JG's Columns JG's Ten Wrestling Characters With Undiagnosed Medical Conditions
By James Guttman
Jan 25, 2012 - 12:40 PM
The older we get, the more likely we are to check for "
red flags". If a co-worker shows up at work and he's suddenly barking or thinks he's a rooster, you might tell him to call the doctor. Those are red flags. But in wrestling, there are no red flags. The characters on air do what they do and no one stops to wonder why. They just figure, "That dude's crazy." But that crazy could hide bigger issues. Allow me to help diagnose some of these ailments just like my favorite Monday Night star - Dr. House.
One quick note - as with most of these lists, this isn't about the people who played the characters. It's about the characters themselves. Also, I didn't do any of the blatantly "crazies" like Berzerker and George Steele, because I figured they were diagnosed at some point. Hell, the guy ate turnbuckles for food.
Uh, yeah. So you're probably thinking, "Great Muta had been doing green mist for years before Tajiri."
And I would say, "What is wrong with you?! Why didn't you get him help?!"
This one always blew my mind. It's the biggest sign to young fans that wrestling might not be as - ahem - win/loss based as it appeared. I mean, I can buy some of the moves. I can play along with a big Junkyard Dog pretend peeing on people. I can even digest a People's Elbow. But, I'm sorry, green misty spit is where I draw the line.
In real life, the only people shooting out green slime from their mouths are either Nickelodeon characters from 1990 or they're dying. In the case of Yoshiro Tajiri, the answer could be chronic viral influenza. It's commonly referred to as "the flu" but adding "chronic" to it means he has it constantly.
Even so, he has some sort of funky oriental flu. Although, congestion issues associated with influenza can make your phlegm appear green, it doesn't manifest itself so strongly that it comes spraying out like a can of mace. There's something going on in there and I'm not sure what it is - but it's gross.
As a kid, we used to all ponder how the green mist was hidden in Muta's pants or given to him by the cameraman. In reality, maybe we should have been worrying that he was deathly ill in front of us and infecting others.
Wait, I take that back. Ric Flair gets really crazy.
It's always existed and even back in his early days, he would show signs of something being wrong. Whether it was his profuse sweating, bulging eyes, or constant repeating of phrases ("I hate you! I hate you! I hate you! DUSTY! WHOO! DUSTY! WHOO!" and so on), you knew something was up. Then in the late 90s, he did this and we all realized that we should have gotten him help back in 1986.
Now I know what you're thinking.
James, you great guy, are you sure you're not just trying to fit a disease to something that can just be described as crazy? Also, I love you.
Well, first of all, thanks! Second, here are the symptoms of hypoglycemia that fit the Nature Boy. Ready? -
Shakiness, anxiety, outbursts, faintness, passing out, delirium, hallucinations, excess sweating, the appearance of intoxication, marked personality changes, irritability, negativism, mood swings, crying spells, and a panorama of similar mental symptoms.
What's that? You don't remember the on-air Slick Ric passing out? You do. They said it was a heart attack. They lied:
This whole time, we've been entertained by Flair's increasingly crazy antics, no one ever thought to say, "Uh, how about if you just cut down on carbohydrates? Maybe then you'll stop being, you know, crazy."
Actually, now that I wrote that sentence out, I know why. Because he's friggin' awesome this way. Here, Ric. Have a potato chip on me!
Do you people see what happened to Gene Snitsky? Anyone.
He went from this…
And no one worried.
I mean, come on! Even if you're a wrestler who doesn't like Snitsky backstage, wouldn't you still go up and to him and ask what he's been doing to turn his teeth and face into mush? Wouldn't you want to make sure you're not eating the same catering food he is? I mean - ah!
The only thing that makes sense is radiation poisoning. From the sudden yellowing of his teeth to the all over hair loss to the damaged skin, Snitsky suffered from some sort of radioactive trauma. Maybe he went into space or something. I have no idea.
He may be content with the fact that his ailments weren't "his fault", but that doesn't mean he shouldn't see a specialist. Yikes. I guess it's karma for all that baby killing.
I'm going to be honest. I was originally trying to figure out what was wrong with Hacksaw Jim Duggan. I mean, the guy sticks his tongue out randomly and stares all around.
But while doing so, I came across a shocking discovery.
The character of "Macho Man" Randy Savage had Tardive Dyskinsia.
Perhaps he got it as a side effect of some gastrointestinal drugs, but whatever the reason, he got it. Here. Let's do this. I'll give you the checklist. Then you watch the video and keep notes.
Grinding the teeth or chewing repetitively
Smacking the lips
Sticking out the tongue
Twitching or shaking in the fingers
The only one that's iffy is grinding his teeth, but who knows what's going on in there? Randy's condition seemed to increase during his days as a Macho King, but most - if not all - of the symptoms were around for his entire career. The twitching fingers, the tongue obsessing, the rapid blinking, and grimacing - he has it all.
