Today, most aspiring wrestlers dream of working in the WWE. Although there are other companies to work for and other ways to make a living in the business (selling shirts through Pro Wrestling Tees, for example), the WWE offers the best path to the top of the industry. However, things don’t always go as hoped for when grapplers join the WWE. A select few are able to stay with the company for an extended period and to make large sums of money. There are only a few wrestlers that actually achieve this level. John Cena, Chris Jericho and Randy Orton are three of the select few to reach the top and stay there.
For many more, there is an endpoint to their WWE careers. Their options aren’t wide open once the word comes down from talent relations that their time is up. Some wrestlers go on to work for other companies or to wrestle as weekend warriors on the indies. Others decide to trade in their wrestling careers for a 9 to 5 job. Fortunately, more and more ex-WWE superstars have college degrees to fall back on. Others are able to return to school and gain certification in a new trade. Wrestling may be in the blood of these 15 superstars, but each had to give up their WWE dream to make a real living by joining the rat race.
15. Shawn Stasiak: Chiropractor
Shawn Stasiak, or Dr. Shawn Stipich, only had a six-year wrestling career. Trained by legendary wrestler Dory Funk Jr, Stasiak is most remembered for being known as the plaything for the Pretty Mean Sisters stable. His time on the WWE’s main roster only lasted nine months as Stasiak was canned when his practical joke on Davey Boy Smith and Steve Blackman backfired. Stasiak wound up in WCW, but returned to the WWE when the company bought the Atlanta-based promotion. However, Stasiak asked for his release 18-months later to pursue a degree in the chiropractor field. Since 2008, Stasiak has worked for Advanced Comprehensive Medical in Dallas, Texas as a chiropractor and personal trainer. It is a career that has given him the chance to remain in peak physical fitness and help others get healthy.
14. Spike Dudley: Financial Services
Spike Dudley is remembered by many 1990s wrestling fans as the pint-sized brawler Bam Bam Bigelow threw into the crowd at Hardcore Heaven 1997. Dudley, real name Matt Hyson, went on to work in the WWE after becoming a cult icon in the original ECW. A trip to TNA and the indie circuit followed until Hyson left the business altogether in 2015. Hyson began working with MassMutual as he finished up his in-ring career. He has used his knowledge of the financial world to help many people prepare for the future. According to the WWE, Hyson has worked with several of the company’s wrestlers to plan their financial futures as well. While Hyson still is interested in the wrestling business, his young family helped him see that waging war on the indies was much less viable than a 9 to 5 job in the banking industry.
13. Santino Marella: Judo Instructor And Sports Analyst
Santino Marella, real name Anthony Carelli, landed on his feet after leaving the WWE. Carelli opened his own mixed martial arts and professional wrestling academy in Ontario, Canada. While training fighters in conditioning at his Battle Arts Academy, Carelli also teaches judo to students. But that isn’t the only 9 to 5 job the former WWE Intercontinental Champion has been working. In 2016, Carelli became an analyst with Sportsnet 360. The former WWE star works on the Aftermath program that features on the sports news channel. Carelli doesn’t wrestle often due to a neck injury sustained in the WWE. He has only worked four times in the squared circle on indie shows since being given his released from the WWE.
12. Vickie Guerrero: Medical Administrator
In 2015, Vickie Guerrero started her post-WWE career as a medical administrator. Before moving into the 9 to 5 world with a pharmaceutical company processing patients for treatment, Guerrero had an almost decade run in the WWE. The last few years have seen Guerrero leave the wrestling business behind after debuting over 30 years ago in Mexico’s CMLL. The former wife of WWE superstar Eddie Guerrero, Vickie remarried in 2015 as she began a new chapter in her life. In an interview in April 2017, Guerrero stated she still gets the “bug” to get back into the ring. Guerrero said she would join the WWE right away if asked to return, and put her 9 to 5 career on hold for a while.
