By Mike Mooneyham
Published Feb. 22, 1998
Louie Spicolli had hit the high point of his wrestling career. He had enjoyed one of his finest performances to date doing color commentary with Tony Schaivone and Mike Tenay on Monday Nitro, and WCW was impressed enough with Spicolli to bring him back three days later in a similar role on Thursday Thunder. He had celebrated his 27th birthday that same week.
Spicolli was so happy with the direction of his career that he flew in his mother and a grandmother who had raised him to the Thunder tapings in Oklahoma City, introducing them to his friends in the kind of company that he had only dreamed about working for as a wrestling-crazy youngster who regularly attended shows at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
Two nights later, that dream of making a big name in the wrestling profession came crashing down with a numbing reality as Louie Spicolli, real name Louis Mucciolo, became the latest statistic of an all-too-common tragedy that has plagued the wrestling business.
Although the official cause of death is pending, it is known that Spicolli took 26 somas, a prescription painkiller and sleeping pill, and mixed the drug with a large quantity of wine. He had spent Saturday evening watching wrestling videos with several friends, one of whom stayed over at his home in San Pedro, Calif., and found Spicolli’s body covered in vomit the next morning.
[ad#MikeMooneyham-336×280]The sad truth is that Louie Spicolli, who took his name from the wasted surfer character played by Sean Penn in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,”had a serious problem for years. Paul Heyman, fearing that Spicolli would become a casualty while working for his organization, had personally hastened Spicolli’s departure at ECW last year.
The WWF, where Spicolli worked in 1996 as grunge character Rad Radford, promptly gave him a release after learning that Spicolli had nearly died of an overdose while working for the company. Spicolli had eerily fashioned his latest character – that of an overweight and disheveled NWO flunkee – after comedian Chris Farley, who recently died of a drug overdose at the age of 33.
WCW, unfortunately choosing to downplay his death, made little mention of Spicolli’s passing, displaying a graphic at the beginning of last week’s Nitro and later with a brief statement by Larry Zbyszko, with whom Spicolli had a program and was scheduled to meet tonight at the Super Brawl pay-per-view. And in another unfortunate choice, Zbyszko stayed in character when talking about his departed colleague, saying that he would offer no comment in respect to the family.