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Initial reports shed little light on the death of Balls Mahoney

Jonathon Rechner, better known as Balls Mahoney, posing in the ring post-match at the Hardcore Roadtrip show in London, ON in 2013
Jonathon Rechner, better known as Balls Mahoney, posing in the ring post-match at the Hardcore Roadtrip show in London, ON in 2013
By Tabercil - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The passing of Jonathan "Balls Mahoney" Rechner caught the wrestler world by surprise, and what little detail is available about the circumstances and cause of death indicate the same was true for those closest to him.

PWInsider first mentioned the detail that Mahoney had suffered what they described as a "bad fall" days before his death on Tuesday night. Since that occurred last week, he'd been using a walker to get around - but multiple sources state there's been no confirmed connection between that incident and Tuesday night when he died.

Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet spoke to Mahoney's widow, Gayle, who described the circumstances on the evening of April 12. The couple were watching television in their New Jersey home when she realized her husband - who had been responding to trivia questions on the game show Jeopardy! moments before - was unconcious. She called 911 and attempted CPR, but the paramedics who arrived informed her he was gone.

It is obviously too early to know anything else - and we may never have anything beyond a clinical cause of death from medical authorities.

Unfortunately, it's impossible to not make the unsubstantiated connection between his death at the age of 44 and the "hardcore" style of wrestling for which he was known. As Mike Johnson of PWInsider wrote:

Mahoney was, if anything, far too giving and at times, allowed himself to be taken advantage of, even by himself, in the pursuit of performing in the ring. That was easily obvious to anyone who saw "Barbed Wire City" and saw the physical difference in footage of Mahoney in the 1990s and then footage of him at reunion events in 2012. In recent years, he had lost a ton of weight and looked, for lack of a better description, gaunt and somewhat sickly. His body had paid the price for what he loved to do, especially since he continued to do it well after he should have been.

Continuing to wrestle long "after he should" may be a function of the trouble so many wrestlers have saying goodbye to performing, but it seems to have also have been, at least in part, a financial neccessity. A relative has established a GoFundMe page to "cover the costs of the funeral as well as aid in taking care of Christopher and Gayle," the eight year old son and wife Mahoney left behind.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with Balls' loved ones. Here's hoping his death is another reminder to the wrestling business and its fans that we don't need chair shots to the head, blood and other extreme elements to be entertained - especially if there's any chance the cost is years off the lives of the men and women performing them.

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