Late Lance Cade: ‘Addict’ (Linda McMahon’s Dismissal) Or Untreated Brain Trauma Victim (Plenty of Circumstantial Evidence)?

The new issue of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter has a full and very revealing biography of World Wrestling Entertainment’s Lance Cade, who died last week at age 29 from the usual euphemistic “heart failure.”

Brazenly and outrageously, Senate candidate Linda McMahon, has kicked dirt on Cade’s grave – to repeat the words of another former WWE performer and current sports brain-injury activist, Chris Nowinski. While calling scrutiny of her wrestlers’ deaths “fair game,” McMahon lumped Cade together with all the other presumably subhuman “addicts” whose untimely demises foul her ill-gotten fortune.

But as Meltzer’s story shows, the circumstantial evidence shows that Cade (real name Lance McNaught), addict or not, was certainly a prima facie candidate for the brain trauma disease now being called Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy.

The Meltzer piece can be viewed (subscribers only) at It tells of how Cade, who had been trained and pushed by WWE great Shawn Michaels, “was beaten down with one brutal chair shot after another and … left for dead, in what looked like and it turns out was punishment,” in a “no disqualification match” with Michaells on the October 6, 2008, edition of Raw.

The “punishment” was for having violated etiquette in not having shown enough gratitude to Michaels, who had more seniority and status, and had gifted Cade with a “clean pinfall” win over him in a prior match.

Not so incidentally, this took place nearly a year after Vince McMahon told CNN, in a fall 2007 documentary, that WWE was banning chair shots to the head. In fact, cranial chair shots continued all the way to January 2010 – by which time Linda’s Senate campaign was well under way.

Irv Muchnick


1 Response to “Late Lance Cade: ‘Addict’ (Linda McMahon’s Dismissal) Or Untreated Brain Trauma Victim (Plenty of Circumstantial Evidence)?”

  1. 1 Keith Harris August 19, 2010 at 9:52 am

    I wrote about this incident over four months ago at Cageside Seats in a post entitled “Speaking of WWE’s shady callous nature, Lance Cade has been fired after successfully completing rehab”:

    Within that post is a link to a YouTube video of the match where Shawn quickly destroyed Cade with a chair. It should be noted that only one of the chair shots was to the head, which I suppose was progress compared to the similar punishment angle Chris Kanyon had to endure over five years earlier where he was scripted to take multiple chair shots to the head. The concussion angle to this incident obviously still applies nonetheless. But there’s another angle worth exploring. Namely, scripting someone to take a large number of unnecessary, painful chair shots all over his body as punishment may have contributed to Cade shortly thereafter having a pain pill induced seizure on a plane.

    On a side note, I’m bit peeved at the notion pushed by some in the wrestling media that WWE did everything they could to help Cade, which ignores WWE booking him in that punishment angle, WWE firing him instead of sending him straight to rehab after the incident where he had a drug induced seizure on a plane, and firing him again as soon as he successfully completed rehab in his second stint in the company. Clearly Cade needed rehab in October 2008, but by all accounts he wasn’t offered it then and had to wait over a year to get it. Personally that doesn’t strike me as WWE doing everything they could to help him, as quickly as they could.

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