Eddie Fatu died on December 4, 2009. Although the newswires reported it as soon as it broke on Twitter and Jim Ross’s blog, there really has been no deep analysis of his death since at this point The Wrestler movie is a year removed (it showed the harsh conditions and addictions of pro wrestling to light) and the WWE’s Drug Policy is no longer a hot CNN topic due to the financial crisis. Yes, his death has been reported, and yes, CNN and other oldschool MEDIA outlets say “another wrestler’s death” but I think there should be more investigation into the WHY?
Fatu was the younger brother of The Tonga Kid and Rikishi, he was The Rock’s cousin, and the nephew of Afa and Sika, the Wild Samoans.
As Umaga, Fatu received a monster push in the WWE in 2006, in which he was not pinned from April to January 2007. It was during this time that Umaga seemingly became a made man in the WWE. Being on RAW every week and the PPVs made Umaga a household name for modern day wrestling fans, as his savage gimmick made him an updated version of Kamala (whom he ironically squashed in a televised match). Umaga also was Vince McMahon’s bodyguard at WrestleMania 23 when McMahon lost the hair vs hair match to Donald Trump. Umaga won the Intercontinental Championship on two occassions, although his momentum and character didn’t need that title.
Umaga never beat the top WWE faces on PPV, and eventually went to Smackdown. Known for brief hiatus’, he was released by the WWE for violating WWE’s Wellness Policy twice and refusing rehab. A pro wrestling diva Dawn Marie said Fatu had his demons. His drug history shows human growth hormones (HGH) and other drugs. He was also overweight.
Fatu was wrestling with the Hulkamania tour in Australia with his older brother. In his room, his nose was bleeding and he had two heart attacks to die at 36.
An internet poster named David said it best:
I think a Union that could help set up good wages, limits on the amount of abuse, and retirement funds for the wrestlers could only help with situations like these. No, I do not directly blame Vince McMahon for Umaga’s death, but I do lay some blame with the industry in general. There is a mentality in this industry that it is okay to sacrifice your health and eventually your life to entertain the fans. There is a mentality that it is okay to take recreational drugs, or pain killers to numb the strain and agony because you are doing it to entertain the fans. As a fan, I appreciate that, but I don’t “want” that. I cringe when I see some of the spots wrestlers have put themselves through. These are people (artists) I LIKE and who I APPRECIATE and therefore I don’t want them to feel like they are FORCED to kill themselves just to compete for the attention of a fickle audience and a fleeting moment on TV.
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