Wrestlers are iconic personalities symbolizing immense power and expertise. While scripted storylines and planned moves form the backbone of sports entertainment, the wrestling ring can pose physical and emotional risks.
Professional wrestling is a physically demanding sport with several risks, including concussions, spinal cord injuries, and heart attacks. Despite the dangers, wrestlers continue to entertain fans worldwide, putting their bodies and minds on the line for the love of the sport.
This article pays tribute to the top 10 wrestlers who tragically lost their lives in the ring, doing what they loved most.
Top 10 Famous Wrestlers Who Died in the Ring
1: Owen Hart
One of the most tragic examples is the death of Owen Hart, a talented member of the Hart wrestling family. Hart tragically died at the WWF’s “Over the Edge” pay-per-view event on May 23, 1999, due to an equipment malfunction while attempting an entrance stunt as the “Blue Blazer.”
His death shocked the wrestling world and remains a dark chapter in WWE history, as it occurred during a high-profile event, profoundly impacting fans and fellow wrestlers alike.
Following the tragedy, Owen Hart’s wife, Martha, filed a death lawsuit against the WWF/WWE. They settled the case for $18 million, but the money couldn’t ease the pain of losing Owen.
2: Perro Aguayo Jr.
Perro Aguayo Jr., an iconic figure in Mexican wrestling (Lucha Libre), tragically died in 2015 during a tag team match in Tijuana, Mexico. During his final game against Rey Mysterio Jr, he faced a thrilling moment when a powerful flying kick from Mysterio rendered him unconscious.
The referee and other wrestlers quickly caught the severity of Aguayo’s injuries. A routine dropkick delivered to Perro Aguayo Jr. resulted in a severe neck injury.
Read More: Hottest Female WWE Wrestlers
3: Bruiser Brody
Bruiser Brody is one of the professional wrestlers who died in the ring. Bruiser was a famous wrestler known for his wild brawls and intense personality.
On July 17, 1988, a backstage altercation tragically ended Brody’s life during a wrestling event in Puerto Rico. The circumstances of his death were grim, casting a dark shadow over wrestling history.
4: Mitsuharu Misawa
Mitsuharu is added to our list of wrestlers who died in the ring. Mitsuharu Misawa is a Japanese wrestling legend with All Japan Pro Wrestling. On June 13, 2009, Misawa faced off against Masa Saito in a wrestling match. During their intense about, Saito executed a powerful back suplex on Misawa.
Misawa lay still, prompting the referee to stop the match. Misawa was rushed to Hiroshima University Hospital, where he was declared dead at 10:10 PM JST at 46. The official cause of death was not officially revealed.
Read More: Wrestlers Who Did Adult Entertainment
5: Plum Mariko
Plum Mariko is one of the female wrestlers who died in the ring. Mariko faced numerous head injuries throughout her career. In 1997, during her final match in a tag team event alongside Command Bolshoi against Rieko Amano & Mayami Ozaki.
She was powerfully punched by her opponents, causing bleeding in her brain. She couldn’t survive despite immediate hospitalization and passed away within hours.
Moreover, Mariko was Japan’s first professional female wrestler to pass away in the ring. Her passing at a young age underscored the risks in women’s wrestling and highlighted the importance of training and safety measures.
6: Gary Albright
Gary Albright was a renowned wrestler known for his powerhouse style. He is a famous wrestler who died in the ring because of a heart attack. Gary tragically died from a heart attack during a match on January 7, 2000, against Lucifer Grimm. Despite swift medical attention, Albright could not be saved.
Grimm utilized a decisive move against Albright, causing him to be unmoveable on the mat. Medical reports later confirmed that Albright was dealing with multiple blockages in his coronary arteries.
Read More: Hottest Female Athletes
7: Michael Di Biase
Michael Di Biase was a Canadian professional wrestler. Michael died on May 14, 1969, after a heart attack while competing against Man Mountain Mike in the ring.
Harley Race allocated CPR to DiBiase and took him to the ambulance. Sadly, Di Biase was declared dead upon reaching the hospital. Di Biase’s untimely passing was a sad moment in wrestling history. So, the Bias name has been counted among those professional wrestlers who died in the ring.
Oro, a beloved Mexican luchador, died at a young age. On October 26, 1993, a tag team showdown unfolded at Arena Coliseo, featuring Oro teaming up with Brazo de Plata & La Fiera against Dr. Wagner, Jr., Jaque Mate, & Kahoz.
The fall that Oro took on his head had been pre-planned with his opponent to add drama to the match. Unfortunately, this decision led to Oro’s death. Despite efforts, Oro did not make it to the hospital ambulance. Oro’s untimely passing deeply affected the wrestling community.
Read More: Hottest Female Soccer Players
9: Silver King
Silver King was a renowned luchador and actor. He passed away on May 11, 2019, during a wrestling match against Juventud Guerrera in London. During the fight, Juventud’s punch to the King’s ribs led him to a cardiac arrest, resulting in the Silver King’s death.
10: Emiko Kado
On March 31, 1999, Emiko Kado’s short-lived wrestling career ended. She joined her teammate Michiko Omukai to challenge Mikiko Futagami & Mariko Yoshida in a tag team game in Tokyo. This match was significant for Kado, who had only participated in 15 games.
Notably, Kado never secured a victory in any of her matches. Kado sustained a severe head injury during a game. She was hurried to a hospital in her native Fukuoka, where she tragically lost her life to intracerebral bleeding on April 9, 1999.
Read More: Hottest Rugby Players Wives
This article has paid tribute to the top 10 wrestlers who died in the ring in no particular order. Their deaths profoundly impacted the wrestling community and served as a reminder of the risks of this sport.
There has been a growing focus on wrestler safety in recent years, but the risk of death in the ring remains. The wrestling community has come together to support the families of wrestlers who have died in the ring through various initiatives, such as creating scholarships and foundations in their honor.
These tragic incidents underscore the inherent risks of professional wrestling and its profound impact on the lives of those dedicated to it. We must continue to support the wrestlers who placed their lives on the line to entertain us.