7 WWE Wrestlers Who Died in the Ring During a Match

Countless examples of wrestlers who have died in the ring exist throughout Professional Wrestling history. Every time we hear about a wrestler’s death, we realize how much these athletes put on the line. Some wrestlers who died in the ring were established; others weren’t. Regardless, every life is equally important. Stories about WWE deaths in the ring are not very popular due to their controversial nature. However, when a WWE wrestler dies, expect news and media outlets to exploit the story.

Wrestlers who Died in the Ring

Here, we will discuss 7 instances of Professional Wrestlers losing their lives in the ring. These wrestler death stories show how risky of a sport wrestling truly is.

#7 “Iron” Mike DiBiase:

million dollar man ted
source: Pinterest

“Iron” Mike DiBiase is among those unfortunate wrestlers who have died in the ring. He was the (adoptive) father of “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and the grandfather of multi-time Tag Team Champion Ted DiBiase Jr. This is why the name sounded so familiar.

DiBiase made his professional wrestling debut in 1950 after working as an amateur for several years. During his career, he won the AWA Midwest Heavyweight Championship 3 times. While NWA influenced the wrestling world with its territory system, DiBiase won Titles in various territories.

Unfortunately, on July 2, 1969, during a match against Man Mountain Mike, the “Iron” encountered the unthinkable. He suffered a heart attack while wrestling. One of the all-time greats and two-time WWE Hall of Famer, Harley Race, was on-site. He figured out the reason behind DiBiase’s collapse in the ring. Race unsuccessfully performed CPR on DiBiase. The “Iron” was rushed to a nearby hospital but pronounced dead upon reaching there.

Although his wrestling legacy continued with his son Ted and grandsons (Mike, Ted Jr., and Brett), it would have been better if the “Iron” had witnessed his future generations’ progress inside the squared circle.


#6 King Kong Kirk:

wrestlers who have died

Wrestling in the UK is becoming popular once again. But have you ever wondered why it lost its charm in the first place? Well, there are many reasons behind it; one is a wrestler’s death during a match. The wrestler we are referring to is Malcolm Kirk (King Kong Kirk).

During his professional wrestling career, Kirk wrestled against the likes of Bret Hart, Andre the Giant, William Regal, etc. Close to the mid-’80s, Kirk started to dislike wrestling and expressed interest in retiring from the action. He had planned his post-wrestling life (opening a pub with his wife). However, his dreams couldn’t come true, and he met his demise in quite a tragic way.

On August 23, 1987, Kirk teamed up with King Kendo to take on Greg Valentine and Big Daddy (Kirk’s on-screen rival then). The finish saw Big Daddy execute a splash on Kirk, landing on the latter’s chest to pick up the victory. Big Daddy then noticed Kirk turning purple and called for help. Due to his size, CPR couldn’t be done by the on-site staff. So, he was taken to the hospital but pronounced dead right away.

Although King Kong Kirk is one of the wrestlers who died in the ring, it was revealed later that he had suffered from a previous heart condition. His death resulted in widespread media coverage, leading to the sport’s decline in the UK.


#5 Dan “Spider” Quirk:

wrestler who died in the ring
source: Wikipedia

The stories about WWE deaths in the ring receive worldwide attention. However, there are several wrestler death stories about small promotions as well. One such story concerns the late Daniel Michael Quirk (known by his ring name Spider). He made his professional wrestling debut before the age of 20 in 2002.

He enjoyed stints in NWA, Chikara, and some other promotions. By 22, Quirk was ready to establish himself in Professional Wrestling. Little did he know that his match against Hi-Lite Kid at an Ultimate Championship Wrestling event on May 28, 2005, would be his last.

During the match, Quirk’s opponent missed a step while executing a move. Quirk tried to improvise on the fly to cover up for his opponent’s mistake. However, the whole sequence ended with Quirk falling head-first on the floor. In addition to that, there were no mats outside the ring. The referee stopped the match immediately. Quirk was loaded into an ambulance and attended to in every possible way, but unfortunately, it didn’t matter.


#4 Luther Lindsay: Wrestling Deaths in the Ring

luther lindsay, suffered a heart attack, hall of famer

During the ’50s and ’60s, Luther Lindsay had quite a reputation in professional wrestling. He competed throughout the United States during the NWA territory days. Moreover, he was a part of Stampede Wrestling and All Japan Pro Wrestling.

While climbing up the ranks within the professional world, he gained the respect of Stu Hart, J.J. Dillon, Lou Thesz, etc. In addition to that, his list of accomplishments is quite huge.

Lindsay continued wrestling as the ’70s kicked off. On February 21, 1972, Lindsay collided with Charlotte’s Bobby Paul. In a shocking turn of events, he suffered a deadly heart attack while pinning his opponent for the win. After the match, local authorities were called when it was observed that Lindsay was utterly unresponsive. He was pronounced dead shortly after being rushed to the dressing room. What sets him apart from other wrestlers who have died in the ring is that he passed away while making the pin. In 2017, WWE inducted him into the Hall of Fame for his contributions to the wrestling world.


#3 Hijo Del Perro Aguayo:

wwe wrestler dies, rey mysterio, wrestler deaths
source: CNN

Wrestlers who died in the ring left behind a legacy that others try to live up to. The death of Hijo Del Perro Aguayo/Perro Aguayo Jr. was one of the most widely covered wrestler death stories. Before we get into that, let’s shed some light on the wrestler’s impact on the Mexican Wrestling scene.

