Many of the WWE Universe forget that all WWE stars are human too. This means that they all had a life before they were famous and they have all had many ups and downs over the past few years. Sometimes these struggles are highly publicized, while other times they happen away from the spotlight.
While many of these issues are reported once they are famous and made public knowledge, there are also a number of things that have happened to WWE stars before they were famous that many of them prefer not to talk about. Secrets are one of the things that make wrestling one of the most entertaining shows on TV. It always end up that at some point all of these secrets become public knowledge. It just so happens that the WWE likes using a wrestlers personal situation to further storylines.
Many superstars use the problems they have had throughout their careers to help others who are going through the same problems and to then become role models. Many others prefer to try to move on, hoping that the public will forget that blip in their career.
The following list looks at five of the worst things to happen to WWE stars before they were famous as well as 10 things that have happened since. Whether these are things that they have done or things that have happened to them throughout their lives.
15. After: Perry Saturn
Perry Saturn was once a popular wrestler in WWE. Over the past few years, Perry has been seen as a shadow of his former self. He was forced to quit the business he once flourished in. Saturn came to the aid of a woman who he saw being attacked by two men back in 2004. Even though he was able to fight off her attackers, he was shot twice in the process.
Saturn was shot in the neck and shoulder and as a result of his injuries became addicted to painkillers and was no longer able to wrestle. He then revealed a few years ago that he had been able to kick the addiction. He is still struggling with a traumatic brain injury and was trying to get his life together after stints of being homeless.
14. After: Debra
Debra was a member of WWE’s women’s division when most of the females in the company at the time were used as valets or sex symbols. Debra went on to date and then marry Stone Cold Steve Austin which is where their relationship hit a few problems.
The couple married in 2000 before the police responded to a call to the couple’s residence They found Debra with bruises and a bloody nose. Austin was then charged with misdemeanour assault and filed for divorce from Debra a few months later. The former WWE Diva has since helped other women who were victims of domestic abuse. She even auctioned off her wedding ring on eBay and donated a portion of the proceeds to one of the charities that help these women.
13. Before: Ric Flair
Ric Flair is one of the most decorated wrestlers in the history of the business as well as the only ever two time WWE Hall of Famer. But even The Nature Boy had a rough start in the world. Flair was adopted from Tennesse Children’s Home Society. They were a notorious orphanage that was found guilty in the early 1950s of kidnapping children from their rightful mothers and arranging illegal adoptions.
It is unknown if Flair’s adoption was part of this since all of the records were destroyed. Some speculate that they may never have actually existed to begin with. Flair has looked into his own adoption many times. Sadly there are many questions that the former World Champion will never know the answers to.
12. After: Kharma
Kharma is perhaps better known as Awesome Kong from her days in Impact Wrestling. The dominant star also had a short stint in WWE where she became only one of three women to be part of the annual Royal Rumble match.
Kharma’s time in WWE was short because it was revealed that the star was pregnant. She was given maternity leave by WWE, but sadly lost her baby shortly after she left WWE. Her son was stillborn and the former star was affected by the loss quite terribly. She hid the truth from her friends and family for a while because she had trouble coming to terms with this news herself. She was unfortunately released from WWE not long afterwards and then returned to TNA.
11. After: Melina
Melina was one of the stand out women in the division during her time in WWE and is a former WWE Divas and Women’s Champion, but it seems that Melina was one of a number of former female wrestlers who recently came forward to reveal that she was the victim of assault while working for WWE.
Melina admitted that she was a victim of assault and that she considered taking her own life afterwards. She would go on to say that she had been the victim in a number of circumstances where she didn’t consent. This made her feel helpless and scared. Melina isn’t the only woman to have come forward to state that she had been through something like this during her time with the company.
10. Before: X-Pac
X-Pac has had a rough life both before and after he was famous, which has left him addicted to a number of drugs over the past few years. X-Pac’s issues began when he was as young as five as he himself has admitted that being raised by a single mother meant that he was unsupervised much of the time.
X-Pac later revealed that he was assaulted several times as a child and then dropped out of school in the ninth grade. He turned his attention to wrestling which helped him through one of the toughest phases of his life. X-Pac’s issues have obviously continued over the past few years. Despite this he has still been able to remain a part of the business and one of its most popular stars.
9. After: Ashley Massaro
Ashley won the 2005 Raw Diva Search and became a popular star in WWE for the three years that she was in the company. Ashley was always seen as a Diva rather than a wrestler, which was why her release back in 2008 didn’t affect the company that much.
Ashley revealed earlier this year that she was a victim of assaulted while on an overseas tour with WWE back in the early 2000s, something that obviously affected her emotionally and rather than going to the police, the company forced her to keep quiet about the entire situation. WWE clearly cared more about their image than they did about protecting their female wrestlers when they were on tour. This probably isn’t something WWE would have wanted to be revealed.
