Ian “Doc” Dean, a British wrestling star who competed for WCW in the late 1990s, died last Monday the age of 48.
Dean is suspected to have suffered a heart attack at his home in Orlando, Florida on Monday, according to a report by liverpoolecho.co.uk. Dave Meltzer also noted in the latest issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Dean died of a heart attack.
Dean, who is from Liverpool, England, is best known in the UK for his run in Birkenhead-based All Star Wrestling (ASW) throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
The father of three teamed with WWE Performance Center coach Robbie Brookside as The Liverpool Lads and twice clinched the ASW British Tag Team Championship. Eventually, a storyline saw Dean turn on Brookside to kick off a heated and acclaimed rivalry.
Brookside paid tribute to Dean on Twitter.
RIP Ian Doc Dean. I met you in 1984, you were dressed in a Doctors coat, a pair of rubber boots and a helmet. From then on we drove down every road and sailed the 7 seas. The great times will always be with me forever. I shall miss you my dear friend. Forever with me.x pic.twitter.com/XyZsQQHBAW
— Robby Brookside (@RobbyBrookside) August 14, 2018
Dean had one of his children with another British grappling great from ITV’s World of Sport era, Klondyke Kate (aka Jayne Porter). She tweeted the following:
It’s with unbelievable sadness that my son Adam’s Dad Ian “Doc” Dean passed away last night in his home in Florida, he was 48 years old. He will be coming home to us and back to his home of Liverpool. Love you with all of my heart. ❤️💔 pic.twitter.com/9Eo2dlDWPi
— Klondyke Kate (@Klondyke_Kate) August 14, 2018
Among those paying tribute to Dean was veteran wrestler Saraya Knight, the mother of SmackDown LIVE General Manager Paige.
Totally heartbroken @RobbyBrookside and Ian Doc Dean were such a huge part of my early career in the 90s, I managed the superflys against robby and Doc 2 days before I found out I was 7 months pregnant with @RealPaigeWWE thank you for all your help doc, love you always RIP 🖤
— SarayaKnight (@RealsarayaK) August 14, 2018
Dean toured around the world and began working for WCW in 1997. With WCW and New Japan Pro Wrestling having a working agreement, he participated in the Best of the Super Juniors tournament in 1997. This was at a time when the junior heavyweight division was loaded and enhanced with New Japan’s working agreement with WCW that also allowed for Chris Jericho and Chavo Guerrero Jr. to work the tournament. Dean finished with two points in his block with wins over Guerrero and Jushin Thunder Liger in the round robin tournament.
While in WCW, he mostly wrestled on WCW Saturday Night, WCW Pro and WCW Worldwide, but strictly as an enhancement worker. He appeared once on WCW Monday Nitro, losing to “The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan on February 17, 1997, in a squash match. He also made one appearance on WCW Thunder, losing to Stevie Ray on July 1, 1998. Dean wrestled his last televised match on July 7, 1998, losing to Rick Fuller at a WCW Saturday Night taping.
According to CageMatch.net, Dean wrestled a total of 20 matches for WCW and didn’t win a single one.
Following his departure from WCW, he pretty much retired from wrestling at the age of 28 due to a slate of injuries, although he would wrestle the occasional match. He stayed in the United States and set up his own plumbing business in Florida.
Klondyke Kate set up a Go Fund Me page to help cover costs for the body of Dean to be flown back to England and buried in Liverpool. Dean had no insurance and never fully recovered from injuries to his back and neck, which were due to wrestling. After several surgeries, he was unable to return to his plumbing job.
Emotional tributes have been paid to the globetrotting grappler, who helped pave the way for the current generation of UK grapplers.
Very sad to hear of the passing of my old friend Ian “Doc” I’ve known him since 1986 and spent the next sew years traveling with him. He came to WCW , it didn’t work out, but he stayed in Orlando and made it his home.We had our ups and downs , unfortunately..
— William Regal (@RealKingRegal) August 14, 2018
downs the last several years but I hoped one day he’d sort his life out and myself ,Doc and @RobbyBrookside would all get back together and have more laughs. My best wishes to Kate, Adam and the rest of his family.
— William Regal (@RealKingRegal) August 14, 2018
Sad to hear of the passing of Doc Dean. One of the men who kept British Wrestling alive during the days when World Of Sport was taken off television. My thoughts go out to his family & friends
— Drake Maverick (@WWEMaverick) August 14, 2018
Sad to hear the passing of Doc Dean. Was never fortunate enough to meet him but no one can deny his influence & impact on the British Wresting scene. ‘The Liverpool Lads’ tag team move is a staple in British Wrestling to this very day. RIP.
— Marty Scurll (@MartyScurll) August 14, 2018
I can’t profess to have been fortunate enough to meet Doc Dean, but I know many of my peers were influenced by his work, the reputation he carved out and the legacy and friendships he created in the British wrestling scene. Thoughts go out to his friends and family at this time.
— El Ligero (@Ligero1) August 14, 2018
V Doc Dean Dubai 1990. The night the Doc threw up in front of 3000 people. The voice of Brian Dixon (refereeing) shouting “ooow it stinks”. The Doc really never had any shame at all. pic.twitter.com/PqghGt3MUV
— Robby Brookside (@RobbyBrookside) August 10, 2018
Dean is the sixth former WCW competitor to pass away since June. The others are Chuck Williams (aka Rockin’ Rebel), Vader, Johnny Attitude, Masa Saito, and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart (who also passed away on Monday).