Bret Hitman Hart Honoured In Calgary For His Canada Walk Of Fame Induction
The full nickname might not fit on a plaque, but in the professional wrestling world, he’s known as “The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.” He’s also known as “The Excellence of Execution.” And “The Hitman.” On Monday, a special hometown celebration was held in Calgary to celebrate Bret Hart’s latest designation: member of Canada’s Walk of Fame. Born in Calgary, Hart attended Ernest Manning High School and Mount Royal College before joining the family trade. Hart’s father, Stu Hart, is credited as having trained some of the top names in professional wrestling promotions, such as Edge and Chris Jericho.
The younger Hart went on to become one of the most popular professional wrestlers of all time. Now 65, Hart took the podium on Monday at the Victoria Pavilion in Calgary, a site that regularly hosted events for his father’s Stampede Wrestling. He said it would never occur to his five-year-old self, selling wrestling programs in the front of the Victoria Pavilion for Stampede Wrestling shows, that one day he would be recognized in such a way. Canada’s Walk of Fame consists of a series of maple leaf-shaped stars situated along 13 blocks of sidewalks in Toronto. Previous inductees include a variety of Canadian actors, athletes, scientists and others.
Each inductee to the Walk of Fame receives a $10,000 donation to the charity or cause of their choice. As a part of his induction, Hart chose to split the money between the Siksika Nation’s SN7 youth program and the Water First charity, which is focused on providing access to safe, clean water in Indigenous communities in Canada. Monday’s ceremony also included traditional drumming from Siksika’s Sorrel Rider Drum Group and a blessing from Elder Clement Leather. Calgary singer Kaiya Gamble sang the national anthem and a song dedicated to Hart.
Unboxing The Funko Pop Of A WWE & WWC Legend!!!
RIP Scott Hall aka Razor Ramon
Scott Oliver Hall, an American professional wrestler and WWE Hall of Famer Scott Hall has passed away at the age of 63. He was known for his work within the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) as Razor Ramon and with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) under his real name. Hall suffered a broken hip in a fall earlier this month. He underwent surgery for the broken hip, but a blood clot was dislodged and that led to Hall suffering three heart attacks this past weekend. Hall’s longtime friend, WWE Hall of Famer Kevin Nash, posted a touching tribute and announced that he was placed on life support late last night, but he was then removed at around 12 noon ET this afternoon.
Hall began his career in 1984, before rising to prominence after signing with the WWF in May 1992, assuming the name Razor Ramon. While within the company, he won the WWF Intercontinental Championship four times. He departed the company in May 1996, and subsequently defected to WCW, where he became a founding member of the New World Order (nWo) faction, along with Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash. In the company, he became a two-time WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, a one-time WCW World Television Champion, and a nine-time WCW World Tag Team Champion. He left WCW in February 2000, and returned to the WWF (later renamed WWE) for a short stint in 2002.
He spent the rest of his career wrestling for various promotions, such as Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), where he held the TNA World Tag Team Championship once, with Kevin Nash and Eric Young. Although he never won a world championship in a major promotion, Hall was nonetheless a two-time world champion, as he held the WWC Universal Heavyweight Championship and the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as a singles competitor in 2014, and again as a member of the nWo in 2020.
Hall married Dana Lee Burgio in 1990. They divorced in 1998 due to Hall’s drug use. They remarried in 1999 and divorced again in 2001. He had a son (Cody Taylor, born 1991) and a daughter (Cassidy Lee, born March 27, 1995). Hall married his second wife Jessica Hart, in 2006. The marriage lasted for only a year when they divorced in 2007. In 1983, Hall was charged with second-degree murder after shooting a man with his own gun (after wrestling it away from him) in an altercation outside of a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. According to Hall, this was done in self-defense. The charges were dropped due to lack of evidence. In a 2011 interview for ESPN, Hall said he is unable to forget the incident.
In March 2022, Hall was hospitalized after falling and breaking his hip. After Hall underwent hip surgery, a blood clot was dislodged, resulting in him suffering three heart attacks on March 12, after which he was put on life support in Wellstar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Georgia. He was taken off life support on March 14 and WWE announced his death later that day.
