleas from nine doctors, anti-aging clinic owners and operators. Law enforcement sources have said they expect the names of numerous NFL and Major League Baseball athletes to emerge as well.

e hënë, 13 gusht 2007

Brian "Crush" Adams, RIP

Given his troubled past this one isn't as shocking but still sad nonetheless: Brian "Crush" Adams dead at 44.
Brian Adams, known to wrestling fans under names including Crush, was found dead today at his home in Northeast Tampa.

Authorities were called to the home 4918 Anniston Circle at 11:30 a.m. His wife had found Adams in bed, unconscious and not breathing, according to a Tampa police report.

Fire rescue crews could not revive Adams, 44, and he was declared dead at the scene, according to the report.

There were no visible scenes of injury. The incident is being treated as an unexplained death.

Word Wrestling Entertainment has posted the news of the passing of the former World Tag Team champion. He last performed for the World Wrestling Federation in 2001, serving on the roster beginning in 1990, according to a WWE press release.

e diel, 22 korrik 2007

RIP Kronus

we lose another one

When the man known as John Kronus wasn't doing flips off the top rope or getting beat in the head with a folding chair, he was George Caiazzo, who dedicated himself to his true passion: being the best father he could be to his 9-year-old son, Gage.

So says a Lakes Region family that is mourning the loss of Caiazzo, a former pro wrestling champion who was found dead in his girlfriend's apartment at 57 Blueberry Place on Blueberry Lane in Laconia on Wednesday.

Caiazzo, 38, a 6-foot-3, 273-pound behemoth, took on the ring name "John Kronus" when he began a pro wrestling career that paired him with Perry Saturn to form "The Eliminators" — a tag team duo that won several titles in the 1990s with the now-defunct Extreme Championship Wrestling, or ECW.

Police were summoned to an untimely death call on Blueberry Lane at 2:46 p.m. on Wednesday that they have deemed not to be suspicious in nature.

Authorities are not revealing the name of the man found in the apartment but officials from the State Medical Examiner's Office confirmed on Thursday that they had performed an autopsy on Caiazzo, saying it will not produce a cause of death until toxicology results are returned — a process they said could take some time.

However, the family of Caiazzo has confirmed the death of a man they are calling a consummate entertainer and the ultimate family man.

Jenn Caiazzo Dunlop of Sanbornton, the man's sister, said her brother's death has come as a huge blow to a family that is split between the Lakes Region and Everett, Mass., where they grew up.

"It definitely came as a shock to us," said Caiazzo.

The sister and her husband, Brad Dunlop, said they can only speculate as to the cause of the death but noted that the family has a long history of heart problems that have taken lives at an early age.

Jenn Caiazzo said her brother, who preferred to be called by his ring name, John, was a light-hearted family man who got into wrestling at a young age while living in the Boston metropolitan area.

She said her father, the older George Caiazzo, was a star high school football player who later played for the New York Giants before becoming injured.

According to Jenn Caiazzo, her brother followed in her father's athletic footsteps but chose a different path when he began a pro wrestling career that suited his huge frame and natural acrobatic abilities.

"He loved sports, camping and cooking," said Jenn Caiazzo.

Dunlop and Caiazzo said the man who came to be known as John Kronus performed countless matches and rose to the top of the ECW, which took him all over the world, from Japan to Australia. They said he once got refused from an all-you-can eat buffet in China simply because of his size, which they assured was more than a little imposing to strangers.

Like many in the pro wrestling field, his sister said her brother eventually succumbed to the hardships of a sport that saw the entertainers being beaten and bloodied in an ECW that prided itself on taking "extreme" to the next level.

Family members say Caiazzo could do a flip in one step and was known as being the first big man to summersault off the top rope onto his opponents.

Popular wrestling websites list his "imploding 450 smash" and the "Kronus Krunch" as some of his signature moves which were developed out of his schooling with Boston-based trainer Walter "Killer" Kowalksi — a well-known pioneer in the sport whose students are being signed to pro contracts with the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

e diel, 8 korrik 2007

"wrestlers deserve our sympathy"

A sports columnist that I really like, Jason Whitlock, writes about wrestling.

Believe it or not, pro wrestlers are human beings, too. I swear.

I thought this simple fact was worth mentioning in light of two things: 1. the murder(s)-suicide tragedy involving WWE star Chris Benoit, his wife and 7-year-old child; 2. the sympathy-reparations campaign being staged by old NFL players.

We can argue all day about whether pro wrestling should be taken seriously in the sports world. What is inarguable is that Americans are entertained watching oversized men behave violently in groups, and the NFL and all the other professional sports leagues — just like the WWE — are nothing more than television shows.

I say all of this because I have far more empathy for Chris Benoit and professional wrestlers than I do for other athletes who risk their physical and mental well-being for our amusement.

No one weeps for the wrestler who dies way too young or lives as a cripple, addicted to painkillers by age 45. No one cares about their exploitation. It’s like the men who entertained many of us during our childhood are somehow magically categorized as nonhuman because they participate in a “sports event” with a predetermined outcome.

I’ve often argued that pro wrestling would be legitimized if Vince McMahon hired skating judges to rate the performances at the end of the match. Maybe, with that teeny bit of legitimacy, we would then see wrestlers as human beings and Congress would hold steroids hearings on pro wrestling.

Obviously what Chris Benoit did was a horrible deed. I don’t want to in any way excuse the depravity of his actions. But since he already punished himself, shouldn’t we try to make something positive out of this tragedy?

Shouldn’t we use this as an excuse to force reform on pro wrestling? Shouldn’t the performance-enhancing drug crisis/discussion include wrassling?

These guys don’t start out as cartoon characters. Many of them start out as amateur wrestlers in high school and college. Long before he entered Vince McMahon’s world, Kurt Angle was an all-American golden boy, an Olympic hero.

Don’t these men deserve some protection?

I’ve watched in amazement as retired NFL players have orchestrated a beautiful public-relations campaign vilifying union president Gene Upshaw because he has little interest in forcing the current players to sacrifice more of their revenue to benefit retired players.

We all feel sorry for old, beat-up NFL stars and believe they should be allowed to rework their pension benefits for a fourth time and make it easier for them to qualify for disability benefits.

Rather than demonizing Upshaw, they should be thankful they have a strong union, especially a guy like Mike Ditka who did little to support the union when he was a player.

Pro wrestlers have virtually no rights. They certainly don’t have a union. They work year round, crisscrossing the globe and abusing their bodies for our enjoyment. Performance-enhancing drugs, painkillers and recreational drugs are all abused. They suffer depression. Their unpadded “sport” is far more physical and damaging than football.

No one cares.

This is foolish. Many young children are just as influenced by pro wrestlers as football and baseball stars. The drugged-up, overmuscled wrestler helps define manliness to a child, possibly more so than Barry Bonds’ and Mark McGwire’s home runs.

I just want some consistency. Do we really care about steroids? Do we really care about athletes getting exploited?

OK, it’s incumbent on the athletes to care first. But the handful of people controlling professional wrestling have so much power and the high-paid wrestlers are so easily replaced that we’re unlikely to hear much organized dissent from within the industry.

