One of the greatest technical wrestlers to ever step foot inside the squared circle, Dean Malenko made his mark in the wrestling industry. Retired since 2001, “The Man of 1,000 Holds” talked to WWE.com about his storied career and what he’s up to today. However, he says he was very close to not being here today.
“I had about a 30-minute window to get to the hospital or I wouldn’t be having this conversation with you.”
Malenko recalled the day in late November last year when a heart attack nearly killed him. It happened suddenly in the early morning.
He says he was sweating profusely and losing consciousness as his friends rushed him to the hospital. He discovered that he had 100 percent blockage in his main artery.
“They call it the ‘widow maker,'” Malenko said. “It’s actually what John Ritter died of.”
Malenko says he was dead for three minutes before resuscitation and defibrillators pulled him back. However, he’s not complaining. He looks at the situation like this: “I now get a second opportunity at life.”
WWE also chronicles Malenko’s journey through wrestling, which dates back to his childhood. He recalls his early days in the industry, through his time in World Championship Wrestling. He said WCW ‘became a nightmare’, but for the first two or three years ‘it was good’.
“That’s when they took a bunch of guys like Psicosis, Juventud [Guerrera] and Billy Kidman and put them in the cruiserweight division and it was fast-paced action. For the American audiences, it was like, ‘Wow’,” he said.
He feels his time in the promotion became awry in late 1998 due to backstage politics. He names two wrestlers in particular for causing him to be disenchanted with the industry.
“Once guys like Scott Hall and Kevin Nash ran roughshod over the business, it was not fun anymore,” Malenko said. “I saw myself and my comrades around me that loved this business more than anything become very disenchanted. It made it a struggle to go to work.”
The article is available here.