Tony Atlas was a beast of a wrestler in his time. Atlas, a professional bodybuilder who later became a World Tag Team Champion, joined the WWE in the early 1980s and soon rose to prominence. Even Vince McMahon was an admirer of the African-American wrestler’s dominant physique, having won the title of MR. USA, a bodybuilding competition.
Atlas did live up to the McMahon family’s expectations back in the day, even defeating Hulk Hogan via pinfall, which was a huge accomplishment for any wrestler at the time.
Atlas’s brilliant career as a wrestler, however, was marred by his fall from glory as the ‘Black Superman’ slid from popularity to addiction, failed relationships, and poor performance. He was dealt a serious blow by his divorce and a career that was on the decline, leaving him destitute. Fortunately for him, he was able to get back on his feet owing to the help of a charming German woman who subsequently became his wife.
Tony Atlas succumbed to drug addiction and binge drinking
Tony Atlas discussed his childhood and the challenges he had as a child in an interview with The Hannibal TV. Beatrice James White, his mother, was the family’s main breadwinner, and she struggled to feed her children even one meal every day. Tony, who grew up in an impoverished family, worked exceptionally hard as a wrestler to turn his life around.
Despite this, Tony’s otherwise rags to riches story began to unravel as he spiraled deeper into a tornado of drug abuse and partying. In his book Altas – Too Much Too Soon, he critically examines his life’s choices, writing about how he succumbed to readily available sex, money, and drugs, leading to a self-destructive path.
Atlas’s enthusiasm for wrestling shifted after he was introduced to cocaine in the early 1980s, shortly after competing for the then-WWF, and he became consumed with partying and narcotics instead. Tony told Slam Wrestling while promoting his autobiography:
“All I could think about right now was partying.” And the only reason I was wrestling was to get money so I could go out and party. This lasted from 1981 to nearly 1983.”
As a result of his continued drug usage, his performance deteriorated, his finances dwindled, and his possibilities dwindled. He was out of the major leagues after squandering major opportunities. To pay his bills, he participated in AWA, World Class, and the WWC in Puerto Rico. This job came to an end when he witnessed Bruiser Brody’s horrible murder.
He was, it turned out, going through a divorce with his ex-wife Lisa at the time. She got to keep the house after the trial. The Internal Revenue Service took half of his money for legal bills and settlement, while the other half went to the Internal Revenue Service. He had given some money to a friend for safekeeping, which added salt to the wound. However, they got away with it, as he relates in his lengthy interview with Hannibal TV.
He went from being unemployed to being impoverished in an instant. Mario Savoldi, fortunately, had a company, ICW, in Maine, who hired him on a $1,000-per-week contract, as Tony mentions in the interview. As a result, Tony spent nearly a year with Mario. Mario, on the other hand, went out of business, leaving Atlas jobless and soon homeless.
Tony’s fourth wife was the one who saved his life
Atlas was completely cut off from the situation because he had no method of contacting anyone. He slept in strange places and ate from McDonald’s dumpsters since he was homeless. He lived like this for a year and a half. The once-masculine wrestler has dropped to a paltry 195 pounds.
Ring claims that A woman from Germany discovered Tony sleeping under a bench while walking home one day, according to The Damn Bell, a nostalgia-inducing blog about the world of wrestling. She approached him and inquired if he needed a place to stay. Atlas, on the other hand, scolded her. Monika DeRanek departed that day, but returned with her daughter the next day. They began chiseling ice from his body, much to his surprise. During the night, his right side froze.
Tony was completely unaware of the situation because he was dressed in four sets of slacks and five shirts. The mother-daughter duo took him to their residence once he was freed from the ice. Atlas, on the other hand, went into shock as soon as the warm water reached him in the shower. Monika summoned an ambulance, which transported him to the hospital. While the doctor and Monika were conversing, he came to his senses on the hospital bed. Tony was extraordinarily fortunate, according to the doctor. Because he would have perished if she hadn’t taken him in.
Monika, Atlas’s wife, has a health scare
Monika offered Tony a place to stay with her after he recovered. Tony returned to the gym not long after. He met a police officer there who offered him Vince McMahon’s phone number. McMahon had been hunting for Tony since he left Mario’s office. Tony was Saba Simba because he had a special plan for him.
Tony was finally able to get back on his feet after two years of hardship. Returning to his career, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006, the highest accolade in sports entertainment.
To repay Monika’s kindness, he sent her $500 each month. Atlas eventually finished wrestling and returned to her. Monika had been conserving the money he had sent her, he discovered. She pushed him to use the money he had saved to become a certified personal trainer. As a result, he went to school, earned his certification as a personal trainer, and married her. He married her for the fourth time, and they’ve been married for over three decades.
However, the marriage was put in jeopardy when Monika suffered a stroke and required hospitalization, as he explained in a June 2019 interview with Boston Wrestling MWF. Tony’s wife, as previously said, lost her job and income. Atlas also lost his employment as a personal trainer as a result of COVID-19.
This tweet implies that she was still in the hospital at the time of the tweet, on June 25, 2020, even though she had been there for a year. It’s unclear how the two are surviving right now, as Tyson’s social media accounts remain mute on the subject, though he has been tweeting about his performances with Boston Wrestling MWF.