Those of us in the media should care enough to complain loudly. We’re the watchdogs. We’re the voice of the voiceless. We don’t have to respect the “sport” to appreciate the humanity of the performers.

e mërkurë, 4 korrik 2007

thoughts on Raw

Let's see Vince....one of your bigger stars just committed the most heinous crime in the history of pro-wrestling, and it turns out he was on enough 'roids to make a horse say "whoa". There is intense media scrutiny over the juicing of your wrestlers. So, do you pick a charismatic and athletic looking wrestler to challenge for the title? Or, do you pick someone with the charisma of a paper bag and who looks like a poster child for steroid use. I've seen this movie before, so I know that Vince is going with Bobby Lashley. Maybe Lashley will turn heel, as he isn't working as a face.

Other thoughts: Who did Santino Morella piss off? He's gone from a star in the making to Salvatore Bellomo (an old jobber for any younger readers). He's turned into a punching bag of late. Sandman and Carlito are having a nice set-up to a PPV match.

Rick Steiner: realtor?

The dog faced gremlin is now a realtor.

Lex Luger: Lives on the ropes

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has a very good article about Lex Luger.

Lex Luger doesn't mince words when asked about pro wrestling's appeal.

"People like to see freaks," said the former Lawrence Pfohl. "It's like live cartoon characters."

Not long ago, Luger was 270 pounds of romping manly aggression and animalistic sex appeal. It's what his public wanted and he gave it to them in steroid-fueled, larger-than-life doses as "The Total Package," a man who borrowed his name — sort of — from Superman's arch-enemy.

But the freak show that became Luger's life nearly killed him. The man who made millions, flew in private jets and lived in mansions is now dead broke, sleeps on a used bed and keeps his clothes in neat piles on the floor.

Luger is a pro wrestling casualty, although he considers himself lucky. He recently turned 49, an age many of his friends in the business will never see.

The latest in that growing toll was Chris Benoit, the "Canadian Crippler." The 40-year-old Fayette County resident apparently strangled his wife, choked his 7-year-old son to death and placed Bibles by their bodies before hanging himself by hitching a weight machine's cable to his neck and letting drop 240 pounds.

The Benoit family's tragic end once again exposed the sordid underbelly of professional wrestling.

Luger hadn't seen Benoit in several years but believes his old friend was in a "dark place" due, in part, to the frenetic pressures of the life and many years of drugs he took to build himself up and to keep the pain at bay. Authorities found steroids in Benoit's home and are investigating whether "roid rage," an explosive fit of aggression traced to steroid abuse, had anything to do with the deaths.

Benoit is one of many who have died early.

Keith Pinckard, a medical examiner in Dallas, started logging the deaths of pro wrestlers and ex-wrestlers after his office performed an autopsy on one killed in an accident.

"It seemed bizarre," said Pinckard, "there seemed to be a lot of deaths."

There were. He found nearly 70 who died early going back nearly 20 years. It was a rate at least seven times the rate of the general population, he calculated. The causes of deaths fell in common themes: drug overdoses and heart attacks were most common, followed by suicide and "natural causes."

Vince McMahon, owner of the World Wrestling Entertainment, the federation for which Benoit and Luger wrestled, has said the organization has instituted drug testing in response to such allegations of abuse.

"The last test that Chris Benoit took of a random nature was in April which he was totally negative," McMahon said on NBC's "Today" morning program. "That doesn't mean that he wasn't taking prescription medication and perhaps even steroids when this happened. We don't know."

Wrestling's casualties

"Ravishing Rick Rude" died in 1999 after being found unconscious in his Alpharetta home with empty prescription bottles near his bed. The death of the 40-year-old (his legal name was Rood) was ruled a heart attack. He suffered a neck injury years earlier that virtually ended his career.

In "Rude's" obituary, wrestler Curt Hennig, "Mr. Perfect," memorialized his lifelong friend as a performer who gave fans what they wanted.

Four years later, Hennig, 44, was found dead in a hotel, Authorities ruled it cocaine intoxication.

In an obit for Hennig, Atlanta area wrestler Ray "Big Boss Man" Traylor Jr. noted the mounting loss of his closest friends. "It used to be me, him and Rick Rude together," Traylor said. "And then Rick died."

A year later, "Big Boss Man" died of a heart attack.

The pressures on wrestlers to perform night after night grew as the business got more lucrative as federations such as McMahon's WWE went international.

But as wrestling exploded in reach, smaller regional circuits that gave more wrestlers a living dried up.

Atlanta resident Gary Juster, a former wrestling promoter, said the old circuits needed wrestlers, men who added a shtick to their act, but were athletes first and foremost.

Then, about 25 years ago, the sport changed. "The look of a typical wrestler changed," Juster said. "It changed from wrestler to bodybuilder, that chiseled look. There wasn't as much passion for the craft."

As "The Look" became more important, steroids became more popular. "Guys did whatever they had to do to get ahead," Juster said.

The pressure increased as jobs became fewer and more lucrative, said former wrestler Rick Steiner.

"Now there's pay-per-view every week and TV every night. There's the added pressure to look good and there's 100 guys wanting what you have, so a lot of guys take the easy way out," said Steiner, who is a real estate agent and school board member in Cherokee County. "You got to be ready to go every day — and if not, there's a lot of guys ready to step in for you in a heartbeat.

"Some guys sell their souls to be on TV," said Steiner, who came up in the business with Benoit in the mid-1980s.

Steiner said he took "every supplement I could" coming up. "It wasn't a controlled substance then." But Steiner stopped. "The benefits vs. my long-term goals went different ways."

He retired several years ago when his body started aching and he was asked to go back on the road 20 days a month. It was a scary moment. "There's no pension, it's what you save, " he said. "It's over and that's it. Once you are in the limelight and get a taste of the crowd, [some wrestlers] can't let it go. A lot of guys have trouble making that transition."

As is Lex Luger.

Seeking stability

Luger, a Buffalo native, banged around in the Canadian Football League and the United States Football League as an offensive lineman before trying his hand in a Florida wrestling circuit.

Luger still looks good as he sits behind a desk at Western Hills Baptist Church in Kennesaw. His face is tanned and heavily creased, the body lean and his biceps still resemble bowling balls.

But when he gets up to walk, he hobbles like he's 80. He has put in for hip surgery with Social Security.

Luger was as big as they came in the 1990s and rolled through millions of dollars, he said.

Life on the circuit was exciting and exhausting. Some years he was on the road 300 days a year. There were 5 a.m. flights, daytime gym work, shows at night, parties in some hotel or penthouse.

And then repeat again and again.

He needed help to keep up with the pace.

"Steroids were there as a shortcut to get size," he said. And then there's the pain from the never-ending body slams and pile drivers. "You start with a painkiller for bumps and bruises. And then you need more. It's never enough."

Those on the circuit were a family, "a dysfunctional family" he said. Everyone wants a piece of a superstar. "There's a lot of leeches, losers, cruisers and abusers."

