What Happened To Famous Former Wrestlers And Where Are They Today?
World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE has been a mainstay of pseudo-sports entertainment for decades. It has morphed over the decades from the very early form that toured the country to a mega-operation that built up stars and generations of viewers worldwide. During that tenure, at least to date, multiple wrestlers have made their careers with the WWE, and some went even farther, using the WWE as a launchpad to something further. Whichever the case, these wrestling stars have seen it all. Some have reached further success and built whole new personas.
Others, have not been so lucky. Still others made us laugh in movie theater seats with a side of humor their ferocity in the wrestling ring didn’t allow them to play with on that sports stage. In 2021, some of these giants are still here and others are in retirement, give Miami a run for its money. Here’s how they have turned out over time.
Born officially as Scott Oliver Hall, Razor Ramon was classic 1980s wrestler. He had been quite active and around during that decade, but Ramon’s big break didn’t happen until the next decade. It was his jump to the other big wrestling circuits, better known as the World Wrestling Federation and the WCW that opened up big career moves for Razor Ramon. During those years, Ramon was very fit and enjoyed the high life.
Unfortunately, life has not been so kind to Razor Ramon in later years. Physically, he’s been getting challenged again and again with health issues.
Most people remember Kane as the big guy with ratty hair and an evil mask. However, in real life people probably wouldn’t recognize Kane if he walked up to them in person at the grocery story. By his normal name, Glenn Thomas Jacobs, Kane is big but he would generally look like any other person walking down the road, just a little bigger than others.
Interestingly, while he likes the mundane in normal life, Kane was one of the biggest wrestlers in WWE. Today, he’s all about business and even politics.
Named after the infamous bass player from the Sex Pistols, Sid Vicious in wrestling was one of those unsung heroes that help professional wrestling launch into the bigtime.
Not only was he part of the original batch from the 1980s when the sport got started, he helped move a number of other spinoffs in the wrestling entertainment world too.
However, while Sid Vicious was officially retired for a while, he did one stint back in the ring for old times, and a bit of a lucrative fee, but that was it.
As a big guy with lots of wet hair, a bit of eyeliner and a hulking appearance, Mideon was not someone a wrestler wanted to see across the ring. Of course, without all the gear and makeup, cleaned up a big and dressed right, Dennis Knight probably came across as an okay guy.
He changed his name a bit over time, but life takes twists. Doing something completely different, he decided to travel the road of a chef after retirement.
Of course, if anyone’s foolish enough to complain about the cooking, they might have to deal with Mideon coming out the kitchen.
Known legally as Barbra Jean Blank, the wrestling star Kelly Kelly was an odd face in the ring. She didn’t necessarily have bulk and mass, but Kelly Kelly did have charisma and presence. And that worked well for her after wrestling too.
Kelly Kelly used the ring as a jump, and she leverage her professional career wrestling into modeling, TV fame and reality show name. Surprisingly, she found roles on WAGS as well as the soap opera, Days of Our Lives.
Among the second generation wrestlers, Goldberg was a big name who landed in the ring and made it his own. Not only did Goldberg dominate the rooting corner for the hero, he mopped the mat with the bad guys too, on a regular basis.
Today, Goldberg isn’t quite as pronounced with his social contacts, but he hasn’t faded away into the limelight either. He runs a gym as his own business and still stays very much in shape as a result. That said, Goldberg is very much the family man out of the ring as well.
The grim image of death worked very well as a bad guy character in professional wrestling, and the Undertaker lived up to the role. When Mark William Calaway got out of the ring, however, he was already looking forward to a future past wrestling.
As the Undertaker he smashed opponents and actually generated a strong following for a wrestling character who was technically a bad guy. Today, Calaway does real estate. While he doesn’t need to be intimidating during a home sale, the Undertaker’s size probably could put a hard negotiator in his place.
He’s made a name for himself in the movies, advertising for Ford Trucks, and continues to be a role model for youth in all aspects of life. The Rock also continues to push himself well beyond normal expectations, physically, spiritually and mentally.
Better known to his family without the Rock moniker, Dwayne Johnson has completely produced a full, vibrant career beyond wrestling, but never ignored where his success roots came from. As a result, The Rock just continues to keep adding fans to his portfolio, whether from the ring or from his latest movies.
One of the original professional wrestling names, Hulk Hogan was the epitome of the wrestling hero character, and Hogan lived up to the name as well. Then again, he only had to deal with bad guys like Rowdy Rodney Piper and similar instead of later characters. Officially named Terre Gene Bollea, Hogan continued his career as a celebrity but began to fade by the 1990s.
With a TV reality show Hogan gained a bit of a resurgence again in the 2000s but it was brief. And then a number of family tragedies put him out of the limelight for good.
