Thomas Russell “Russ” Haas, 27, died Saturday, December 15, 2001. He was born March 11, 1974 in Little Rock, AR. He graduated from Edmond Memorial High School, Class of ’93 in Edmond, OK. He attended Seton Hall University in S. Orange, NJ. Russ was a professional wrestler with the WWF with his brother Charlie D. Hass, under the tag team names “Haas Brothers: and “Haas of Pain”. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Madeline and Hugh Devore. He is survived by his wife, Deedra Haas; parents, Charles and Noreen Haas; brother, Charlie D. Haas; sisters, Cara Marie Haas and her fiance, Rick, Kelly Marie Church and husband, Jason; grandparents, Virginia Haas and Harlan Haas. A Vigil Service will be held at 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 19, 2001 in the Memorial Oaks Cemetery Mausoleum Chapel, 13001 Katy Freeway. A Funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, December 20, 2001 at St. Cecilia Catholic Church, 11720 Joan of Arc with Rev. Francis Macatangay as celebrant. Rite of Committal Services will follow in Memorial Oaks Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to The Russ Haas memorial fund c/o Bank of America, 777 N. Eldridge Parkway, Houston, Texas 77079 Attn: Jeannie Gray, in Russ’s memory. — Published in the Houston Chronicle on 12/19/2001.
Russ Haas 6’2 245 lbs 1974-2001.
December 14th, 2001 Russ Haas was found dead. His battle was a battle against heart problems which eventually overtook him and ended his life.
To further explain this story, I present an article which was written for LEWD E-Zine Issue #740.
“RUSS HAAS FOUND DEAD: In a bit of sad news to report, Russ Haas, the WWF Developmental talent was found dead earlier this morning. Russ suffered from a heart attack on 9/24.
The heart problems were caused by an undetected blood clot, which at some point led to a partially blocked artery near his heart. HWA and the WWF were very concerned about the health of Russ Haas and he made several appointments over the past few months to see cardiologists.
Russ was cleared to resume training for his wrestling career after he saw one of these cardiologists, however; the WWF wanted to take the issue to another cardiologist (or two) to get another opinion. Russ had not wrestled since 9/23 but had resumed a light work out schedule since being cleared by a cardiologist.
Russ was scheduled to seek another opinion of a cardiologist on 12/18 to determine if he could resume his wrestling training with Heartland Wrestling Association in Cincinnati under Les Thatcher’s guidance. He was 27 years old at the time of his tragic death. Russ was part of a tag team which his real-life brother Charlie Haas.
Having seen Russ Haas wrestle once in my life (WWF RAW Taping) I sure am not an ‘expert’ on him. But from what I saw at that show, these two guys were certainly headed to the top of this business. It was only a matter of time before these two made it in a big way.
I thought the two could have been the RVD’s of the tag team division, and with the WWF currently not having an abundance of tag teams, the Haas combination would have been a great addition to the division. I am very saddened by this tragic news because Russ Haas just began his pro wrestling career. No official comment has been issued by the WWF on this situation as of press time.
We expect an announcement to be made within the next 24-48 hours, but it could be held off until Monday. We send our best wishes to all of the Haas family members on this tragic day. And we hope they are all doing as best as can be expected.” (Written by LEWD Editor in Chief Mark R).
BEFORE THE HAAS BROTHERS GOT A DEVELOPMENTAL CONTRACT.
Even before the WWF became aware of the intense in ring abilities of Charlie and Russ Haas, these two individuals were wrestling around the country exciting young wrestling fans all across America! The two competed in ECWA (The ECWA is considered one of THE premier independent wrestling promotions in the United States. Established in 1967, East Coast Wrestling has been around for 32 years, with cards running solely on the East Coast http://www.ecwaprowrestling.com/ )
Russ & Charlie Haas dominated ECWA and quickly won the ECWA Tag Team Championship. They wrestled the likes of The Public Enemy & other ECWA Tag Teams during their stay in ECWA.
On Monday, August 7th, 2000 Russ & Charlie Haas were called up to the WWF show in New York (Madison Square Garden) from Jersey All Pro Wrestling for the purpose of getting a WWF Try-Out Match for a WWF Developmental contract.
Typically these matches are known as “Dark Matches” and fans generally crap all over them by chanting “boring” during the contest (even if it is a decent contest). When Russ & Charlie Haas came through the curtain the fans didn’t react kindly to them (as was expected). After all they were completely unknown to 90% of the audience in attendance (certainly 10% of the fans may have heard of them, or even seen them wrestle on a Jersey All Pro Wrestling show in New Jersey, but the majority of the fans had know clue as to who these two actually were).
