I started watching professional wrestling in late 1995. Channel-surfing one night on a small Philips Magnavox in my bedroom, I landed on WCW Monday Nitro as a guy in a black leather trenchcoat with face-paint like The Crow was menacing Hulk Hogan with a baseball bat. I remembered Hogan from when I was a little kid, and kept watching for about 15-20 minutes. I mentioned it in school the next day and a friend of mine who had grown up in Delaware enthusiastically told me that he had been watching for a long time, and started telling me about it.
I started watching weekly, first by myself, and then with friends, and then by myself again as everyone else moved on. I grew to love the pageantry, the history and tradition of it; the peculiar kind of pride the great old men of the sport carried around with them and imparted to their loyal fans. Ric Flair's angry tirades, summoning up names like Harley Race and Dusty Rhodes to remind fans that what they were watching had a pedigree paid in blood, sweat, and miles of open road; the stiff but accomplished pride of "workrate" wrestlers like Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko; the sheer love of and sacrifice for profession and audience demonstrated by Mick Foley and a few others like him. It's a complicated thing and it's not something you can really understand just by watching a an hour or two of it every couple of years. There's a deep and mostly oral tradition there; my fandom was shaped by that Delaware friend of mine. He had grown up watching NWA and early WCW product there, and took his knowledge west where he shared it with me and a number of his other friends. My friend loved Chris Benoit and Eddy Guerrero dearly, more than he loved anyone else practicing that profession. He taught us about ECW, about RF Video shoot interview tapes, about Japanese strong-style puroresu, the overseas greatness of Terry Funk and his brother Dory, Jr. My friend Keith died in a car accident ten days before Wrestlemania 20, and those of us who mourned his loss found genuine catharsis and real tears watching Benoit and Guerrero both win their first world titles on that night.
I remember feeling heartbroken when those two wrestlers both met their own sudden and tragic ends relatively soon after, but also a little glad that my friend didn't have to bear those losses, because death had always hit him a lot harder than it hits me. Those three deaths (my friend, and two of his favorite wrestlers) were the beginning of the end for me with that sport. Our love for Chris Benoit and his work ethic were a small part of why Benoit wrestled the way he did; did steady harm to himself for years the way he did; in the particular circumstances of his death we therefore found some small amount of blame for ourselves. Likewise with Eddy Guerrero, whose earlier drug abuse had weakened his heart and whose death was therefore a consequence of a lifestyle he chose to live, because we helped pay him to live it and entertain us.
When I stopped watching pro wrestling, I stopped partly out of indifference, partly because I missed my friend, and largely because 5 hours a week plus pay-per-view money had become too much to spend on that particular hobby. The moral concerns were there as an undercurrent only; but they are the reason I have always balked at picking it up again, seeking to share it with others the way it was once shared with me.
Here's the fact that I've always known and can no longer live with: Pro wrestling grinds good men and women up, wastes them. The schedule, the cost margins, the lack of decent health care, the intentional blurring of fact and fiction both in front of and behind the cameras. So many people beloved by audiences and peers, dead young and dead tragically. Concussions, drug addiction, a life on the road with no off-season, relationships between ownership and employees that encourage people to work hurt, stay well past their prime, and use claims of chronic injury as a cover to abuse prescription medication.
WWE and TNA should both be carrying world-class accident insurance just like the UFC now does; instead somebody who gets hurt and goes for surgery can find themselves fired via FedEx, or paid through rehab and then fired because "creative has nothing for them right now."
No pensions. Too little in the way of meaningful insurance or transition into back-office and broadcasting roles. Not much in the way of royalties, and character roles often belong to the promotion rather than to the wrestler who originated them--in spite of the fact that they often can't be meaningfully recycled.
In Skycycle Blues, B. Dolan's 2007 eulogy to Evel Knievel, he wrote that
You can live an entire lifetime in the stardusted, flashbulb infinity of a launch into impossible space that climbs to the top of its arc and beats the sky back another inch. Only to crumble and collapse. Only to fall and return to the earth, and pay the cost of dreaming.