"I found no matter how hard you chase it, it's never quite enough," he said. "Money makes you more comfortable being miserable."

Luger's fall was hard and quick. He got divorced and in 2003 he made an early morning call to Cobb County 911 saying his girlfriend, Elizabeth Hulette, known on the wrestling circuit as Miss Elizabeth, had passed out.

She was taken to Kennestone Hospital, where she died. The autopsy showed a mix of alcohol, painkillers and tranquilizers in her system.

He was arrested for possessing three kinds of steroids found in the home. Later, he got a DUI. "My life had fallen apart and I still didn't get it," he said.

A judge sentenced him to probation and revoked it in late 2005 when he went to Canada for a work appearance without court approval. An arrest and two strip searches later, the former Total Package was back in Cobb County Jail.

Luger credits Steve Baskin, the pastor of Western Hills Baptist, with pulling him from a terminal tailspin. The jail chaplain met Luger in early 2006 and sensed the former wrestler was spiritually wounded.

"Here's a guy who would have died or gone to prison," said Baskin. "He didn't have the skills to negotiate through his probation." Baskin said Luger had never learned to think for himself well enough to handle "regular" life experiences.

After Luger was freed, Baskin's friends — Doc Frady, pastor of Clarkdale First Baptist, and his wife, Jan — invited Luger to their home for a birthday party.

Luger learned the couple had been married 54 years and had lived in the same house for much of that time.

"It brought tears to my eyes," Luger recalls. "I didn't even know people like that existed anymore."

Luger lives in a spare bedroom in Baskin's apartment and is trying to figure out a path in life.

He'd like to help counsel those in trouble. Or maybe be a fitness coach. He even said he'd take clients out to the supermarket and show them what to buy. He's eager. He's uncertain. To him, regular life is a new business.

e martë, 3 korrik 2007

They shouldn't be alive

Maybe it's in bad taste, but I don't give a damn. Funny piece from Maxim about wrestlers to take in your dead pool. Sample:

Dusty Rhodes
Age: 61
Odds that he'll die before 2008: 10 to 1
Why he should be dead: Even when Dusty was in his prime, his man boobs suggested that the American Dream spent as much time with Bit-O-Honeys as he did with barbells. Now that he has no reason to exercise, he has a regular seat in every rib joint south of Delaware.
How he'll die: Can you overdose on barbecue sauce? If anyone can find out, it'll be Dusty.

e diel, 1 korrik 2007

Jack Brisco: "The guys in my era are still alive"

Good interview of Jack Brisco in the Orlando Sentinel

True confession: I am a recovering pro wrestling fan.

My favorite athlete growing up was a faker, but it didn't matter. Jack Brisco was Clark Kent in tights.

That's why my hand shook as I called him the other day. I wanted to get his thoughts on World Wrestling Entertainment.

"I don't like it," he said. "I don't watch it."

My hero.

Now everybody is looking at WWE after the murder-suicide of Chris Benoit and his family. They're discovering Vince McMahon's freak show isn't just harmless schlock. Wrestlers are dying at alarming rates, though nobody cared enough to get alarmed until last week.

When McMahon came to City Hall in March to announce next spring's WrestleMania 24, it was all hoorah and handshakes and jokes about Ashley the Dirty Diva's silicone anatomy. Yes, it's all fun and games until a superstar kills his wife and son and then hangs himself.

Now the Benoit story has become Natalee Holloway on steroids. Just don't say that word around McMahon. He insists steroids aren't to blame, and the media feeding frenzy is totally uncalled for.

Poor Vince. He reportedly lost $21 million as WWE stock plummeted last week. He lost a star performer. At least he hasn't lost his shame.

Of course, how do you lose what you've never had? McMahon long ago turned pro wrestling into a pimped-out joke.

Sure, rasslin' was always a charade. But if you ever saw Championship Wrestling from Florida, you know it was honorable fakery. Wrestlers actually knew how to wrestle. The women didn't all look and act like porn stars.

For a kid in the '70s, there was no better way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Gordon Solie was wrestling's Walter Cronkite.

The WWE is Paris Hilton. Paris gets ratings, of course, and McMahon has turned America's appetite for drivel into a billion-dollar business.

That doesn't mean we have to like it. Would the great Jack Brisco make it in today's rasslin' world?

"I wouldn't be employed," he laughed.

He was at his auto repair shop in Tampa. It's hard to believe the king of the Figure Four Leg Lock is 65. Brisco got into wrestling because he could wrestle, not because he could preen.

"We had a lot more real athletes with amateur backgrounds," he said.

Brisco weighed 200 pounds when he started in 1965. He hit the gym and started a diet heavy on potatoes and beer. All that, and he still never got heavier than 235 pounds.

McMahon would have looked at him and laughed. Though wrestling pre-Vince has one advantage.

"The guys in my era are still alive," Brisco said.

By one account, 55 wrestlers under the age of 45 have died since 1985. Congress would shut down the circus if that many elephants dropped. But Benoit, Rick Rude, Eddie Guerrero and all others were people, not just WWE characters.

Each death had different factors, from drug abuse to mental breakdowns. But if you believe steroids aren't rampant, you probably also believe Paris Hilton is a virgin and pro wrestling isn't fake.

Naturally, McMahon wants to move ahead and begin "the healing process." We'll know he's serious if wrestlers start looking more like Brisco than Bluto.

Don't count on that. I just feel sorry for any kid brought up watching today's wrestling, assuming their parents are irresponsible enough to let them.

I at least got to reminisce with my childhood hero.

If somebody tries to call one of McMahon's stars in 30 years, there won't be anybody around to answer the phone.

e shtunë, 30 qershor 2007

Chris Jericho interview about Benoit

Fox News Channel also interviewed Chris Jericho about Chris Benoit, click here to view it.

Marco Mero: "Pressure Cooker"

Fox News Channel interviewed Marc Mero; Mero was really good but the interviewer was an idiot who said "steroid" or "roid rage" about 100 times during the piece. Click here for the video.

Fans' Complicity

Interesting opinion piece in the Baltimore Sun: Benoit's shocking death raises question of fans' complicity

We don't know that wrestling led Benoit to the terrible events of last weekend. We will never know what ran through his mind.

Some people dismiss wrestling all too easily because of its carnival roots and ridiculous plots. But really, what's so rational about dressing up in colored armor and beating your fellow man as half-naked women cheer you on at the coliseum? I've just described the nation's most popular sport, professional football.

And we know that football shatters the bodies of its greatest heroes. Johnny Unitas' scarred knees and gnarled hands told us so.

We know that tens of thousands of punches to the head slow the steps and slur the words of courageous boxers. We're reminded every time Muhammad Ali appears in public.

We know that a car traveling 200 mph can spin out of control even when guided by the most skilled hand. Dale Earnhardt's demise at Daytona attested to that.

No, it won't do to dismiss the implications of Benoit's death simply because he was a wrestler.

As a culture, we've decided that consenting adults are allowed to push themselves past safe limits for our entertainment. Drug testing and better medical care and safety precautions can lessen many of these risks but cannot stamp them out.

