We all know what "Stone Cold" Steve Austin has been up to — hosting his podcast, and drinking (and brewing his own) beer. We know Bret Hart has verbally ripped into a lot of past and present wrestlers, yet apologized just recently for being so critical. Shawn Michaels is starring in an upcoming movie, Ric Flair remains involved with WWE in storylines with his daughter Charlotte, and Mick Foley is Monday Night RAW GM. Likewise, it's a known fact that Booker T wants to run for mayor of Houston in the 2020 elections, and that Bill Goldberg is enjoying his WWE comeback. As for the nWo, Hulk Hogan beat Gawker, Scott Hall is still trying to beat his personal demons, and Kevin Nash allegedly beat his intoxicated teenage son in self-defense on Christmas Eve 2014. And what about The Undertaker and the buzz surrounding his presumed WrestleMania 33 appearance?
All those names were among the key figures in the Monday Night Wars between WWE and WCW, and they still have that name recall, not only among 1990s wrestling fans, but also among younger viewers who see or hear about these legends on a regular basis. But there are countless other WWE and WCW wrestlers who were active between September 1995 (WCW Monday Nitro premiering head-to-head against WWE's Monday Night RAW) and March 2001 (the death of WCW). Where are they now, or in the absence of right-here-right-now info, where were they in very recent years?
If you were a wrestling fan during the Monday Night Wars, it's time to dive deep into your memory bank and look back at 15 of the less-remembered, still-living names of that era, jog your memory on their WWE/WCW accomplishments (or lack thereof), and see how they're doing as of the mid-2010s and beyond.
16 15. PRINCE IAUKEA
THEN: As a WCW rookie in 1996, Mike Hayner was given the name Prince Iaukea, a reference to fellow Hawaiian grappler King Curtis Iaukea, and had won the company’s World Television Championship in early-1997, which should have been the peak of his career. Instead, he is best-known today as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Iaukea, a gimmick that saw him impersonating the late pop/rock legend Prince, and even entering to a faux-“Purple Rain” ring theme. He was out of WCW by the summer of 2000, as the company was making budget cuts and dealing with its dire financial situation.
NOW: Today, Hayner/Iaukea is still very much active in the world of wrestling, but not in North America. Although he makes his home in Florida, Hayner operates Samoan Strong Style Xtreme Wrestling Entertainment (3SX Entertainment), a wrestling promotion that’s mainly active in American Samoa, New Zealand, and other Pacific countries.
15 14. TORI
THEN: Try not to get confused here. Because the company already had Terri Runnels, Portland-based women’s wrestler and bodybuilder Terri Poch debuted in WWE as Tori, initially booked as an obsessed Sable fan who would emerge from the audience and help her win matches. Toward the end of Tori’s WWE run in 2001, former WCW talent Torrie Wilson, who is far more memorable to a lot of fans, debuted via the Invasion storyline. Chances are it’s the original Tori you don’t remember much about. Aside from the Sable storyline, she was also Kane’s kayfabe girlfriend and, as X-Pac’s girlfriend after the X-Pac/Kane tag team broke up, briefly a part of DX.
NOW: Tori was already in her mid-30s when she joined WWE, and that meant it wasn’t long before she quietly retired as a wrestler, doing so soon after her WWE release in 2001. Nonetheless, she remained in good physical shape, running a yoga studio in her hometown of Portland and, as we can see from recent photos, looking great for a woman who's in her early-50s.
14 13. EVAN KARAGIAS
THEN: In 1999, WCW decided to take advantage of how boy bands were, at that time, beating rock music to a pulp with cloying bubblegum sweetness. Enter 3 Count, a stable featuring three young North Carolinians — (Gregory) Shane Helms, Shannon Moore, and Evan Karagias — who sang their own ring themes and even hired early UFC bruiser Tank Abbott as their bodyguard, manager, number one fanboy, and (gulp) backup dancer. Pre-3 Count, Karagias briefly held WCW's Cruiserweight Championship. (He lost the title to Madusa. Don't ask.)
