sean-ohaire (Sean O’Haire in action)

Reading this week about the death of former WCW Tag Team champion Sean O’Haire, apparently by suicide, I couldn’t help but think back to his successfully early days in WCW, followed by his failure to launch in the WWE.
When O’Haire debuted in WCW, it was in a storyline which could almost be compared to the way the Nexus or the Shield would later arrive in WWE. He was part of a group of Power Plant trainees, known as the Natural Born Thrillers (a sub-group of the New Blood) who weren’t prepared to start at the bottom and work their way up, but were going to take what they wanted.

natural_born_thrillers (Natural Born Thrillers)

O’Haire, a 6ft6 monster was paired with the equally tall Mark Jindrak, and the pair made quite an imposing team, especially when facing teams like Billy Kidman and Rey Mysterio Jr or Vampiro and Great Mutah.
The team won the WCW tag titles twice in 2000, but then a bizarre thing happened. There was a tag team battle royal, in which Jindrak/O’Haire and fellow Natural Born Thrillers Shawn Stasiak and Chuck Palumbo ended up as the last two teams. Another member of the Thrillers, Mike Sanders said that rather than fight each other, the two teams should swap members. (What were the creative team thinking?)
Anyway the result was that from early 2001 Jindrak joined Stasiak and O’Haire teamed with Palumbo, a talented but far-less physically dominating wrestler, who was better used in comedy situations than in dominating opponents.
palumbo ohaire (Palumbo/O’Haire)

Nevertheless they won the tag titles and when WCW was bought by WWE, Palumbo and O’Haire entered the company as the WCW Tag champs, feuding with the APA, the Hardy Boyz and the Brothers of Destruction, who ultimately took the titles away from them.
The team split up and O’Haire was sent to OVW on-and-off as WWE searched for a suitable gimmick for him, never really finding one, and by 2004 he had been wished well on future endeavours.
He spent the next couple of years floating around Japanese and American indies, and also trying his hand unsuccessfully at kickboxing and slightly more successfully at MMA, where his career record was four wins to two losses.
His best known appearance outside the American majors was when he battled Abyss in New Japan in 2004.
After 2007 he was not seen in wrestling or any other martial art, and not really heard of until this week when his obituary hit the headlines.

I can’t help but feel that splitting O’Haire and Jindrak was the beginning of the end for his career. Had they still been a team on entering WWE, they would have been a far better match for Undertaker and Kane than O’Haire and Palumbo were. They could almost have been a precursor to Luke Harper/Erick Rowan of the Wyatt Family.

But even if not in a tag team role, surely something could have been done with his ability to play a psychotic, out of control character – think Abyss, Boogie Man, Bray Wyatt, Mankind, Samuel Shaw. Instead the man who won the Wrestling Observer Newsletter award for rookie of the year in 2000 ended up leaving the sport little more than five years later and ended his life in 2014.

Rest in peace Sean O’Haire.


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