To pay the cost of dreaming. When I first read that passage, I thought about pro wrestling. I thought about Mick Foley, who came home from the most famous match of his career and realized that he couldn't quite remember where he lived. I thought about the Dynamite Kid, bitter and proud and poor in his wheelchair. I thought about Lou Thesz, who we remember as the greatest wrestler of all time, who died at 86 having wrestled in seven decades, talking in interviews about how it felt to see the nuanced heights of his craft abandoned in favor of what he saw as a kind of cartoonish pornography. Professional wrestlers were angered by what Darren Aronofsky did with his film The Wrestler. During its production they thought he was making a paean to their fading heroes, but they saw the finished product as an exploitation, even a hatchet job; but there is an essential truth in what he captured: a cost that wrestlers start to pay the moment they leave the limelight and the cheers behind.
It's the cost they pay to live out our dreams, and it's the costs they pay to come home again. For many of these men and women the costs were too much to bear:
- Louie Spiccoli died in 1997 at 27 years old, under active contract with WCW, after he mixed Soma painkillers and alcohol and choked to death on his own vomit. An alumnus of ECW, many of the wrestlers who came up with him in that organization were disconsolate after his death and honored his name for years to follow; a signature move he shared with some of those peers was renamed from the Death Valley Driver to the Spiccoli driver.
- Lance Cade died in 2010 at 29 years old. He was part of a tag team with Trevor Murdoch in WWE when I stopped watching in 2006, two students of the Old School doing a Southerner gimmick in a northern company. Cade had babyface looks and his team with Murdoch was one of the only things I still liked about the product at the time I stopped watching. He left WWE in 2008, released under a cloud of scandal surrounding misuse of cocaine. He was dead of heart failure two years later, a mix of drugs and prior damage to his heart.
- Crash Holly died in a pool of his own vomit while staying in the home of fellow professional wrestler Stevie Richards having consumed a mixture of prescription drugs and alcohol. Holly had been a part of the WWE hardcore division during years I was watching the product; poking fun at the routine exaggeration about height and weight of wrestlers, Holly (a little man even for a cruiserweight) billed himself at over 400 pounds and carried a scale out to the ring with him on regular occasions. His legacy as a pro wrestler was participation in WWE's transformation of the hardcore style of wrestling from ECW's workrate-heavy strong style to a more comedy-oriented approach. He lost whatever momentum he had after a long layoff due to injury and WWE released him late in June of 2003. The state of Florida ruled his death a suicide six months later; he was 32 years old.
- The Renegade was a minor star in WCW during the years I watched it; managed by Jimmy Hart he worked a gimmick that my friend Keith taught me was a knock-off of The Ultimate Warrior, who I didn't really remember from my short time watching wrestling as a child. With the history lesson, neither of us was really surprised that Renegade was cut by WCW shortly after The Warrior signed with the promotion in 1998; we were saddened to hear of his death by suicide less than 6 months later. He was 33.
- Chris Candido died at 33 as well; I remember him best as a member of ECW's Triple Threat with Shane Douglas and Bam-Bam Bigelow. Candido had successful runs in WWF, ECW, and WCW and was romantically paired with Tammy Lynn Sytch, better known as Sunny. Candido died in 2005 of a blood clot that had formed as direct post-surgery complication of injuries he received while wrestling for TNA perhaps a week earlier.
- Andrew Martin was most famous for his runs in WWF/WWE as Test, where he was an on-screen love interest for Stephanie McMahon. Martin was released from WWE in 2007 during a suspension for drug abuse, and during a short run in TNA he was twice arrested for driving under the influence. He was found dead at 33 of a drug overdose in his Florida home in early 2009; a post-mortem examination of his brain revealed Alzheimers-like brain damage from repeated concussions.
- Bobby Duncum, Jr. died at 34. He was a second-generation wrestler who I watched in both ECW and WCW and knew best as a member of a heel stable called the West Texas Rednecks; my friend Keith cheered for them because of Curt Hennig and the Windham brothers; fans cheered for them because they were feuding with Master P's unpopular stable of babyface wrestlers. Allegations of fan racism swirled around the federation at the time; I'm pretty sure mostly the No Limit Soldiers were being booed for sucking. Duncum's death occurred during a layoff to rehabilitate a shoulder injury, and was an overdose of prescription painkillers.
- Owen Hart was a young son of the famed Canadian Hart Family. His brother Bret had been the star of the WWF for several years in the 1990s, while Owen had a run under a superhero gimmick called the Blue Blazer. A feud with Degeneration X got Owen the unlikely nickname of Nugget, and at 34 years old he was more or less at the height of his popularity in 1999 when an accident during a harness-and-grapple ring entrance caused him to fall to his death in the middle of a WWF pay-per-view.