RIP Road Warrior Animal
I’m a few days late but Joe Laurinaitis, better known to pro wrestling fans as Road Warrior Animal, has died at the age of 60, according to the WWE. Along with Road Warrior Hawk, he was one half of the tag team The Road Warriors/The Legion of Doom. He headlined multiple pay-per-view events for the WWF and WCW, competing for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at 2001’s Sin. Laurinaitis was born in Philadelphia on September 12, 1960 to Lithuanian parents. He grew up in Minnesota, having to work for a living from a very early age. He worked as a bouncer at Grandma B’s in the Twin Cities where he caught the eye of Eddie Sharkey, a well-known wrestling trainer. Sharkey thought that Laurinaitis and Mike Hegstrand, Richard Rood, and Barry Darsow could make it big in professional wrestling, and trained all four of them.
Laurinaitis made his debut in November 1982, competing as The Road Warrior using a biker gimmick. After only a few matches as a singles competitor, his career and life would change thanks to an idea by Paul Ellering. When Paul Ellering was looking to put together a stable of heels in Georgia Championship Wrestling (GCW) called “The Legion of Doom”, it was decided to put Laurinaitis together with his good friend Mike Hegstrand and change their names to “Animal” and “Hawk” respectively. Thus, the Road Warriors were born. Known for their rough and tough, take-no-prisoners personas, as well as their face paint and spikes, Laurinaitis and Hegstrand were dominant, particularly in the 1980s, becoming tag-team champions in the AWA, NWA, WCW and WWE. The Road Warriors were a popular team both stateside and in Japan, where they were often featured attractions. The Road Warriors were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011 and received tag team of the year honors from Pro Wrestling Illustrated from 1983 to 1985 and in 1988.
To look more intimidating, the two shaved their heads into Mohawks and started wearing studded dog collars, spiked shoulder pads, and face paint. The look and name were taken from The Road Warrior, helping to paint the two as no-mercy monsters. Their interview style was vicious, yet charismatic and a bit humorous. From the iconic face paint to metal spikes to the feeling one got when hearing, “What a rush,” Animal and Hawk brought the crowds to their feet around the world. They led the tag team landscape in multiple promotions, winning titles in multiple organizations and ultimately being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Laurinaitis made some non-wrestling appearances in WCW in 1993. On August 18, at the Clash of the Champions XXIV, Animal made his appearance, getting out of a black Camaro Z28 indicating his partner Hawk was Dustin Rhodes’ mystery partner against Rick Rude and The Equalizer. On September 19, at Fall Brawl, Animal was the advisor for Sting’s team.
In January 2001 Animal returned with a prominent position in WCW as the “enforcer” of the stable known as The Magnificent Seven with the objective to protect WCW World Champion Scott Steiner. Laurinaitis released an autobiography with William Andrew Wright titled The Road Warriors: Danger, Death, and the Rush of Wrestling on March 1, 2011 published by Medallion Press, Inc. The book talks about the rise of The Road Warriors, shares funny stories of life on the road, and offers behind-the-scenes accounts of professional wrestling. Animal made his mark not only in the ring, but backstage as well and as the news came of his passing, wrestlers took to social media to reflect on their friend and his influence. Animal was inducted with Hawk and their manager Paul Ellering into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.
WWE Legend Undertaker Retires
WWE wrestling star The Undertaker has received an outpouring of support on social media after saying he had “no desire to get back in the ring”. The 55-year-old, whose real name is Mark Calaway, said in a recent documentary that there was “nothing left for [him] to conquer”. His words suggest plans to retire after a career spanning three decades. But neither Mr Calaway nor the WWE have formally announced his retirement from the league. The Dead Man, as he is nicknamed, made the comments during the new WWE biopic The Last Ride. He spoke about his most recent match against wrestler AJ Styles, which ended with him burying his opponent and riding away on a motorcycle.
He said he would consider returning for one last match, but that “only time would tell”. Mr Calaway has been a multiple world heavyweight champion, six-time tag team title holder and winner of the Royal Rumble. He began his career with World Class Championship Wrestling in 1987, and moved to the WWE in the 1990s as a final member of Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Team. Mr Calaway is also known as a WWE pioneer. He was part of the first Casket Match at Survivor Series in 1992, the first Buried Alive match in 1996 and the inaugural Hell in a Cell match in 1997. Despite enormous popularity, however, he has not chosen to follow superstars like John Cena or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson into movies. He told the BBC last month that he “had opportunities to do so” but had decided against it.
