No matter who you are or what you do, chances are you could use a little extra money for one reason or another. The good news is you’re reading this on a computer, phone, or tablet, and if you can afford that, you’re better off than plenty of others. Of course, that doesn’t mean everybody reading this article is making big bucks, especially in comparison to the people we see on television, including WWE superstars. While the superstars who still get in the ring are generally well paid for their efforts, countless retired former pro wrestlers are essentially struggling to make ends meet.
There are a great number of reasons how a once successful entertainer can fall from grace and wind up in the gutter. Poor financial choices are just the tip of the iceberg, with drugs, destructive behavior, and the toil of an intensely physical professional leading to incredible medical bills that WWE can’t or won’t pay. That isn’t to say Vince McMahon or anyone else is necessarily responsible for these wrestlers having difficult lives, aside of course from the athlete themselves making poor decisions that cause or compound their problems. For a reminder not to sweat the small stuff, keep reading and learn about 15 broke wrestlers who are poorer than you.
15 Abdullah The Butcher
Before we get into the wrestlers who destroyed themselves with reckless behavior, let’s start off with an example of a wrestler who completely deserves his own lack of fortune. For many decades, Abdullah the Butcher has been considered one of the preeminent legends of hardcore wrestling, a true icon of the genre who stabbed his enemies with forks in an era prior to ECW made violence mainstream. Unfortunately, the gimmick goes from kind of badass to terrifyingly dangerous when you learn Abby suffers from Hepatitis C, and he’s been convicted of actually transferring the disease to other wrestlers during matches. Judges awarded Devon Nicholson, one of his victims, over $2 million, which was apparently more than he could afford after a lifetime mostly wrestling for independents. The Butcher has asked fans for help in paying his bills, yet they’ve unsurprisingly failed to come to his aide.
Whatever exactly it is going on in the mind of WWE Hall of Famer Sunny is definitely different than what most of the other wrestlers on this list are going through. There’s a good chance she’s not even totally desperate for money, although a history of DUIs, drug abuse, and other substance related arrests has come at no small expense. It wouldn’t be fair to cast aside everyone in the adult entertainment industry as desperate for money, but that’s usually the case when washed up pseudo-celebrities join the business. That she also sells her body by the minute on Skype is another level of desperation altogether, one she can’t possibly defend as being a strong woman reclaiming her body. Maybe Sunny isn’t broke enough to deserve placement on this list, yet at the same time, you probably wouldn’t be willing to do the things she had to do to prevent herself from running out of money.
13 Tony Atlas
Like with any destructive behavior, a person falling into homelessness is the sort of problem that can repeat itself if major changes aren’t made. Tony Atlas first found himself living on the streets in the early ‘90s, saved by Vince McMahon with a job offer. So grateful was Atlas that he didn’t even care McMahon turned him into the racist caricature Saba Simba, but as of 2015, he might have been looking for a similar salvation. The self-proclaimed Black Superman is apparently once again having trouble paying his mortgage, only a few months removed from having lived in the Legends House for a reality series on the WWE Network. Hopefully, he’s still connected enough to the company and McMahon family that they can help him out once again, but recent reports of Atlas basically begging fans for money at conventions and autograph signings make it seem like they haven’t done so as of yet.
Having long prided himself on being homicidal, suicidal, genocidal maniac, it makes sense Sabu would take those descriptions to his bank account the same way he does in the ring. Living up to a reputation like that can also be outrageously expensive, thanks to the incredible strain he puts on his body leading to constant hospital visits. Now in his early 50s, the injuries have added up to a point where Sabu can barely wrestle anymore, so he’s taken to the Internet and asked fans for help with his hospital expenses. The former ECW Champion’s biggest problem seems to be his left hip, with a GoFundMe page set up specifically to help him pay for surgery to have it repaired or replaced. Several of Sabu’s friends in the industry have done what they can to help, including Rob Van Dam posting a video to YouTube encourage fans to donate, though almost a year later, his donation goal hasn’t been met.