- Big Dick Dudley also died at 34 years old. He was a less famous ECW-era member of the Dudley Boys, working a big-man gimmick. I never saw him perform live but he was on quite a few of the ECW tapes I watched with my friends over the following years. His death due to kidney failure in 2002 was blamed on prescription painkillers.
- Brian Pillman is probably one of the ten most important men in the history of American pro wrestling. Pillman's departure from WCW in 1996 set into motion a chain of events that would ultimately more than triple the audience for wrestling at the peak of the Monday Night Wars. He fought Kevin Sullivan in a variation on the I Quit match where the loser had to declare his respect for the winner. Sullivan was booked to win the match, which was no surprise to the more popular Pillman because Sullivan was WCW's booker at the time. Pillman quit the match curiously early, infamously telling Sullivan
I respect you, booker-man, and storming out of the ring. It's widely considered one of the first times a pro wrestler ever admitted, in front of a pro wrestling camera, that pro wrestling was fake. He was fired almost immediately after. His pit stop in ECW was marked by a series of shoot-style interviews in which he directed tirades at the management of WCW, ECW, and the fans of both organizations, but ended abruptly when Pillman was involved in a real-life car accident. Pillman signed with the WWF in the summer of 1996, while he was still rehabilitating his injuries. His run in the WWF was relatively short-lived but was marked with one of the most infamous angles in the history of the promotion: Steve Austin attacked Pillman in his home, and Pillman produced a 9mm pistol and threatened Austin with it. Panic ensued and the screen faded to black. Pillman was found dead in a hotel room eleven months later; the autopsy credited a previously undetected heart condition exacerbated by ongoing abuse of drugs and alcohol. He was 35 years old, and the night of his death the entire cast of WWF Raw is War broke character at the beginning of the show, standing on stage together in tribute to him. His life and memory are credited as one of the key influences in the WWF's Attitude Era, a five year period when the company came back from the steroid scandals to overcome the previously-ascendant WCW and become a pop culture phenomenon.
- Eddie Fatu wrestled in WWE as Umaga, a part of the Samoan wrestling dynasty known as the Anoa'i family. In 2009, he died at 36 following two heart attacks due to a cocktail of various prescription painkillers. WWE had released him earlier that year for repeated failures to deal with a known drug abuse problem. His gimmick in WWE, an island savage who used a thumb to the neck as a finishing move, who was frequently used as a "punishment" for smaller babyface wrestlers on the weekly shows, was part of why I stopped watching the programming. I thought it was an offensive stereotype, kids' stuff.
- The Pitbulls worked ECW during some of that organization's best years; as a tag team they helped to popularize the Japanese strong style for American audiences. Pitbull #2 died at 36 in 2003 when he and his girlfriend both overdosed on the same painkiller.
- Mark Curtis was a referee in WCW who died in 1999, aged 37, following a brutal battle with stomach and bowel cancer. He's one of the only men you'll see on this list to have died of natural causes. In spite of his full-time job as a WCW referee (and therefore an employee of a major cable company) he had enormous unpaid medical expenses leading up to his death. A benefit show to help defray those costs called Curtis Comes Home is widely remembered as one of the only moments from the Monday Night Wars where employees from WCW, WWF, and ECW banners were all allowed to work together on the same card.
- Eddy Guerrero was one of my friend Keith's favorite wrestlers, and Keith's enthusiasm won me over. Eddy worked for ECW, WCW, and WWE at various points during his career, as well as having had successful runs working with other members of the Guerrero family in the Lucha Libre promotions of Mexico and the southen United States. He was known for workrate, high-flying styles, an unrepentant heel persona, and ultimately by fans as the villain everyone loved to cheer for. His slogan cheat to win helped to popularize him in the years leading up to his death at 38 years old; much like Brian Pillman, he was found dead in a Minneapolis hotel room due to a previously undiagnosed heart defect and a history of drug and alcohol abuse. Tearful interviews with Eddy's friends and family both before and after his death declared that
Eddy had his demons, a euphemism for a life-threatening problem with addiction. Although an autopsy showed no drugs in Eddy's system at the time of his death in 2005, it was later discovered that he had illegally obtained steroids and human growth hormone earlier that year. Eddy's death was instrumental in WWE implementing their Talent Wellness Program, the first time the company had ever done serious and ongoing drug testing of their workers.