On this night, a few minutes in to the Haas Brothers match. The crowd began to noticeably cheer for the aerial expertise of Russ and Charlie.
On August 7th, 2000 Russ Haas realized his dream and wrestled before a sell-out crowd at Madison Square Garden, and what is more impressive gained the respect and admiration of every fan in attendance during his untelivised “Dark Match”.
On Tuesday August 8th, 2000 the WWF brought Charlie & Russ Haas to the Meadlowlands Show in New Jersey. Russ & Charlie Haas got a favorable reaction right through the curtains this time (probably because of the tie in to Jersey All Pro Wrestling and many JAPW fans in attendance for the WWF Show, or at least enough in attendance to help the duo get a favorable reaction). A JAPW chant actually broke out during the Haas Brothers match and the crowd was so into the match, it certainly had to make WWF Officials take notice back stage.
And certainly the WWF Officials backstage did take notice. Both on the Monday debut show and on the Tuesday follow up show, because Russ & Charlie Haas had officially arrived in the world of Sports Entertainment when the World Wrestling Federation offered them Developmental Deals.
BACK TO THE JAPW DAYS.
Saturday August, 19th, 2000. Even though freshly signed by the WWF as the latest crop of Developmental Talent, Russ & Charlie Haas still had some obligations to fulfill. First was the above mentioned show with JAPW in New Jersey at the Sayreville Club Bene building.
The card was as follows: Homicide v Lo-Ki, Haas Brothers v Hit Squad, Jay Lover v Lowlife Louis, Dr Hurtz v Judas Young, Jason Knight v Don Montoya, Nick Burk v Skinhead Ivan, Laython v Ron Zombie, and Blue Dragon v Eddie Martinez.
Russ & Charlie Haas were wrestling for the JAPW Tag Team Championship but put over The Hit Squad in a five star match. It singled the end of the working relationship with the Haas Brothers and “Fat” Frank’s Jersey All Pro Wrestling.
SENT TO MCW; THE START OF THEIR TRAINING UNDER WWF.
Russ & Charlie Haas were sent down to MCW to begin their Developmental training under the World Wrestling Federation’s system.
Wednesday February 21st, 2001 was another chapter in the careers of Russ & Charlie Haas it was another show under their belts. This was a combined show with WWF, MCW (Memphis Championship Wrestling), and PPW (Power Pro Wrestling).
The action took place in the ASU Convocation Center in Jonesboro, Arkansas (A building very familiar to the combatants of PPW and MCW).
The card was as follows for this combined non televised event:
Main Event: WWF Championship Kurt Angle v. Triple H, Jerry “The King” Lawler & The Kat v. Bobby Eaton, Victoria, & Brandon Baxter, MCW/PPW Championship Match Steve Bradley v. William Regal, K Kwik v. Rodrageous, Southern Tag Team Championship Match The Dupps v. The Haas Brothers, and Lance Cade, Joey Abs, & Pete Gas v. Spanky, Shooter Schultz & Dragon.,
WWF PULLS OUT OF MCW & PPW BREAKS AWAY.
The news wasn’t kind to the promoter of Memphis Championship Wrestling as the World Wrestling Federation severed all ties with MCW, and at the same time Power Pro Wrestling opted out of the working agreement with MCW as well. WWF re-located the WWF Developmental talent retained from MCW to two regions.
Jim Cornette’s Ohio Valley Wrestling out of Kentucky, and Les Thatcher’s Heartland Wrestling Association out of Cincinnati. Charlie & Russ Haas were assigned to work for Les Thatcher’s HWA.
Russ & Charlie Haas quickly made a name for them in the HWA territory battling for the HWA Tag Team Championship against Chet & Dean Jablonski (known as the Hit Squad). Russ & Charlie Haas eventually did win the HWA Tag Team Championship during their HWA stay.
WWF DARK MATCHES GALORE.
We do not have the exact dates on some of these cards listed below, but this is an illustration of what the Haas Brothers were doing after they were signed by the WWF.
Steve Bradley & Scott Vick def. The Haas Brothers. Fans initially did not give either team a favorable reaction. But again, Russ & Charlie won over the audience soon after the match began.
February 5, 2001: The Haas Brothers v. The Island Boys *Dark Match* at a WWF Taping. Island Boys defeated The Haas Brothers on this show but the Haas Brothers won over the crowd during this contest once again (as was becoming a pattern).
