"Dr. Death" Steve Williams
Steve Williams
Birth name Steven Williams
Born May 14, 1960(1960-05-14)
Lakewood, Colorado, United States
Died December 29, 2009(2009-12-29) (aged 49)
Denver, Colorado, United States
Cause of death Throat cancer
Alma mater University of Oklahoma
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Steve Williams
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight 285 lb (129 kg)
Billed from Norman, Oklahoma
Trained By Bill Watts
Buddy Landel
Debut 1982
Retired 2009


Steven "Steve" Williams (May 14, 1960 – December 29, 2009), better known by his ring name "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, was an American professional wrestler, author and former star of collegiate football and wrestling at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Death was a three-time world heavyweight champion, having won the UWF World Heavyweight Championship twice and the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship once. In addition to his singles success, Dr. Death Steve Williams achieved notoriety in Japan in tag team competition, winning the World Tag Team Championship eight times with notable tag team partners Terry Gordy, Gary Albright, Vader, and Johnny Ace. He also achieved great tag team success in North America, winning tag team titles in the Mid-South, World Championship Wrestling, UWF and NWA United States Tag Team Championship as well as winning the World's Strongest Tag Determination League twice with Gordy and Mike Rotunda.[1][2]

Early life Edit

Williams attended Lakewood High School in Colorado, graduating in 1978. He was on the track team, played football, and wrestled all four years. Williams graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1981 after a football career that saw him named an All-American. He also competed as an amateur wrestler, where he was a four time All American, finishing 6th as a freshman, 5th as a sophomore, 3rd as a junior and 2nd as a senior. His senior year he lost in the finals of an NCAA tournament to future Olympic medalist Bruce Baumgartner. Already interested in professional wrestling, Williams had a ready-made nickname that dated back to an incident in junior high wherein he had to wrestle in a hockey goalie's mask and was jokingly labeled "Dr. Death" by one of his school's coaches.

Professional wrestling career Edit

Early years (1982–1987) Edit

Williams, trained for professional wrestling by Bill Watts and Buddy Landel, started wrestling in 1982 in Watts' Mid-South Wrestling. In 1985, he formed a team with Ted DiBiase and feuded with Eddie Gilbert and The Nightmare. In 1986, Mid-South was renamed the Universal Wrestling Federation and Williams went on to win the UWF Heavyweight Championship from Big Bubba Rogers. When Jim Crockett Promotions bought the UWF in late 1987, he was one of the few UWF wrestlers to receive an initial push in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA).

Japan (1990–2000) Edit

During the 1990s, Williams continued to work for All Japan Pro Wrestling and became a main eventer for the company, making him one of the most successful foreign athletes in Japanese wrestling history. On July 28, 1994, he defeated Mitsuharu Misawa for the AJPW Triple Crown Championship, holding it for three months before dropping it to Toshiaki Kawada.

Cancer, return to wrestling, and retirement (2004–2009) Edit

In 2004, Williams underwent surgery for throat cancer and was declared cancer-free the next year.

After the death of longtime rival and friend Mitsuharu Misawa in June 2009, Williams made the decision to retire from wrestling after 27 years. Williams's final American match took place August 15 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for Asylum Championship Wrestling. He defeated Franco D'Angelo for the ACW Heavyweight Championship, which he vacated after the match.[3] His final match was held on October 25 in Tokyo.

Books Edit

Steve Williams: How Dr. Death Became Dr. Life Sports Publishing LLC

Death Edit

The throat cancer eventually returned and Williams's health gradually worsened. His last public appearance was at the K&S Wrestlefest Wrestling Convention on December 12, 2009, in Carteret, New Jersey. On December 29, 2009, Williams died at St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver from throat cancer.[4] He was 49 years old.

In wrestling Edit

  • Finishing moves
    • Backdrop Driver[1] (Spike belly to back suplex)[5]
    • Doctor Bomb[1] (Gutwrench powerbomb)
    • Oklahoma Stampede[1][6] – Innovated
  • Signature moves
    • Belly to belly superplex[7]
    • Corner clothesline[6]
    • Front powerslam[5]
    • Military press slam[5][8]
    • Scoop powerslam[6]
    • Short-arm clothesline[5]
    • Spinning toe hold[5]
    • Three-point stance tackle[5][7]
  • Nicknames
    • "Dr. Death"[1]
  • Entrance themes
    • "I Love It Loud" by KISS (AJPW)
    • "Born in the USA" by Bruce Springsteen (NJPW)

Championships and accomplishments Edit

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Dr. Death" Steve Williams . WWE. Retrieved on 2015-03-06.
  2. Wrestling legend Steve Williams passes away. . Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online. Retrieved on 2009-12-30.
  3. Schramm, Chris. "Dr. Death" Steve Williams dead at 49 . Slam! Sports. Archived from the original on 2010-11-17. Retrieved on 2010-11-17.
  4. Gerweck, Steve 2009-12-30. Dr. Death Steve Williams passes away . Wrestle View. Retrieved on 2009-12-30.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Nitro report on December 6, 1999 .
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Nitro report on November 29, 1999 .
  7. 7.0 7.1 Starrcade report on December 19, 1999 .
  8. Thunder report on December 2, 1999 .
  9. AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Title history] At
  10. AJPW World Tag Team Title history At
  12. IWA World Tag Team Title (IWA Japan) history At
  13. Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers of the PWI Years . Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved on 2010-09-15.
  14. Pedicino, Joe; Solie, Gordon (hosts) (July 25, 1987). "Pro Wrestling This Week". Superstars of Wrestling. Atlanta, Georgia. Syndicated. WATL. 
  15. Meltzer, Dave 2011-10-20. Thurs. update: Brisco, GSP updates, Hall feature, WWE drops announcer, TV show looks to be canceled . Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved on 2011-10-21.
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