Comedian and former WWE writer Patrice O’Neal dies at 41

In somewhat-related-to-wrestling news, according to The Huffington Post, comedian Patrice O’Neal has died at age 41 after battling with with diabetes and suffering a stroke last month. O’Neal had a brief stint as a writer for WWE in 2000 (read about it here), but was more famous to me as a frequent panelist on “Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn,” one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen on TV. Exhibit A is above, and more proof is in the related results. He is the one who introduced to me the visual of “Fat Albert on a skateboard,” one of the major reasons I lost 90 pounds two years ago. O’Neal’s wordsmithing has directly influenced mine, so in other words you have him to blame. Rest in peace, stupid. -Eric

Barry Windham hospitalized after stroke, makes me feel old

barry windham

I'm actually not sure who won this match.

According to Prowrestling.net, Barry Windham has been hospitalized after suffering a stroke. You can read the full story and see Windham’s doughy, mustachioed face at Slam Sports (that Canadian Web site) (damn, he looks more and more like his dad every time I see him).

Of course I want Windham to make a speedy recovery. My biggest concern, though, is how old  this is making me feel. It was one thing when 35-year-old wrestlers were dying when I was 19. But now the older, somehow healthier generation (Windham, the Briscos, etc.) are starting to sell the farm, guys I grew up watching when I was 4, 5, 6 years old. I remember renting WrestleMania 1 on VHS and being wowed by someone the size of Windham throwing such a mean dropkick, and then, three years and 10 pounds later, turning heel on Lex Luger and joining the Four Horsemen. Well, one year and another 20 pounds after that, Windham jumped back to the WWF, where he became a jobber known as “The Widowmaker.” Ugh. That was almost as bad as “The Stalker,” the 1996 WWF character played by an approximately 400-pound Windham…

Wait, he had a stroke? No way.

Anyway, here’s to a speedy recovery to a wrestler of which I have plenty of fond memories and a shared weight fluctuation problem. Time to drown my sorrows in a bucket of Blue Bunny moose tracks. -Eric

Luther Reigns, aka Horshu, discusses recent stroke, drug use

According to Prowrestling.net, former WWE superstar Luther Reigns, aka Horshu from WCW Saturday Night, recently had a stroke and went through rehab in Glendale, Ariz., his home state. In an article in the Arizona Republic, Reigns (real name Matthew Wiese) explains that he was on steroids from college at Arizona State University, through his stints in WCW and WWE, and up until recently while managing his girlfriend’s acting career (that comment is useless without pictures, Luth), and the article goes on to say that Reigns took “40 to 50 pain pills … each day.” The story also says Reigns’ speech therapist believes “a stroke at his age is not normal but probably is the result of years of drug abuse.” Watch out, lady, Jerry McDevitt’s gonna come knockin’! Here’s the silver lining, though, from the end of the article:

Wiese’s main focus is now on recovery. Having blown most of the money he made from wrestling, he now relies on financial support from his mother and royalties from television and movie appearances. He attends outpatient therapy at Valley of the Sun Rehabilitation Hospital three times a week and hopes to move to Los Angeles to become a full-time actor after his therapy is over.

It could be months before he is well enough to begin acting again, but Wiese said the stroke turned out to be a positive experience because it freed him of the addictions that had plagued him for over a decade.

“This had to happen,” he said. “This (stroke) was a gift from God.”

I’m glad to hear the 36-year-old Wiese found a positive after all the negative. The real bummer is that no one has given me $50 million to start a wrestling league yet, because I would have hired a healthy Luther Reigns in a heartbeat. OK, that was a bad choice of words; I would have hired him in an instant. Then he could have had Thanksgiving, not no bread and spoiled meat! -Eric

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