It was just over two months ago that ECW original Axl Rotten died at the age of 44 due to an accidental overdose of heroin. Now, his tag team partner for many years in both Extreme Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment, Balls Mahoney, has died as well.
On Tuesday, ECW original and legend Tommy Dreamer tweeted out that Mahoney, whose real name is Jonathan Rechner, had passed away.
“I am beyond sad to announce my friend ECW Original Balls Mahoney has passed away. I just spoke with his wife,” Dreamer said to his nearly 500,000 Twitter followers. The news was first broke by Johnny Candido, who is the brother of the late wrestler Chris Candido.
Candido, a friend and fellow wrestler, tweeted: “At a loss for words, love you brother, you’ll be missed, rip Balls Mahoney.” Candido stated that a friend of his, who lives close to Mahoney saw an ambulance outside the wrestler’s home on the evening of April 12. According to PWInsider, Mahoney took a rough fall a few days ago and badly hurt his hip. After the fall, he had been using a walker to get around but became ill and passed away today.
Dozens of other tributes from friends, family, and wrestlers made the waves on social media after his passing. Al Snow, another ECW alumnus, tweeted out the following: “I am truly saddened to hear of Balls Mahoney’s passing. Please say hi to Chris for me John. My thoughts and condolences to his family.”
And Once WWE heard about the news of his passing, they released a statement.
“WWE is saddened to learn of reports that Jonathan Rechner, best known for competing in ECW as Balls Mahoney, has passed away. WWE extends its condolences to Rechner’s family, friends and fans.”
Mahoney began his career at the age of 15, but really began making a name for himself in 1997 when he began wrestling for Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). There, Mahoney created his trademark of coming to the ring with a steel chair (adding to the theme of the company’s “hardcore” style), which had custom messages and designs on it. His most notable partnership came with good friend Rotten (who as mentioned above, passed away in February), as the two became “The Hardcore Chair Swingin’ Freaks”.
The two wrestlers had mostly feuded with The Dudley Boyz during their time together. At November to Remember, Rotten and Mahoney competed in a Fatal-Four Way Tag Team match for the ECW Tag Team Championship, but were unsuccessful in winning. Next year, however, he became a tag team champion with Masato Tanaka.
In 1999, he began teaming with Spike Dudley, and as ECW began their own weekly television show on TNN, Mahoney became a staple on the show, with the crowds’ faithfully behind the wrestler.
After spending a few years in WWE from 2006-2008, Mahoney returned to the independent circuit, where he wrestled until his untimely death.
I personally would like to send my condolences to the family of Johnathan Rechner at this time.