11. Ken Shamrock: Bodyguard
Ken Shamrock was known as “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” during his short WWE run. The former UFC fighter has had a colourful post-professional wrestling career. It has seen him return to the octagon and work for Bellator amongst other activities. It has also seen him go to work for some of hip-hop’s biggest names. Shamrock has worked as a bodyguard for 50 Cent and other high-profile acts. The former fighter got the gig as a bodyguard through Pro-Tect Global. Due to Shamrock’s most recent fighting record, many mix martial arts fans have wondered whether he is a capable bodyguard to celebrities. Shamrock left the WWE in 1999 and has only had a handful of wrestling matches since then. In a November 2017 interview, he stated that he doesn’t understand why the WWE hasn’t reached out to him about a surprise return.
10. Phineas I. Godwinn: Chef
Vince McMahon loves hillbilly wrestling gimmicks. It must be due to some kind of pent-up psychological issue he has thanks to growing up in a North Carolina trailer park. In 1996, McMahon was giving out hillbilly gimmicks and Dennis Knight received the Phineas I. Godwinn character. P.I.G., as his initials spelled, was a hog farmer from Arkansas that competed in a tag team with his cousin Henry O. Godwinn. Get it? H.O.G. After their tag team ran out of steam, the Godwinns were repackaged as Southern Justice. Knight later received another repackage and the new name of Mideon. Perhaps his biggest claim to WWE fame was Naked Mideon. After leaving WWE in 2001, Knight made a stop off in TNA before calling it quits in 2006. Upon retiring, Knight pursued a career as a chef. Following his success working in the kitchen, Knight started his own catering business.
9. Maven Huffman: Bouncer
In 2001, Maven became the first ever Tough Enough winner. With no background in professional wrestling, Maven simply rode the wave of the Attitude Era and won a reality show. His prize was a WWE contract and the hate of his wrestling peers. His career with the company lasted just four years, and in 2005 he was released from his contract. Maven resurfaced in TNA later, and found some short-lived acting work. Maven’s time in wrestling led to his dependence on prescription medication. In 2012, he was arrested for “doctor shopping” as he tried to obtain prescription painkillers. A year later it was reported Maven was working as a bouncer at 1015 Midtown in New York City. However, that may have changed. A Maven Huffman Twitter account became active for one day in August 2017. It stated the former Tough Enough winner is now working in dental sales.
8. Paul Burchill: Firefighter And Paramedic
Englishman Paul Burchill spent just over four years traveling the roads with the WWE. Originally a teacher in England, Burchill broke into wrestling in 2001. By August 2005, Burchill was on the WWE’s main roster although he was shuttled back and forth to OVW for further seasoning. According to Burchill, he got his “fix” of wrestling while working for the WWE. He decided against pursuing a job with TNA, although he has worked the odd indie shot here and there. For the most part, Burchill has been working 9 to 5 since leaving the WWE in 2010. After finishing his run, Burchill transitioned into the fire fighting and paramedics world. He currently lives in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, and works for local fire department.
7. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake: Fare Collector
Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake was one of the most iconic late 1980s WWE wrestlers. Thanks to Beefcake, millions of wrestling fans wore frayed trousers and a feathered mullet. Beefcake left the WWE in 1993 before turning up in WCW the next year. Following the WWE’s acquisition of WCW in 2001, Beefcake was on the indie circuit; however, he also had a 9 to 5 job tying him down at home. According the Boston Herald, in 2004, Beefcake was working part-time for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority as a fare collector. The former WWE wrestler had left a bag of narcotics in his fare booth, and when it was seen by a customer, it was believed to be anthrax. It caused a major terror scare in Boston. Semi-retired now, he is writing a tell-all book about his career and former friend Hulk Hogan.