NOW: Moore and Helms, especially the latter, had good WWE runs. But what about Karagias, who was to 3 Count as Justin Timberlake was to NSYNC? Turns out the leader of the (boy) band experienced the least in-ring success post-WCW. A concussion prevented him from wrestling in WWE after the Invasion, and after a couple years in the indies, he shifted his focus to acting. He still lives in North Carolina, where he is a partner in a financial services firm, and he recently tweeted a newspaper clipping showing his son Zach winning a middle school wrestling trophy.
13 12. ADAM BOMB/WRATH/BRYAN CLARK
THEN: One of the wrestlers in this list who competed for both WWE and WCW during the Monday Night Wars, Bryan Clark was one of Harvey Wippleman’s many minions in the cartoonish WWE midcard of the mid-1990s, wrestling as a heel before turning face, putting Wippleman’s newer clients over, and inexplicably throwing rubber missiles to the crowd. (Seriously.) In WCW, he was part of the Mortal Kombat craze as Wrath, then used his real name and teamed up with near-namesake Brian Adams. No thanks to WCW’s scatterbrained booking circa 2000, it’s hard to tell whether KroniK was more established as a face or heel tag team.
NOW: Life after wrestling hasn’t been very kind to Clark, who is one of several wrestlers who sued WWE in 2016 over traumatic brain injuries they suffered in the ring. He's also been publicly championing the rights of other wrestlers whose careers ended due to injuries, especially concussions. In 2015, he and Billy Jack Haynes feuded with fellow old-school midcarder Dan “Waylon Mercy” Spivey on Facebook over the effects of concussions on wrestlers, with Haynes and Clark stressing the real health risks wrestlers face in the ring and after retirement, and Spivey insisting that the wrestlers brought it on themselves with drug use and other reckless decisions.
12 11. CROWBAR
THEN: The wrestler known in real life as Chris Ford first got his big break in WWE, where he was one of the many forgotten competitors in the company’s light heavyweight division, wrestling under the name Devon Storm. He was mostly relegated to job duty in that division, but he achieved substantially more success in WCW, where he formed a stable with David Flair and Daffney, and switched to the ring name Crowbar. He made good use of his exciting style and love of foreign objects, winning a few lower-card singles titles and, with the less-talented Flair offspring, the WCW World Tag team belts.
NOW: During his time in WCW, Crowbar stood out for his long hair, goatee, and grungy appearance. These days, he still wears his hair long, but after wrestling for a few more years following the death of WCW, he began working full-time as a physical therapist in his home state of New Jersey. He still wrestles on occasion, but otherwise, he’s more focused on healing pain in his day job, rather than dealing it out with his pipe-swinging.
11 10. MEAT/SHAWN STASIAK
THEN: The son of former WWWF Champion Stan Stasiak was a curtain-jerker in his WWE and WCW days. May it have been as Meat, sex slave to the Pretty Mean Sisters, as the bizarre Shawn Stasiak from "Planet Stasiak," or as the Mr. Perfect-bashing "PerfectShawn" in WCW, this second-generation wrestler was a lower-card guy who never came close to matching his father's achievements in the ring. Despite having a good look, he just didn't have the charisma or elite in-ring/promo skills to move up the card in both major wrestling promotions he worked for.
NOW: It was an underwhelming run in both WWE and WCW, so it wasn't a shock when Stasiak retired from professional wrestling to focus on other endeavors despite being only in his early-30s. Those other endeavors included becoming a chiropractor, and he's still practicing this new post-wrestling trade in Plano, Texas under his legal name, (Dr.) Shawn Stipich.
9 9. AHMED JOHNSON
THEN: With a great look and a lot of mobility for a man his size, Ahmed Johnson didn't take long to become WWE's first African-American Intercontinental Champion. Injuries prevented him from going anywhere further than the midcard, though it's not like his marble-mouthed promos didn't have anything to do with that as well. Figuring out what Ahmed was trying to say was harder than solving calculus, and we'd like to think he and Scott Steiner would have made a lot of subtitle transcribers rich if they had to interpret their combined promos from the Monday Night Wars.