8. After: Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy is one of the most popular WWE stars that the company currently have after a number of years in Impact Wrestling, the former World Champion returned to WWE earlier this year and has picked up where he left off.
Hardy was part of the WWE roster when one of the biggest tragedy’s in his life occurred back in March 2008, when it was reported that Hardy’s home had been burnt to the ground in a fire and his dog Jack had perished as a result. Jeff was emotionally affected by the news but this didn’t prevent WWE from using it in a storyline the following year. When Matt and Jeff were feuding as part of the storyline, it was Matt who admitted to starting the fire.
7. Before: Rich Swann
Rich Swann is a former Cruiserweight Champion. He has been in the news recently regarding his marriage to fellow Independent wrestler Su Yung. Even though Swann is going through his own issues right now, it seems that he is a star who is able to overcome the odds like no other wrestler before him.
When Swann was just 12-years-old his father’s life was taken away before his mother then passed away just four years later. This left Swann in a position where he didn’t know where to turn and fell in with the wrong crowd which left him an addict. It was only when his dealer passed away of a heart attack a few years later that he decided it was time to get his life on track. With his aunt’s help he managed to finish high school and get his own apartment.
6. After: Shelly Martinez
Many of the WWE Universe will perhaps remember Shelly Martinez as Ariel from her days in WWE. Even though her career with WWE was a short one, she is another woman who has recently revealed that she was seen as a victim during her time in WWE as well.
She revealed earlier this month that much like Melina and Ashley she was also assaulted as part of an overseas tour with WWE. She never revealed if she was forced to stay quiet about her ordeal as well. This year three women have come forward about the same kinds of incidents and have been forced to suffer in silence. Hopefully, WWE has learned from this and are now protecting the women that are part of their company.
5. After: Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Jake “The Snake” Roberts is a WWE Hall of Famer and along with many stars on this list, his struggles started when he was much younger. Roberts has revealed that he was both physically and mentally abused by his stepmother growing up. This led him to drink at a young age.
Roberts has always had a problem with addiction and over the past few years Roberts has been seeing a decline in his health. Not only was he diagnosed with cancer back in 2014, something that he was able to overcome with surgery, but he was later said to be struggling with pneumonia. During some later scans, doctors also found a number of abnormalities on his brain, which could have been from his time taking bumps as a wrestler.
4. Before: AJ Lee
AJ Lee is a former Divas Champion and now a New York Times best-selling author since she revealed her life story in her book “Crazy is my Superpower.” AJ told the story about her struggles with bipolar disorder as well as the way her mother abused her while she was coming to terms with her own mental illness.
AJ also revealed that she has been homeless a number of times because of the problems her family had financially while she was growing up. The former Champion was forced to starve herself when she was saving up for a try-out with WWE. She didn’t have enough money to pay for food and her family weren’t in a position to help her. AJ’s story is quite the inspirational one, which is why it is now being adapted into a TV series.
3. After: Paige
Paige is a former Divas Champion as well as being the inaugural NXT Women’s Champion but it seems that Paige’s legacy has been somewhat tarnished over the past year since she was the victim of one of WWE’s biggest hacking scandals where many of her personal images and videos were made public.
Paige, Xavier Woods and Brad Maddox were all victims of this scandal and Paige recently revealed that the leaks left her not wanting to go outside and feeling quite suicidal. Luckily, she was able to find her feet once again and has recently returned to WWE where she can change the opinion many fans currently have of her. Paige is one superstar who is now using her recent problems to help others who are going through the same kinds of problems.
2. After: Kamala
Kamala will be remembered as the face-painted superstar of the early 90s who has had his own issues with health over the past few years. Kamala struggled with diabetes throughout his life but it wasn’t until 2011 that high blood pressure and his long-term illness forced him to have his left leg amputated below the knee.
His right leg was then amputated from the same place the following year. A campaign was then launched to help the former star who has been reliant on a disability cheque ever since. Earlier this year he was forced to undergo life-saving surgery to fix the fluid that surrounded his heart and lungs and was then put on life support. He recovered slowly in the weeks that followed before he showed some positive signs of improvement.
1. Before: Zack Ryder
Zack Ryder is one of the most beloved stars in WWE right now. Even though WWE hasn’t booked Ryder the way he deserved to be over the past few years, his fanbase has remained firm throughout the past few years.
Even though Ryder has been a dependable star since he joined WWE back in 2005 but Zack had already gone through his own struggles. Ryder was forced to miss a year of school when he was growing up when he was diagnosed with cancer which originated in his foot and then travelled to his lungs. Ryder managed to recover from the disease after a year of battling before he then set his sights on a WWE career. Ryder has been fighting for most of his life, even before he began doing it on WWE TV.
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