Years of hard work, long trips, being away from home, and the non-stop physicality of the job are typically negative traits for those who get into the wrestling business. There are a handful of people who actually live better under those circumstances, the routine and commitments keep them from going down a more damaging road.
Typically, it’s the guys we read about that end up committing crimes, getting addicted to alcohol or drugs, or worse of all, dying at a young age. These issues are not gender specific though, there have been a number of women who have endured rough moments once they got away from the wrestling business. For this group, life after can be a struggle for a number of reasons, whether it’s financial, addictions, bad relationships, or just simply unfortunate luck.
This collection will go over a group of women who hit bottom after wrestling, for some, it’s only a moment, and for others it lasts for much longer. If you were a fan of either 80s or 90s wrestling, you should recognize a number of these personalities in this group. So, although The Rock isn’t anywhere to be found, here are fifteen rock bottoms after pro wrestling went away.
15 Missy Hyatt
Before there was Sunny, there was Missy. Debuting in 1985 she eventually managed Hot Stuff International, a stable that included Edie Gilbert, Sting, and Rick Steiner. She found her popularity skyrocket once hooking up with World Championship Wrestling in 1987, where she had multiple roles as a commentator early on before moving to managing a number of wrestlers like The Barbarian and The Nasty Boys.
After some legal issues regarding sexual harassment, Missy was released from her WCW contract in 1993. In 1996, she went to ECW before working random indy shows over the next decade. In 2015, Missy was charged with Grand Theft when she unknowingly returned a car rental that had a $10,000 (at least, that’s what the owner claimed) civil war reenactment uniform in it. The owner of the uniform reported it stole to the police and Missy was charged, once she found out, she turned herself into police and was released soon after. Even though the charges were soon dropped, she still had a mugshot photo and bad publicity to deal with afterwards.
14 Miss Elizabeth
Thanks to her unforgettable stories with Macho Man, Miss Elizabeth became “The First Lady of Wrestling” in the WWE, working there from 1985 until 1992. She took a break from wrestling for a few years and also divorcing Macho Man after being together for eight years. She then joined up with WCW in 1996, spending a good chunk of her time there as a villain in the n.W.o. before joining up with Lex Luger until she was let go in 2000.
Her and Luger remained a couple (even though both were married initially) for years after and had an incredibly terrible month that included Luger hitting Elizabeth at their home. After being charged with battery, Luger ended up getting into a car accident where he was charged with driving under the influence. Not but two weeks later, 911 was called when Elizabeth stopped breathing and passed away due to acute toxicity from a combination of painkillers and vodka. At only 42, this was a sad ending to one of wrestling most beloved personalities.
13 Terri Runnels
After doing make-up for WCW wrestlers, Terri was asked to be on-screen as a manager, she said yes, and the rest is history. After a few years away from the business she debuted for the WWE as Marlena, Goldust’s cigar smoking manager. Most fans will remember her from this time, but she remained on the WWE roster all the way until 2004, when she turned her attention to other things. Terri decided to travel around the world, while also working with a number of charities, and so you're probably asking; "How exactly is this hitting rock bottom?"
Well, in 2009 she began dating former ECW wrestlers, New Jack, who isn’t consider the most upstanding citizen in the world, known for being involved in a number of legal issues and his enjoyment of drugs. The relationship lasted about two years and a month after they separated, New Jack was selling naked photos of Terri to others. She took him to court over this and wanted the distribution of the photos to be permanently banned. After some time, New Jack’s lawyer claimed the photos were destroyed and that a counter-suit would be place on Runnels for allegedly giving him an STD. A temporary ban was placed on New Jack from ever selling the photos or any copies of them.
After a few years in WCW, Debra joined up with the WWE in 1998 to become Jeff Jarrett’s manager, wearing business suits and having a “no fuss” kind of demeanor. While spending much of her time as a manager, she was able to win the Women’s Championship away from Sable in an Evening Gown match. Shortly after coming to the WWE, she began seeing “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, things got serious and they ended up getting married in September of 2000.
Less than two years later, police came to their residence to find Debra with bruises and a bloody nose and Austin was arrested on misdemeanor assault charges, the couple got divorced soon after. Years later Debra would speak on how she believed steroids and drugs led to Austin’s abusive ways, claiming that he had beat her on three different occasions during their time together. Today, Debra is still traveling the world and appearing at wrestling conventions.