He was big, boisterous and could flatten an opponent if that person was unlucky enough to get within reach. Fortunately, Tugboat was on the side of the good guys, so original wrestlers like Hulk Hogan didn’t need to worry too much.
Today, Tugboat is a bit less of a showboat and bit more of a gentle big character doing good. He has worked for years as a safety manager, keeping people from hurting themselves or others in the workplace, and Fred Ottman is also well known in his neighborhood as a little league coach as well.
Aside from the hair-do change, not that much seems to have changed for Big Show. He’s still sizable and big, and he still likes to smile in front of the cameras. Big Show tried to transition like other wrestlers to the acting world, but it didn’t work quite as well.
Big Show bounced around a lot from movie parts to TV shows, and he still appears once in a while today, but he makes a living freelancing and moving around from role to role. Through it all, Big Show keeps on smiling.
Although looking at Stacey Keibler one would never think she was involved with wrestling, Keibler had her TV career launched by professional wrestling and being in the ring. From there she followed a well-walked path into the acting and film world, showing up on regular sitcom shows like What About Brian as well as the comedy, How I Met Your Mother.
Today Keibler continues to land spots but she’s also making a fair income advertising product as well. Fortunately, wrestling never damaged her beautiful smile and looks.
The Ultimate Warrior
By name and probably driver’s license, he goes by James Brian Hellwig, but in the ring he had a few other names. From the big hair guy with Twisted Sister makeup to Dingo Warrior or his official wrestling name, the Ultimate Warrior, Hellwig made a presence.
Hellwig bonded so well with his followers and fans, he ultimately had his name changed by court order to “Warrior.” Unfortunately, for all his strength and stamina in the ring, retirement was never really meant for Hellwig. He died from a heart attack right after retirement passing on at a young age of 54.
He achieved the most number of official professional championships in the ring and definitely enjoyed talking up a storm in and out of the ring. He also enjoyed putting Hulk Hogan to shame whenever possible being all about ego.
Today, Ric is a bit more comfortable in a recliner and hanging out in resorts than the ring. He tried acting for a bit, like others, but he never really moved into anything big. Unfortunately, in his later years tragedy was the bigger opponent Ric had to face, losing his son to drugs.
Another of the big 1980s names, Macho Man gave other characters a run for their money. Doing so, Macho Man lasted over three decades in his wrestling career, providing one of the longest lasting names in the industry.
Like others, Macho Man also found a very promising second career in film and got placement in a number of big name movies like Spider-Man as well as Baywatch. Unfortunately, he wasn’t going to be allowed to enjoy his work in later years. Macho Man died of a heart attack as well.
Oscar Gutierrez utilized a classic, traditional wrestling gimmick with the mask in the ring, and the audiences loved it as a throwback to the early wrestling days from the 1950s and 60s. Gutierrez lasted well into the early 2000s and was the real Lucha Libre.
After his main career Gutierrez stayed involved in wrestling, and he’s been a big favorite in Latin countries who loved his role in the ring. When he’s not mugging it up in front of cameras, Gutierrez meets his fans and keeps up the dream.
With a stage name like Sunny, what could go wrong? That was the theme and motto for Tammy Lyn Sytch, who enjoyed the career professional wrestling gave her as well as entertainment and life it provided her as well. Unfortunately, she partied a bit too much as well.
Sunny started to fall apart as the money and the fame grew, and her personal life started to come apart. She ended up spending time in rehab for drug abuse as well as drinking.
Copying the same haircut as another entertainer on a TV series named Xena, Warrior Princess, Chyna was the bulked up version of the warrior amazon. She enjoyed a unique role and character during the 1990s, and Chyna led the introduction of female wrestlers into the professional wrestling genre.
Chyna, less known as Joan Marie Laurer, wrote an autobiography about her wrestling career as a woman, but she was not going to see additional pursuits much longer after her retirement. Chyna passed away from a drug overdose in 2016.
Also another well-known female figure in the professional wrestling world, Sable was seen regularly in and around the ring, showing off her fluffed hair that definitely needed some industrial hair spray to stay in place given how rowdy the ring could get.
Officially, Sable was named Rena Marlette Lesnar, married to another character with his own reputation in the ring. After the wrestling world ended, Sable continued with her looks into modeling and tried a bit of acting herself before fully retiring. Her husband has been right there with her as well enjoying their relaxing years together.
Among all the wrestlers that have enjoyed a career in the WWE, Lesnar was one of the view who could easily claim being a bona fide athlete and competitor well have high school or college. He was an accomplished MMA fighter, as well as a professional football player in the NFL.
Lesnar enjoyed his titles in the wrestling ring, include The Beast among them, and the wrestler had signature named finishing moves that would wipe out his opponents for good. However, after the ring, Lesnar went harder not softer into MMA fighting. That kept him fit, a Lesnar went back to professional wrestling again until 2019.
