Friday, May 13, 2011

Suicide and American professional wrestling

       Every year in the United States about 30,000 people commit suicide.  This accounts for about 1% of all deaths. (1)  The suicide rate is four times higher for men than women, with the highest rate in men over age 65. (2)  The majority of suicides are accomplished by firearms, followed by hanging in men and poisoning in women.

     A number of conditions have been associated with an increased risk of suicide including:

  • History of psychiatric condition.
  • Hopelessness.
  • Impulsivity.
  • Male gender.
  • Caucasian race.
  • Living alone.
  • Marital status (never married, followed by widowed, separated, divorced).
  • Unemployed.
  • Adverse childhood experience (for example emotional/physical/sexual abuse).
  • Family history of suicide.
  • Prior suicide attempt/threat.

     For over two decades there has been an epidemic of American professional wrestlers dying.  Many of them committed suicide.  Below is a list of professional wrestlers from the National and Modern eras who committed suicide.
Kerry Von Erich
  • Edward Gossett (Promoter, Eddie Graham)  1/21/85.
  • Mike Adkisson (Mike Von Erich)  4/12/87.
  • Ed Gantner  12/31/90.
  • Chris Adkisson (Chris Von Erich)  9/12/91.
  • Harold Watanabe (Tojo Yamamoto) 2/19/92.
  • Kerry Adkisson (Kerry Von Erich)  2/18/93.
  • Jeremy Sumpter (Big E. Sleaze) 10/26/97.
  • Richard Williams (Renegade)  2/23/99.
  • Mitch Snow "2000".
  • Mike Marcello "2000".
  • Rhonda Singh  (Bertha Faye)  7/27/01.
  • Robert Dicks (Slick Robbie D)  2/18/02. 
  • Lee Estabrook (Core) 6/25/03.
  • Darlene Brown (promoter) 7/15/03.
  • Mike Lockwood (Crash Holly)  11/6/03.
  • Tim Berner (Vic Vengeance) 7/25/04.
  • Michael Alfonso (Mike Awesome)  2/17/07. 
  • Steven Ranton (Axis) 3/27/07.
  • Chris Benoit 6/25/07.
  • James Fawcett (Devil Bhudakhan) 7/12/07.
  • Adam Dykes (Adam Firestorm) 11/5/09.
  • Tony Halme (Ludvig Borga)  1/8/10.
  • Chris Klucsaritis (Kanyon)  4/2/10.
  • Kanyon
  • Alexander Whybrow (Larry Sweeney)  4/11/11. 
  • Rod Steele 8/11.


  1. American Association of Suicidology,  Washington, DC, 2001.
  2. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2006; 55(26): 721.

The medical resource was used in the preparation of this blog.

Photographs are for illustrative purposes only.  Wrestling with Death does not claim ownership.


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