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It's been a rough year for former WWE talent, and this past weekend was a slobberknocker, as it were, with three separate squared circle stars dying in unrelated incidents. Brian Christopher "Grandmaster Sexay" Lawler, Nikolai Volkoff, and Brickhouse Brown all lost their lives, with each reported death happening on the same day. The news rocked the wrestling world, as fans from different generations were shocked and saddened by the deaths of these beloved superstars.
Nikolai Volkoff reportedly passed away at his Maryland home at the age of 70, following a brief hospital stay. Volkoff's real name was Josip Nikolai Peruzovic and unlike the Russian-sympathizing character he portrayed on television in the '80s, he was neither a communist nor an actual Russian. Peruzovic fled his homeland of communist Yugoslavia to North America in 1967 and eventually linked up with legendary wrestling trainer Stu Hart.
Under Hart's guidance, Volkoff found his way into the WWF and worked for several years as the evil Russian character most fans of the era remember him as. The WWE inducted Volkoff into its Hall of Fame in 2005, and he had remained active in the wrestling scene, competing in indie matches up until 2016.
Brian Christopher Lawler, whom WWE fans may better remember as Too Cool's Grandmaster Sexay, passed away at age 46 after being found unresponsive in a Tennessee jail cell, in what was believed to be a suicide attempt. Lawler was arrested on Saturday, July 7, for driving under the influence and evading police officers, and awaiting trial with a $40,000 bond. Lawler was reportedly later found hanging in his jail cell, and was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was placed on life support so that his father, WWE legend Jerry Lawler, could say goodbye.
Brian Christopher Lawler was most known in WWE for being a part of the Attitude-era tag-team Too Cool. Lawler took on the role of was Grandmaster Sexay and, with the help of Scotty 2 Hotty and Rikishi, took the product by storm with their wild and goofy antics. Things came to a grinding halt for Lawler in 2001, when he was released from the company after being found with illegal drugs at the Canadian border. Lawler would sporadically work in the WWE and other big organizations in the years following, although he spent a bulk of his time in the indie circuits.
Frederick Seawright, a.k.a. Brickhouse Brown, died at 57 following an ongoing battle with prostate cancer, as confirmed by fellow wrestler Luke Graham. Old school wrestling fans may better remember Brickhouse Brown from the National Wrestling Alliance, as he only spent a very brief time in the then-WWF's fold. Seawright's death was initially reported by his family a week earlier, but was surprisingly retracted when he awoke to tell his mother he was hungry. Brown spent many years on the ropes in the indie circuits, and later spoke about his various wrestling exploits in "shoot" style interviews for YouTube videos.
CinemaBlend offers its condolences to the families of the departed wrestlers and wishes them well during this difficult time.