I've added this revision because after re-reading my piece; I feel it needs this. Though my article focused more on the wrestling industry as a whole, the death of Eddie Fatu, Umaga, has adversely affected me more than I revealed in the original writing.
As I said, this piece was more of a reach out to the wrestlers who are still left, but I feel the need to add this one bit of previously unwritten information.
Eddie Fatu was one of the greatest big men in the wrestling industry and will always be my favorite big man to watch in the ring.
Godspeed Eddie Fatu and my thoughts and prayers are with the Anoai wrestling family. On behalf of the wrestling world, he will be missed.
I'm sure I'm not the first person to write a piece about this. I certainly have no intention on being the guy who writes a sensational article, blasting WWE for the topic at hand.
And I'm no dirt sheet writer: I'm not here to talk about drugs and how screwed up pro wrestlers are, and how its their own fault that tragedies like this one continue to happen.
As a fan and most importantly, as a human being, I'm simply paying my respects and getting my sentiments out on the table.
Former WWE Superstar Eddie Fatu, better known to the WWE Universe as the Samoan Bulldozer, Umaga, died yesterday in a hospital at age 36.
Umaga's release from the WWE in June is really no secret. Anyone who gets released for drug related issues gets their story plastered on the Internet dirt sheets, not to mention WWE's new policy of announcing names and infractions when it comes to their Wellness Policy.
Eddie Fatu was released on his second strike, not even making it to his third strike for his refusal to enter rehabilitation for his drug problem. And though we don't know if his fatal heart attacks were caused by drug use, his life still ended so much sooner than it should have.
My question for you, the wrestling fans, is a simple one: How much longer will we let it go on?
Sure, there are things out there. There are rehab centers such as Talbott Recovery Campus which, to my knowledge, is still the best addiction treatment center in the country. There is also Wrestler's Rescue , a program devoted to helping professional wrestlers, past and present, battle their demons.
But, how many have been saved and how many have been lost? Though it pains me to do so, and many of you will probably want to roast me on a spit, I have to go through the laundry list.
Since 2003, the WWE alone has lost Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Bam Bam Bigelow, Miss Elizabeth, Crash Holly, Andrew "Test" Martin, Sensational Sherri, Curt Hennig, better known as Mr. Perfect, and as of yesterday, Eddie Fatu, better known as Umaga.
That only scratches the tip of the iceberg. According to stats given on Yahoo! Answers:
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
MORE than 100 wrestlers have died before reaching the age of 50 in the last 12 years.
Of the 106 wrestlers who passed away between 1997 and 2009, 42 were full-time professionals who worked regularly for a large promotion or territory in the United States and Canada.
The other 64 wrestled part-time for many of North America's smaller independent groups, in the hope of one day finding their fame and fortune in the industry.
Twenty-five percent of all 106 of these wrestlers have at one time worked under WWF/WWE. The other 75 percent have never once step foot inside a WWF/WWE ring.
Credit to Yahoo! Answers. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090314170532AAwA8Uv
That figure is not only disturbing, it's extremely saddening. Though some of these gladiators died of natural causes or disease, a lot of the deaths have been drug related.
There are lists out there if you want the exact names and causes of death. I'm not a mortician and as I said, I'm not here to sensationalize it. I'm simply writing because it helps me to vent.
As someone who grew up watching most of the wrestlers who show up on these lists, it saddens me to know that so many of them died before they reached the age of 50.
If that's not disturbing enough, the age seems to be cutting back into the 40s and even the 30s. Eddie Fatu's death was saddening, but not as saddening as the fact that he was only 36 years old.
So I can ask the question again and perhaps, now that I've vented a bit, I can rephrase it so it isn't quite as harsh: What can we do to prevent it from continuing?
There isn't much that wrestling fans in general can really do to intervene. Donate to Wrestlers Rescue or do fundraisers. Whatever fits into your schedule and time.
The way I look at it, these men and women go out night after night and ravage their bodies so I can be entertained for several hours at a time.
So, the least I can do is offer up a few hours of my time to try to help save their lives. Even if there's nothing I can do, I'm not going to be satisfied until I know I've at least attempted. That's all I'm asking any of you to do.
You guys read my articles and give me feedback because you enjoy reading my articles. So, this is my outlet. This is my forum and my soapbox.
Take a moment of your time and research the statistics and the harsh reality of the professional wrestling industry. Try to figure out if there's anything you can do to help the men and women that are still alive and still battling their demons.
Eddie Guerrero was an inspiration to me. Anyone who has never read his autobiography, Cheating Death, Stealing Life: The Eddie Guerrero Story, needs to get themselves a copy because it's truly an eye-opening read.
And even though he found his place of inner peace and rid himself of his demons, his salvation came a bit too late. His body shut down on him, as a result of what he did.
There is perhaps no death in professional wrestling that hit me as profoundly as Eddie Guerrero's, because if anyone can be called a success, if anyone in professional wrestling history has earned a place amongst the legends that line the walls of the Hall of Fame, it's Eddie.
As a writer, this is a biased article, and I expect you, my readers, to understand that. Though biased writing is not typically my thing, this is a subject that is near and dear to my heart.
Anyone can make comments, or pass judgment on these people for the mistakes that they have made and in the case of many of them, their mistakes cost them their lives. But they were human beings and had just as much right to life as any of us do.
So, I implore anyone reading this: Check out the Wrestlers Rescue site, research the facts if you haven't already, and let's give back to the industry that has sacrificed and given so much to each of us. Let's do whatever is in our power to reach out and try to help the wrestlers that are still among us, that are still battling their demons.
I'm not saying to go out and pledge a hundred bucks of your hard earned money. I'm not asking you to line the streets like PETA and protest anything. Even just taking a few minutes of your time to understand the situation that many of these men and women are in would bring them one step closer to help. To life.
The people I've spoken of today have devoted their lives to us, to people they don't even know. In the case of many of them, their lives ended the same way: In service to millions of people they've never even met before.
Let's take a stand and let them know:
We believe in you. We understand.
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