I was saddened this morning to read about the passing of pro wrestler Alex Whybrow, better known as Larry Sweeney, at the age of 29. He's someone who wrestled for some small pro wrestling companies, portraying the hilarious, boisterous character "Sweet and Sour" Larry Sweeney. The Wrestling Observer and other soures report that Sweeney took his own life.
He'd had public battles with manic-depression and he exhibited behavior that seemed similar in some ways to the recent widely publicized erratic behavior of Charlie Sheen. Sweeney went from being a top act in the number three professional wrestling company, Ring of Honor, to quitting the company in 2009 amidst a breakdown (caused by not taking his medication) and staging pro wrestling matches in the streets, with people who knew him expressing deep concern.
Sweeney later referred to that period as "the absolute worst event" of his life. Sweeney reportedly received help and had been back on the independent pro wrestling scene on and off, but he never made his way back for any period of time to the level he'd been at before. He'd also reportedly started looking for work outside of pro wrestling.
Sweeney never achieved mainstream, top level success, but he made a name for himself in the pro wrestling world with engaging work on the independent wrestling scene.
Sweeney was best known for the comedic touch he gave to the storylines he was involved in, as well as a brash, charismatic speaking style. His wacky style included dance contests against other wrestlers, having a match with a boxer and wrestling a pro wrestling reporter in a match. Sweeney started as a wrestler himself but became better known as a manager in Ring of Honor, doing the talking for other wrestlers to push their matches and adding a more serious side to his talking.
Watch highlights of Larry Sweeney's larger than life antics:
Watch some of his trademark interviews:
Finally, the Larry Sweeney vs. Colt Cabana strut-off (warning: contains adult language on the commentary):
Photo credit: shstrng/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)