Perro Aguayo Jr. was a prominent part of Mexican Wrestling Giants such as AAA and CMLL. He led the Los Perros Del Mal stable. Although this name might not sound familiar to the casual wrestling fan, it was pretty over with the Mexican audience. Throughout his two-decade-long career, Perro Aguayo Jr. bagged multiple Championship Titles.

Unluckily, his career didn’t end on a good note. During a Crash show on March 20, 2015, he partnered with Manik to take on Rey Mysterio Jr. and Xtreme Tiger in a tag team match. At one point in the game, Mysterio performed a dropkick on Aguayo’s back/shoulder region. A few moments later, performers in the ring started noticing that Aguayo was unconscious. He was taken to a hospital after the match and pronounced dead shortly after midnight.

Cardiac arrest was the cause of his death. The arrest was because of a cervical stroke caused by three broken vertebrae. AAA inducted him into its Hall of Fame. It should be clarified that Rey Mysterio wasn’t under contract with WWE then. So, this tragedy doesn’t fall into the “WWE Deaths in the Ring.”

See Also: Top Wrestlers of the 90’s Who Are Still Active Performers


#2 Brian Ong: How Brian ong Died

wwe deaths in the ring, the great khali

Among the countless stories about wrestling deaths, Brian Ong’s is an interesting one. He died during a training session with Dalip Singh (known for his time in WWE as The Great Khali). Before the session, Ong had already been dealing with various injuries. However, the APW promotion gave him a pass to keep on performing.

Fast forward to the training session, Singh executed a flapjack, a move that required the attention of both the executioner and the victim. Ong didn’t do his part effectively, fell hard onto the mat, and severely hurt himself. He died a few days later. The Wrestling promotion had to pay $1.3 million to Ong’s family for damages. This happened after the company was found responsible for the careless evaluation of his condition before the session with Singh. If a WWE wrestler dies due to such negligence, expect some heavy consequences. WWE deaths in the ring attract worldwide media coverage. Brian Ong was one of the finest Wrestlers who have died in the ring.


Before we head to our #1 pick, a few honorable mentions should also be included. These mentions include Japanese Wrestling Legend Mitsuharu Misawa and Plum Mariko. If a WWE wrestler dies, people hear about it in the news. However, these non-WWE deaths in the ring stories carry equal weight. 


#1 Owen Hart: How Did Owen Hart Die

Owen Hart, Hart Foundation, Intercontinental Championship, wwe deaths in the ring , wrestlers who died in the ring
source: Pro Wrestling Stories

Let’s be fair; WWE does an excellent job protecting its Superstars in the ring. Although there is a buzz when a WWE wrestler dies, the stories of WWE deaths in the ring are non-existent. However, there is one Superstar who lost his life in front of thousands of fans during a live WWF Pay-per-view. We are referring to Hart Family’s own, Owen Hart.

Hart was about to challenge for the Intercontinental Championship in 1999’s Over the Edge PPV. At that time, he was performing as the Blue Blazer, a superhero gimmick. WWF decided for Hart to make an entrance that suited his character. The plan was for him to come down into the ring from the rafters.

The concerned personnel successfully tested the entrance before the event as well. Unfortunately, Hart accidentally activated the early release mechanism while making the actual entrance. At this time, he was hanging 78 feet above the ring. This caused him to fall chest-first into the ring. After the on-site staff unsuccessfully attempted to revive Hart, they took him to a hospital, but he died before midnight. It was a controversial and sad turn of events and should have been prevented at all costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Wrestlers Died in the Ring?

Wrestling is a very gruesome sport. If you want to be a part of such a sport, you would have to risk your health and even your life for it. Till now, 14 wrestlers have died in the ring.

Who Has Died in the Wrestling Ring?

Over the years, there have been many WWE deaths in the ring. Some wrestlers who died in the ring are Eddi Guerrero, Luther Lindsay, Eric Denis, and many more.

Has Anyone Died During A WWE Match?

There have been a lot of wrestlers who have died in the ring during the years. One example of WWE in the ring is the famous Wrestler Owen Hart. This incident happened on May 24, 1999, when he died after falling while doing a stunt.

Who Died in WWE 2020?

More than a dozen wrestlers have died in the ring over the years. One famous WWE wrestler who died in 2020, Star Shad Gaspard. He died on 19 May 2020 after drowning in the ocean.

What Caused the Eddie Guerrero Heart Attack?

Over the years, there have been many WWE deaths in the ring; Eddie Guerrero was one such wrestler who died in the ring. He had a heart attack as his blood vessels narrowed, and the oxygen could not reach his heart.

Are Eddie Guerrero And Rey Mysterio Related?

Many wrestlers have died in the ring, and one famous superstar, Eddie Guerrero, was also killed. He and Rey Mysterio had a feud as part of the WWE storyline. Otherwise, they both were not related to each other.

Did Eddie Guerrero Die During a Match?

Over a long time, there have many WWE deaths in the ring. One well-known wrestler, Eddie Guerrero, died in the ring as he had a heart attack and also had some breathing issues.

Why Do So Many Wrestlers Die From Heart Attacks?

Many WWE deaths in the ring have been reported over many years. Many wrestlers have died in the call due to heart attacks. The reason for deaths by heart attack is that wrestling is a very consuming sport and requires extreme fitness, or else you will be exhausted and face breathing problems leading to Heart attacks.

Is WWE Fixed?

Indeed WWE is scripted. The results and the champions are fixed, but nothing more than that. The moves of the wrestlers and the wrestlers who have died in the ring, these things are not fake at all.

How did you find this list? Are you aware of other stories about a wrestler’s death or a WWE wrestler dying while in action? Do let us know in the comments section!

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