11 Gorgeous George
When 99.9% of wrestling fans hear the name Gorgeous George, they think about the legendary 1950s grappler who defined what a heel was to the early era of television. Decades later, WCW hired his grand-nephew so Randy Savage could give the name to his girlfriend, Stephanie Bellars, and she’s the George who has trouble paying the bills. After wrestling, Bellars married Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, and she now claims divorcing him has left her almost penniless. Coincidentally, she had met Frankenstein during their brief shared time in WCW, when the Misfits were allied with Vampiro. Bellars asked fans online for money to help her move and get her life back on track, but her low profile meant not many people saw it, leaving us to guess she’s still struggling to get by.
10 Jerry Lynn
While there may be no better physical embodiment of the ECW lifestyle than Sabu, he’s far from the only wrestler who competed for the hardcore organization to pay for the price later in life. Fellow Rob Van Dam rival Jerry Lynn has been experiencing almost the exact same issues as of late, likewise heading to the Internet to ask fans help him pay for his expenses. Lynn’s lack of funding is no doubt compounded by a lower profile, spending but a few months in the WWE Universe compared to the several years Sabu spent working for the company. That isn’t to say Lynn hasn’t experienced a sterling career in his own right, though, with his work for Ring of Honor in particular proving Lynn had plenty to give late into his career. It’s also worth noting Lynn’s problems may not have been as severe as some of the others on this list, considering he generously donated any money fans gave him after he reached his goal.
9 The Haiti Kid
Truth be told, the latest update we have on the life of The Haiti Kid came way back in 2009, making it somewhat hard to definitively state anything about his finances. Frankly, we’re not even sure he’s still alive, with reports having long claimed he passed away until fans discovered the Kid living in a Brooklyn homeless shelter. Obviously, anyone forced to reside in a shelter can’t be too well off, and the Kid has grown so obscure people thought he was dead means there aren’t many fans left to help him. This is despite his involvement in one of the biggest events in WWE history, WrestleMania III, where he teamed with Hillbilly Jim and Little Beaver against the triumvirate of King Kong Bundy, Lord Littlebrook, and Little Tokyo. Again, no one is really sure where Haiti Kid is these days or what he’s up to, and we can only hope he’s alive and getting the support he needs to stay that way.
8 One Man Gang
In contrast to the other wrestlers on this list, the One Man Gang’s tragic story is all the worse for not at all being his fault, be it through drugs, alcoholism, or any other substance problems. The sole mistake made by the man also known as Akeem the African Dream was living in Louisiana, where the Great Flood of 2016 destroyed his and many other homes. Matters were complicated by FEMA declaring Gang’s neighborhood and many others as “no flood zones,” discouraging him and other residents from buying flood insurance. This means he and his wife are on their own when it comes to replacing what they lost in the flood, which unfortunately amounted to virtually everything they ever owned. With a story far more relatable than some of the addicts we’ve mentioned thus far, Gang took to GoFundMe and asked for help rebuilding his house and replacing his belongings, thus far meeting about three quarters of his goal.
7 Rico Constantino
One of the most flamboyant superstars in WWE history, Rico Constantino looked like anything but a former Las Vegas cop with a background as an American Gladiator. That’s exactly what he was, though, not losing any of his badass qualifications simply by donning makeup and spending a few years as the stylist to Billy and Chuck. Rico was no slouch in the ring, either, responsible for a handful of memorable moments and two WWE Tag Team Championship reigns with Rikishi and Charlie Haas as his partners. Though not as hardcore or intense as some others already profiled, life in wrestling nonetheless has left Rico stuck in hospitals for quite some time now. Suffering from heart problems, brain issues, and blood clots, things aren’t looking good to his fans, even as former coworkers Chris Jericho and Lilian Garcia collectively donated $3,500 to his cause.
