Archive for August, 2010

Outrageous Death of Linda McMahon’s WWE Wrestler Lance Cade: A Resource Guide


FAIR GAME — Linda McMahon Answers the Question of Systematic Death for Entertainment Industry Profits With … Another Question


Concussion Activist Chris Nowinski Speaks Out on Linda McMahon


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


Keith Harris of Cageside Seats With More on Lance Cade


Mike Benoit (Chris Benoit’s Father) on Lance Cade’s Death


EXCLUSIVE: Chair Used to Batter the Late Wrestler Lance Cade Was Autographed by Shawn Michaels and Auctioned by WWE for $315


Linda McMahon’s Husband Lied to CNN in 2007 About WWE’s Elimination of Chair Shots to the Head


Did Linda McMahon’s Daughter Commit Perjury in Her Congressional Testimony?


Remember – Lance Cade Is the 4th Untimely Ex-WWE Wrestler Death During Linda McMahon’s Senate Campaign


Video of the Sick Head Chair Shot on the Late WWE Wrestler Chris Kanyon


Linda McMahon Lied, Dead Wrestler Lance Cade’s Father Tells Connecticut Newspaper

Irv Muchnick

The Hill: Dead Wrestler Lance Cade Story ‘Among Worst Yet for Linda McMahon … Hard for Her to Ignore’

“Father of dead wrestler targets McMahon

By Shane D’Aprile

The Hill

“The story is among the worst yet for McMahon when it comes to her WWE past and it’s one that will be hard for her to ignore.”

More on Ohio Columnist B.J. Bethel And Chris Benoit

Well ahead of the journalistic pack, B.J. Bethel of the Dayton Daily News penned a column headlined “Ex-CEO of shady WWE enters world of politics.” The piece was praised here on August 16 (“Ohio Columnist Cuts to the Chase on Linda McMahon, While National Media Fiddle,” , but I believe the link there to Bethel’s own words is no longer live.

Bethel told me his piece was prompted by having read another one by Mike Benoit several months earlier in the Hartford Courant. Bethel said Benoit’s comment “about the McMahons’ broken promises in regard to blows to the head was unsurprising given my experience in talking with her former employees. That the company would only stop the practice when McMahon declared for the race is typical of the family.”

Bethel added that he met Chris Benoit in the early 2000s when he was rehabbing from neck surgery in Cincinnati. “I was quite taken with his affable demeanor and his way of helping out other wrestlers. Many of the contracted WWE talent ignored the wrestlers who were there paying to go to Les Thatcher’s wrestling school, and had little hopes of stardom. These guys weren’t big, muscled dudes and were only there for their love of the sport. I remember coming into the building one night and spotted Chris working with this group of guys and it struck a chord with me. It was one of my favorite memories of covering the business.”

Irv Muchnick

Atlantic Monthly: Dead Wrestler Story ‘Devastating’ For Linda McMahon

“Dead Wrestlers Haunting Linda McMahon”

by Joshua Green

The Atlantic

“I’m in New London, Connecticut, where the screaming front-page headline in The Day, one of the state’s larger (and better) papers, reads: ‘DEAD WRESTLER’S FATHER BLASTS MCMAHON, WWE.’ The story is, in a word, devastating.”

New York Times: Debate Over Wrestlers’ Deaths Enters a Senate Race

“Politics, Wrestling and Accountability”

By Peter Applebome

The New York Times

“You can say the guys made bad choices. You can say it has always been Ms. McMahon’s husband, Vince, who was running the show. You could say we’re concerned about jobs and the economy. But you could also say that if the W.W.E. accounts for the millions of dollars fueling her race and her feel-good entrepreneurial story, it’s not really so irrelevant to want to know more about what kept the circus running and what the costs were to those pumped-up behemoths who kept millions entertained.”

Linda McMahon Lied, Dead Wrestler Lance Cade’s Father Tells Connecticut Newspaper

“Dead wrestler’s father blasts McMahon, WWE”

By Ted Mann

“[Lance Cade’s death] McNaught’s has revived the primary question that has nagged McMahon as the Republican’s campaign for the U.S. Senate roars ever closer to Democrat Richard Blumenthal in opinion polls: Has the rags-to-riches saga of Stamford-based WWE come at the expense of the health and well-being of the wrestlers?”

Irv Muchnick

Wrestling Journalist James Caldwell Breaks Down the Head Chair Shot on Chris Kanyon

“It’s frightening looking at that scene seven years later,” emailed James Caldwell, the assistant editor of Pro Wrestling Torch, in reference to the video linked at the last post of the Undertaker destroying Chris Kanyon with a chair in 2003.

