Wrestling star ‘Bad Bones’ John Klinger dies aged 40 days after final match

WWE, AEW and TNA stars have paid tribute to ‘Bad Bones’ John Klinger (Picture: Willi Schneider/REX/Shutterstock)

Wrestling veteran John Klinger has died aged 40 just days after his final match.

The German wrestler, who is best known to fans by his ring name Bad Bones, made his debut in 2004 and enjoyed a 20 year career performing across the UK, Europe, Japan, the United States and beyond, including stints with TNA Wrestling.

The news was confirmed by leading German wrestling promotion wXw, who wrote: ‘We say goodbye to “Bad Bones” John Klinger.

‘John Klinger was one of the defining wrestlers at wXw for over a decade. He won all of the major titles at wXw and won both 16 Carat Gold and Shortcut to the Top.

‘In his almost 450 matches in the wXw ring, he always worked hard and did his best to excite his fans.

‘At just 40 years old, John died far too early, shortly before his planned retirement. We wish his family and friends strength in this difficult time.’

Bad Bones faced the likes of Ilja Dragunov before he signed with WWE (Picture: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

As well as being a three-time wXw Unified World Wrestling Champion, he also won the promotion’s 16 Carat Gold Tournament in 2008, and held the NWA European Heavyweight Title during an illustrious career on the independent scene.

He appeared in TNA Wrestling several times in the past, including matches with the likes of Christoper Daniels, Samoa Joe and Bloodsport promoter Josh Barnett.

His final bout came just nine days ago, as he beat former WWE superstar Flash Morgan Webster at PWT’s Total Blast From The Past event, and he told his opponent he was planning to retire later this year.

Webster wrote: ”I only wrestled him 9 days ago. Was talking to him in Poland after the match about how he was gonna retire in September and was happy with what he’d achieved and was happy to step away on his own terms. Life can be so cruel. Rest in peace John.’

Fellow wrestlers and fans are flooding social media with tributes, including British wrestling legend Doug Williams.

‘Lost for words… RIP,’ he wrote alongside photos of himself with Klinger over the years.

TNA Wrestling star ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey tweeted: ‘Unbelievably heartbreaking. I have nothing but love for Bad Bones. He was an incredibly warm and kind person. Rest in piece, “Bad Bones” Jon Klinger.’

Current All Elite Wrestling (AEW) star Will Ospreay tweeted: ‘RIP “Bad Bones” John Klinger Always a pleasure.’

WWE Raw commentator Corey Graves, who knew Klinger from his own days on the independent scene, hailed the late star as a ‘gem of a human’.

‘Man, I just heard the news about John “Bad Bones” Klinger. What a gem of a human,’ he wrote. ‘I had so much fun wrestling/traveling with John back in our NWE days in Europe. My condolences to all of his friends and family. Rest well, my friend.’

TNA legend Christoper Daniels added: ‘Rest in Peace “Bad Bones” John Klinger. I’m glad we got the chance to share the ring, good sir. My sincere condolences to his family.’

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