- John Kronus died at 38. He died in 2007 from heart failure due to an enlarged heart. This can happen for natural reasons but is also a well-known complication of certain kinds of drug abuse. Kronus was most well known to me for his run in ECW's tag team circuit during the late 1990s.
- Davey Boy Smith, the British Bulldog, was the only British wrestler to be associated with the Hart family; he married into it and wrestled for years alongside Jim the Anvil Neidhart as the Hart Foundation. Smith left the WWF for WCW following the Montreal screwjob in 1997, but his run in the WCW was short-lived; he was hospitalized with a nearly-paralyzing spinal infection for six months following an in-ring accident, and WCW fired him by FedEx while he was still recuperating. The WWF accepted him back, but then promptly pulled nearly the same stunt when they released him in the first part of 2000 while he was in drug rehabilitation for the abuse of prescription painkillers and other narcotics. Smith died in 2002 of a heart attack; the autopsy found an anabolic steroid in his system. He was 39 years old, and training for a return to professional wrestling. Bruce Hart said that he believed Smith's death was the direct result of steroid and growth hormone abuse.
- Johnny Grunge died in 2006. He was a member of the ECW and WCW tag team The Public Enemy. He left the mainstream feds in 1999 after WWF fans, sick of overly-gimmicky WCW-style characters, booed him and his partner Rocco Rock out of various arenas around the country, but continued to work in smaller wrestling promotions all the way through to his death at 39 of "sleep apnea complications." His wife subsequently told Nancy Grace that on the morning of his death, there were two empty prescription bottles next to her husband's bed. Another reporter on the same program said that the cause of death was an enlarged heart and acute toxicity.
- Chris Kanyon had successful runs in both WCW and WWF/WWE; starting with an embarrassing Mortal Kombat gimmick under the name of Mortis but eventually and for the rest of his career under the name Kanyon, he was popular for an innovative and highly-technical style. He both feuded with and teamed with fellow New Jersey wrestler Diamond Dallas Page over the years, and only wrestled sporadically after being sidelined by injuries and eventually released from WWE in 2004. He outed himself as a homosexual in 2006 and his career is widely considered to have suffered because of that; he died aged 40 in 2010 from an overdose of prescription antidepressants.
- Knowing about Terry Gordy is about as old-school as I get. He was a member of a tag team called The Freebirds, who were perhaps most famous as a three-man team who communally owned a two-man championship. Gordy left wrestling just as I was getting into it, but I saw him wrestle many times watching VHS tapes with my friend Keith. Gordy died in 2001 aged 40 of a heart attack.
- Chris Benoit. His death is infamous; a murder-suicide spread out over a period of days in June of 2007, first his wife and child and then eventually himself. Media interest in the death was intense until the autopsy and toxicology report showed that he was not under the influence of steroids at the time of his death, but had instead been suffering from acute depression and dementia. A career of repeated concussions had left his brain riddled with damage, reportedly resembling a typical 85-year-old Alzheimer's patient. He was 40 years old. Benoit was Keith's favorite wrestler, and one of my favorites as well; a Canadian who worked the strong style, he modeled himself after a childhood idol of his own, The Dynamite Kid. Benoit came up from ECW through WCW and into WWE; he was a member of the famous Four Horsemen stable, and was close friends with similar wrestlers Eddy Guerrero and Dean Malenko. He was an incredible wrestler and the circumstances of his death have permanently marred that legacy.
- "Ravishing" Rick Rude died of heart failure in 1999, aged 40 and with a well-documented history of injury and steroid abuse. Most of his career was before my time; I remember him as a heel manager both in WCW for Curt Hennig and in WWF for an early, edgy incarnation of Degeneration-X. Keith remembered him for an epic feud with Jake "The Snake" Roberts earlier in the decade.
- Randy Anderson was another WCW referee to die of cancer. He was aged 42 when he passed in 2002. Again, he's one of the only men on this list to die of natural causes.
