Coming off last week when we lost the legendary Blackjack Mulligan, it seemed that pro-wrestling was set to go through another one of its terrible twos or terrible threes. This is a time in which you hear of celebrities dying off one after the other, and the same can be said with athletes. Last year, Roddy Piper and Dusty Rhodes died very close to each other. Both were huge loses to the pro-wrestling world, and now it appears yet another has joined them.
ECW Original Balls Mahoney passed away today at the age of 44-years-old, according to Wrestling Inc. Chris Candido’s brother Johnny mentioned a friend of his, who happened to be a neighbor to the family of Mahoney who saw an ambulance outside the home. When the neighbor called to ask about the situation, Mahoney’s wife broke the terrible news to him regarding the death of her husband.
While his real name was Jonathan Rechner, he preferred going by his wrestling name like most wrestlers enjoy doing. He was known, like most ECW stars, for his hardcore wrestling talent. However, just like many other ECW performers from the 90s, he has also had his stint with drugs such as painkillers. Mahoney spoke to Title Match in 2014 about his issues regarding them, saying that due to his work with ECW as a hardcore wrestler, he has to have painkillers to function.
He claimed if he didn’t have his girlfriend lay out his pain pill for him, he would literally have to crawl in order to grab one because he could not walk to do it by himself.
Balls Mahoney was primarily known for his work with ECW, but he actually had his first real taste of the big time for about a year with WWE in 1995 up until 1996. He would eventually part ways with WWE and go to work for Paul Heyman’s ECW business. ECW was an innovative movement for its time as the show was rated TV-MA and would classically go above and beyond what normal wrestlers would do.
They birthed the hardcore movement, and the term “extreme” seemed got hot due to them. Eventually, the term was used in everything, and ECW was at the forefront. By 1997, Balls Mahoney would be born within ECW. He would go on to work full-time for the business and have a good stint within the company that would last until the company folded in 2001. Afterward, Mahoney would go to work on the independent circuit.
Naturally, that meant he had to do more hardcore matches, this time for less pay than what he would have made in ECW when Heyman actually paid the guys. He worked with TNA for a brief time, but nothing to write home about. Eventually, WWE brought ECW back as a newly televised brand, which helped Balls Mahoney out in a major way. It meant that the company needed stars from ECW, and due to Mahoney being one of the most memorable acts from the time, he was called upon to return for the rebranded ECW in 2005.
He worked with WWE doing on and off appearances and matches up until late 2008 when he ended up getting his walking papers. Unlike others from ECW, Balls Mahoney was not found at events doing drugs in the back or find himself arrested over the use, at least nothing was reported as such. Sadly, overuse or abuse of things like steroids, painkillers or alcohol can kill people at a tragically young age. Mahoney was a one-of-a-kind talent with a legendary career with ECW, and he will be missed.
[Image via Heavy.com]