February 18, 2001: (Evansville, Indiana) WWF HOUSE SHOW: Haas Brothers def. Steve Bradley & Scott Vick by pinfall. The Indiana Crowd started out with loud chants of “BORING”. But Charlie & Russ Haas eventually got them turned around after dueling split legged-moonsaults on Vick.
February 20, 2001: WWF HEAT TAPINGS (Kansas City, Missouri): Scott Vick & Steve Bradley def. Russ & Charlie Haas. Solid match with the two winning over the crowd again.
June 10, 2001: (Roanoke, Virginia) WWF HOUSE SHOW RESULTS: Kaintai def. Russ & Charlie Haas. By this time the word was out. The Haas tag team was no “secret” and fans were starting to warm up to the duo even before they began wrestling. Charlie & Russ would get decent pops as their entrance music bleared over the sound system heading out to the ring. On this night, Kaintai v. Russ & Charlie Haas was the best match on the entire show.
THE CULMINATION OF A SHORT CAREER FOR RUSS HAAS.
Russ Haas did something numerous pro wrestles wish they could accomplish on this night. He wrestled on a show with the top attractions in the United States and held his own. In fact, some argue Russ & Charlie on this night had the best match of all of the superstars appearing on the show. Something which the duo was credited with having accomplished on dozens and dozens of shows before.
In those cases, the show was usually in some out of the way gymnasium or dirty run down bingo hall in some out of the way town nobody in the rest of the modern United States has ever heard of, let alone visited.
On this night, Russ & Charlie Haas wrestled on the Brian Pillman Show.
Nigel def. Machine, Ron Waterman def. Conway, Chad Collyer def. Morgan, Island Boys def. Lance Cade & Cody Hawk, Randy Orton def. Prototype, Haas Brothers def. Brolin, Damaja def. Chett Jablonski, Matt Stryker def. Chad Collyer, Pepper Parks & Shark Boy, Nick Dinsmore def. Race Steele, Terry Taylor Def. Bobby Eaton, Steve Corino def. David Flair, Lita def. Victoria, Evan Karagias def. Chris Candido, Perry Saturn & Dean Malenko def. Raven & Justin Credible, Mark Henry def. Hugh Morrus, Hardy Boys def. Edge & Christian and Diamond Dallas Page & Kanyon in a triple threat match for the tag team championship.
THE END WASN’T KIND; BUT HIS MEMORY WILL LIVE ON.
The end wasn’t kind for Russ Haas. But his brother Charlie will continue to bring us the legacy of the Haas family. If for no other reason, All of us should hope Charlie Haas makes it to the World Wrestling Federation to allow all the masses to remember his fallen brother Russ.
Russ Haas fulfilled his dream of becoming a WWF Superstar. Even though he wasn’t profiled on WWF Television during his career, he was one of the most promising young WWF Superstars ever to be signed by the company. WWF will certainly miss his talent greatly. At a current time when the WWF needs new tag team talent, The death of Russ Haas will be greatly felt by the Federation.
The only other sports-related tragedy I can equate this with to put it in to some real life perspective is when the Boston Celtics drafted Len Bias. Bias was going to be an “impact player” for the Celtics and make up for the departing Kevin McHale & Larry Bird. The Celtics drafted Len as their overall #1 pick and expected him to fill the front court and take on the work load for the next decade.
The Celtics heavily relied upon the acquisition of Bias through the draft to keep the great legacy of the Boston Celtics alive. Bias never played a game in the NBA as he died from heart failure. The end result was the Boston Celtics dynasty collapsed minus the one body who could have kept the legacy alive and well. Whereas; the World Wrestling Federation is not going to collapse simply because one man passed away. The point I am attempting to make is Russ Haas would have been a solid performer in the World Wrestling Federation for at least a decade.
He had the ability, size, look, charisma, and potential to one day become a main event top teir megastar in the WWF. He could have been the next CRAZE in pro wrestling with the correct marketing approach put behind him. But even though he will never materialize in to a box office megastar in the World Wrestling Federation due to his untimely death, he will forever be remembered in my eyes as being of the great WWF Superstars of all time.
So often people neglect to admonish the guys who actually make this business keep moving forward. The unknown rookie talent which debuts and sets the business on fire and brings in new fans. Let us always cherish Russ Haas for providing us with great moments never before seen on television. And with great moments forever recorded in our memories, and which we will replay for the rest of time. LEWD would like to send out our best wishes to the entire Haas Family and would like to dedicate this corner of INLEWD.COM to Russ Haas and his living memory.
Russ Haas 6’2 245 pounds Edmond, OK
Charlie Haas 6’2 265 pounds Edmond, OK