On Sunday, he tweeted a clip from The Last Ride and wrote “you can never appreciate how long the road was until you’ve driven to the end”. His revelation has prompted a wave of supportive messages on social media, using the hashtag #ThankYouTaker. AJ Styles said he would be “honoured” if their fight had been The Undertaker’s last. There has been speculation in previous years about his retirement. In 2017, after losing a match to Roman Reigns, Mr Calaway dropped his iconic gloves, hat and trenchcoat in the middle of the ring before walking backstage.
Although to be fair in the wrestling world retirements are seldom certainties so we might see him again.
RIP “Mean” Gene Okerlund
Legendary professional wrestling ringside interviewer and commentator “Mean” Gene Okerlund passed away on Wednesday, WWE confirmed. He was 76. Okerlund was a prominent figure during the 1980s and was the lead interviewer for the then WWF. After the 1990s he made few returns to the company. He was referred to as “Mean” Gene by Jesse “The Body” Ventura during his commentary stint though he was always an affable figure backstage.
Gene Okerlund was born in 1942 and became famous after becoming an interviewer for the American Wrestling Association (AWA). He joined WWE in1984 and quickly became a staple in the company by interviewing stars like Hulk Hogan, Andre The Giant, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior and many more. Okerlund moved to the rival World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1993 and became their lead announcer. In WCW he worked with legends like Sting, Ric Flair, Diamond Dallas Page, Goldberg. After making his return to WWE, Okerlund was inducted into the Hall of Fame on April 1, 2006, by Hogan. Okerlund made his last appearance on television in January 2018 when he appeared on the 25th-anniversary episode of Raw to interview AJ Styles.
Okerlund had been married to his wife Jeanne since March 27, 1964 and had two grown children. Gene’s son Todd starred on the University of Minnesota ice hockey team from 1983 to 1987. Todd played on the 1988 United States Olympics team that competed in Calgary. He played four games with the NHL’s New York Islanders. A chronic knee injury ultimately forced his early retirement.
Ever Thought About Becoming A Wrestler? Now Is The Time To Act
The world of wrestling and sports entertainment is a truly fascinating environment. Whether you grew up with Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold, John Cena, or Daniel Bryan doesn’t matter. You’ve probably had dreams about stepping inside the squared circle for yourself.
Spoiler alert: getting into the WWE roster is almost impossible. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t get into wrestling by joining a school with a view to joining an independent promotion. Here’s why 2019 is the year to do it.
Wrestlers Enjoy A Greater Status Than Ever Before
At the top end of the scale, wrestlers even have the opportunity to become mayors! Likewise, the crossover of WWE stars to UFC and Hollywood has seen their stock rise. Meanwhile, many of the smaller promotions are now blessed with big name stars, even if they only do guest spots. Essentially, then, the stigma and condescending elements surrounding wrestling have gone. If you want to try wrestling out, you will command greater respect than in previous generations.
The Opportunities Are There For Women Too
While the WWE has always had women wrestlers, they were often eye candy and little more. Nowadays, Vinnie Mac’s global giant champions the athletic ability of the women’s division. The fact that Ronda Rousey is signed to the company says it all. Crucially, the WWE is still the trendsetter, even though smaller operations do things with their unique quirks. As women thrive in the big pond, the opportunities continue to grow across the board.
Wrestling Improves Your Life
Given that wrestling is likely to start as a hobby, you will need it to bring some value to your life. Aside from the obvious benefits of getting fitter, it can encourage you to become more confident and a better speaker. It’ll also train your brain to think quickly and make instant reactionary decisions. So, grab some awesome wrestling shoes and hit the nearest locker room as soon as possible. It could be the start of a truly life-changing time in your life.
It’s Better Than Living With Regret
There’s nothing worse than looking back on life with regrets. If you’ve been thinking about wrestling, it’s probably not a one-off thought. It’s something you’ve wanted to do for several years. Conquering your fears and pushing yourself to the limit in this sense will unlock a far happier future. Not only will you discover whether wrestling is right for you or not, you should also gain a mindset that will help you in other areas. Wondering ‘what if’ is the last thing you need.
