Dave Sheldon, 43, who wrestled for several major promotions (though never for World Wrestling Entertainment or its predecessor), has died in Texas. There are no reports yet on the cause.
Sheldon is the 11th pro wrestler to die under age 50 in this darkest of years for the industry. His gimmicks included the “Angel of Death” and the “Russian Assassin.”
I met Sheldon, an affable 300-pounder, in New Orleans in 1987 at the National Association of Television Program Executives convention. I was writing an article about the convention for Mother Jones magazine and Sheldon was helping at the booth of Bill Watts’ Universal Wrestling Federation. I remember that he was wearing a T-shirt with the inscription “I Survived Calgary!” — a reference to his stint with the cold and lonely Stampede Wrestling circuit.
In 1993 Sheldon was booked in the main event in the Dallas Sportatorium against Kerry Von Erich. But on the day of the show Von Erich, who had just been indicted for cocaine possession while doing probation on other drug charges, shot himself to death.