NOW: After his wrestling career ended, Johnson kind of let himself go, and photos of him from recent years suggest that he's put at least a hundred pounds of fat on his once-muscular 300-pound frame. He's also conducted several shoot interviews claiming WWE had a racist locker room during his time with the company, and if you want to ask him about what he thinks about WWE today, it's better not to. He also made some rather unsavory comments about Darren Young shortly after he became the first active WWE Superstar to come out as gay. Stay classy, Ahmed.
8 8. KENDALL WINDHAM
THEN: Bob “Blackjack Mulligan” Windham is a WWE Hall of Famer, and his son Barry Windham enjoyed lots of success in WCW and was mostly uninspiring in multiple WWE stints. His son-in-law Mike Rotunda was an evil taxman and a sea captain, and his grandsons Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas are among WWE's better young talents. But what about Mulligan’s younger son Kendall Windham? Kendall had mostly bounced around in smaller promotions before he rejoined WCW in 1997, and while he never was as distinguished as his big brother, he had his best push as part of the rap-hating faction/band The West Texas Rednecks.
NOW: After he and Barry left WCW in 1999, the Windham brothers competed in Japan and Puerto Rico, as well as in Ted DiBiase’s WXO promotion, then retired soon thereafter. And while his brother-in-law and nephews are still very much involved in the business, Kendall appears to be quietly living away from the limelight, as he and his wife run the Windham Security Alliance in Florida as president and vice president respectively.
7 7. MAJOR GUNNS
THEN: Originally hired by WCW as one of their nWo Girls, fitness model Tylene Buck made the expected transition to backstage interviewer, then the unexpected transition to wrestler, as she became Major Gunns of the Misfits in Action stable. You probably know their leader, General Hugh G. Rection (see what they did there to Bill "Hugh Morrus" DeMott), and know that Chavo Guerrero became Lt. Loco and Booker T reverted to his pre-fame ring name of G.I. Bro, because racial stereotypes. But the buxom female member who, uh, lived up to her ring name? (Thanks, Russo!) She was known as Major Gunns and the less said about her in-ring work, the better.
NOW: Buck did not achieve much success in the wrestling ring, and after competing in erotic wrestling federation Double Trouble Wrestling, she took up the occupation that many of her DT Wrestling colleagues had outside of the ring, entering the adult film industry and using the screen name Brandi Wylde. She also has a MyFreeCams profile that was last active in October 2016 and mentions her WCW background, among other mostly-NSFW details.
6 6. SCOTT PUTSKI
THEN: Remember the time WWE tried to compete with WCW’s cruiserweights by creating a light heavyweight division? Brian Christopher and Scott Taylor are arguably the two biggest names to emerge, but the future Grand Master Sexay wasn’t the only second-generation wrestler in that short-lived division. Scott Putski was the son of pre-Rock ‘n’ Wrestling standout Ivan “Polish Power” Putski, and his most memorable WWE moment came when he and his dad feuded briefly against another father-and-son duo – Brian Christopher and Jerry Lawler. He also weighed a rather beefy 250 pounds despite being a "light heavyweight."
NOW: While Christopher enjoyed a solid WWE run and is still well-remembered to this day for his “pretty fly for a white guy” antics with “Scotty 2 Hotty” Taylor, Putski was quickly forgotten until he came back in 2013 and became NWA Ark-La-Tex Heavyweight Champion, ten years after his initial retirement. In December 2016, he made some controversial comments where he referred to today’s WWE product as a “joke,” about how wrestling no longer has the "freaks" yesterday's fans wanted to see, and how the current product lacks ethnic stereotype characters.
5 5. THE PATRIOT
THEN: He’s the answer to the following trivia question – who was the first WWE wrestler to enter to Kurt Angle’s ring music? Back in 1997, Del Wilkes had a blink-and-you-miss-it, yet fairly prominent run in the WWE as The Patriot, and because he was the masked hero helping fight the heels-only-in-America Hart Foundation, his entrance theme definitely wasn’t accompanied by shouts of “You suck!” Yes, he did have a very solid push in the upper midcard, but suffered an injury weeks before his scheduled Survivor Series 1997 appearance, and was released by WWE in 1998.