I don't know about you, but when a boxer loses his life in the ring, or a football player is crippled, or a wrestler turns up dead in his hotel room, I feel complicit.

If I know these acts are so destructive, why do I watch? Do I lack the moral fortitude to look past my desire to be entertained? I fear the answer is yes.

In the past few days, scores of wrestling fans have said on message boards that Benoit's death will kill their love of the spectacle. Many more have said that one man's deranged acts shouldn't end an art loved by so many. I agree with the latter, and yet I wonder.

"Perils of Pro Wrestling"

Good column by Jack Encarnacao about the Perils of Pro Wrestling

Make no mistake: If professional wrestler Chris Benoit hadn’t strangled his wife and son and then hanged himself from his weight machine, no one would care whether or not he was on steroids.

And no one would care whether there was a steroid problem in professional wrestling. The track record makes this case.

As media questions took shape this past week around the idea that Benoit murdered his family in a fit of ‘‘roid rage,’’ wrestling fans couldn’t help but wonder where similar scrutiny has been over the past 15 years while wrestler after wrestler died before the age of 50 from the lethal combination of steroids, hard drugs, painkillers and a relentless lifestyle.

World Wrestling Entertainment headliner Eddie Guerrero died at 38 in November 2005 because an enlarged heart, traced to steroid and drug abuse, constricted his arteries and eventually caused a failure.

‘‘It’s just so hard to go through this again,’’ said Chavo Guerrero, Eddie’s nephew and one of Benoit’s few close friends in the WWE, on a Benoit retrospective that aired Monday night on the USA Network.

Media paid a week’s worth of attention to Guerrero’s death, but didn’t seem to catch on to the fact that it clearly illustrated the perils of the wrestling business.

In case they did catch on, WWE was ready. The company implemented a Talent Wellness Program three months after Guerrero’s death. Since then, WWE wrestlers have been subject to random drug testing by an independent agency and penalized if illegal drugs are found in their system. The company meant business: One wrestler got a 30-day suspension for getting caught with pot during a traffic stop.

Fast forward to this past week, as Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly discussed the Benoit situation on his television show.

O’Reilly lamented that wrestling is unregulated (true) and that there’s ‘‘no drug testing of any kind’’ (not true). O’Reilly was corrected on the latter point by a pro wrestling promoter he was interviewing, and had no idea what to say in response.

Here are two pieces of info O’Reilly could have used: Wrestlers are always injured so they can easily be legally prescribed steroids that facilitate healing, and the only reason WWE is testing is that one of its performers, Guerrero, died of an overdose while working for WWE.

The list of WWE alumni who were no longer with the company when they died of drug overdoes is long. To name a few: Scott ‘‘Bam Bam’’ Bigelow, Ray ‘‘The Big Bossman’’ Traylor, Mike Awesome, ‘‘Sensational’’ Sherri Martel, Curt ‘‘Mr. Perfect’’ Hennig, Elizabeth ‘‘Miss Elizabeth’’ Hulette, Mike ‘‘Road Warrior Hawk’’ Hegstrand, Mike ‘‘Crash Holly’’ Lockwood, ‘‘The British Bulldog’’ Davey Boy Smith, Louis ‘‘Spicolli’’ Mucciollo.

If NFL football players died at anywhere near this rate, at anywhere near the ages of these wrestlers, a congressional investigation would have been launched a long time ago.

But apparently a wrestler has to slaughter his family before anyone cares.

e enjte, 28 qershor 2007

Wrestling fans vs Nancy Grace

Nancy Grace is an idiot.

The wrestling forums are lighting up with wrestling fans that are outraged at Nancy Grace for her coverage of the Chris Benoit murder/suicide story. Wrestling fans are saying she did not have her facts straight before reporting the story.

Her angle of attack on the story was that anabolic steroids had to have played a part in the actions of Chris Benoit. Nancy Grace quoted the WWE in the statement that anabolic steroids did not play a part in the murders. She attempted to make a statement that the WWE would "of course deny the possibility."

The fans of wrestling became angered because of the fact that the police have announced that they are looking into the possibility that Chris Benoit had been giving the steroids to his child in an attempt to make him grow to average size for his age. Being a former lawyer, the WWE fans would have thought that Nancy Grace would have argued this case after researching it.

The fans were also outraged when she made the statement that Chris Benoit may have become upset when he was demoted from the Four Horsemen to Raw. The Four Horsemen was an organization that was disbanded years ago. Raw has been considered to be the premier brand for years.

In actuality, Chris Benoit had been sent to ECW, which was the training ground for the WWE. He was sent there to help train the new wrestlers to the company, and was reported to be very happy about this change.

Many of the forums are filled with people who stated that they tried to call in to the Nancy Grace show to point out the fact that there are many credible reports that point out that Chris Benoit may have planned this murder for a long time before. This was information that she did not have when her show aired.

The other issue that is lighting up the forums is the fact that anabolic steroids will cause an instant rage. Chris Benoit bound his wife before killing her. For the most part, this would rule out the chance for an instant rage.

Also, Chris Benoit killed his son many hours after killing his wife. This second murder pretty much rules out instant rage.

This is not the first time that Nancy Grace has come under fire for not having the full story. There are many people that will point to the Duke Rape Case as being Nancy Grace's major downfall. She spent many hours trying to accuse the students and prosecute them in the media. They were found not guilty on all of the charges.

This has been a very emotional case for many wrestling fans. They did not think that it was proper for Nancy Grace to make accusations and assumptions without having all of the information that was available.

last photo of a murderer

Eerie photo of Benoit from his doctors office.

WSB-TV Channel 2 has obtained a photograph of a a smiling Chris Benoit at his doctor's office Friday afternoon just hours before he went home and killed his wife and son and then committed suicide.

The picture was snapped by a wrestling fan at Dr. Phil Astin's office in Carrollton.

Federal drug agents and sheriff's officials raided that office Wednesday night in search of records and other items in a warrant.

The fan who took the picture described Benoit as soft-spoken and "nice." He signed an autograph for the woman.

Agent Chuvalo Truesdell, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Atlanta, said Thursday that the raid at Astin's office in Carrollton began Wednesday night and concluded early Thursday morning.

Truesdell said a search warrant obtained by the Fayette County Sheriff's Department in connection with the Benoit investigation was executed there.

He said records and other items were being sought, but he said he could not immediately be more specific. Truesdell also was unable to say what was seized. No arrests were made.

Benoit had been under the care of Astin, a longtime friend, for treatment of low testosterone levels. Astin said Wednesday the condition likely originated from previous steroid use.

Astin prescribed testosterone for Benoit in the past but would not say what, if any, medications he prescribed when Benoit visited his office on Friday.

link between Sherri Martel and the Benoits?

Fox News really reaches by trying to make a link between Sherri and the Benoits in that they all knew Kevin Sullivan.

A week to the day before pro wrestling wife Nancy Benoit was found murdered in her suburban Atlanta home, the body of former pro wrestler and manager Sherri Martel was discovered in her mother's Alabama home, the cause of death unknown.