- Miss Elizabeth had been out of the public eye for several years when she passed at age 42 in 2003, but was not far from the wrestling business; she died of a drug and alcohol overdose in Lex Luger's home. Professional wrestling is not kind to aging women; the ones who stay are relegated to comedy acts, the ones who go never take much with them in terms of money or media attention. Miss Elizabeth was most well known for a partnership with Randy Savage, beginning in the 1980s and continuing off-and-on until her departure from the sport in 2000. I remembered her from those early days with Savage but when I started watching wrestling she was a valet for Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen. Women who worked as heel valets were, I later learned, a classic feature of the Memphis wrestling style; the Horsemen always had a little bit of that character to them, but it was at a height in 1996 when they were allied with Jeff Jarrett.
- Big Boss Man is another wrestler from the WWF era before I started watching; I remembered him as an aging, overweight sweaty dude in WCW and WWF who was never really over with the fans. He had a prison guard gimmick and although he worked as a big man he was never really credible as a top-tier heel. In 2004, he died aged 41 of a heart attack; I'm not sure if there was an autopsy.
- Earthquake was a real big man, 400+ pounds with a career in sumo prior to his entry into All Japan wrestling and the American majors. He's another guy who was getting out just as I was getting in; I knew who he was but didn't remember much of him. Surprisingly for a man of his size, he didn't die of a heart attack, or even of anything related to his career: he passed away in 2006, aged 42, after a long battle with bladder cancer.
- Mike Awesome, I remember mostly as the man who fucked over ECW. He wrestled there under a big man gimmick for a couple of years, eventually winning the ECW Heavyweight Championship. In a dispute over money with ECW's owner Paul Heyman, Awesome signed a contract with WCW without first dropping the belt in April of 2000. ECW was in trouble before that happened but it was another nail in the upstart promotion's coffin. For his reward, WCW saddled him with one humiliating gimmick after the next: Fat Chick Thriller, That 70's Guy, a feud with the Insane Clown Posse, and finally a hair-vs-hair match against a bald man. He remained with the company until its acquisition by the WWF in 2001 where he became a glorified jobber. He was released a little over a year later, and never found major success in the industry again; his reputation for having walked out of a foundering promotion with its biggest belt left most of the other organizations unwilling to work with him, and any credibility he had with fans as a badass had been wiped out in under a year by his WCW gimmicks. He committed suicide in February of 2007, hanging himself in his Florida home, aged 42.
- Brian Adams also worked in the WWF as Crush. He wrestled both singly and in tag teams as a big man but never found top-of-the-card success anywhere. He suffered a career-ending injury in Japan in 2003 and was found unconscious in Florida in 2007 by his wife; paramedics were unable to revive him, and rumors of steroid abuse swirled.
- Nancy Benoit got her start in professional wrestling as a valet for Kevin Sullivan, known simply as Woman. She worked alongside Debra McMichael in the Four Horsemen as Chris Benoit's valet, Benoit having stole her from Sullivan. This turn reflected a real-life change; Nancy Benoit was first Nancy Sullivan, married to Kevin in real life. When the change in on-screen relationship followed a change in real-life relationship, Kevin Sullivan rather abruptly left WCW and Woman's career ended not long after. She was murdered in 2007 at age 44 by her husband Chris, who was suffering from dementia as a result of his accumulated wrestling injuries.
- Curt Hennig was known as Mr. Perfect for much of his career. He was the son of Larry "The Axe" Hennig and got his start in the AWA alongside Hulk Hogan; he had a run as Intercontinental Champion in the WWF, but I mostly knew him for a run under his given name in WCW. He wrestled there from 1997 to 2000 and infamously turned down Arn Anderson's spot as the Enforcer of the Four Horsemen. He had an extremely short run in WWE in 2002 before he died in 2003 of a cocaine overdose. He was 44, and his history of drug abuse was well-known to others in the industry.
- Bam Bam Bigelow worked as the big man alongside Chris Candido in Shane Douglas's ECW Triple Threat, and also had successful runs in both WCW and the WWF. He famously rescued three children from a fire in a burning house near his home, and disappeared into total obscurity a couple of years later. He died in 2007 of heart failure and drug overdose, aged 45.
- Road Warrior Hawk died in 2003, aged 46, of an apparent heart attack. He and his partner Animal were on the decline as a tag team when I started watching pro wrestling, but were at one time the preeminent "power wrestlers" in American tag competition.
- Mitsuharu Misawa is one of the greatest strong style Japanese wrestlers ever to have worked. His name was synonymous with puroresu, especially among me and my friends. He wrestled all the way to his death in 2009 following injuries sustained from a botched belly-to-back suplex. He was 46 years old, and his death has perhaps signaled an end to the strong style he pioneered.