You Just Never Know
If you’re going to become a wrestler, it’s OK to have dreams of joining the WWE. Nonetheless, you must accept that the odds are stacked against you. Thankfully, though, there could soon be a new big hitter in town as the Khan family’s new promotion is set to challenge the WWE. Seriously, All Elite Wrestling could change everything. So, if you become a talented ringmaster over the coming months and years, a future career as a professional wrestler may yet be on the cards.
RIP Dynamite Kid
Thomas Billington (5 December 1958 – 5 December 2018 ), best known by the ring name the Dynamite Kid, was a British professional wrestler. He died on his 60th birthday. He competed in the World Wrestling Federation, Stampede Wrestling, All Japan Pro Wrestling, and New Japan Pro Wrestling in the mid-to-late-1980s. With his cousin Davey Boy Smith, he is also known for having been one half of the tag team The British Bulldogs. He also had notable feuds with Tiger Mask in Japan and Bret Hart in Canada.
Billington had been battling with a multitude of health issues for several years after being left consigned to a wheelchair following the end his career. Billington rose to fame in the 1980s alongside his tag-team partner Davey Boy Smith, who was better known as The British Bulldog. The pair won the WWF Tag Team Championship in 1995 at Wrestlemania 2, where they defeated Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine. Billington’s career looked to be over in 1986 when he broke his back in a match against Don Muraco and Bob Orton Jr, the father of Randy Orton. He was told he’d never wrestle again but battled back from his debilitating injury to compete for the WWE in 1988 before joining Stampede Wrestling and All-Japan Pro Wrestling.
His final wrestling match took place on 10 October 1996, at a Michinoku Pro event called These Days. The match was promoted as a “Legends of High-Flying” six-man tag featuring Dynamite paired with Dos Caras and Kuniaki Kobayashi against The Great Sasuke, Mil Máscaras, and Tiger Mask. Dynamite’s body had degenerated to the point where he was “practically skin and bones”, as the bottom portion of his tights were very loose. In the end, Dynamite delivered his trademark tombstone piledriver on Great Sasuke, leading Dos Caras to powerbomb Sasuke for the pin. While at the airport to return home on the next day, Dynamite had a second seizure (the first one was in 1987) and was sent to the hospital immediately.
In 1991, he was divorced from his first wife Michelle Smadu (the sister of Bret Hart’s then-wife Julie), with whom Billington had one son and two daughters (Marek, Bronwyne and Amaris). Following the end of his marriage to Michelle, he moved from Canada back home to Wigan with his parents. There he married for a second time to a woman named Dot, with her he had three stepsons; John, Steven and Mark.
Kane Elected Mayor
Former WWE Champion whose character is a masked fire-summoning monster — won his election for mayor of Knox County Tennessee. The pro wrestler-turned-republican-candidate took a 2-1 lead early in the polls against Linda Haney. Kane, whose real name is Glen Jacobs, had not shied away from his association with wrestling. In fact, his campaign shirts were directly influenced by popular wrestling shirts throughout the years. He even had help from various wrestlers making appearances, most notably by his WWE legend and ‘brother’ The Undertaker.
Kane has appeared sparingly on WWE shows like Raw and Smackdown over the last few months. Just recently, Kane briefly teamed up Daniel Bryan, a former WWE Champion who once formed the tag team named Team Hell No. They took on Smackdown tag team champions The Bludgeon Brothers and lost. Now that Jacobs is mayor-elect, his full-time wrestling days may be coming to a close, atleast for a while.
The 6-foot-8, 300-pound WWE wrestler sparked worldwide buzz when he eked out the Republican nomination in May. He bested Knox County Commissioner Brad Anders by just 23 votes after a chaotic election night marked by questions about provisional ballots and a cyberattack that crashed the county’s website for displaying election results. Haney faced an uphill battle in the heavily Republican Knox County, which President Donald Trump carried by 24 percentage points in 2016. The only Democrat to fill the county’s top job, Tommy Schumpert, served as county executive from 1994 to 2002, before the position was called mayor.
