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It’s A Hard Knock Life Professional wrestlers live tough lives. Their livelihood is earned more in entertainment than sport. But it is a rough way to earn checks, with...

It’s A Hard Knock Life

Professional wrestlers live tough lives. Their livelihood is earned more in entertainment than sport. But it is a rough way to earn checks, with extensive travel, serious physical damage and endless stories of drug and alcohol addictions because of the pain. We know the sport isn’t real. Yet we love our heroes and hate the villains (though their roles often are interchangeable).

Most recently we lost Dusty Rhodes (real name Virgil Runnels) at the age of 69, presumably to kidney disease and complications. He outlived many of his compatriots, such as Sean O’Haire (died in 2014 at 43) and the Ultimate Warrior (James Hellwig, 2014 as well, at 54). Rhodes, with his curly (dyed) blond hair and his “bionic” elbow, captivated fans with a personality as big as his belly.

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The golden age of wrestling, it seems, is whenever a fan is in his or her teens. Those are dominant personalities. As an avid fan in the ‘60s, I can still tick off the names of dozens of wrestlers (real and assumed names) and I too thrilled to the manufactured dramas and feuds that led to the massive success of the WWE (the overwhelming industry monster) and its Wrestlemania productions.

Consider this from TheRichest.com: “A pro-wrestler’s average life expectancy is 20 years less than that of a normal person. Wrestlers are more likely to commit suicide, die in an automobile accident, and much more likely to die of heart disease than the average person. This is mainly attributed to the myriad of health issues that stem from the rampant steroid use, alcohol, pain killers, and recreational drugs used to cope with the pain of persistent and sustained performances, as well as a coping mechanism to mentally deal with a life that is constantly not he road.”

Not an easy way to die.
 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman.

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