|Photo from: Wikipedia.com|
By Chad Smart
This is a first for me. Writing a tribute to a wrestler who I didn’t know personally but was one of my favorite performers of the last 6 years. “Sweet and Sour” Larry Sweeney passed away today at the age of 29.
I don’t know how many of you reading this are familiar with Larry Sweeney. He never wrestled for the TNA or WWE. He did show up one night on Raw though. In the build up to the Randy Orton/Hulk Hogan match at SummerSlam, Randy brought out Hulk’s “family.” Larry Sweeney portrayed Nick Hogan. Outside of that one moment though Larry Sweeney spent his career wrestling across the country for various independent promotions.
I became a fan of Larry’s when I started getting into the independent promotion Chikara. At the time Larry had a group called Sweet and Sour International and was feuding with Jolly Roger, Lance Steel and Allison Danger. I also got to see Larry wrestle a show in Vincennes, Indiana for IWA:Mid South. Larry had more personality than most of the roster combined.
Twenty years ago Larry Sweeney would probably have been the heir apparent to Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Jimmy Hart and Jim Cornette. Unfortunately he came along in a time when wrestling managers are considered unnecessary. I always held out hope TNA would see the potential in Larry and bring him in to lead a stable of guys who weren’t great on the mic.
Though TNA never brought Larry in as a manager, ROH saw the upside and used him as a manager for a few years. I’m not that familiar with his time in ROH so I can’t offer more detail. I believe Larry left ROH in 2008 or 2009 turning over his managerial rights to Shane Hagadorn.
Larry had been out of the wrestling business for a few years. I had read reports of him suffering from bi-polar disorder and having a breakdown. Larry resurfaced last year during one of ROH’s Internet PPV’s as the third member of the commentating team. As far as I know, that was his only appearance. In October, he showed up as a mystery masked competitor at Chikara’s annual Cibernetico event. I had hoped this would lead to a return of Sweet and Sour International. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
I don’t know the circumstances surrounding Larry’s death, and I’m not sure I want to know. The only thing I do know is the wrestling industry lost another talent too early. RIP Larry Sweeney. You will be missed.
For those of you not familiar with Larry Sweeney, here are some links to various promos and matches on youtube.