RIP Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
Raymond Louis Heenan, better known as Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, was an American professional wrestling manager, wrestler and color commentator, best known for his time with the American Wrestling Association (AWA), the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He was known for his skill in drawing heel heat for himself and his wrestlers, and for his on-screen repartee with Gorilla Monsoon as a color commentator. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004, by Blackjack Lanza. Heenan, 73, who worked as a wrestler, professional wrestling manager and commentator for more than 40 years, was “regarded by many as the greatest manager in sports-entertainment history,” the WWE said in a statement. It was reported in May 2016 that Heenan was hospitalized following a fall. After early success in the World Wrestling Association (WWA) and the American Wrestling Association (AWA), Heenan was signed by the WWE in 1984. His first managerial client as part of the promotion was WWE Hall of Famer Big John Studd.
Throughout his years as a manager, Heenan formed what would come to be known as the Heenan Family, a group of superstars whom he managed. Among them were Andre the Giant, Ric Flair, Paul Orndorff, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect and Harley Race. All of those names also hold their rightful places in the WWE Hall of Fame. Heenan himself was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004. The undeniable charisma and wit displayed by Heenan as a manager soon transitioned to the commentary table, where he formed an acclaimed pairing with Gorilla Monsoon. Their verbal exchanges, which included Heenan’s one-liners with Monsoon’s flabbergasted responses, set the standard for professional wrestling commentary.
Heenan left the WWE and joined WCW in 1994 but returned to the WWE when Vince McMahon bought out WCW in 2001 at WrestleMania 17 alongside Mean Gene Okerlund. They served as guest commentators for the Gimmick Battle Royal, a match featuring 19 WWE alumni. He has written two career memoirs, 2002’s Bobby The Brain: Wrestling’s Bad Boy Tells All, and 2004’s Chair Shots and Other Obstacles: Winning Life’s Wrestling Matches which has an introduction by Ric Flair. Both books were co-written by Steve Anderson. In 2004, he joined former WCW commentators Tony Schiavone and Larry Zbyszko in providing commentary for the video game Showdown: Legends of Wrestling. He also appeared in interviews for The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior DVD in 2005. WWE released a retrospective two-disc DVD set of his career on December 28, 2010.
I haven’t been watching WWE or any wrestling since 2007. I used to be such a big fan of the sports entertainment shows like WWE and WCW (which for a while I even preferred to WWE) but events from 2007 soured my taste for the wrestling showbiz. Still I kept in touch for a while until completely ignoring it and almost forgetting to keep tabs on stuff. I just found out a few minutes ago that a wrestler of Indian origin is the current WWE Champion. So after a stint as a promoter for the Great Khali and being released from his contract, Jinder came back in 2016, improving his body condition and received a push after WrestleMania 33, culminating with a win over Randy Orton at Backlash in May 2017 for the WWE Championship, making him the 50th WWE Champion and the first wrestler of Indian descent to win the title.
Jinder Mahal is the stage name for Yuvraj Singh Dhesi a Canadian of Punjabi origins from Calgary, Alberta, Canada who began his professional wrestling career at the Martial Arts Fitness Center in Calgary, Alberta, training with Rick Bognar. At Money In the Bank in May, with WWE Hall of Famers Ric Flair and ‘Cowboy’ Bob Orton Jr. at ringside, Mahal defeated Orton, successfully retaining his WWE Championship in the process. When an irate Orton demanded another match, Shane McMahon granted it, but Mahal was allowed to choose the stipulation, and made it a Punjabi Prison match. During this promo, Mahal referred to The Great Khali as his “personal hero” and ignored their past animosity. At Battleground, Mahal defeated Orton to retain the WWE Championship after interference from Khali, who made a surprise return to WWE.
Interrogation is a 2016 American action film directed by Stephen Reynolds from a screenplay by Adam Rodin and Michael Finch. The film, from WWE productions stars former wrestler Adam “Edge” Copeland and C.J. “Lana” Perry, Patrick Sabongui, Julia Benson and Peter McNulty. The film is the 3rd installment in the Action Six Pack series of films. The film was released on direct-to-DVD in the United States on September 20, 2016.
