Wrestling world mourns loss of for­mer stars

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - FAMILY ANNOUNCEMENTS -

The wrestling world is in mourn­ing af­ter three for­mer stars passed away on the same day.

Brian Christo­pher Lawler, 46, Niko­lai Volkoff, 70, and Brick­house Brown, 57, all passed away on Sun­day.

World Wrestling En­ter­tain­ment (WWE) said it was “sad­dened” to hear Lawler and Volkoff had died, while the Na­tional Wrestling Al­liance sent its “deep­est con­do­lences and sym­pa­thies”.

Lawler, who was the son of for­mer wrestler Jerry “The King” Lawler, was known for his tag team part­ner­ship with Scott Gar­land.

Their Too Cool duo saw them per­form in the late 1990s and early 2000s in WWE un­der the aliases Grand Mas­ter Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion is un­der way af­ter Lawler, who was an in­mate at the Harde­man County jail, was found in his cell on Satur­day, said the Ten­nessee Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Lawler was in cus­tody on charges of driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence, driv­ing on a re­voked li­cence and evad­ing ar­rest.

The agency said of­fi­cers per­formed CPR and Lawler was taken to a hos­pi­tal where he died on Sun­day.

US and Olympic wrestler Kurt An­gle said it had been “a very sad day in the his­tory of sports en­ter­tain­ment”.

Hulk Ho­gan was among other wrestling stars to pay trib­ute, thank­ing Lawler “for al­ways steal­ing the show”.

Niko­lai Volkoff was born Josip Peru­zovic and in Mem­phis his WWE char­ac­ter was known for pre­tend­ing to be a vil­lain­ous Rus­sian.

Amid the height of the Cold War in the 1980s, Volkoff an­tag­o­nised Amer­i­can au­di­ences by wear­ing all-red Soviet out­fits, wav­ing a Soviet flag and in­sist­ing that the crowds stand for the Rus­sian na­tional an­them and then loudly singing along.

The for­mer wrestler, who was in­ducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005, died at his Mary­land home fol­low­ing a spell in hos­pi­tal.

“As one of the great­est vil­lains sports en­ter­tain­ment had ever seen, Volkoff’s in­fa­mous ren­di­tion of the Soviet na­tional an­them be­fore his matches made him an in­stant icon in the eyes of the WWE uni­verse as a su­per­star they truly loved to hate,” WWE said.

Volkoff faced off against heroic Amer­i­can wrestlers like Hulk Ho­gan.

He tag-teamed with the Ira­nian heel Iron Sheik, and to­gether they won the first-ever Wrestle­ma­nia in 1985, wav­ing Ira­nian and Soviet flags in the ring.

Brick­house Brown was born Fred­er­ick Seawright in 1960 and was best known for his as­so­ci­a­tion with the Na­tional Wrestling Al­liance (NWA).

The for­mer pro wrestler, who en­joyed most of his suc­cess in the 1980s and 1990s, was di­ag­nosed with prostate can­cer last year.

De­but­ing in 1982 in Texas, Brown worked for mul­ti­ple pro­mo­tions where he would feud with Terry Funk, Scott Steiner, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and oth­ers.

His death was con­firmed in a Face­book post by for­mer wrestler Luke Gra­ham, whose on-stage brother Ed­die Gra­ham was Brown’s trainer.

“No false fin­ishes ... no more swerves ... no more kick­outs. Af­ter a hard fight ... he has left us,” Gra­ham’s post read.

Wrestler Di­a­mond Dal­las Page was among oth­ers in the wrestling com­mu­nity to tweet call­ing Sun­day a “su­per sad day for me and wrestling fans ev­ery­where” fol­low­ing the three deaths.

Niko­lai Volkoff played a Rus­sian vil­lain.

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