The tragic story of Perry Saturn

Despite the changes in the wrestling business and the healthier trends among performers today, some veterans of the industry still pay the price for their risky style, both inside and outside of the ring. Perry Satullo, known for nearly three decades as Saturn, posted a video on his Facebook page just a few days ago and is in a desperate situation.

During an interview with Bill Apter late last year, Saturn explained that he was diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries from his time in professional wrestling, and the following month a Go Fund Me page was set up to assist with his substantial medical expenses. At the time, his longtime friend, Chris Jericho donated $5,000 to the cause and Dallas Page also donated $2,000 to help kick off the campaign. From what was explained on the donation page, the costs of MRI and other tests during recent months have been very financially difficult for the Satullo family. The brief video is difficult to watch as an emotional Saturn ask for help and explained that he doesn’t know if he will be homeless going forward.

Perry doesn’t look well and his appearance has noticeably changed from just a few months ago so clearly, the health problems he has are taking their toll.

It’s an extremely sad conclusion to a once promising career, and even more tragic, a story that is seen too often in the world of professional wrestling, one that was brought to the main stream after Mickey Rourke’s portrayal in the film, “The Wrestler” nearly a decade ago.

For Perry Saturn, his journey in sports entertainment began after he served four years as an army ranger in the United States military before he attended the legendary Killer Kowalski’s training school in 1988. The grizzled vet taught Satullo well, and he began working around the country and even internationally despite only a few years experience inside the ring ropes. During his time working in Massachusetts, Perry met John Kronus, who also eventually trained at the Kowalski school and the pair formed a tag team. The Eliminators, the duo that opened ECW’s first pay-per-view in 1997, started their run under much different circumstances. In 1993, Saturn and Kronus began working as a team in Memphis under the USWA banner, and shared an apartment since they barely made enough money in the territory to cover expenses. The lean times in Memphis paid off after The Eliminators were noticed by Paul Heyman and brought in for Extreme Championship Wrestling in 1995. The combination of Saturn and Kronus delivered a solid presentation, as both competitors were very agile for their size and used a risky style that suited the promotion.

In mid-1997, Perry suffered a serious knee injury that required surgery and was thought to be sidelined indefinitely. However, he made a surprise return to the ECW arena at the “Wrestlepalooza” event just a few months later and famously dropped an elbow from the top rope while wearing a leg brace. The injury was time for Saturn to consider his career options and he decided to pursue a deal with World Championship Wrestling, which brought a better offer and more exposure than he had as part of a tag team. Still just months from the major knee surgery, Perry debuted in WCW in late 1997 and joined Raven’s Flock, a subtle reference to the time they shared in south Philadelphia.

The tattooed brawler had a unique appearance and solid skills that made him an asset for the Turner company. In early 1999, Saturn proved that he could work a character as well when he was defeated in a match that called for him to wear a dress, a gimmick that he ran with and actually made a memorable part of his career. A situation that some would see as an obstacle, Perry used to enhanced his character and added to his bizarre on-screen persona. After winning championships and consistently delivering solid matches, Perry became unsatisfied with WCW, citing that politics hindered his progress in the company.

In January of 2000, Saturn was among the “Radicalz” that famously jumped to the WWF and appeared in the front row on Raw. He had a decent run there, but some speculated that an incident with an enhancement talent led to his role in the company being limited. During a bout taped for the secondary TV show “Metal,” Saturn wrestled Mike Bell, who accidentally botched an arm drag, landing the WWE star on his head. Saturn was furious and began to legitimately punch Bell before throwing him outside the ring, where he landed on his head. The contest finished as planned, but the office was concerned because of the possibility for injury based on an accident. Later, Saturn said he was wrong for his actions. Following that match, Saturn was given a gimmick where he talked to a mop. Again, this would be an obstacle for some, but Perry used it to add to his eccentric character on TV. As a result, “Moppy” is a memorable angle from his career. In April 2002, Saturn injured his knee and was on the sidelines for several months before he was released.

His post-WWE career was the start of a downward spiral, and after working sporadically on the independent scene, Saturn completely disappeared. While extensive drug use took over, Perry’s friends and family didn’t know where he was, leading many fans to speculate about if he passed away. While living on the street in 2004, Perry stopped someone that attempted to rape a woman, but was shot before the assailant fled the scene. After he recovered from the shooting, Perry continued to struggle with an addiction to methamphetamine. He remained homeless for several years after he spent most of the money earned in his wrestling career on drugs.

Finally, Perry Saturn achieved sobriety and made efforts to turn his life around, which he detailed when he resurfaced in the wrestling scene for a Kayfabe Commentatires’ “Youshoot” interview in 2010. During the production, Saturn spoke very candidly about his drug use and the effect it had on his life. Who knows how much his addiction contributed to the brain injuries that he has today? Perry even returned to the ring for a few matches and began to appear at conventions after it was publicized that he cleaned up his life.

Unfortunately, the damage to his body has drastically affected his quality of life in recent years, as it’s explained on his donation page that he’s showing signs of dementia. Obviously, Saturn is responsible for the decisions he made in the past, and if someone chooses to donate to his medical expenses or not is their own personal decision, but stories like this have often ended in tragedy so it would be nice if Perry Saturn somehow gets the medical care that he clearly needs for his condition. Hopefully, after a notable career, Saturn can get help and this situation won’t became another cautionary story in the wrestling business.

If you would like to donate to Perry Saturn’s medical expenses, you can do so here

For updates about Saturn’s condition, you can go to his Facebook page

Until next week
-Jim LaMotta

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