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Ed Gantner
about the weight he gained, how much he could lift, and the size of his biceps and neck. After graduating from high school, he got a college scholarship

View Wikipedia Article

Ed Gantner Born (1959-02-04)February 4, 1959
Orlando, Florida Died December 31, 1990(1990-12-31) (aged 31)
Orlando, Florida Professional wrestling career Ring name(s) Ed Gantner Billed height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) Billed weight 280 lb (130 kg) Debut 1985 Retired 1987

Ed "The Bull" Gantner (February 4, 1959 – December 31, 1990) was an American professional wrestler.

Contents
  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Football career
  • 3 Wrestling career
  • 4 Retirement and death
  • 5 Championships and accomplishments
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References

Early life

Edward J. Gantner, Jr. was born and raised in Orlando, Florida, to Edward and Mary Lou Gantner. The youngest of four children, Ed was the only son with three older sisters. By the time he was three years old, his father would throw him the football hard enough to knock him down, only to get back up and throw it back. His mother and sisters never recall Gantner having a knack for football. He was considered a "puny little runt," all the way through junior high school.

Gantner's life began to change when he was around twelve years old, when his parents separated. His father moved out of the house, while his mother went back to school. His mother and sisters worked to keep the family afloat. He found solace in weight lifting, pumping iron for hours alone in his room. He also found solace in surfing.

Football career

Ed Gantner's major football career started at Edgewater High School. Around his junior year, he started using steroids. Between his junior and senior years in high school, he gained 45 lbs. His newly found physique gained him confidence to point, where he talked incessantly about the weight he gained, how much he could lift, and the size of his biceps and neck.

After graduating from high school, he got a college scholarship to play football for the University of Tennessee, but after less than a year, he became depressed and homesick.

After returning home to Orlando, he took a hiatus, working as a bartender and a bouncer. In 1980, he returned to playing college football, this time for the University of Central Florida, as a starter. He was also had the honor of being the first man from the college to go professional. He played pro football in the United States Football League, where he played for the Tampa Bay Bandits for one year, and for the Jacksonville Bulls for two years.

Wrestling career

Ed "The Bull" Gantner made his pro wrestling debut in 1985 in Championship Wrestling from Florida. Gantner started out as a heel, as a part of the House of Humperdink, led by Sir Oliver Humperdink. Within the group, he formed a tag team with Kareem Muhammed called the Shock Troops. They made their debut on TV jumping The Fabulous Ones starting a program with them. They also unsuccessfully challenged The Road Warriors at Battle Of The Belts 3 on September 3, 1986. He would also have a feud with Lex Luger that would go on for a good part of 1986.

In February 1987, Gantner was awarded the NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship, after his manager Sir Oliver Humperdink defeated Bad News Allen for the title. After losing the title to Mike Rotunda a month later, Gantner turn on Humperdink, turning him face. Gantner feuded with Humperdink's group with Barry Windham, Blackjack Mulligan, Bugsy McGraw and even Dusty Rhodes as his partner at different times. However, by July 1987, even with him in most of the major angles for Championship Wrestling from Florida, he abruptly retired from pro wrestling due to health issues.

Retirement and death

In 1988, Gantner's health began to go downhill after years of steroid use. His kidneys were the first to start failing, causing him to undergo kidney dialysis, forced him to be hooked up several hours a week to a machine to survive.

Doctors also forced Gantner to lose 100 lbs, as he nearly weighed 300 lbs. He complied by giving up red meat and starting a holistic diet, making his own watermelon tea. Despite the changes, he could not stop using steroids and had started using cocaine. He was rushed to the hospital for heart failure four times within two months. At that point, he started asking around for a firearm.

By the fall of 1989, his heart and kidneys were failing, after refusing doctors' orders to lose weight and alter his exercise regimen. On Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 1989, Gantner received a kidney transplant, as his sister donated her kidney. His family thought the worst was over. However, five days after the transplant, he asked that weights be brought to his room, as he went back to using steroids.

The strain of recovering from the transplant caused Gantner to lose weight, but he had still an imposing figure. Despite this, when he looked into a mirror, he saw a defective, distorted image. Self-conscious about his physique, he would wear shorts under his jeans to look bigger. While in the gym, he would wear an extra pair of socks to bulk up his calves. Over the next six months, he would go back to the hospital five times, because of complications. He would also move from Orlando, to St. Augustine, to West Palm Beach, working as a salesman.

Early in the fall of 1990, Gantner's mental health began to falter, as he started calling his parents late at night. He would get dressed for work, make it to his car, and sit there for a half-hour with the keys in the ignition, before going back in his house. When his mother finally decided to bring him home in Orlando, she found him in a dark room, sitting down, rocking on his bed.

Back home with his parents in Orlando, Gantner would not eat, sleep, or work out. He would shower constantly and pace all night long. When his mother tried to take him for a haircut, he made her drive all over town, and at each stop, he refused to leave the car.

By November 1990, Gantner was placed in a psychiatric ward at a Florida hospital, where he stayed until after Christmas. During this time, he began casting about for solutions and new truths—meditation, vitamins, even faith healing with Rev. Benny Hinn.

Feeling defeated, on New Year's Eve, December 31, 1990, Ed Gantner committed suicide by shooting himself in the heart in the kitchen of his parents' home in Orlando, Florida. He was 31 years old.

Championships and accomplishments
  • Championship Wrestling From Florida
    • NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
See also
  • List of premature professional wrestling deaths
References
  1. ^ a b Schmadtke, Alan (January 4, 1991). "THE BULL' GANTER DIES AT AGE 31". The Sentinel. 
  2. ^ Schmitz, Brian (July 19, 1986). "A PRO SHIFT: 'THE BULL' CHARGES INTO WRESTLING". The Sentinel. 


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