NOW: Wilkes retired soon after his WWE release, and he admitted later on to having been hooked on drugs since his time as a college football player. He also served a nine-month jail sentence in 2002 for drug-related reasons, though he’s been clean for about a decade now. The former Patriot now works as a Nissan car salesman in his home state of South Carolina, and if you’re wondering what became of his gimmick, it’s now being used (albeit without permission) by another WWE name from back in the day – Tom “Salvatore Sincere” Brandi.
4 4. PHIL LAFON
THEN: Canadian wrestler Phil Lafon and his American teammate Doug Furnas were among the more technically-sound wrestlers in the old ECW, but they also got a lot of WWE exposure in 1996 and 1997, getting a nice enough push at first in the tag team division. While technically-gifted, Furnas and Lafon were arguably one of WWE's most vanilla tag teams of the immediate pre-Attitude years, not offering much by way of promo skills, using their real names in the ring, and not really making much of an impact in late-1997 when they turned heel and aligned themselves with The Hart Foundation.
NOW: Sadly, Doug Furnas is no longer with us, having died in 2012 at the age of 52. Lafon, who is now 55 years old, remains active in the wrestling industry as far as we know, still putting his mat skills to good use and working as a trainer in Edmonton-based promotion Monster Pro Wrestling as of a few years ago.
3 3. BRAKKUS
THEN: Remember the fierce-looking musclehead with a thick German accent in those WWE vignettes from 1997? Whatever happened to that Brakkus guy? Yes, he was threatening the likes of Vader in those vignettes, and knowing Vince McMahon, WWE probably wanted to make a big deal of his eventual debut. But this new bodybuilder-turned-wrestler was way too green for WWE television, and it was only in 1998 when fans got to see Brakkus wrestle on TV, where he lost in the first round of the ill-fated Brawl for All and squashed forgettable Los Boricuas thug Jesus Castillo before disappearing from WWE forever.
NOW: Brakkus, a.k.a. Achim Albrecht in real life, retired from wrestling in 1999 due to a back injury, and made his new home in San Francisco, working as a personal trainer and even encountering a young Manny Pacquiao during one of the Filipino boxing legend's training sessions. His Facebook page, which hasn't had any new public posts since 2015, still shows him as a Bay Area strength and fitness coach.
2 2. MIKE SANDERS
THEN: A rather late bloomer in the world of wrestling, Mike Sanders only began training in WCW’s Power Plant one month shy of his 29th birthday. But he learned quickly, and after about a year and half of jobbing, he got his first serious push in the summer of 2000 as “Above Average” Mike Sanders. While his push was, as a whole, below average, he did win WCW’s Cruiserweight Championship once, and frequently teamed up with Mark “I Nearly Joined Evolution” Jindrak and the late Sean O’Haire, both future WWE midcarders. And, as proof of how crazy WCW was in its dying months, he even served as WCW Commissioner before losing his authority figure job in a match against Ernest Miller.
NOW: While Sanders was acquired by WWE as part of its buyout of WCW, he never got to wrestle on the main roster, spending one year in developmental before being cut. He then ventured out into stand-up and improv comedy after three years in the independent wrestling circuit, and has since guested on several TV shows, including Homeland and Modern Family. You can also see him in the Reese Witherspoon film Devil’s Knot, where he appears uncredited as the auctioneer.
1 1. SCOTTY RIGGS
THEN: Oh, that awful, awful entrance theme. Couldn’t we have had Jimmy Hart and Howard Helm rip off Pearl Jam or Nirvana instead? Scotty Riggs was one-half of the American Males, teaming up with Marcus “Buff” Bagwell and entering to music that was cheesy even by 1980s action/martial arts B-movie standards. After Bagwell joined the nWo, Riggs floundered in singles before joining Raven’s Flock and slightly regaining his push, and mostly did the job to midcard talents when the Flock broke up.
NOW: Most of us have learned that Buff Bagwell was most recently showing his stuff (quite literally, we presume) as a male escort. But what about his less-heralded teammate? After retiring from wrestling in the late-2000s, Riggs had a notable health scare in 2011, and while he had to have his gallbladder taken out, tests for cancer had mostly come back negative. He remains quite active on social media, and unlike many other contemporaries, he prefers focusing on the fond memories of his pro wrestling career, not just on Twitter, but also in shoot interviews.
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