Martel, a pro wrestler in the WWE Hall of Fame who went by the ring name "Sensational Sherri," and who later managed the likes of "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, Ric Flair and "Macho Man" Randy Savage, was found dead by her husband Robert Schrull at her mother's home in McCalla, Ala., on June 15, according to the Tuscaloosa News newspaper.

Linking Martel to the deaths of Nancy and husband Chris Benoit and their son Daniel is former pro wrestler Kevin Sullivan, a man once married to Nancy Benoit and who also was Martel's friend and booker.

Following World Wrestling Entertainment's announcement of Martel's death, wrestling Web sites quickly began speculating about case.

Dave Metzler of Wrestling Observer Live told his audience that she did not die of natural causes, saying "this was not a typical wrestler's death," according to reports. But Capt. Loyd Baker of the Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide Unit told the Tuscaloosa News that foul play was not suspected in her death.

"The cause of death is pending her autopsy and toxicology report," he said June 19. An officer in the homicide unit told FOXNews.com that those results could take months to be finished.

Martel began her career in the early 1980s and later went on to manage more than 15 wrestlers including Ric Flair and Jake "The Snake" Roberts.

“Everyone respected her," said Bruce Mitchell, a columnist for the Pro Wrestling Torch newsletter and Web site, told the Tuscaloosa News. "She was an attractive lady, but she wasn’t just eye-candy.

"She was really a pioneer and a trailblazer."

One popular wrestling site, PWTorch.com, reports that Kevin Sullivan, then married to Nancy, tried to pair Martel with wrestler Ric Flair as part of a scripted Nicole Brown/O.J. Simpson ring drama, but that "work" was abandoned.

PWTorch.com writes that in early 1996, Martel became involved in a strange "work" — or scripted — feud between Sullivan and wrestler Brian Pillman. The match reportedly got out of hand, and spilled into a backstage confrontation involving Martel and the then-Nancy Sullivan. Reports of the incident say that the argument escalated with Martel spitting on Nancy Sullivan.

Martel reportedly was later fired.

Several wrestling blogs reported that Martel had a drug problem and had entered a 21-day rehab program, but investigating police would not comment.

PWTorch.com quoted her in 2005 saying, "I slip back every now and again, but I am trying my best."

Kevin Sullivan, meanwhile, spoke earlier this week FOXNews.com, and expressed shock and sadness over the death of his former wife in her suburban Atlanta home.

Sullivan married the former Nancy Daus in 1985. The couple was still married in the 1990s when a scripted rivalry between Benoit and Sullivan in the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling (WCW) resulted in Benoit as the victor on the mat. However, a real romance blossomed between Benoit and Nancy, who eventually split with Sullivan and married Benoit in 2000.

From his home in Tavernier, Fla., in the Florida Keys, where he owns and runs a gym called Froggy’s Fitness with his wife, Linda, Sullivan said he had not spoken to his ex-wife since their split. He told FOXNews.com he learned of the grisly crime, which reportedly took place over several days, from television news on Monday evening.

“It’s surreal,” said Sullivan, who did not have children with Nancy Benoit. “She was a nice person. We just went our separate ways. She was nice and very loving and I’m sure she was a good mother.”

Sullivan said he did not know Benoit well outside the ring. “I never associated with him, so I really don’t know his personality,” he said. … “[But] I’m sad for all three, especially the child.”

e mërkurë, 27 qershor 2007

Wahlers on Benoit

Don Wahlers puts into words what I have been feeling about this tragedy.

For once in my life, I am at a loss for words. There
are really no words that can adequately describe how I
feel about the events of the past two days. The
apparent murder of Nancy and Daniel Benoit at the
hands of Chris Benoit, and then his subsequent suicide
is just something that I can’t even begin to fully
comprehend or accept. But I’m going to attempt to put
my feelings down in words, because it’s what you guys
would expect from me.

This is a column I never ever wanted to have to write.
I wish I could just crawl in a hole, and make believe
it never happened. But unfortunately, this is real
life, and it did happen. Three people are dead, and
the circumstances surrounding the deaths will just
make your head spin. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen

I got the horrendous news this past Monday afternoon,
"Chris Benoit and family dead." My initial reaction
was that this was someone’s idea of a really bad joke.
It had to be a joke. It just couldn’t be true. Not
another one. Not Chris Benoit. Please tell me it’s
not true. Those are the things I kept telling myself
as I came online to confirm the news, hoping against
all hope that it wasn’t true. Actually, hoping that
this was another sick WWE angle. What the hell, why
wouldn’t they go this far, I thought. There are no
lines Vince McMahon won’t cross. So why not? My
greatest fears were realized when I logged onto
Wrestling Observer.com, and saw the post from Dave
Meltzer. My heart sank, and tears began streaming
down my face.

In my 22 years of watching wrestling, this is the
worst thing that has ever happened. It may very well
be the worst thing to ever happen in the history of
the wrestling business. You’d be hard pressed to find
a more unbelievably tragic, and disturbing turn of
events. Three days later I still can’t come to terms
with what happened. I can’t believe that Chris Benoit
is dead, and I can’t even begin to grasp the fact that
he murdered his own wife and son. It’s like a bad
nightmare that you can’t wake up from. How could
something like this happen? There have been so many
wrestling deaths, and some have been sadder than
others. But this one affected me more than any other.

Chris Benoit was on a pedestal to me. He was a man
that I admired and respected perhaps more than any
other wrestler. I loved watching him compete in the
ring, whether it was the main event, or the opening
match. I can’t even believe I’m writing about him in
the past tense today. That is so incredibly messed
up. Benoit was one of my favorite wrestlers of
all-time, and I’m not one of those people that’s just
saying that because he’s dead. Anyone that knows me
knows how much I loved Chris Benoit, and how much of a
mark I was for him. Hell, if you like the true art of
professional wrestling, you have to be a mark for
Chris Benoit. The guy did it better than anyone I’ve
ever seen.

As far as what he accomplished in the ring, he will go
down as one of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of
boots, and nothing that happened this week will ever
change that fact. But I will never look at Chris
Benoit the same way again. I will never watch a Chris
Benoit match the same way. The love, respect, and
admiration I had for him as a wrestler will always be
there, and that will never change. But the love,
respect, and admiration I had for him as a person is
gone. As a person, I am disgusted and repulsed by his
actions. As a person he is a murderer. There’s no
other way to put it.

Killing your wife is bad enough, but to kill your
innocent 7 year old son, there are no words to express
how immoral that is on every possible level. That, to
me, is the most revolting part of this whole ordeal.
And that is the part I am having the hardest time
trying to come to terms with in my own head.

