Lex Luger has had one hell of a ride in the wrasslin’ business. Achieving superstar status very early in his career, he competed in main event matches all over the world. While the fame, fortune and respect of his peers made him a very successful performer, his personal life suffered through years of drug and alcohol abuse. For the first time, Lex opens up about his life and recounts his rise to the top and his rapid decline to the bottom.
In the last fifteen years, the wrestling autobiography has been a hot commodity. With the erosion of kayfabe culture (portraying the matches as legitimate contests) and the rise of the term “sports entertainment”, the wrestlers themselves have been more open and willing to discuss all aspects of their careers. Unfortunately, the majority of performers that rose to prominence in the 1980s followed a similar career path and because of this, a lot of their stories do tend to blend together.
In a recent interview with “The Genius” Lanny Poffo on pro wrestler Colt Cabana’s excellent podcast, The Art of Wrestling, Lanny said that the fate of many pro wrestlers can be summed up by S.O.B. stories – S.O.B being an acronym for “suicide”, “overdose” and “bankruptcy”. While Lex has escaped all three of those elements, it does not mean he’s not come close or had friends and colleagues close to him suffer those fates.
After failing to achieve his childhood dream of playing in the NBA, Luger moved into football. After overachieving in high school, Luger began receiving offers from various colleges to play for their respective teams. Unfortunately for Lex, his maturity level wasn’t quite there and before long, he had thrown away a promising career. Like many other former gridiron gladiators, Luger fell into pro wrestling and due to his impressive physique, shot straight to the top.
Legendary pro wrestling trainer and the man responsible for guiding Hulk Hogan into the business, Hiro Matsuda, took Luger under his wing. After passing a brutal conditioning program that culminated with a final exam featuring a five mile run, three hundred push ups, one thousand Hindu squats and three hundred Hindu jumping squats, Luger was deemed ready for the ring. Combining his insane cardiovascular conditioning with his muscular appearance and you had a guy destined for wrestling super stardom.
While Lex was having a tremendous amount of career success, it seemed that he would promptly make a bonehead move to counteract it. Whether he was pumping himself full of drugs and alcohol or cheating on his wife, his personal life was in shambles. It took a seemingly countless number of arrests and a turn to God before Luger finally began to get his life together.
I’m a sucker for any autobiography, biography, memoir or documentary that peeks behind the curtain of pro wrestling. I actually find the behind-the-scenes world of this business to be one of the most interesting subjects around and Lex’s book, while not having much that particularly shocked me, certainly fed me some information that I had never known.