WWE wrestler who taught superstar Kurt Angle everything found dead in car park

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When a young wrestler dies, more often than not there is a clear reason for it – however sad it may end up being.

But the death of Steve Bradley – who was once predicted to become one of the top wrestlers in the world – is one of those that remains a mystery, even 13 years later.

Steven James Bisson, known in the ring by the name Steve Bradley, was born in Boston, Massachusetts.

He made his professional in-ring debut in 1991, aged just 15, and toured America's East Coast with various promotions during the early years of his career.

He made his WWE debut five years later, teaming with Joe DeLeon in a losing effort to the Bodydonnas – Chris Candido and Tom Prichard – on the WWF Superstars of Wrestling show, and would sign a three-year developmental contract with the company two years later.

Once there, he trained under his former opponent Mr Prichard at the WWF Headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut alongside 1996 Olympic gold medallist Kurt Angle.

He didn't really pull up any trees, being farmed out to Power Pro Wrestling, where he feuded with Angle.

He also went out to IWA Puerto Rico, Memphis Championship Wrestling, Heartland Wrestling Association, and the famed Ohio Valley Wrestling – where luminaries such as John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Dave Batista and Randy Orton all trained.

He spent five years under contract with WWE, before being released in 2003.

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His first official WWE match was on HEAT against Angle – he lost.

Speaking on the Kurt Angle Show in April 2021, Angle said: “Steve is the reason I became so good so fast.

“When I tried out for WWE, he was there at the camp and they glued me to his hip for six months. “That’s all I did, was work with Steve and train with Steve.

“He taught me everything!

“I knew he was going to make it big, I knew he was going to be the next Rob Van Dam, maybe even a little more, I guess, versatile, than Rob.

“As far as his promo skills and everything, RVD was good too, don’t get me wrong, Rob is exceptional.

“Steve was very, very talented and I’m surprised he didn’t make it.

“I’m just surprised and shocked Steve Bradley didn’t make it big.

“He was the reason I made it in the company – with his talents, people would have absolutely loved him."

Before his release, he placed four times on the Pro Wrestling Illustrated top 500 wrestlers in the world, with his highest placement coming at number 84 in 2002.

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During 2002, he actually teamed up with John Cena to take on now-All Elite Wrestling superstar Christian Cage and wrestling legend Lance Storm.

The pair lost, and he would lose again five days later to Japanese icon Funaki.
His career stalled upon leaving WWE, wrestling just 13 matches over the next two years.

His final year of action saw him wrestling that same number across 2005.

It was around this time that he opened up a training school – Top Rope Wrestling Academy, in Manchester, New Hampshire – but was sadly found dead in the car park outside of where it used to be on December 4, 2008.

He had closed it around six months before his death, and was, according to several sources, indicted on charges of possession of heroin on November 20, 2008.

Bradley was known to have suffered from “personal issues”, and an alleged drug addiction which saw him attend rehab on two occasions a few years before he died, but an autopsy took place at the time, and was ruled inconclusive.

His last match for WWE was taking on a “local talent” during a taping of Velocity on October 2, 2004.

The reasons for his failure to succeed in WWE were never full revealed – although it was said that he left on “good terms” – but it is possible that his life and career would have turned out very differently if his talents had been appreciated by more than just that of Kurt Angle and the people at Pro Wrestling Illustrated.

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