This movie, shot in Vancouver, Canada with almost all Canadian cast would be of particular interest to WWE and wrestling fans due to the WWE connection. An action thriller, starring former wrestling superstar Edge as an FBI agent Lucas Nolan specialized in interrogation. We see him go in to the middle of a shootout where a terrorist is pumping out bullets from a machine gun. He counts down the number of rounds the gun can shoot and the time interval in seconds that the shooter needs to reload and he bursts in and takes him down, alive. After Vasti, a Middle Easter sounding man walks into an FBI building in Minneapolis and admits to a bomb that explodes nearby, he is arrested and held for questioning.
Mark Law brings in his friend Nolan who he has worked with before which doesn’t sit well with agent Sara Ward. Assisting the team is IT specialist Becky. As Nolan questions Vasti, the criminal mastermind riddles him with clues in his rhetoric. While the others think Vasti is just saying cocky speeches about hating the western world, Nolan is able to pinpoint clues to the whereabouts of further bomb sites and drags Vasti along as they get to the first place. The team is able to avoid loss of human life as the bomb explodes and then move on to Vasti’s apartment where they find more clues. There are fights and shooting and all that which comes in a typical action packed thriller. But the twist comes at the end, when Nolan and Vasti are thought to have died while the former is trying to defuse a bomb at the Federal Reserve building.
The other FBI agents are forced to step out of the vault that Vasti & Nolan are in as the terrorist holds Nolan hostage, having stolen the gun from Sara. Nolan steps in the exchange himself with Sara and triggers the alarm by pushing some money off a table. When it becomes 6pm, the power comes back on in the area which will detonate the bomb in the vault, which Vasti meant to damage the American economy. A virus that Vasti planted erases a lot of data in the FBI systems including records of him. At a eulogy for Nolan, while the FBI pays homage to him, we see Vasti & Nolan incognito outside the building! The two were in on the plan together having grown up as friends since they were kids. Vasti has no middle eastern accent and they spent 5 years giving him an alias hard to track. Before the bomb explodes they transfer money out to a secret account and escape through a shaft. As the two friends leave the vicinity of the FBI building, they then go and meet Nolan’s father, an ex-criminal who was arrested and in prison for many years. With fake passports and a private plane waiting for them, the three of them are set to leave for a new life in parts unknown.
Cheap effects but the movie is watchable. Acting isn’t that great but it’s ok for a dull afternoon. If you like wrestling you might be a fan of Edge and hence give this low budget film a watch. 5.5 outta 10!
RIP Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka
Former professional wrestler Jimmy Snuka has has died, aged 73. The Fijian who was popularly known as “Superfly” had been living in hospice care and was told in late 2016 that he had just months to live. Snuka wrestled for several promotions from the 1970s to 2010s. He was best known for his time in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) in the early to mid-1980s and was credited with introducing the high-flying style of wrestling to the WWF. He was inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame in 1996. Snuka was the first WrestleMania opponent of The Undertaker (at the seventh annual event), this being the first match in The Undertaker’s undefeated WrestleMania streak. Snuka was the inaugural ECW Heavyweight Champion (a title he held twice) in Eastern Championship Wrestling (later Extreme Championship Wrestling). His children, Jimmy Reiher, Jr. and Tamina Snuka, are also wrestlers.
Snuka was indicted and arrested in September 2015 on third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter charges, in relation to the May 1983 death of his girlfriend, Nancy Argentino, who died from injuries a coroner described as consistent with domestic violence. In the decades before the criminal charges, Argentino’s suspected homicide was a cold case in which Snuka was the only suspect. Snuka pleaded not guilty, but was ultimately found unfit to stand trial in June 2016 due to being diagnosed with dementia. His health had further declined, and in December 2016 his legal representative announced he had 6 months left to live due to his terminal illness. The charges were dismissed on January 3, 2017, when Snuka was deemed unfit to stand trial. He died twelve days later.
Snuka was the part-owner of Body Slam University and Coastal Championship Wrestling in South Florida with Dan Ackerman and Bruno Sassi. He wrote an autobiography, Superfly: The Jimmy Snuka Story, which was published on December 1, 2012. Snuka was married three times. His second marriage was to Sharon, with whom he had four children: Sarona, James, Jr., Liana, and Ata. His third marriage was to Carole on September 4, 2004. He was stepfather to Carole’s three children: Bridget, Richard, and Dennis.