All I can imagine is that Chris had some very deep
rooted mental problems, and whether they were caused
by steroid abuse, drug abuse, or whatever it might be,
one thing is very clear. You have to be fucked up in
the head to do something like this. And it hurts me
so much to think of Chris Benoit in that way, but
there is no possible way to sugercoat this, or dress
it up to make it look nice. As much as I wish I

The reports are that Chris tied up and gagged his wife
Nancy, and then choked her to death. He then
smothered his son with a plastic garbage bag as young
Daniel was apparently sleeping. I can’t even imagine
how terrified Daniel must have been as his father was
literally squeezing the life out of him. I want to
cry when I think about it. How can a father kill his
own son? How can someone go so far off the deep end
that murdering your own wife and son becomes a valid
option? I can’t fathom how that is possible.

He supposedly murdered his wife and son over the
course of a couple days, and then sat in the house
with the dead bodies for a day or two. Those are not
the actions of a sane person. Those are the actions
of a person that has broken all ties with reality, and
I have no idea what could have drove Chris to take
such drastic, final actions. Did he have an argument
with Nancy, and he just snapped in the moment, or was
this something he planned out? I have no answers,
only a million questions swirling around in my head.
And these are questions that there will never be any
answers to, because the answers died with Chris.

That’s why I say he must have been suffering from some
severe emotional and mental problems, and we as
wrestling fans would have had no knowledge of that.
All we saw was the character he portrayed on TV every
week. That’s all these people are. They are
characters on TV. We have no idea what they’re like
in real life, or what’s really going on in their head.
I would have never believed in a million years that
Chris Benoit would be capable of doing something so
heinous. But obviously, I, nor anyone else knew the
real Chris Benoit. It was stupid of me to place a man
I didn’t even know on such a high pedestal in my life.

Immediately after his death was announced, I wanted so
much to be able to write a nice bio piece on Chris,
and talk about some of my best memories of him. I
wanted to write about being there live at Madison
Square Garden for Wrestlemania 20, the night Chris
realized his greatest dream, and the emotion I felt
seeing him finally win the World Heavyweight
Championship. That was a highlight of my life as a
wrestling fan. I don’t know that anything will ever
top that night. It’s a memory I will always treasure.

It was the perfect storybook ending. Chris Benoit and
Eddie Guerrero, two smaller guys that had always been
overlooked for title consideration in the past,
standing in the middle of MSG hugging, both as World
Champions in WWE. It didn’t get any bigger or better
than that. Three years later, both men are gone.
What a cruel twist of fate that is. Who could have
ever imagined?

I wanted to talk about Benoit’s best matches, and most
memorable feuds today. I wanted to talk about how
much he meant to me, and how much I loved watching him
work. I wanted to honor and remember his Hall of Fame
career. But that became impossible when the news came
out that he had murdered his family. How can you
honor someone that did something so despicable?

An entire career that took more than 20 years of
blood, sweat, and tears to build will forever be
tarnished because of what happened this week. People
will no longer look at Chris Benoit as one of the
greatest wrestlers of all-time. They will look at
Chris Benoit as a murderer. It will never be, "Oh
yeah, remember that great match he had with Dean
Malenko." It will instead be, "Oh yeah, isn’t he the
guy that murdered his wife and son, and then killed
himself." And in the end, that may be one of the many
reasons Chris decided to take his own life. It was
indeed a tragic end to a storied career. And it’s
something I still can’t believe I’m writing about. I
don’t think I will ever understand.

Chris Benoit was one of my heroes, he was someone that
I looked up to for his work ethnic, and the way he
carried himself. He was such a class act, the kind of
guy you wanted to pattern yourself after. There are
few wrestlers that I respected and admired more than
him. But that illusion was shattered this week. It
was shattered into a million pieces. I will never
think of Chris Benoit the same way. And that makes me
very sad, and hurts me down deep in my heart and soul.

Three lives were ended this week, a brilliant career
was forever stained, a wife and mother lost her life,
and a 7 year old boy will never get the chance to grow
up, and experience all the best that life has to
offer. His live brutally snuffed out by his very own
father. There are no words in the English language or
any other language to express how deeply sad I am
about this, and how much I wish this never happened,
and I had been watching Chris Benoit defend the ECW
World Title for the first time last night, instead of
writing the most heart wrenching, painful column I
have ever written.

My deepest heartfelt condolences to the family and
friends of the Benoit family, and anyone that was
affected by this horrible tragedy. My profound
sympathy to the victims in this, Nancy and Daniel
Benoit. May you both rest in peace, and find your
eternal reward.

Goodbye Chris. Thanks for the memories, and for all
the classic wrestling matches. I may never be able to
forgive you for your unspeakable actions, but I will
certainly never forget you for what you brought to the
wrestling business, and the joy you brought into my
life. Unfortunately, that joy ended on Monday June
25, 2007. A date that will remain etched in mine, and
every other wrestling fans memory forever. Things
will never be the same again.

Benoit: head injuries to blame?

NY Times article which quotes Christopher Nowinski about the possibility of a head injury causing Benoit to do this unspeakable crime.

Though toxicology tests will not be completed for weeks, the presence of steroids in the home has led wrestling observers to speculate that the wrestler may have snapped in an episode of “’roid rage.”

But Christopher Nowinski, a former professional wrestler who worked with Mr. Benoit, and who was forced to quit because of head injuries, said he believed that repeated, untreated concussions might have caused his friend to snap.

“He was one of the only guys who would take a chair shot to the back of the head,” Mr. Nowinski said, “which is stupid.”

Mr. Nowinski has written a book called “Head Games: Football’s Concussion Crisis” (Drummond Publishing Group, 2006), about chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a condition that can cause memory loss, depression and “bizarre, paranoid behavior.”

Mr. Nowinski said that he had been trying to persuade the coroner examining Mr. Benoit to allow a brain exam to look for the telltale neurofibrillary tangles in the brain’s cortex, but that he had thus far been rebuffed.

“Part of me hopes there was something wrong with his brain,” Mr. Nowinski said. “The Chris Benoit I knew was always more concerned about everybody else’s well-being than his own.”

e hënë, 25 qershor 2007

RIP Chris Benoit

no, no, no.....Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy "Woman" Benoit, and 7 year old son Daniel were found dead in their Atlanta area home.

A well-known professional wrestler and his family were found dead inside their house in Fayette County Monday afternoon.

Authorities confirmed that Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy and their 7-year-old son, Daniel, were found dead at the home on Quarters and Redwine roads in Fayetteville about 4 p.m.

Officials would not say how the family died, other than to say they weren't shot to death.

Benoit, a 40-year-old Canadian native maintained a home in metro Atlanta from the time he wrestled for the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling.

Most recently, Benoit fought as part of the World Wrestling Entertainment organization. WWE canceled its live show in Corpus Christi Monday night, and its broadcast of "Raw" on the USA Network was a three-hour retrospective on Benoit's career.

"Obviously, all sorts of speculation are running rampant but I have talked to so many people and nobody really knows [whether the couple was having marital troubles]," said Bryan Alvarez, who runs Figurefour Weekly, a wrestling newsletter and Web site, from Linwood, Washington.

Benoit was scheduled to appear in a pay-per-view title match Sunday night, but was a no-show due to a "family emergency," the WWE said during the broadcast.

Benoit's wife, Nancy, managed several wrestlers and went by the stage name, "Woman."

