Duke Droese Recalls Battling Drug Addiction While Competing At WrestleMania

Duke Droese

Duke Droese has discussed his tough personal battles with addiction and says that he was high on the night he competed at WrestleMania X-Seven in Houston, Texas.

Droese competed in the World Wrestling Federation in the mid-nineties as Duke ‘The Dumpster’ Droese, the wrestling garbage man. With a memorable gimmick that fit right in to the wacky world of wrestling plumbers, farmers, and dentists, Droese seemed a lock to be part of the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania X-Seven as the company reminisced about some of its zanier characters.

Speaking to Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp, Duke Droese revealed that rather than the company calling him for the match, he had to reach out to them:

“They didn’t reach out. I reached out to them. It was interesting. I was working for the company down in Florida that I wrestled for before I went to the WWF the first time, Sunshine Wrestling Federation, who had then just become Florida Championship Wrestling, which was before it was a developmental place for Vince. One of the guys that worked through them came up to me one day and said, ‘Dude, they’re going a gimmick battle royal. You need to call somebody and get in on that.’”

A perfect fit for a celebration of the company’s wackiest gimmicks, Droese joined the likes of Tugboat, Michael Hayes, and Doink The Clown in the match eventually won by The Iron Sheik.

Duke Droese then spoke candidly about his struggles with addiction and says that rather than being able to enjoy one more moment in the sun, the event was a struggle to get through due to ongoing battles:

“Even working for these guys down in Florida, I was on a lot of drugs. It was bad. It should have been a great, awesome moment. My WrestleMania moment. But, in all reality, I was on drugs so bad—I was going to the Methadone clinic in Miami—so, I had to get extra Methadone to take to WrestleMania with me so I wouldn’t get sick and withdrawals during the weekend. I barely made it. I had to drink alcohol at the end of it. I made it back home. But, it wasn’t a great WrestleMania moment because I was in no condition to wrestle.”

“But, thankfully all I had to do was walk around the ring and act stupid with a bunch of older guys. Nikolai Volkoff screaming at [the Iron] Sheik, Brother Love beating up Jim Cornette, all of us just goofing off. Eventually Doink the Clown clotheslined me out of the ring on the wrong side and twisted my shoulders out of place. But, you know, it was WrestleMania and I will say walking out in front of 65,000 people was amazing in the Astrodome.”