RIP Mr. Fuji
The WWE announced on their website that Hall of Famer Harry Fujiwara, known to WWE fans as Mr. Fuji, passed away this morning at the age of 82. He was infamous for often throwing salt in the eyes of face wrestlers. Although he was billed as Japanese, he was a Japanese American born in Hawaii. Fuji spent more than 30 years entertaining fans worldwide as both an in-ring competitor and one of WWE’s greatest managers. A five-time WWE World Tag Team Champion, Fuji was infamous for keeping small bags of salt in his tights which he would throw into his opponents’ eyes. After retiring from the ring, Fuji managed a litany of WWE’s most feared Superstars, such as George “The Animal” Steele, Kamala, Killer Khan, Demolition, The Powers of Pain, Yokozuna and most notably, “Magnificent” Don Muraco. With Muraco, Fuji treated WWE fans to the classic Fuji Vice, Fuji General, Fuji Bandito and Fuji Chan series. These series were ahead of their time because spoofing successful television shows as they tried to break into Hollywood was the epitome of sports-entertainment.
His career will be remembered by different generations for different reasons but Mr. Fuji, whether as a Superstar or manager, is one of the most entertaining performers in the history of WWE. Fuji’s greatest success and popularity as a manager came in November 1992 when he introduced the mammoth Yokozuna to the WWF. Under Fuji’s tutelage, Yokozuna won the 1993 Royal Rumble match and two WWF World Championships, first from Bret Hart at WrestleMania IX, and again from Hulk Hogan at King of the Ring. Later that year, Fuji was joined by “spokesman” James E. Cornette. In late 1993, Fuji once again began managing Crush after he turned on Randy Savage. During this time he again changed his appearance, abandoning the tuxedo and bowler hat in favor of a traditional Japanese kimono and carrying the Japanese flag.
Fuji was last seen accompanying Yokozuna to the ring for a six-man tag team match involving Yokozuna against “Camp Cornette” at WrestleMania 12. By this point Yokozuna had fired Cornette and became a fan favorite; Fuji joined him in the endeavor, even carrying the American flag at times. Fuji left the WWF shortly after and retired from the pro wrestling business.After leaving wrestling, Fujiwara retired to the city of Knoxville, Tennessee. In 1997, he sued the makers of the video game WCW vs. nWo World Tour, claiming that the character “Master Fuji” was based on him. Though the basis of this character was actually Japanese wrestler Yoshiaki Fujiwara (no relation), it was actually close enough to Mr. Fuji that the lawsuit was settled in Fujiwara’s favor.
RIP Joanie Laurer Aka Chyna
The official page of former WWE star Joanie “Chyna” Laurer is reporting the former WWE star has passed away at the age of 45. Laurer’s manager has confirmed she was found dead Wednesday at her home in Redondo Beach, California, but the exact cause of death is unknown at this stage. Sources close to the situation claim Chyna had been on medication for anxiety and sleep deprivation and the possibility of an overdose is being investigated.
She became a wrestling star after debuting in 1995, and her close bond with Triple H saw her become one of the original members of D-Generation X — the famous tag team comprised of herself, Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Rick Rude. She was one of the biggest drawcards for WWE, even going on to fight in singles matches against the men. She won several belts, including the Intercontinental championship. Such was her success and popularity she was promoted as the “Ninth Wonder of the World”. Her fame on the wrestling stage helped her branch out into other areas once her career finished.
She appeared on reality TV program The Surreal Life more than a decade ago, then went into the porn industry, releasing six films between 2004-2013. The relationship between Triple H, her former real-life boyfriend, and Stephanie McMahon (with whom Laurer claims he had an affair and then left her for), was a major factor in her dismissal. She left the WWF on November 30, 2001, several months after she had been taken off of television. In 2007, then-WWE employee Jim Ross claimed that she was not fired, but rather chose to leave for personal reasons. Laurer, in a 2015 interview with Vince Russo, stated that after a meeting with Vince McMahon about the Stephanie McMahon situation, she was sent home and was later sent a fax telling her that she was not needed anymore.