Among the wrestlers who would wear makeup for their gig, Sting was a notable character. His act and performance worked so well, he was able to keep wrestling going solid for three decades. Many recognized Stings face because he was on so many of their marketing images, T-shirts, lunchboxes, stickers and similar.
Sting dominated titles, winning 25 major wrestling championships over his career. Interesting, he stayed away from the WWE until 2014 to 2016. Then, Sting partially retired, leaving open the door to continue a bit more.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts
A classic character in the early decade of professional wrestling during the 1980s, Jake Roberts lasted another decade before ending his career before 2000 arrived. Roberts handled roles and circuits both in the U.S. and Mexico, gaining a sizable following due to diversifying his market.
The moniker, “The Snake,” came from Roberts repeat acts of double-crossing others in the ring when teaming up. No surprise, Roberts also played up the reputation with a lot of sleazy acting. Today, Roberts is on the outside of the ring acting as a manager to Lance Archer.
As one of a few wrestlers who have made the jump from the professional wrestling ring to the far more demanding MMA circuit, CM Punk has achieved accomplishments only a handful of wrestlers have pulled off. On the wrestling side, CM Punk put in a decade of work nailing the Triple Crown Championship.
However, sports have not been CM Punk’s only career. He also tried acting and saw success in that venue, as well as had repeat appearances on ghost-hunting shows as well. And, CM Punk nailed an acting role in a Netflix-produced movie titled Girl on the Third Floor.
If Stan Hansen walked up to someone today, he would be assumed to be someone’s Texan grandfather with a big smile. However, Hansen was a long-running name in the wrestling world. He started his career in 1973 and stayed active until just after the Millennium in 2001.
Once retired, it was time for Hansen to do a lot of repair work on his physical frame. Both his back and knees needed healing. Hansen was afterwards recognized for his contribution to the sport and industry, and was inducted in the WWE hall of fame 15 years after retirement.
An early classic before the first big generation of wrestlers in the 1980s, Terry Funk was a predecessor who taught the classic crowd how to do their sport. Funk started in 1965. He lasted in wrestling well after many others until 2006. Then Funk kept wrestling more as an independent.
Funk has been a name in every major wrestling circuit and organization in his career, but he also tried acting as well. On and off again he would take on a movie here or there, but the switch never stuck, and wrestling for Funk was always a consistent income.
Legally known as Johnathan Coachman, the Coach was a fixture for a bit in the 1990s wrestling, especially when the industry was interested in developing diversity. Coachman worked for a number of years as well as commentator in the industry.
Ultimately, however, the Coach decided it was time to leave even the industry sidelines altogether. He retired from the industry to spend time with family.
In the original WWF genre, Skinner was a well-known name during the 1980s. And he gained sizable following on his own as well. Wrestling was everything for Skinner’s life, and even after he was done in the ring, he stayed involved.
In retirement, Skinner has found multiple roles to keep involved and maintain a tab on wrestling in one form or another. One of Skinner’s most notable ventures has been to take on the role of headmaster, running a school for professional wrestling training and managing new upcoming stars. Of course, hanging out with his wife in Florida is not a bad deal either.
Scotty 2 Hotty
One of the “pretty boys” in the professional wrestling circuit, Scotty 2 Hotty was a big darling draw for female fans because of his looks. Fortunately, the career didn’t damage his looks any.
After wrestling and retirement, Scott Ronald Garland, his real name, spent a good amount of time teach and coaching new wrestlers. He did try work as a firefighter for a bit, but coaching was a better fit overall, and Garland went back to that role as his primary second career. Actually working in a hot fire was bit too much work for a retiree.
Viewers were often confused when Vincent Kennedy McMahon entered the ring. Given his size, it was hard to tell if he was wrestler gone actor or really was a WWE executive. As it turned out, McMahon was running the whole show. He was the key player as both the CEO and owner of the WWE.
Given the success of professional wrestling, especially during the days when it travels and sold out amphitheaters and concert bowls, McMahon was able to try dabbling in acting himself as well as a few other ventures. However, overall, McMahon stayed true to the industry where his career was made.
A ground breaker by both physical presence as well as historical importance, Yokozuna became the first Samoan to professionally wrestle and make a career of it. Legally known as Rodney Agatupa Anoa’I, was a giant in the ring and gained a huge following.
However, size was the enemy that ultimately worked against Yokozuna in later years. His heart was unable to keep up and he passed away from cardiac arrest in 2000.
Some kept mixing her up with Diana Ross, but Jacqueline was all about the wrestling ring. In fact, she was so serious, Jacqueline won the Cruiserweight Champion title among her awards.