- Luna Vachon was my first lesson in the unkind treatment aged women receive in professional wrestling. She hung on to her wrestling career much longer than many of her peers, but mostly by taking an "ugly woman" gimmick, playing up a supposedly monstrous appearance with an aggressive in-ring style. She left the major federations in 2000 but remained active on the independent circuit off and on through 2007. She died in 2010 of an overdose on pain medication, despite WWE-funded drug rehabilitation the previous year. She was 48 when she died.
- The other half of The Nasty Boys fared no better than Johnny Grunge did. Rocco Rock died aged 49 in 2002 of a heart attack.
- "Sensational" Sherri Martel died at age 49 in 2007; investigators concluded that the cause of death was an accidental overdose on prescription painkillers including oxycodone. I remember her best as the manager of Harlem Heat under the name Sister Sherri.
- "Dr. Death" Steve Williams was a wrestler who saw more success working puroresu than he did in his home country; he spent ten years as one of the only main-event gaijin workers in All Japan. This work in All Japan, plus some crossover matches in ECW, are how I knew him, again through Keith's VHS tapes. A brief 1999 experiment with shootfighting in the WWF essentially ended his career on both sides of the ocean; upstart Bart Gunn knocked him out in the quarterfinals, seriously injuring him in the process. He died of throat cancer in 2009, aged 49.
- "Macho Man" Randy Savage is one of the most famous wrestlers ever to live. I remembered him from a childhood interest in wrestling during the Hulkamania years, and saw him again during his return to WCW in the middle of the Monday Night Wars, where his feuds with Diamond Dallas Page were legendary. Keith remembered incredible matches from the late 1980s and early 1990s including a "match of the decade" with Ricky Steamboat. It was his death earlier this year that prompted me to start making the notes for this writeup in the first place. He died in 2011 aged 58 of a massive heart failure while driving his car; he had an enlarged heart and advanced coronary disease. Again, his prior history of drug abuse is believed to have contributed to his death.
Searching on the Internet, it's easy to find more examples of death in pro wrestling than this. These are just the ones I can personally remember having watched over the years I was a fan. Two or three bodies a year every year since I first started watching, and this is a small profession--if IT were this lethal I would have long since sought another line of work. I haven't even talked about the sad story of the von Erich family, or Bruiser Brody's stabbing death in a locker room; these are more famous examples that didn't affect me personally.
I remember my friend telling me time and time again for years about how great the match Randy Savage had with Ricky Steamboat was; in the oral tradition that was handed down to me, Savage was an elder statesman who had somewhat fallen from grace. I didn't miss his absence from the sport because the things that made him a "great" mostly predated my enthusiasm for the product. I was saddened to hear of Savage's death but not particularly surprised by it; he didn't seem to adjust to life after wrestling the way some others from his era did.
Randy Savage didn't make it to 65, but as far as people on this list he's one of the luckiest ones--and some of the unlucky ones haven't even made the list yet. It's a miracle that Jake Roberts and Scott Hall are both still alive. They both "have their demons" too. Beyond the Mat showed Roberts scoring crack at the expense of a permanent reconciliation with his daughter; Hall can be seen on YouTube this year, completely wrecked off some substance in an indie arena with a hospital bracelet still on his wrist.
In ten years as a wrestling fan I probably poured thousands of dollars into an entertainment machine that ruins people for money. I pretty much just moved all of that spending from WWE to UFC and now I see the same thing happening in MMA with stories like Gary Goodridge, Mark Kerr, Jens Pulver, Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, and others. UFC seems more cognizant of the problem, but the money I spent on WCW and WWF/WWE has gradually weighed on my conscience more and more over the years since I stopped buying into it and I wonder often if I'll feel the same way about UFC. I console myself by saying that in the UFC's case, the bodies aren't really there yet.
Having been a fan of pro wrestling is a part of who I am. I have a good deal of sentiment wrapped up in it, but I'll never go back to it as long as the sport keeps killing its own like this. Somewhere after the pinfall, the roar of the crowd and the fade to black, we forget that this is an industry that abandons its sick and injured to
their demons. To wither under the slow accumulation of small injuries and big memories. To pay the cost of dreaming.
The price is far too dear.