Monday, July 16, 2007

Wrestler Deaths Hit Home

It started innocently enough: a group of stupid kids wanting to emulate their favorite professional wrestling superstars. Thanks largely to the dreams of one local promoter, two of those stupid kids would break out from the pack and become a legitimate force on the Indy Wrestling scene. As a close friend, I was lucky enough to get to travel with them on various road trips and meet a lot of great people. Now, one of those people I met is gone...

The first time I met Devil Bhudakahn was at a CWF show. Typically CWF runs in Monesson, PA. However, on this occasion, they were running at an alternate facility. The main event was scheduled to be the Premiere Players vs. Crusher Hansen and Denny Gregory. The show never started, as attendance was particularly poor that night.

Bhudakahn was very nice to me, as I helped the group tear down the ring. It was quite surprising to me just how nice he was actually, as in instances like that, I quite often felt like an outsider. Devil made me feel that despite the fact that I never would work a match, I was just another one of the boys.

I never got to actually see him work until 10/19/02 when he teamed with Glenn Spectre as the Devil's Advocates to take on J-Ru and Trevor Lowe. This was the infamous incident where I got a little too involved in a CM Punk/Colt Cabana match (which I would love to have on tape or find on Youtube).

I have seen Devil work many times since then, in BDW, CWF, and PWX. Many of my favorite local workers now credit Devil with helping them learn and develop a "cruiserweight style."

The last memorable meeting I recall with him was either at the PWX Anniversary show where Brandon K wrestled Devin Devine or at the PWX show where Daron Smythe took the Heavyweight title from Crusher Hansen. Forgive me for not remembering, but I know it was one of those two instances, because my girlfriend was along for the ride.

After the show, we went to the Gyro, and my girlfriend and I ended up sitting across the table from Devil, and I just remember being astounded at how well he and my girlfriend interacted. He went out of his way to make her feel comfortable at a table full of independent professional wrestlers, and despite their differences in philosophy and theology, managed to be really respectful and hold an intelligent and interesting conversation.

Details about Devil's passing have not been formally released at the time of this writing, but what I can put together from the blogs of my friends it appears to be a suicide, which is very disheartening.

I often have a hard time coming to grips with suicide victims. When someone close to you chooses that they have no other alternative, immediately you wonder why... You think what you might have been able to do if you better understood the situation. I am not saying that I myself was "close" to Devil, but I felt a certain camaraderie with many of the wrestlers I have met over the years.

When someone chooses to end their own life, I have a hard time deciding on how to honor that person. You want to remember your friend for the good person that he or she was, but you don't want to glorify their action, because you wouldn't want anyone else to believe that it's the best alternative. To me, suicide is one of the worst choices you can make, and the worst part of it is, you can never change your mind.

My understanding of Devil's religious beliefs will keep me from expressing mine in reference to his death. No matter who is right or wrong in debates about the existance of God or the way to practice their beliefs, I just hope his soul finds the peace that it was unable to find on this earth. I would encourage anyone who is suffering from depression, which seems to run rampant through the independent wrestlers I have met seek help, either from close friends or from a professional counselor.

It's very sad to see someone feeling so alone, and then finding after they are gone just how many people truly cared and were touched by a person's existance.

"Devil was a standup guy. He was opinionated, but he never offered an opinion in an asshole-ish way. He was a guy you could have a nice debate with, be it about wrestling or anything else. Hell, some of my best memories of him are not wrestling related - running into him at the mall and standing there talking to him for about an hour about his kids and our families. He could rub people the wrong way, but that was just how he was. He didnt pull any punches, but he was a good guy." - Nikita Allenov

"I wasn't as close to Devil as some were. But I was lucky enough to know him, be able to talk to him on many many occasions at shows, and even ride with him to CWF on one occasion. It's amazing to see how many lives he has touched, how many of the younger guys he helped along the way, and it is a testament to how much of a great guy he really was. To say he will be missed is an understatement..." - Jesse the Mark

"Devil is a huge part of me even being in wrestling. For that I could never thank him enough. When I left PWX in September of 06, he was one of few who asked me directly what was going on, how I was doing, etc.. He even, as I found, went to bat for me. He was a standup guy. He was always there to make me laugh..." - B.C. Steele

"While I wasn't as close with Devil as some, I am proud to think of him as and call him a friend. He was always a great guy to have around in the locker room, was always genuinely nice, and had a great sense of humor." - Dash Bennett

Those few meetings outside of the ring with Devil were memorable to me and taught me a great deal. I would have never imagined that he and I would be able to be friends, but he showed me that you can never judge a book by it's cover alone.

I think Devin Devine's words speak volumes:

"Today we had a great local talent taken from us. It is impossible to put into words the pain and anger everyone feels at a time like this. When all we can come up with is more questions that will never be answered, we need to remember that this was what someone thought the solution to their problems was. Devil was a tremendous worker. I always felt he was underrated. He was a great guy to make you laugh and he was an awesome presence to have in the lockerroom. It is hard to find someone who doesn't have a good memory of Devil. We need to keep a hold of that. Instead of asking "Why?" We must move forward. We need to know that Devil's personal problems do not make him any less of a worker, of a person, or any less of a friend.

Times like these make you realize that even those close to you may be having some problem or situation that they do not know how to deal with. We are a fraternity. A brotherhood. We need to look out for one another. We lost one of us today. Let's all take a moment to reflect on a man who gave 100% in every aspect of this business.

Devil, wherever your journey is taking you, good luck, friend."

For your viewing pleasure, here is a 4 way ladder match featuring Devil Bhudakahn, Justin Idol, Jason Gory, and Mantis:

Part 1:

Part 2:


signguy_shooter said...

I really didn't know Devil Bhudakahn but I don't have the pleasure of seeing him wrestler here in Erie,Pa for Kingdom James' Union promotion back in 2003, he was part of the stable "The Devil Advocates", they were the first UIPW tag team champs.
Tim I'm sorry you lost a friend, I know it must be hard cause I'm still shaken up over the whole Chris benoit tragedy and I didn't even know him peronally. It's just so sad that another wrsetler is gone before his time. My prayers and thoughts are with James Fawcett's family.

Tim Haught said...

I would probably refer to him as more an acquaintance, but in those brief meetings I was lucky enough to have, I could tell he was a stand-up good guy. He went out of his way to make me and my girlfriend feel welcome to an environment where those who aren't completely inside are often shunned. I will always appreciate that.

He was also a very entertaining worker. I haven't been to any shows lately, but if I do go to one, he is certainly a presence that will be missed.