Incredibly sad news coming from the world of professional wrestling this morning, with word emerging that three former WWE wrestlers all passed away on the very same day.
WWE Hall of Famer Nikolai Volkoff, whose Soviet Union persona made him one of the most despised heels (bad guys) in wrestling during the Cold War era, passed away yesterday (US time) at the age of 70.
Volkoff, real name Josip Nikolai Peruzović, was born in the former Yugoslavia and forged an in-ring campaign that spanned 40-years, most notably peaking in the 1980s after pairing with The Iron Shiek in a duo that rose to the then-WWF Tag Team Championships. Volkoff was perhaps most famous for goading audiences by singing the Soviet national anthem prior to matches. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.
Elsehwere, Brian Lawler – better known to Attitude Era fans as Grand Master Sexay – also passed away at the age of just 46 after an apparent suicide.
Lawler – the son of famed WWE announcer and Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler – was found by prison guards in his cell in a Memphis prison, where he been held for the past few weeks after being arrested in Tennessee earlier this month on a DUI charge.
Officials transported Lawler to the ICU at a nearby hospital, however his family made the decision to remove life support and he was declared dead shortly thereafter.
Lawler – who also competed under the name Brian Christopher – was one half of Too Cool alongside tag team partner Scotty 2 Hotty. Together, they formed one of the most consistently popular WWF acts of the late 90s and early 2000s, ultimately claiming the tag titles in 2000.
Lawler’s later life was dogged by alcohol and substance abuse issues, with the former WWE star repeatedly arrested.
In addition to all that, former territory star Brickhouse Brown passed away at the age of 57 following a battle with prostate cancer. Brown’s career peaked as a top heel in various southern-USA promotions like World Class Championship Wrestling in Texas, the United States Wrestling Association in Memphis, and Southeastern Championship Wrestling based out of rural Tennessee and Alabama.
Several prominent wrestling figures commented on the horrific day for wrestling, noting the passing of all three former personalities.
Today is a super sad day for me and wrestling fans everywhere. I just found out NiKolai Volkoff, Brian Lawler & Brickhouse Brown all passed away today. It literally took my breathe away. My deepest sympathies go out to all their families. God Bless you brothers. Gods Speed DDP
— Diamond Dallas Page (@RealDDP) July 29, 2018
So saddened today re: the deaths of @WWE HOFER Nikolai Volkoff, #BrickhouseBrown, once targeted to replace #JYD, and #BrianChristopher, the talented son of the great, @JerryLawler#RIPGentlemen #CondolencesToAll 🙏
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) July 29, 2018
Sorry to hear the passings of Nikolai Volkoff, Brian Christopher and Brickhouse Brown. A very sad day in the history of Sports Entertainment. #RIP
— Kurt Angle (@RealKurtAngle) July 29, 2018
Just to confirm, Nikolai Volkoff, Brian Lawler and Brickhouse Brown have all passed away. Very sad day for pro wrestling.
— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) July 29, 2018
Nikolai Volkoff, Brian Lawler (Grandmaster Sexay) and Brickhouse Brown have all passed away. A tragic day
— Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com (@SeanRossSapp) July 29, 2018
Incredibly sad day all around.
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