So I’ve been a bit in the dumps lately specifically when it comes to watching professional wrestling. I believe a lot of it stems from the recent losses of Big Van Vader, Nikolai Volkoff, Brian Christopher Lawler and now the most recent addition to the list: Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart.
It probably also doesn’t help that the weekly product of WWE has been wholly missable in recent months as well…and the real shame in it all is that I know it’s not the guys & girls’ fault since a good 80% of the current main roster inhabitants made their way there from my beloved NXT — where their feuds were entertaining and can’t-miss. I’ve also said it before, I’m done with Brock Lesnar. I’ll be glad to see him go back to UFC so he’s not holding a title hostage (which I realize is not his fault, Vince apparently wants this), but his matches also have been half-hearted outtings against some of the best wrestlers today — and he can only muster up the effort to throw his opponent around in a bunch of German suplexes, hit an F5 and go home? The best part of having Lesnar around is that he usually has Paul Heyman in tow to do his talking for him, but if that’s what Brock Lesnar is these days, I’d rather he not be in WWE. I’ll deal with a Paul Heyman-less WWE if that’s what it takes. Once again, the blame goes to Vince McMahon and his lack of ingenuity in running his television product in his old age.
But back to the recent passings…it’s particularly sad knowing that only one member of the Hart Foundation faction from the late 90s is still alive today. Brian Pillman died of a heart attack in 1997 at the young age of 35, Owen Hart fell to his death while preparing for his entrance to the ring from the rafters of Kansas City, Missouri’s Kemper Arena during the Over The Edge Pay Per View in 1999, “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith died of a heart attack while on vacation in 2002 — the suspected reasons being past steroid and human growth hormone usage, and now Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart is gone as well…due to early onset Alzheimer’s Disease.
So Bret Hart is the only one remaining of the group who were so instrumental in the beginnings of WWF’s Attitude Era, and he himself isn’t unscathed either — after suffering a career-ending concussion while wrestling Bill Goldberg in WCW, he suffered a stroke after hitting a pothole while out riding his bicycle, flying over the handlebars and landing on his head. Bret also conquered prostate cancer in recent years as well. Luckily, the Hitman’s still with us…but how many more bullets can he dodge before he joins the rest of the group?
Brian Christopher, the son of wrestling legend Jerry “The King” Lawler, the former “Grandmaster Sexay” of Too Cool, reportedly committed suicide while in prison. Brian’s life had spun out of control in recent years, running into trouble with the law on numerous occasions and was arrested for failing to attend an in-patient treatment center. The family’s belief was that maybe not springing him from jail could help to set him straight but after being incarcerated for less than a month, he apparently decided to take his own life. While he was observed to be brain dead, his body was kept alive on machines long enough for Jerry to make his way to the hospital to bid his son farewell. This just breaks my heart.
So yeah, I’m sad. Hopefully I can break out of this funk for tomorrow’s NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4, which should continue to deliver as only the NXT product can. Announced matches include:
Tommaso Ciampa defends his NXT Championship against Johnny Gargano in a Last Man Standing Match
Shayna Baszler defends her NXT Womens’ Championship against Kairi Sane
Adam Cole (Bay-Bay!) defends his NXT North American Championship against Ricochet
The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong) defend their NXT Tag Team Titles against Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate)
EC3 vs. Velveteen Dream
Once again…as always, it seems…this show should deliver! And I need a good night of live wrestling to get me out of this funk.
Sorry this wasn’t a more uplifting column. I just needed to write.