Professional wrestler John ‘Bad Bones’ Klinger dies at the age of 40, just nine days after his last fight

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A professional wrestler has died at the age of 40.

German professional wrestler John ‘Bad Bones’ Klinger has died at the age of 40, just nine days after his last match had taken place - he had reportedly planned to retire in September on this year.

Currently, the details surrounding Klinger’s death are unclear, though it is believed that the cause of death was a sudden heart attack. A popular wrestler in his native country of Germany, he also made multiple forays into the USA and beyond, wrestling for company such as Defiant, WCPW and EVOLVE. Nevertheless, he spent most of his career wrestling under the XWX banner, where he held the Unified XWX World Wrestling Championship.

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Over the course of his professional wrestling career, Klinger is perhaps best known for his multiple stints in Total Nonstop Action (TNA) - he wrestled for the Tennessee-based promotion in 2011, 2014 and 2017. He would frequently use the ‘shadow driver’ move, in which he would pick up an opponent from behind, spin them around and drop them to the mat while assuming a seated position.

World Wrestling Entertainment is due to hold a major show in Klinger’s native country later this year, titled ‘Bash in Berlin’ - it would have been the first major WWE Premium Live Event to be held in Germany during Klinger’s lifetime.

TNA posted a statement after Klinger’s death, which reads: “We are in mourning at the loss of ‘Bad Bones’ John Klinger – an incredible wrestler and even better person. A former Gut Check winner, Bad Bones appeared on our UK Tours and was part of our success in his home country of Germany. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.”

In the wake of Klinger’s passing, the company he was working for at the time, XWX, posted a statement in tribute [translated from German]: “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.

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“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.”

Corey Graves, WWE colour commentator and a friend of Klinger’s, wrote [via Mail Online]: “Man, I just heard the news about John ‘Bad Bones’ Klinger. What a gem of a human. 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.”

Former WWE NXT UK star Flash Morgan Webster wrote: “I only wrestled [Klinger] 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."

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