Chris Benoit and Nancy Benoit circa January 1997 (Photo by George Napolitano/FilmMagic)
The Most Tragic Moments In Wrestling
At Over the Edge 1999, Owen "Blue Blazer" Hart was supposed to perform a stunt where he'd swoop in from the heavens, but due to an equipment malfunction, he plummeted to the ring below. The pay-per-view broadcast was disrupted as medical officials tended to Hart but continued without updating fans, and Jim Ross later announced his death.
Owen Hart's Fall
All Japan Pro Wrestling's Mitsuharu Misawa became the company's ace throughout the 1990s, but neck injuries and other unhealthy habits resulted in Misawa's physical deterioration. In 2009, he was paralyzed in the ring, where he later died of cervical spinal injuries — the result of years performing the often dangerous King's Road style.
Mitsuharu Miswa's Death
Puerto Rican wrestlers Bruiser Brody and José González once had a match where megastar Brody beat down the then-rookie, and a vengeful González reportedly vowed to kill him in revenge. Brody was later stabbed to death in the shower, and although a witness saw González standing over him with a bloody knife, he was acquitted.
Bruiser Brody's Death
During a "SmackDown" taping in October 1999, D'Lo Brown finished with his signature "Sky High" sitout powerbomb when something went wrong. Droz was taken to the hospital with life-saving neck surgery, leaving him a person with quadriplegia, and he later said, "I have no hard feelings toward D'Lo because s**t happens."
Droz's Accident
After a car accident left him with a broken ankle, former Cincinnati Bengal "Loose Cannon" Brian Pillman signed with the WWF in 1996. However, he grew dependent on pills and alcohol to cope with his pain, making him erratic backstage. After a stressful night, hotel housekeepers found Pillman dead of a heart attack at 35 years old.
Brian Pillman's Death