It is with great sadness that PWInsider.com reports the passing of former WWF and ECW star Darren “Droz” Drozdov at the age of 54. While an official statement is yet to be released, the wrestling community mourns the loss of a talented individual.
Born in Mays Landing, NJ, Drozdov had a notable athletic career before entering the world of professional wrestling. He excelled in high school and college football and track and field events while attending Oakcrest High School. He even played in the NFL for three seasons, representing teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, the New York Jets, and the Denver Broncos.
In the late 1990s, Drozdov transitioned to the world of professional wrestling, signing with the WWF (now WWE). To gain further experience, he was sent to Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), where he often appeared as a WWF interloper, seeking to dismantle the promotion.
Officially debuting for the WWF in 1998, Drozdov gained attention in Barry Blaustein’s documentary, “Beyond the Mat,” which showcased emerging wrestling stars. In a memorable scene, Drozdov met with Vince McMahon at Titan Tower, demonstrating his ability to vomit on demand, which led to the character idea of “Puke.” Shortly after, Drozdov excitedly shared the character’s name with his mother during a phone call.
Using the moniker “Puke,” Drozdov became part of The Legion of Doom alongside Hawk and Animal. The storyline portrayed him as undermining the team, aiming to replace Hawk. The plot escalated with Droz enabling Hawk’s personal issues, culminating in an incident where a seemingly intoxicated Hawk jumped off the Titantron. It was later revealed that Droz had deliberately pushed him. The storyline reached its climax at the Capital Carnage PPV, where Drozdov called for an LOD loss against the Headbangers.
Following these events, the WWF rebranded Drozdov with a series of vignettes titled “Droz’s World.” They aimed to establish him as a singles star, with personalities like Matt Bloom (known as Prince Albert) serving as his personal body piercer.
Tragically, on October 5, 1999, Drozdov’s life took an irreversible turn during a WWF taping at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, Long Island, NY. While performing against D’Lo Brown, Drozdov slipped during a powerbomb sequence, resulting in a fall that fractured two vertebrae in his neck. This devastating injury left him paralyzed from the neck down, with only limited movement in his arms and upper body returning over time.