They met when her then-husband drew up a script that had them involved in a relationship as part of an ongoing storyline on World Championship Wrestling.

Soon after, the two became romantically involved in real life and married, Alvarez said.

Benoit has two other children from a prior relationship.

e shtunë, 23 qershor 2007

Hogan's house for sale

Here is the listing for Hogan's house.

Significant, gated Country French estate sitting high on a bluff with stunning views of the Intracoastal and Gulf of Mexico. One-of-a-kind manor featuring exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail with fine construction materials imported from around the world. Over 17,000 square feet of gracious living space featuring separate pool house and guest quarters. The more than one and a half acre gated property is beautifully manicured and spotted with century old oaks. Multiple garages, 2 boat lifts and floating dock provide plenty of room for cars and personal watercrafts. Exclusive tree-lined street located less than 30 minutes from both Executive and International airports. Enjoy the utmost in privacy and security behind the gates of this very special home.

e martë, 19 qershor 2007

Dan Wahlers rips Vinnie Mac a new one

Dan Wahlers lets Vince know how he feels about the death angle.

On behalf of the millions of people you
offended, I’m here to tell you that this entire
storyline is totally, 100 percent WRONG!!!!! It’s
wrong for all of the reasons I mentioned already.
It’s not going to do anything to help your business,
and if anything it’s going to, and already has turned
quite a few people off. You went way over the lines
of human decency, as you have done too many times in
the past.

The exploding limousine was one thing. The worked
stories on WWE.com, the ten bell salute, the
announcers on the air fake crying, the wrestlers
standing on the stage, the video testimonials from
your suck ass, gutless employees, that was all way too
much. It went from being something that might have
actually worked to being something that was just plain
damned disgusting and obscene.

It’s time for you to do the right thing, and end this
fiasco right now. Only you have the power to do it.
Only you have the power to put a stop to this.
Realize and admit that you made a mistake. Realize
and admit that you crossed the line, and offended a
lot of people. Realize and admit that you urinated
all over the memory of the wrestlers that have really
died over the years, and have had the ten bell salute
used to pay respect to them.

Realize and admit that doing something like this is
not the way improve your struggling PPV business, or
prop up your TV ratings. Realize and admit that the
death of "Sensational" Sherri Martel this past Friday
proves once again that death, and especially deaths in
wrestling is not something to be used as material for
your next storyline. Death is not something to be
trivialized in any way. It’s something that affects
people every day in the most real and tragic of ways.
Think about how those people feel watching trash like
this? Do you even care? I don’t know that you do.

I ask you to please pull the plug on this storyline
now. Use the idea I mentioned last week, about "your
body" being found badly burned, and the Mr, McMahon
character disappearing to recover for however many
months you want. That way you get away from the death
aspect of it, and you can build a reasonable storyline
for your return, which is what we all know you want to
do anyway.

But get away from the death aspect of the storyline.
End it all right here, and right now. Do the right
thing for once. Please. If you don’t, you will find
out in time that this was one of the biggest mistakes
you’ve ever made business-wise. And considering the
many blunders and missteps in your career, Vince, that
covers a hell of a lot of ground.

Concussions and Chris Nowinski

Article in the New York Times about sports related concussions, Chris Nowinski gets a mention.

Strzelczyk, 6 feet 6 inches and 300 pounds, was a monstrous presence on the Steelers’ offensive line from 1990-98. He was known for his friendly, banjo-playing spirit and gluttony for combat. He spiraled downward after retirement, however, enduring a divorce and dabbling with steroid-like substances, and soon before his death complained of depression and hearing voices from what he called “the evil ones.” He was experiencing an apparent breakdown the morning of Sept. 30, 2004, when, during a 40-mile high-speed police chase in central New York, his pickup truck collided with a tractor-trailer and exploded, killing him instantly.

Largely forgotten, Strzelczyk’s case was recalled earlier this year by Dr. Julian Bailes, the chairman of the department of neurosurgery at West Virginia University and the Steelers’ team neurosurgeon during Strzelczyk’s career. (Bailes is also the medical director of the University of North Carolina’s Center for the Study of Retired Athletes and has co-authored several prominent papers identifying links between concussions and later-life emotional and cognitive problems.) Bailes suggested to Omalu that Strzelczyk’s brain tissue might be preserved at the local coroner’s office, a hunch that proved correct.

Mary Strzelczyk granted permission to Omalu and his unlikely colleague, the former professional wrestler Christopher Nowinski, to examine her son’s brain for signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Nowinski, a former Harvard football player who retired from wrestling because of repeated concussions in both sports, has become a prominent figure in the field after spearheading the discovery earlier this year of C.T.E. inside the brain of Andre Waters, the former Philadelphia Eagles defensive back who committed suicide last November at age 44.

Tests for C.T.E., which cannot be performed on a living person other than through an intrusive tissue biopsy, confirmed the condition in Strzelczyk two weeks ago. Omalu and Nowinski visited Mary Strzelczyk’s home near Buffalo on Wednesday to discuss the family’s psychological history as well as any experiences Justin might have had with head trauma in and out of sports. Mary Strzelczyk did not recall her son’s having any concussions in high school, college or the N.F.L., and published Steelers injury reports indicated none as well.

Omalu remained confident that the damage was caused by concussions Strzelczyk might not have reported because — like many players of that era — he did not know what a concussion was or did not want to appear weak. Omalu also said that it could have developed from what he called “subconcussive impacts,” more routine blows to the head that linemen repeatedly endure.

“Could there be another cause? Not to my knowledge,” said Bailes, adding that Strzelczyk’s car crash could not have caused the C.T.E. tangles. Bailes also said that bipolar disorder, signs of which Strzelczyk appeared to be increasingly exhibiting in the months before his death, would not be caused, but perhaps could be exacerbated, by the encephalopathy.

Omalu and Bailes said Strzelczyk’s diagnosis is particularly notable because the condition manifested itself when he was in his mid-30s. The other players were 44 to 50 — several decades younger than what would be considered normal for their conditions — when they died: Long and Waters by suicide and Webster of a heart attack amid significant psychological problems.

Two months ago, Omalu examined the brain tissue of one other deceased player, the former Denver Broncos running back Damien Nash, who died in February at 24 after collapsing following a charity basketball game. (A Broncos spokesman said that the cause of death has yet to be identified.) Omalu said he was not surprised that Nash showed no evidence of C.T.E. because the condition could almost certainly not develop in someone that young. “This is a progressive disease,” he said.

Omalu and Nowinski said they were investigating several other cases of N.F.L. players who have recently died. They said some requests to examine players’ brain tissue have been either denied by families or made impossible because samples were destroyed.

Bailes, Nowinski and Omalu said that they were forming an organization, the Sports Legacy Institute, to help formalize the process of approaching families and conducting research. Nowinski said the nonprofit program, which will be housed at a university to be determined and will examine the overall safety of sports, would have an immediate emphasis on exploring brain trauma through cases like Strzelczyk’s. Published research has suggested that genetics can play a role in the effects of concussion on different people.

