My “It’s the Deaths, Stupid” tour resumed today with an interview on the Colin McEnroe Show on Connecticut Public Radio. The podcast will be available shortly at http://www.cpbn.org/program/colin-mcenroe-show. I’m on the first segment, which was taped on Monday; the rest of the hour is a rerun from a few months ago.
Linda McMahon has conceded that it is “fair game” to include in the narrative of her Senate campaign the toll of dead wrestlers in and surrounding her World Wrestling Entertainment. So let’s use this opportunity to underline that Lance McNaught (“Lance Cade”) is prominent death No. 3 just during the last eight months of her campaign; No. 4 if you include Tony Halme (“Ludvig Borga”), who had a short but intense run as a headliner a number of years ago (see the January 10 post here at http://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/01/10/newest-wwe-casualty-tony-ludwig-borga-halme-47/).
On December 4, 2009, Eddie Fatu, 36, who wrestled as “Umaga,” died of a heart attack in Houston. In 2007 Fatu was among the many wrestlers who turned up on the customer list of the busted Internet steroid purveyor Signature Pharmacy. All of the WWE wrestlers on that list were suspended – except for one, Randy Orton, who happens to be a top-tier main event star and whose excuse from disciplinary action has never been explained. In testimony to Congressional investigators, WWE’s drug-testing contractor, David Black, would say, “Oh, sure, I would agree that that’s not good.”
In June 2009 Fatu was fired by WWE after refusing to go to drug rehab. But six months later he was in talks to return to the company when he died from what the coroner ruled was prescription drug toxicity. The autopsy showed that Fatu, 406 pounds, had an enlarged heart. Two years earlier WWE had announced that its “Wellness Program” now included cardiovascular screening.
On April 2, 2010, Christopher Klucsarits (“Chris Kanyon”) committed suicide in New York with a prescription drug overdose. He had had his own heart set on becoming the first mainstream pro wrestling star with the gimmick of being an openly gay man.
Chris Kanyon’s sendoff from WWE foreshadowed Lance Cade’s – with a little extra knife twist of homophobic taunting. On a 2003 edition of SmackDown, Kanyon came out dressed as Boy George and singing “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” before being attacked by the Undertaker. The beatdown was spiced with chair shots, including one especially stiff and sick one to the head. (If anyone has a YouTube link or the video itself, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Many believe, as they do with Cade, that Kanyon could have suffered a brain injury in that televised incident, if not from the simple accumulated damage of other cranial chair shots over the years. Before his burial last spring, there were attempts by medical researchers to contact the Kanyon-Klucsarits family to get his postmortem brain tissue studied for possible signs of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.
The same thing has been happening over the last two weeks with the Cade-McNaught family in Texas. It is one of the many behind-the-scenes stories of the Linda McMahon campaign that are not being told, either well or at all, by the national, Connecticut, or wrestling media.
But to give them all due credit, they’re doing a superb job of pointing out how they noticed that Fox News’ latest interview of McMahon was a softball.