One of the saddest stories on this list is Chyna, a woman who was able to break barriers by winning the Intercontinental championship on two occasions, along with being the first woman to be in the Royal Rumble and King of the Ring. The downward spiral first began when Triple H left Chyna for Stephanie McMahon; Chyna said that she left WWE in 2001 to pursue outside opportunities, but that scarred relationship had to be an influence in the decision.
From there she did a number of adult films, and began to develop a substance abuse issue that would haunt Chyna until her final days as she passed away from an overdose of prescription medication. WWE treated Chyna like a pariah ever since she left the company, citing that she wouldn't be in the Hall of Fame due to her post-wrestling choices. When she passed away the company did a complete one-eighty, playing tribute videos, writing career retrospectives, and even Stephanie McMahon herself said Chyna would eventually join the Hall of Fame. It’s an awful way for WWE to make a buck, but at least Chyna will be able achieve her dream of making it into the Hall of Fame.
To say Sunny’s post-wrestling life has been a rocky one would be a huge understatement and honestly, it’s tough to figure out where to start. Maybe the photo-op where she charged fans to take pictures with her in bed? Yes, they are as awkward as you would imagine. There’s the adult film career or these mysterious Skype sessions that she’s always advertising on her Twitter account.
Most impressively, she was arrested five times in the matter of four weeks, with a sixth arrest in January of 2016. The charges ranged from disorderly conduct, third degree burglary, violating protective order, and driving under the influence. More recently, she wrote an autobiography talking about the ups and downs of her life in and outside of the wrestling business. After spending some time in rehab, she continues to hit the wrestling convention scene as there are still plenty of wrestling fans out there that want to meet up with "The Original WWE Diva."
9 Luna Vachon
Head shaved and painted veins on her face combined with that gnarly voice, for most wrestling fans Luna was a terrifying pro wrestling figure. Even though her family (who also wrestled) and close friend Andre the Giant tried to discourage her from the pro wrestling life, she went for it anyways. After putting together a 22 year career, Luna hung up her boots in 2007.
In late 2009, her entire house and everything inside was lost to a fire, this included a number of wrestling memorabilia that she acquired over the years. Only eight months later, she passed away at the age of 48 due to an overdose of oxycodone and benzodiazepine. Luna became addicted to medication at some point earlier on in her life and attempted to get help through rehab, which WWE paid for. Unfortunately the clean life didn’t stick, and the wrestling world lost one of its most fabulously dark personalities.
8 Rockin’ Robin
When the WWE decided to get their women’s division up and going again in 1987, Robin was one of the first women in the door to help get the fans interested. Extremely popular with crowds, she became the champ from 1988 until 1990, when she left the WWE, still as their champion. She went to the indy circuit for the next few years, traveling the world, and at times defending her WWE title, even though the company considered the title vacant. Her career lasted only five years total before she retired for good in 1992.
Many years went by, Robin opened a real estate appraisal business and enjoyed life in New Orleans, until 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit. Robin’s home and everything inside was completely destroyed by the historic storm and she was forced to move in with her family in Baton Rouge until she could get back on her feet. She was able to recover and restarted her appraisal business in Hammond, Louisiana.
Now this next one is a bit of a cheat as her rock bottom was after leaving the WWE, rather than pro wrestling in general. You’ll remember Serena as the woman who got in a WWE ring and let CM Punk shave her head as a means to joining the Straight Edge Society. Rumored as the only woman in development that would go through with this, Serena found herself on TV every single week alongside Punk and Luke Gallows.
The core rule around this group was living a drug/alcohol free life, and unfortunately Serena didn’t hold up her end of the bargain when it came to life outside of the ring. She had a number of drunken nights that were all too public for the WWE to deal with. Because she couldn’t stay in line with her gimmick, the WWE decided to release her in rapid fashion. Even though she found work elsewhere, it was a quick fall from grace that Serena decided to reconcile. She now lives a much healthy lifestyle, staying sober and incorporating plenty of yoga into her day-to-day life.
6 Sherri Martel
Starting her career back in 1980, Sherri became a well-respected wrestler turned manager once she got to the WWE managing most notably, Randy Savage and Shawn Michaels. After failing a drug test and being released by the WWE, she headed off to work for ECW, WCW, and a number of other indy promotions. In 2006, she was inducted into WWE’s Hall of Fame and then worked briefly for TNA as Bobby Roode’s manager.
