In the wake of the Chris Benoit tragedy, we’ll be graced with a few dozen seamy-side-of-wrestling tales, but will have an ending as
kinda ho-hum happy as that of former WCW fixture Lex Luger.
“Not long ago, Luger was 270 pounds of romping manly aggression and animalistic sex appeal,” writes a heavy-breathing Bill Torpy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Today, however, “the man who made millions, flew in private jets and lived in mansions is now dead broke, sleeps on a used bed and keeps his clothes in neat piles on the floor.” Sounds a little like me, actually, except for the part about the piles being neat.
“Steroids were there as a shortcut to get size,” he said. And then there’s the pain from the never-ending body slams and pile drivers. “You start with a painkiller for bumps and bruises. And then you need more. It’s never enough.”
Those on the circuit were a family, “a dysfunctional family” he said. Everyone wants a piece of a superstar. “There’s a lot of leeches, losers, cruisers and abusers.”
“I found no matter how hard you chase it, it’s never quite enough,” he said. “Money makes you more comfortable being miserable.”
Luger credits Steve Baskin, the pastor of Western Hills Baptist, with pulling him from a terminal tailspin. The jail chaplain met Luger in early 2006 and sensed the former wrestler was spiritually wounded.
“Here’s a guy who would have died or gone to prison,” said Baskin. “He didn’t have the skills to negotiate through his probation.” Baskin said Luger had never learned to think for himself well enough to handle “regular” life experiences.
After Luger was freed, Baskin’s friends ” Doc Frady, pastor of Clarkdale First Baptist, and his wife, Jan ” invited Luger to their home for a birthday party.
Luger learned the couple had been married 54 years and had lived in the same house for much of that time.
“It brought tears to my eyes,” Luger recalls. “I didn’t even know people like that existed anymore.”
Luger lives in a spare bedroom in Baskin’s apartment and is trying to figure out a path in life.
He’d like to help counsel those in trouble. Or maybe be a fitness coach. He even said he’d take clients out to the supermarket and show them what to buy. He’s eager. He’s uncertain. To him, regular life is a new business.