Kanyon committed suicide this year. Lance Cade, who took the beatdown in a similar televised sequence with Shawn Michaels two years ago, just died of “heart failure” at 29; I suspect the forthcoming toxicology report will determine that a load of prescription painkillers helped Cade’s heart along to failure.

But, of course, as former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO and current $50 million “self-funded” Senate candidate Linda McMahon told CNN in 2007, studies of brain injuries “you know, have not been — they’ve not been proven, if you will.”

For those of you who demand a spoonful of semiotics with your soap opera content, Caldwell also offered this observation: “The unintended symbolism of that chair shot sequence is so strong. Commentary – “Kanyon is the sacrificial lamb,” which translates into Kanyon’s health being sacrificed for the angle with Taker and Paul Heyman. Heyman – “He’s a human being,” pleading with Taker for Kanyon.”

Irv Muchnick

Video of the Sick Head Chair Shot on the Late WWE Wrestler Chris Kanyon

Thanks to David Bixenspan for the link.

The chair shots start raining down in the last couple of minutes of the seven-minute clip. The last one by the Undertaker on Chris Kanyon’s head used the unforgiving back of the steel chair, rather than the seat.

“A 9.5 on the Richter scale,” remembered a wrestling expert. The gruesome safety aspect of this incident was much discussed at the time by insiders, even though, in 2003, it came years before head trauma was a hot issue.

And this year Chris Kanyon committed suicide — just another “addict,” apparently, in Senate candidate Linda McMahon’s playbook.

Irv Muchnick

Remember – Lance Cade Is the 4th Untimely Ex-WWE Wrestler Death During Linda McMahon’s Senate Campaign

My “It’s the Deaths, Stupid” tour resumed today with an interview on the Colin McEnroe Show on Connecticut Public Radio. The podcast will be available shortly at I’m on the first segment, which was taped on Monday; the rest of the hour is a rerun from a few months ago.

Linda McMahon has conceded that it is “fair game” to include in the narrative of her Senate campaign the toll of dead wrestlers in and surrounding her World Wrestling Entertainment. So let’s use this opportunity to underline that Lance McNaught (“Lance Cade”) is prominent death No. 3 just during the last eight months of her campaign; No. 4 if you include Tony Halme (“Ludvig Borga”), who had a short but intense run as a headliner a number of years ago (see the January 10 post here at

On December 4, 2009, Eddie Fatu, 36, who wrestled as “Umaga,” died of a heart attack in Houston. In 2007 Fatu was among the many wrestlers who turned up on the customer list of the busted Internet steroid purveyor Signature Pharmacy. All of the WWE wrestlers on that list were suspended – except for one, Randy Orton, who happens to be a top-tier main event star and whose excuse from disciplinary action has never been explained. In testimony to Congressional investigators, WWE’s drug-testing contractor, David Black, would say, “Oh, sure, I would agree that that’s not good.”

In June 2009 Fatu was fired by WWE after refusing to go to drug rehab. But six months later he was in talks to return to the company when he died from what the coroner ruled was prescription drug toxicity. The autopsy showed that Fatu, 406 pounds, had an enlarged heart. Two years earlier WWE had announced that its “Wellness Program” now included cardiovascular screening.

On April 2, 2010, Christopher Klucsarits (“Chris Kanyon”) committed suicide in New York with a prescription drug overdose. He had had his own heart set on becoming the first mainstream pro wrestling star with the gimmick of being an openly gay man.

Chris Kanyon’s sendoff from WWE foreshadowed Lance Cade’s – with a little extra knife twist of homophobic taunting. On a 2003 edition of SmackDown, Kanyon came out dressed as Boy George and singing “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” before being attacked by the Undertaker. The beatdown was spiced with chair shots, including one especially stiff and sick one to the head. (If anyone has a YouTube link or the video itself, email me at

Many believe, as they do with Cade, that Kanyon could have suffered a brain injury in that televised incident, if not from the simple accumulated damage of other cranial chair shots over the years. Before his burial last spring, there were attempts by medical researchers to contact the Kanyon-Klucsarits family to get his postmortem brain tissue studied for possible signs of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

The same thing has been happening over the last two weeks with the Cade-McNaught family in Texas. It is one of the many behind-the-scenes stories of the Linda McMahon campaign that are not being told, either well or at all, by the national, Connecticut, or wrestling media.

But to give them all due credit, they’re doing a superb job of pointing out how they noticed that Fox News’ latest interview of McMahon was a softball.

Irv Muchnick

WWE Edits Auction Page of Lance Cade Death Chair

World Wrestling Entertainment has edited the page at its auction website of the October 2008 auction of the Shawn Michaels-autographed chair with which Michaels repeatedly banged Lance Cade — arguably setting him on course for his death at 29 earlier this month. The page,, no longer has the product description or the photo.

You can still view the unedited page at

Irv Muchnick

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August 2010