The world of professional wrestling is certainly not without its share of behind-the-scenes rumors and stories. There was actually a fair bit of controversy surrounding the death of Crash Holly, a wrestler who had worked in the World Wrestling Federation (later World Wrestling Entertainment) and NWA Total Nonstop Action. Eventually, it was finally determined that Crash Holly's death was a suicide.
How Did Crash Holly Die?
Crash Holly's Death
Michael Lockwood was best known playing the chracter of Crash Holly in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). He died in 2003 in the home of fellow professional wrestler Stevie Richards in Florida.
When he was found, Lockwood was only partially clothed and a pool of vomit surrounded his face. There were empty pill bottles nearby, and he was recently served divorce papers, though it is not immediately obvious whether that contributed to his ultimate actions.
Crash Holly's death at the young age of 32 was deemed the result of a prescription drug overdose, specifically a drug called carisoprodol. It is a controlled substance prescribed as a skeletal muscle relaxant. The death was eventually ruled a suicide.
Michael Lockwood's body now rests in Rowan County, North Carolina.
Crash Holly's Life and Career
Lockwood began his wrestling career in 1989, making his way up from local wrestling organizations to become more and more well known. He was billed as "Johnny Pearson" at the time.
After leaving the independent circuit for All Pro Wrestling, where he wrestled under the name "The Leprechaun" Erin O'Grady, he caught the attention of wrestling recruiters and continued his rise to popularity.
In 1998, Lockwood wrestled Vic Grimes as a try-out for the WWF, and was signed to his first official wrestling contract (as was Grimes). While Lockwood had wrestled under a few different aliases and personas before this, once he reached the WWF, he settled on the character for which he was best known.
Crash Holly (also known simply as Crash) was introduced as the cousin to Bob "Hardcore" Holly, played by Robert William Howard, Jr. Together, they were billed as The Holly Cousins.
During his time with the WWF, Crash Holly was known for his incredible slyness and skills in sneaking out of impossible situations unscathed; this was his classic “gimmick” as a wrestler, and earned him the nickname of "The Houdini of Hardcore" while in the ring. He really started making a name for himself when he joined the hardcore division in 2000.
During that time, Crash Holly won the WWF/WWE Hardcore Championship a total of 22 times, in addition to one reign as the WWF World Tag Team Champion with Hardcore Holly, one run as the WWF European Champion, and one run as the WWF Light Heavyweight Champion.
He joined NWA Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in 2003 under a new name, Mad Mikey. Unfortunately, he died just a few short months after making his debut there.
Professional Wrestling Deaths
The controversial stories surrounding deaths in professional wrestling are numerous. Owen Hart died at the age of 34 due to injuries resulting from equipment malfunction while wrestling. Chris Benoit was involved in a double-murder and suicide at the age of 40. Both Brian Pillman and Eddie Guerrero died in their 30s as well. These are truly tragic tales indeed, and they serve as a stark reminder of the unique challenges in the professional wrestling world.