The professional wrestling world has been rocked by the deaths of three former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstars on the same day.
WWE Hall of Famer Nikolai Volkoff, Brian Lawler and Brickhouse Brown all passed away on Monday (NZ time).
Volkoff, real name Josip Nikolai Peruzovic, was one of the most despised heel personas of the 1970s and 1980s. Portraying a Russian, the Croatian was famous for singing the Soviet national anthem before his matches.
Volkoff was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005. He was 70 years of age and died shortly after being released from hospital, where he had been treated for dehydration.
Lawler, better known to wrestling fans as ‘Grand Master Sexay’ or Brian Christopher, passed away at the age of just 46, after an apparent suicide.
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 his arrest in Tennessee earlier this month on a DUI charge.
Lawler was one half of ‘Too Cool’, alongside tag-team partner ‘Scotty 2 Hotty’. Together, they formed one of the most popular wrestling acts of the late 1990s and early 2000s, ultimately claiming the tag titles in 2000.
Local Memphis police have opened an investigation into the apparent suicide.
In addition, 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 independent American promotions in the 1980s.
Brown made various appearances in the WWE as an enhancement talent in the 1990s.
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.
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
Sorry to hear the passings of Nikolai Volkoff, Brian Christopher and Brickhouse Brown. A very sad day in the history of Sports Entertainment. #RIP.
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
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
I called last night’s @ShowtimeBoxing event hours after finding out that my friend’s 11 year old daughter had died. I wake up this morning to find out Pro Wrestlers Nikolai Volkoff,Brickhouse Brown and Brian Lawler have passed away. My heart is shattered. 😞🙏
— Mauro Ranallo (@mauroranallo) July 29, 2018