Jacqueline DeLois Moore then moved on from the ring to additional roles in front of the camera that included TV appearances as well as roles in movies. And she was quite comfortable with picking up income via video game voiceovers and characters as well. But she didn’t abandon wrestling completely; Jacqueline also became a very accomplished wrestling manager as well.
Stone Cold Steve Austin
When he started in wrestling, Steve Austin had long blond hair, believe it or not. A good amount of that hair disappeared over time, but Stone Cold Steve Austin became the hero persona of the All-American wrestling character.
From the ring, Steven Austin also made a jump to the movies, getting to play in shoot-out stories like The Expendables and a role in Nash Bridges as well. However, the movies were gravy on top. Austin enjoys quite a successful booty from his work in wrestling, and he was extremely smart with its investment while he worked.
What do you do with a guy in the ring who was already huge and missing two front teeth? Don’t get in his way for one thing. Michael Francis gained a persona wrestling in the ring, and Mick Foley was one of the more famous names, but it also gave Cactus Jack a good run for its money.
Francis went into acting as well as gaining a good status as a media name and face as well. As for the teeth, Francis does show off their absence as much anymore. It doesn’t work so well outside of the ring.
Most people will recognize David Bautista today as the big violent guy in the movie franchise, Guardians of the Galaxy (Drax to be exact), but Bautista was well established in wrestling before the movies came along.
Batista retired from wrestling in 2000 and then boosted his already big size with bodybuilding. He took on martial arts and became an ideal muscle man for acting roles. Guardians of the Galaxy was a great hit, launching Bautista’s career, but he also did an admirable touching job in Bushwick. Bautista has over 50 movies to his credit.
While not one of the big names so far, Orton isn’t an unknown on professional wrestling either. Randy Orton has been very active in the industry, and he has done some crossover mid-career into acting, garnering a role in TV shows as well.
Unfortunately, he’s had his ups and downs; Orton’s personal life had a divorce in 2013, but he was also able to bounce back and found a new marriage a few years after. That rebalance has given Orton fuel to continue and keep going, maturing with the challenges.
The Edge was another of the long-haired huge monsters in the ring, with a physical dominance of the scene. However, Adam Joseph Copeland decided to leave that look and persona behind when he finished with wrestling for good.
Jumping to acting, Copeland cut off the locks and produced more of a modern short-hair, square jaw look that matched and emphasized his physique, both selling points in the acting world he tried to pursue. Fans still got to enjoy his autobiography and learned a few insider facts that weren’t apparent from the TV and cable wrestling shows.
A famous female face and name in the wrestling circuit in the mid-2000s, Lita didn’t stay in the ring very long. She decided to call it quits by 2006 and pursue a different career in singing and stage entertainment instead.
However, Amy Dumas found that career path was challenging as well, and ultimately her day job today is working as an analyst for the WWE organization behind the scenes. Although, she might still be scene appearing once in a while for the WWE or belting out a tune here or there.
His original name was Michael Shawn Hickenbottom, not the sort of surname one might want to have in high school. However, given Shawn’s size, it probably wasn’t a good idea to say anything to him directly.
Michaels definitely developed a reputation in the ring and produced a notable career in professional wrestling.
After he retired, Michaels tried to go the acting route as well, but it didn’t really turn into a permanent path. So, there was the option of being a TV presenter for a while. Today, Michaels enjoys later life and has raised two kids with his wife.
Born as Debrah Ann Miceli, her mother probably didn’t expect that Debrah would make a name for herself via professional wrestling. However, dubbed “Alundra Blayze,” Debrah surprised everyone when she won Rookie of the Year in the late 1980s.
Blayze did quite well for herself in wrestling and had a respectable career. Her post-wrestling career was not quite as productive, however. While Blayze tried to breakthrough into acting and did get a few roles to her credit and portfolio, it didn’t work out as a big breakthrough.
Booker T was a big name in the ring, and he worked that fame to an advantage. Booker T had size, ego, and swagger, all of which allowed his wrestling character to build fame.
After professional wrestling, Booker T went back to his legal name of Robert Booker Tio Huffman and branched out into other career paths.
As it turned out, not only did he find work as a promoter and wrestling voice, Booker enjoyed a nice career harvest via video games. And he can also claim being an author to Booker’s resume and portfolio.
Comparing to how he looks in the ring, Triple H is a totally different man today. When Paul Michel Levesque entered the wrestling world as Triple H, he had long dyed-blonde locks and an evil smile that worked well in front of the camera.
Of course, it didn’t hurt his wrestling career for Triple H to also marry the boss’ daughter, Stephanie McMahon in the early 2000s. Triple H has long since been retired from the ring, but he now faces a new challenge in the form of cancer. Both he and his wife are hard proponents trying to find a cure for Medulloblastoma.