In 2002, Laurer joined New Japan Pro Wrestling and made her first appearance at the New Japan Thirtieth Anniversary Show, refereeing a bout between the Steiner Brothers and Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kensuke Sasaki. In September and October 2002, she wrestled several matches for the promotion. During the May 3, 2011, tapings of the May 12 edition of Impact!, Chyna made her TNA debut, introduced by the returning Spike TV network consultant Mick Foley. He introduced her as Kurt Angle’s business associate (she had been previously referred to as his Mistress) and tag team partner at Sacrifice, where they would face Jeff Jarrett and Karen Jarrett. During the taping she also took part in a battle royal, from which she eliminated Jeff.
RIP “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
The Wrestling world loses another legend taken much before his time. Legend and cult-film favorite “Rowdy” Roddy Piper has died after suffering a heart attack at his Hollywood home at the age of 61. He earned the nickname “Rowdy” by displaying his trademark “Scottish” rage, spontaneity and quick wit. Despite being a crowd favorite for his rock star-like persona, he often played a villain. Aside from his ring name, he was also known by the nickname “Hot Rod”.
Born Roderick George Toombs, in Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) Canada, Roddy Piper rose to success as a member of the World Wrestling Federation after working in various lower-tiered pro-wrestling organizations, including the National Wrestling Alliance, throughout the ’70s. After joining the WWF in 1984, Piper started out as a manager for up-and-coming combatants in the squared circle. Toombs’ character, “Rowdy,” was perpetually clad in a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Hot Rod” and a kilt; he would enter the ring to a bagpipe theme and say he heralded from “Glasgow, Scotland,” despite actually being raised in Winnipeg. Piper headlined several major pay-per-view events; he participated in the main events of WrestleMania I and WrestleMania X – as a special guest referee in the latter. Never a world champion, he nevertheless accumulated 34 championships in various promotions during his career. Piper was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005 and named No. 1 of the Top 50 villains in wrestling history by WWE.
A formidable opponent in the ring, Piper truly found his calling as a trash-talking shit starter when he began hosting “Piper’s Pit,” a segment where Piper would insult and antagonize other members of the WWF universe. Some of the more infamous segments on his talk show-inspired segment included being manhandled by Andre The Giant after insinuating that the big guy may not be very intelligent and smashing a coconut over “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka’s head. He also starred in several movies including Hell Comes To Frogtown, Body Slam & They Live. He leaves behind his wife Kitty, 4 children and a grandchild.
Roderick “Roddy” George Toombs (April 17, 1954 – July 30, 2015)
RIP Dusty Rhodes
Virgil Runnels, which was the real name of one of the most colourful characters in WWE history, has passed away. Dusty Rhodes, who was also referred to as the “American Dream, had a long and glittering career, which began in the late 1960s, earned him a place in the WWE Hall of Fame. “Runnels became a hero to fans around the world thanks to his work ethic, his impassioned interviews and his indomitable spirit,” said WWE. The statement went on to describe him as a “creative visionary who helped shape the landscape of WWE” long after his retirement from the ring.
Runnels became a hero to fans around the world thanks to his work ethic, his impassioned interviews and his indomitable spirit. Moreover, Runnels was a dedicated father to WWE Superstars Goldust (Dustin Runnels) and Stardust (Cody Runnels), a caring husband and a creative visionary who helped shape the landscape of WWE long after his in-ring career had ended. Rhodes rose to fame as a rotund, easy-bleeding, easy talking-workin’ man, a wrestler for the common man. He didn’t have the chiseled body some associate with today’s wrestlers. He was a good-guy wrestler, often battling heels like Superstar Billy Graham, Blackjack Mulligan, Harley Race and The Four Horsemen, who were led by Ric Flair. Rhodes liked to pitch himself as the son of a plumber from Austin, Texas, and an everyman who became the extremely popular champion of the National Wrestling Alliance three times in the 1970s and 1980s.
In his first match he fought Reggie Parks and was paid $15 for a 20-minute match that ended in a draw. He eventually would team with Dick Murdoch in 1968 as the Texas Outlaws, a bad-guy tag team known to cheat their opponents. Back then, there were several wrestling circuits, and Rhodes kept a busy schedule before emerging as a star in Florida for the NWA and eventually World Championship Wrestling. He moved on to the World Wrestling Federation (now the WWE) in the ’80s, and wrestled on several other circuits before coming back to the WWE in the mid-2000s. He will be remembered for the spirited and often hilarious in-studio interviews he would give to wrestling commentators to promote upcoming matches. Rhodes was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007.