That would be her final televised appearance as nine months later she was found dead in her mother’s home at the age of 49 years old. It was determined an accidental overdose of a mixture of drugs, most prominently, ocycodone was the cause. In a shoot interview, Sherri herself said she dealt with substance abuse issues for a long time and unfortunately it caught up with her in the end. One of the best female managers ever in pro wrestling was gone far too soon.
Even though her wrestling career was quite short, Sapphire was the random fan turned manager of Dusty Rhodes during his run with the WWE. Even though the duo got over with the crowd, she was eventually moved over to work with Ted DiBiase, leaving the company completely not long after. Initially, Dusty Rhodes went to Vince McMahon and wanted the relationship to end, because she was pointless to his character. Vince thought she “made” the character and Dusty eventually agreed with him.
According to Sherri Martel, Sapphire literally broke down crying when she was told that her on-screen relationship with Dusty was going to be severed. Apparently, she had such admiration for Dusty that not working with him was a big reason she left wrestling completely. Six years later, Sapphire passed away from a heart attack at the age of 61.
4 Heidi Lee Morgan
Kicking off her career in 1977, Heidi Lee Morgan quickly became a popular draw thanks to her high-flying ability mixed with her diminutive size that did not keep her from muscling around much bigger opponents. One of the more popular women wrestlers in the 1980s, Heidi work the first-ever women’s steel cage match in 1987 against Wendi Richter.
She decided to hang up her boots for motherhood in 1993, but after a few years went by she decided to give wrestling another shot. In one of (if not her first) match back, she ended up breaking her back wrestling with a much less experienced wrestler. About the injury Heidi was quoted:
“I take full responsibility for it. It was on one of Afa the Samoan's shows. Afa told me not to do any high-flying because the girl I was working with was very inexperienced. I didn't listen. I tried a move, we lost our balance, and I'm in a body cast for six months.”
3 Nicole Bass
After spending years in the bodybuilding arena, Nicole first debuted in ECW alongside Justin Credible, Chastity, and Jason in 1998. Heading over to the WWE, Nicole found some success as Sable’s bodyguard, but only worked there a few years before leaving and filing a sexual harassment suit against the company. She said Steve Lombardi (also known as the Brooklyn Brawler) harassed her backstage, the case went to court in 2003 and was eventually dismissed.
Bass worked for Howard Stern in his “Wack Pack” and in April of 2015 she let him she was having money troubles. In response, Stern got her a job at a strip club for a short period of time, what a friend. Later in 2015, Bass was arrested for allegedly stealing more than $1,200 worth of items from a supermarket. According to police, she put more than 160 items in her shopping cart and simply walked out of the store without paying. A plea deal got her only a six-month good behavior bond which basically means if she stayed out of trouble for six months the case would be dismissed and not put on her record.
One of the more underrated wrestlers in the early 2000s, Jazz kicked off her wrestling career in ECW before heading to the WWE from 2001 until 2004. During that time she was able to win the Woman’s Championship on two occasions and wrestled in a number of excellent matches against people like Trish Stratus, Lita, and Victoria.
Since then, Jazz has jumped around to a number of promotions, even returning to the WWE for a short period of time in 2006/2007. Although she hasn’t officially retired, Jazz decided to add her name to the massive lawsuit that has been weighed against the WWE alleging that wrestlers incurred traumatic brain injuries and that WWE hid those injuries. Not to say Jazz didn’t put her body on the line, but the attorney Konstatine Kyros has already tried a number of times with these lawsuits and the initial ones have already been thrown out of court. It looks to be a quick cash grab attempt that will most likely been dismissed by the courts down the road.
1 Jillian Hall
Jillian was under contract with the WWE from 2003 until 2010, you might remember her during her time with JBL or as the horrendously bad singer that would destroy live audiences across the country. Life after WWE wasn’t so kind to Jillian though, starting with an unfortunate miscarriage in 2011. About a year later, she was arrested on domestic violence charges and was soon separated from her then husband.
The picture above is from 2013 when she fell down a flight of stairs and while she didn’t need stitches, she ended up getting a black eye and a nasty headache from the fall. Then in 2015, Jillian was a victim of some strange “Knockout Game” where a guy ran up to her out of nowhere and sucker punched her right in the face. She had a pretty bad welt around her eye from the cowardly act, but in response on social media she posted “Didn’t knock me down, much less knock me out!” What an awful “game” to play, keep your head up, Jillian!
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