6 The Dynamite Kid
Often imitated, never duplicated, and chock full of dynamite, Tom Billington was without a doubt one of the most innovative and influential wrestlers ever to set foot in the ring. Outside of the ring, however, he was a vile and nasty man who serially abused his ex-wife and children, sometimes at gunpoint. Knowing his personal story makes it a little hard to hold sympathy for the man, yet many of his fans are thankful enough over Dynamite’s contributions to sports entertainment that they look the other way about his home life. The Kid could definitely use some people coming to his defense, having been forced out of the ring back in the early ‘90s, his injuries gradually progressing to the point he’s in a wheelchair today. His new wife claims he’s received no support from WWE in respect to his medical bills, leaving him nearly destitute and unable to afford the proper care.
5 Rip Rogers
Though he was rarely much more than a jobber while working for WCW, the ultimate legacy of Rip Rogers will likely come through the wrestlers he helped turn into superstars as a trainer. Known alternatively as The Ripper or The Hustler, he found small success on the territorial scene from his debut in the late ‘70s into the mid ‘80s, especially when working in tag teams like the Convertible Blondes. By the time Rogers made it to WCW, he must have realized there was little chance of him becoming a star, although he always felt he deserved better. Recently he’s taken to GoFundMe and asked fans for help paying bills, strangely also using the platform to complain about his standing in the wrestling world. Whether his approximation of his own skills are accurate or not, Rogers has some high profile supporters in Randy Orton and Santino Marella, both former students who already donated to his cause.
The life of Jim Harris has been difficult from the beginning, long before he was discovered by Jerry Lawler and became Kamala in the early 1980s. Born into welfare, his father was killed during a dice game when Kamala was only four years old, causing him to spend his teenage years as a petty criminal. While the illegal activities apparently stopped once Kamala broke it big, the hardships came back in full force when his time in the sun faded. He had been suffering from diabetes since 1992, but his wrestling schedule made him unable or unwilling to accept proper treatment. As his illness progressed, he was forced to amputate his left and then right leg in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Confined to a wheelchair and without legs, there isn’t much left a former wrestler can do to make money, leaving Kamala to write a book about his life and ask fans for money online.
3 Marty Jannetty
Compared to some of the other names on this list, Marty Jannetty might not be that bad off, or at least he isn’t outright begging his fans for money on the Internet. However, Jannetty has clearly been addicted to a number of drugs for some time now, a difficult lifestyle for him to maintain through any profession. He also has the sting of being involved with one of wrestling’s worst lawsuits, which cost him a half million dollars when a botched Rocker Dropper broke jobber Chuck Austin’s neck. Outside of the ring, Jannetty also claimed to lose a large amount of cash when an old friend swindled funds he thought were to be invested in a gym. On the plus side, if there is one, Jannetty has been able to continue his career despite his troubles, leaving him slightly better off than many of his contemporaries.
2 Perry Saturn
Entering the mainstream wrestling world by boasting to ECW audiences about how his life on the street made him tough, in some Perry Saturn has been trying to claw out of his unfortunate predicament from the day he was born. Art imitated life after his WWE career ended, and Saturn was shot multiple times while attempting to save a woman from being raped. Heroic as the action was, it somewhat ruined his life, with the pain soon leading him to methamphetamines. Saturn soon found himself homeless for several years, though he reemerged and seemed to piece his life together in 2010. Unfortunately, some seven years removed from that alleged recovery, Saturn has again been experiencing medical problems and is telling fans and reporters he’s near homelessness and in desperate need of help. Wrestler friends like Chris Jericho, “Diamond” Dallas Page, and Raven have all offered their financial assistance, but the road to good health will still be a long one, filled with huge expenses.
On one hand, we have no doubts that career jobber turned living joke Mike Jones, aka Virgil, aka Vincent, aka Curly Bill (seriously) could well be suffering financial difficulties on the level of the others on this list. Best known as Ted DiBiase’s sidekick/bodyguard, Virgil has set out on achieving his goal of becoming a literal million dollar man by asking fans for money without giving a legitimate reason why he needs it. Virtually all of the wrestlers on this list, and indeed most people using crowd funding in general, have been criticized over apparently asking for handouts, and men like Virgil are the living examples why that is. On the other hand, anyone familiar with the Lonely Virgil meme might just feel bad enough to throw the guy a few bucks.