Daffney Unger (Shannon Claire Spruill) took her own life on September 1st after posting a video that went viral on Instagram. In the video, she categorized the things that were troubling her and insisted that she wanted her brain to go to a research facility in Boston—perhaps even the Boston University CTE Center.
This center studies injuries to the brain specifically, and in the video, she alluded to the fact that she felt she had a lot of brain damage because of all she’d done to it.
It’s no secret that professional wrestlers sustain injuries that many others in society can avoid and this sentiment is delivered home in her final address on Instagram to family, friends, and fans.
Her body was found only after the video was seen on Instagram, but many in the business posted on social media, asking, pleading for anyone who knew her to check on her. Before knowing what had ultimately happened after the video, legend Mick Foley stated:
“If anyone has a way of reaching Daffney Unger, or knows her address, please help out. She’s in a bad personal place and is threatening to harm herself. My phone call went straight to voicemail. ”Via: Mick Foley /Twitter
The rise and legacy of “The Scream Queen” in the business
Born in 1975, Daffney started in the business in 1999 and made her way through many of the independent promotions in her time as a professional wrestler.
But first, her chance to be a pro wrestler came after winning a contest put on by WCW. She then became the on-screen girlfriend to David Flair.
In a massive career opportunity, Vince Russo suggested that she wrestle the legendary Miss Elizabeth in her first ever wrestling match and things went as good as they could go for Daffney in at the unfortunately floundering WCW.
It would be in 2002 that Daffney would embark on a journey in the independent circuit and would cement her legacy amongst the indie circuit fans (who let’s be honest, are the hardest core wrestling fans out there—they love the sport of wrestling, no matter how small the promotion), and the indie circuit is where to make a name for yourself as a wrestler for sure, which Daffney surely did.
She almost retired but a string of opportunities arose for her. She subsequently wrestled for Xtreme Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor and even Ohio Valley Wrestling, as well as so many others.
She finally landed in TNA, where she had one heck of a run, and perhaps her best. She officially retired from the business in 2011 but continued to make appearances, most recently in Ring of Honor in 2018.
She has held the GCW Women’s Championship, as well as many other championships and in 2009, she was ranked at number 18 out of the top 50 female singles wrestlers by Pro Wrestling Illustrated—a massive honor.
A cry for help
In the video, Daffney addressed her issues and her sadness, all while holding a gun, which she did chamber as the video progressed. The video is hard to watch—she breaking down often—but her emotions come through obviously, and her story is something that should teach others the error of her ways, as she states in the video—perhaps alluding to some of the things she did in wrestling specifically we can deduce.
Many state that when individuals post such videos on social media, or posts, that it’s a cry for help, and oftentimes it is. Since the inception of social media, many have taken to the platform in such moments of turmoil, and say what you will about it, it has actually saved some lives.
But Daffney was seriously ill, she had had enough as she also stated in her video and was not taking any calls from many who were trying to reach out to her.
This is where social media fails—specifically if someone is alone and far away from loved ones, as Daffney sadly was.
In professional wrestling, the traveling circus that it can often be, we often forget that these men and women are human beings ad no matter how larger than life they seem out there in the squared circle, they are just that…human, and they have stresses just like anyone else.
In losing Daffney, in losing Shannon, we lost a tremendous soul, a tremendous athlete and we lost someone who had been lost to the troubles in her own mind for quite some time, it would seem. Our hearts here at Pro Wrestling News Hub go out to her family and all of her fans, as we were fans too. May her soul rest in eternal peace.