When Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten wrestled in ECW, they routinely took chair shots to the head and delivered even stiffer head shots themselves to their opponents. They also used trash cans and just about anything else imaginable. Both men recently died and their bodies were sent to Dr. Julia K. Kofler of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
The Boston Glove reported that the postmortem examination of both former ECW wrestlers indicated that they were diagnosed with CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). CTE is the same condition that both Chris Benoit and Andrew “Test” Martin were diagnosed with as well. This is bad news for the WWE.
The WWE is currently involved in a lawsuit with numerous former wrestlers concerning CTE and concussion issues and long-term effects from their time in the WWE. According to the official court documents, there are 51 plaintiffs involved in the WWE lawsuit, some of which are suffering problems since their retirement.
Among the wrestlers suing the WWE for the concussion and possible CTE issues in this lawsuit are Chavo Guerrero, Sr., Road Warrior Animal, Superfly Jimmy Snuka, Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff, Kamala, King Kong Bundy, Demolition, Butch Reed, Shane Douglas, Marty Jannety, and many more.
The issues of concussions and CTE really hit the mainstream when a number of NFL players filed a lawsuit against the NFL over the issue. The NFL ended up settling with the former players for $1 billion. However, a small number of former players are appealing the lawsuit settlement and it might end up going to the Supreme Court, which has delayed the payment of the settlement.
The WWE is not willing to budge, calling the lawsuit frivolous. According to the ABA Journal, the WWE actually accused the wrestlers of copying the NFL lawsuit, plagiarizing the allegations. Interestingly, there is a name that was involved in both lawsuit cases: Dr. Bennet Omalu, the man who has brought CTE to mainstream knowledge.
It was Dr. Omalu that Will Smith portrayed in the movie Concussion, which dealt with the players trying to bring their issue to the public eye and the lawsuit where the NFL battled to keep them silent. Not only did Dr. Omalu examine and bring the news of the deceased NFL players’ CTE diagnosis to life, but he also was the man who examined both Chris Benoit and Andrew “Test” Martin.
Dr. Omalu also confirmed the CTE diagnosis in Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten. According to the WWE, they asked the judge in their lawsuit to sanction Dr. Kofler for misconduct because they believe that he leaked the results of Rotten and Mahoney’s CTE diagnosis to the Boston Globe.
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Axl Rotten, whose real name was Brian Knighton, died in February of 2016 after an accidental heroin overdose. His estate added him to the WWE lawsuit in July and these CTE results might help in that case. Balls Mahoney, whose real name was Jonathan Rechner, died in April of 2016 at home of a heart attack while watching television with his wife.
As for the WWE lawsuit, they are still trying to get the courts to force the plaintiffs to drop the case. Things might get darker for the company soon because there is a Chris Benoit movie coming out soon that might deal with a lot of the problems in the business, including the rising cases of long-term brain damage and CTE to certain wrestlers.
Crossface will be directed by Lexi Alexander and is based on the book Ring of Hell: The Story of Chris Benoit & the Fall of the Pro Wrestling Industry. Benoit killed his wife and son before taking his own life in 2007 and he was diagnosed with CTE after his death.
[Featured Image via WWE]