“We want to get a idea of risks of concussions and how widespread chronic traumatic encephalopathy is in former football players,” Nowinski said. “We are confident there are more cases out there in more sports.”

RIP, Sensational Sherri

Sensational Sherri Martel has passed away at 49.

Sherri Schrull died quietly at her mother’s house on Friday afternoon. But “Sensational Sherri," as professional wrestling fans knew her, lived loudly.

Considered one of the first ladies of wrestling, Sherri Martel, 49, was a WWE Hall of Famer, and an AWA and WWF championship titleholder.

Her husband found her dead at her mother’s home in the McCalla community on the Tuscaloosa-Jefferson County line Friday afternoon, said Capt. Loyd Baker, commander of the Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide Unit.

Baker said foul play is not suspected.

“The cause of death is pending her autopsy and toxicology report," he said Monday.

She had gone to bed because she wasn’t feeling well, Baker said, and her husband later found her unresponsive at 12:45 p.m. at the home on Eastern Valley Road, where she had been living for the past year.

Martel wrestled in the 1980s but became more high profile when she “managed" wrestling superstars like Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, and “Macho Man" Randy Savage. She was notorious for antagonizing good guys in professional wrestling.

Professional wrestling managers hardly perform typical managerial duties. They function as sidekicks, usually for villains, whose antics turn the audience against the wrestler.

“She was very good at knowing what to do ringside to get people agitated and interested," said Bruce Mitchell, a columnist for the Pro Wrestling Torch newsletter and Web site. “You knew you would get a show when you watched Sensational Sherri."

Martel wore elaborate costumes that fit her persona; she would paint her face with dramatic make-up. When she managed, she was known to run around ringside swinging at wrestlers with a brick-filled purse or a shoe.

“She’d dress up like a wicked witch in a bridal costume, for example," Mitchell said. “She was way over the top."

Martel, however, was unlike the busty, bikini-clad female wrestlers on television today, he said.

“She would fall into a table, get thrown around the ring and never complain. She loved it."

“Everyone respected her. She was an attractive lady, but she wasn’t just eye-candy," he said. “She was really a pioneer and a trailblazer."

Interviews with Martel published online indicate that she was born Sherri Russell in New Orleans. She said in one interview that she grew up watching wrestling matches with her mother and began training at 20. She trained under the famous “The Fabulous Moolah," reputedly the first female wrestling champion.

She broke into the business by wrestling at small promotional events in Memphis and working her way up.

She was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.

“She paved the road for a lot of others to follow," WWE chairman Vince McMahon said at the event.

Wrestling fans have posted tribute videos and messages to Martel on Internet sites like YouTube.

Mitchell said that Martel, despite her status in the community, was just a wrestling fan herself. He said he saw her at conventions and events in recent years.

“She was just like a fan, having a good time and hanging out," he said.

e diel, 17 qershor 2007

Paul Wight, aka The Big Show

Article in my local paper today about Paul Wight: The large price of fame and fortune

There was a moment when the giant looked reborn. He moved with grace, bounced his fist off his opponent’s skull, primed himself for victory.

What a way to go out it would be, to retire as world heavyweight champion. The Big Show is winning this wrestling match, pounding Bobby Lashley into oblivion. The only thing left is the Big Show’s finishing move, the devastating ...

Hold it. In a flash, Lashley flips the switch. Now he is pounding the Big Show. One ... two ... three punches and a running elbow that knocks the giant on his back. This is no way to go out — no way to begin the final descent of the Big Show’s career, looking up at a snarling opponent.

Look around. Thousands have piled into James Brown Arena on this night, a Sunday in December. They came for this, to watch this main event and to watch the Big Show, who grew up less than an hour from the arena. In here, he is an attraction. Listed at 7 feet and 507 pounds, he is something to see. He is one of the largest characters in a business of tall tales.

Out there, outside the ring and beyond the spotlights, he is Paul Wight. He grew up in New Holland, a town in rural Aiken County. He was a football player and all-state basketball player at Batesburg’s W.W. King Academy.

In here, he is marketable. His size has earned him millions of dollars, a house on a Florida lake and a diverse career as a wrestler, actor and businessman. Without his looming body, none of it would have been possible.

Out there, his size represents a health risk. Wight is morbidly obese and has an enlarged heart. His work and travel schedules allow little time for proper rest and nutrition, which has prevented many of his injuries from healing. He cannot stand for more than a few minutes. He cannot sit for much longer.

Wight is 35 years old, but his mother, Dorothy, says her only son’s body operates as if it were 40 years older.

Wight’s size was partly caused by a tumor on his pituitary gland, which controls growth and tells most bodies to stop growing at a certain age. The tumor, which prevented those signals from reaching his brain, was removed when Wight was 19 ... and 7 feet tall ... and nearly 350 pounds.

It would seem even if he never wrestles, that Wight will be OK.

Three months after his WWE contract expired, Wight is gone. He is gone from wrestling. Gone from the United States and its demands. Reality, it would appear, can wait.

Dorothy Wight said her son and his wife, Bess, spent last month on vacation in Greece. It is Wight’s chance to relax, unbutton his trousers and exhale.

For now, Wight can wrestle when he wants — and not one match more. A report on a pro wrestling Web site stated Wight wrestled Hulk Hogan, a longtime friend, last month in a small-promotion show in Memphis.

During a news conference before that match, Wight said he no longer would wrestle under the name “the Big Show,” a moniker he jokingly referred to in April as his “slave name.”

Wight said he was tired of living at the mercy of others, presumably promoters who profit from his obesity. It is a role he has played for more than a decade and one he played flawlessly. Wight sacrificed his body and his health in exchange for fame and fortune. It is a trade that eventually wore thin.

Dorothy Wight said Bess, who also works as Wight’s manager, has invested much of the money Wight earned from his various occupations. Dorothy Wight said the couple would have no problem living comfortably, even if Wight never returns to wrestling.

Wight has lived 35 years as a giant, part of a tall tale. He might spend the next decade undoing the damage he did to his body during the past 13 years. Wight said during the Memphis news conference that he had lost 60 pounds since retiring after the December show in Augusta. He said he feels better, mentally and physically, than he has in more than a decade.

“Paul Wight, not the Big Show, is very intelligent,” Dorothy Wight says. “Paul Wight is funny. He’s articulate. He’s a clown. He reads. He’s Stephen King and Star Trek. Heavy stuff. When you get to know Paul the guy, he’s a good, loyal friend.”

Wight came to a crossroad that night in Augusta. There was something about the way he walked up the ramp after losing to Lashley. There was something about the way he paused and stared into the crowd. It was as if he was saying goodbye.

Less than 50 miles from his home, where the growth started and the wild stories of a giant man took flight, Wight turned and walked away. It was in Augusta that Paul Wight took the first steps out of the Big Show’s skin.

Perhaps Wight realized tall tales are better without a sad ending.


I've been blogging about politics for years, but I'm frustrated with things so I am creating this wrestling blog, as I love wrestling. So enjoy! I leave you with a video from youtube featuring the Dynamite Kid vs Tiger Mask.