In all honesty, if your teacher came into class and he was twitching like Randy Savage, you would have told the principal and switched classes. But then again, your teacher wasn't the Macho Man, was he?
I bet you thought I was going to give him the disease that made that guy's skin blue - colloidal silver poisoning. You heard of that, right? No? Maybe?
There was a guy who took colloidal silver as a supplement each day and it turned him blue. I mean, seriously blue. Not a tinge. Blue. Here's a visual aid for those of you who grew up in the 1980s like me.
But that's not what Blue Meanie had. His skin was pigmented correctly. There wasn't anything wrong there. It was his hair. That's a different poison altogether - aluminium sulphate.
Just like Meanie, the people in the Camelford Water Case that's linked above had their hair turn blue from exposure to the chemical. Of course, if he dyed it, then all this is moot. But if his hair was truly blue, then there was something wrong. This is what was wrong.
As for the flatulence, I think we can chalk that up to diet. For many years of his career, Meanie was larger than most. Excess foods can cause digestive issues. Then, after losing weight, he probably ate many "fat free" meals - thus the Olestra style gas. But gas is one thing. Blue hair is another.
You may think you know tone deafness (or Amusia) but you don't.
Amusia isn't an ailment for people who simply "bad singers". They're people who have no perception what music is. To them, melodic tones don't sound melodic. So when they sing, they're trying to do their best.
But their perception is way off. When someone with amusia hears a good singer…they hear noise. It's as painful for the person with Amusia to listen to quality music as it is for others to hear the people with Amusia sing. And our Jill proved she had it during this segment:
She seems repulsed at Lillian's singing which was much better than her own. It's an indication of something more than bad singing on her part. She's the rejected contestant who Paula Abdul looks at with sad eyes and says, "Sweetheart, you can't hear that? You can't hear that in your voice?"
There's no real known reason for the causes of amusia, but I'm sure having a monster eat a mole off your face exposes you to some funky stuff.
No? Watch this and just stare at Earthquake…
Wow. That video was 2 minutes and 33 seconds. He never stopped bouncing. Just bounced away.
I guess the suggestion was that he was quaking, but what if there was really something going on here? I mean, let's be honest. Guys the size of Canadian Earthquake didn't go out of their way to be in constant movement. They usually walk into a room and say, "Hey. Move over. Let me sit down. Geez. It's hot out there."
But not Earthquake. He moved. Over and over again. It was sometimes distracting, but always intriguing. So what caused this? Well, it was Labyrinthitis - a dizziness of the inner ear. It causes imbalance and a "bouncing movement" that seems to mimic being drunk.
The ailment seemed to die down a bit after he started teaming with Typhoon and later became a big fish, but the Earthquake bounce was something you'd be gossiping about if your boss started doing it nonstop at every meeting.
Here take a look at Tony Atlas during one of his worst outbreaks. Let Dennis Miller introduce these two former ClubWWI.com guests like Barry Goldwater at a picnic with Ethyl Mermen in Timbuktu, cha-cha.
This disorder is often characterized by over-reactions - both happy and sad - to moments. Most of the times we saw Tony during this ECW stint was in WWE comedy segments. The skits, while not the most side-splittingly awesome comedic gems of our time, cause him to lose his World's Strongest Sh*t every time.
He lost it over Abraham Washington's monologue and almost needed CPR during his encounter with Big Dick Johnson. If this whole thing was real, at some point, one of them would have went, "Yo. Are you being sarcastic with all that laughing?"
They never did and Tony remained undiagnosed. Of course, he could have always just found Abraham Washington and Big Dick so hilarious that he couldn't...
The best part about this final one is that I don't really need to explain PSD to you. The name pretty much says it. It deals with the outcomes from a traumatic and stressful event.
Kane's had tons of them.
You have the preoccupation with burns on his face and body that don't exist. For years, he covered himself up out of fear his "burns" would be revealed. When he lost his mask, the world saw the truth - but Kane didn't. When Jim Ross tried to broach the subject, the Big Red Machine set him on fire. It was another connection to the fiery hell he was almost drowned in.
Then there's this whole Katie Vick thing. Even though we wish it wasn't part of his timeline, it is and it happened. He admitted it. But for someone already recovering from the trauma of being kidnapped from a house fire that claimed his parents, a drunken driving car accident that takes his girlfriend's life only adds to the trauma.
Years later, he came to WWE and no one has been the same since. From his brother to John Cena, the on again/off again mask man still relives the horrors of those days and his behaviors are right out of the PSD playbook.
The most glaring example is something we mocked at the time -
If that doesn't scream flashback nothing does. We can blame Paul Bearer for not getting him help when he was locked away in his basement, but Big Red escaped years ago. Who's to blame for not doing it since then?