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WWE legend Dean Malenko reveals heartbreaking daily battle with Parkinson’s disease


The retired wrestler has spoken candidly about the disease (Photo: WWE)

WWE legend Dean Malenko has opened up about his heartbreaking daily battle living with Parkinson’s disease.

The retired wrestler – who won the ECW World Television, WCW Cruiserweight and WWF Light Heavyweight titles during a career which saw him hailed as one of the best technicians in the business – revealed his diagnosis almost two years ago, and has now spoken candidly about life with the illness.

Appearing on the Talk Is Jericho podcast – as transcribed by Inside The Ropes – he said: ‘You go through a gamut of emotions when you have it. You’re p***ed off at the world, it’s the why me?

‘Then you get upset when you try to button your shirt and you can’t do that. But I’m on pills and medication that have been really helping as of late.

‘It started out with my left hand trembling, and I went to a couple of different doctors. There is no blood test, no urine test, nothing that actually says you have Parkinson’s.’

Malenko, 60, noted he was diagnosed after noticing changes in his movement, which led to three professionals all coming to the same conclusion.

Malenko wrestled for ECW, WCW and WWE throughout his career (Photo: WWE)

He added: ‘One thing I noticed was, when you’re walking, one arm doesn’t swing, which is usually my left. That’s a big sign of Parkinson’s. When you are clicking your middle finger and thumb together, you are off timing, it was always my left hand, never my right.

‘When you put all these things together, it’s pretty much, yeah, you have Parkinson’s. I was at three different doctors that acknowledged it at the same time.

‘So it’s been a little bit of a difficult ride, the hard part is just trying to live every day.’

The dad-of-three – who has been married to wife Julie since 1996 – has been able to retain some good humour about his condition when it comes to his family, and he noted his teenager daughter will ‘have fun with it’ to keep spirits up.

‘I compare having Parkinson’s to having a roommate that never leaves. Because every morning you wake up, you have this other person with you,’ he explained.

‘They’re not going to let you get out of bed easy, they’re going to make you shake, it takes over your body. It can be crazy at times but I am getting used to it. I try to just laugh things off.

‘If I’m shaking, my 15-year-old will put her hand on me and she will start shaking, just have fun with it. There’s nothing you can do about it. I’m not going to get rid of it, it’s always going to be there.’

Malenko – how a backstage producer for All Elite Wrestling (AEW) after holding a similar role for 18 years in WWE – explained he’s hopeful of ‘modern medicine’ making his battle easier, although he also sometimes isn’t sure whether his struggles are down to the Parkinson’s or simply the lasting impact of his in-ring career.

‘Hopefully with modern medicine going forward, they can slow this down at one point. If not, I will deal with it whenever,’ he said.

‘When you write, you start to write smaller than you used to, because of the disease affecting your motor skills. Sometimes it is hard to get out of bed in the morning, but I don’t know if that’s Parkinson’s or the business. It’s hard to figure that part out.

‘My big thing is that if you see me and I’m shaking, I’m not cold unless it’s cold outside. I don’t want people second guessing,

‘I don’t want people feeling sorry for myself, it’s just one of those things that I have and it’s just another obstacle in my way.’

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