In 2023, the year brought a sad song to professional wrestling. While the ring was loud with fans and wrestlers fighting, sadness overshadowed us as we felt bad about the deaths of several favorite professional wrestlers. So, we’ve lost some of the best and loved sports players.
These seven WWE wrestlers died in 2023. They ranged from famous legends who showed the path for many future stars to budding talents with a bright future ahead.
These men and women, all with their unique stories to tell about how they gave something special to the world of fun. Now they are among those who have fallen from power in the wrestling ring’s arena.
Bray Wyatt, a 36-year-old wrestler from the third generation who fights in matches, passed away on August 24 because of problems with his heart while asleep. He started working with WWE in 2009.
He became known for amazing acts and memorable characters like a cult leader of the Wyatt Family, or even a scary monster called Fiend who was hard to forget. Wyatt used to be a WWE Champion, Universal Champion and Tag Team winner.
He fought with big names like John Cena, Randy Orton and Roman Reigns in wrestling matches that can get really intense. He left WWE in 2021 but came back to it in 202, and now Triple H is telling him what work he needs to do.
Wyatt was removed from TV in the start of 2023. This happened because he had heart problems caused by COVID-19. His fiancée, JoJo Offerman who used to be a ring announcer found him.
She tried hard but sadly it was already too late for them when she discovered he was in trouble. He left two kids, Knash and Hyrie, plus a record of greatness. Not to mention how unique he was.
Hardcore wrestling pioneer Terry Funk died at the age of 79. He started his career in the 1960s and spent more than 50 years fighting for several promotions.
Funk was well-known for his charisma, tenacity, and willingness to take big chances. He held the titles of WWE Hardcore Champion, ECW World Heavyweight Champion, and NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
2009 saw Funk’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. In addition, he had a prosperous acting career, starring in films such as Over the Top and Road House. Many wrestlers looked up to Funk as a mentor and source of inspiration, and fans adored him.
Jay Briscoe, a famous wrestler in the independent group, died at 38 years old because of an accident with his car. He started a group called Ring of Honor in 2002 with his brother Mark.
They first showed up there that year. Briscoe was a two-time ROH World Champion and had the record of 11 times winning as part of an tag team. He also fought for other leagues like New Japan Pro Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling and Guerrilla Warfare.
Briscoe had a rough fighting style and was also known for his charm. He took part in some very remembered fights and battles with top performers like Samoa Joe, CM Punk, Kevin Steen, adedam Cole.
He never agreed to join WWE or AEW even though these companies offered him a chance. Briscoe was a real star of the independent wrestling world and people loved him as their sibling, husband or mother. He also had three kids whose dad he is.
Superstar Billy Graham
At the age of 78, Superstar Billy Graham, a former bodybuilder and WWE celebrity, passed away. His colorful clothes, strong physique, and captivating promos made him a model for future wrestlers like Jesse Ventura and Hulk Hogan.
Following his 2004 induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, Graham performed for the AWA, NWA, and WCW, among other promotions. Due to his steroid use and hepatitis C infection, he experienced health problems and had multiple surgeries, including a liver transplant in 2002 and a heart surgery in 2010. Graham had a tense relationship with WWE, objecting to the company’s inventive choices and drug policy.
On December 29, British wrestler Kurtis Chapman, 26, went away. He gained notoriety as “Mad Kurt” due to his technical prowess and magnetic personality as a rising star in the British wrestling industry.
Chapman held the FCP Infinity Trophy and was the previous RPW British Cruiserweight Champion. In the opening round of the 2018 WWE UK Championship Tournament, he squared off against Zack Gibson.
In London, where Chapman was supposed to wrestle for RPW, his body was discovered. Although the cause of his death remained unknown, reports suggested that he had been battling drug and mental health problems.
Former NFL player and WWE wrestler Darren Drozdov went dead at the age of fifty-two. Drozdov was a defensive lineman who went by the moniker “Puke” because of his propensity to throw up on command.
He was a writer for WWE Magazine for a short while and a member of the Legion of Doom. When he sustained a serious neck injury in 1999, it ended his wrestling career and left him paraplegic. Drozdov filed a negligence lawsuit against WWE, but it was resolved out of court.
He continued to be upbeat in spite of his illness and worked as a motivational speaker and writer for WWE.com. He made appearances in podcasts and documentaries as well. Drozdov passed away in a New Jersey hospital from pneumonia-related complications.
Peggy Lee Leather
At the age of 62, women’s wrestling pioneer and legend Peggy Lee Leather passed away. She was well-known for her toughness and aggression and was among the first female wrestlers to compete in hardcore contests.
In 1979, she started her career and participated in promotions held by the NWA, AWA, WCW, and WWF. She was the former AWA World Women’s Champion and NWA Women’s World Tag Team Champion.
Following his 2000 wrestling retirement, Leather went on to work as a security guard, promoter, trainer, and nurse. She suffered a stroke in South Carolina and died.
These are some of the WWE stars who died in 2023 and we remember them sadly. We also celebrate their lives during that time. They made us happy with their special moments and experiences. They also pleased us by showing off how much they loved what they were doing, using their skills for fun.
Their big names in wrestling will forever be liked by fans. Their great deeds keep going on for many people who love the sport. Rest and say thank you for everything.