6. Trevor Murdoch: Fibre Optic Cable Installation
Trevor Murdoch was a throwback to wrestlers of a bygone era. Hell, he even took his kayfabe surname from legendary wrestler and drinker Dick Murdoch. Physically, Murdoch was far from the glamorous, body builder types that Vince McMahon loves. But that set the brawler apart from the rest of the wrestlers in the WWE. After a three-year run with the company, Murdoch was released at the age of 27. He returned to his home state of Missouri and began working for Harley Race’s wrestling school as a trainer. Murdoch also ran and owned a bar in Eldon, Missouri for some time before selling it in 2013. In an interview on Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling podcast in 2016, Murdoch stated he had opened his own wrestling school in Kansas City. While not training tomorrow’s stars, Murdoch reportedly installs fibre optic cables for a heavy machinery construction company.
5. Al Perez: UPS Employee
Al Perez may be the greatest wrestler of the 1980s never to make the breakthrough with WCW or WWE. Known as the “Latin Heartthrob”, Perez had the look and talent to be a world champion. Perez was set for a series of matches against NWA World Champion Ric Flair. Perez decided he would shoot on Flair and win the title, which would force the company to give him a big contract. Word got back to the office and the matches were nixed. According to a Flair interview, Perez was always supposed to be the Black Scorpion, but quit when he found out he would do the job to Sting. After a few more years on the indies, Perez retired and took a job at UPS, where he continues to work. Perez has had little to do with wrestling since retiring.
4. Charlie Haas: B2B Sales
After leaving the WWE in 2010, Charlie Haas used his Seton Hall University degree to good use. Haas became a territory development manager for Home Depot. During his two years with the company, Haas also worked in Ring of Honor. In 2013, Haas decided to leave the squared circle permanently for the 9 to 5 job world. Haas took a position as a spine specialist with NuVasivein Dallas, Texas. He marketed and sold medical equipment at NuVasive for just under four years, and in August 2017, Haas began work as a product manager at DentalOne Partners. It is a long way away from where Haas was while working in the WWE. Now instead of dropping opponents on their heads, Haas is working on business to business solutions and sells medical equipment.
3. Haku: Car Salesman
The stories of Haku are legendary and a full day can be taken up listening to the amazing shoot interviews that profess his toughness. Haku wasn’t just tough inside and outside the ring, he was a protector of the wrestling business. The former WWE king was noted for beating up people in bars who called the business fake. In one incident, Haku allegedly bit off a man’s nose after he insulted professional wrestling. Currently 58-years old, Haku has had a busy schedule over the last two years in the wrestling business. Thanks to his two sons, Tanga Loa and Tama Tonga, Haku has become more known to a new generation of fans. In 2016, Haku worked two New Japan Pro Wrestling Shows and since then, his indie bookings have increased. However, Haku’s 9 to 5 job keeps him busy most of the year. Haku has worked as car salesman in Florida since the early 2000s.
2. Simon Dean: Financial Services
Often, it is difficult for wrestlers to give up the limelight of the business and transition into a real job. Not so for former ECW and WWE wrestler Simon Dean – real name Mike Bucci. After hanging up his wrestling boots, Bucci worked in WWE developmental. Bucci’s reasons for taking the role was strictly professional, as the former grappler wanted to have professional management experience on his resume for an after wrestling career. Following his departure from the WWE in 2008, Bucci took a position as a senior loan officer at Diversified Mortgage Services. Over the last decade, Bucci has worked his way up in the financial world for a number of banking institutions. His resume includes a year as branch manager for Chase Bank. Bucci currently works 9 to 5 as a branch manager at Fifth Third Bank. He does still work the occasional match, but his life is mostly about working in the financial sector.
1. Ted DiBiase Jr: Motivational Speaker And Business Developer
Third generation wrestler Ted DiBiase Jr didn’t get his father’s riches. That is why DiBiase had to go into the 9 to 5 world following the end of his WWE career. The Mississippi College graduate spent just over six years with the WWE, and like his father, DiBiase has parlayed it into a career as a motivational speaker. But that isn’t the only job the former grappler has today. DiBiase has co-founded two companies, Dofflin Strategies and GiveChat. He still runs both companies, but in 2016, the very busy DiBiase also began working for One Life America as vice president of business development. In addition, DiBiase dedicates a lot of his time every year to Twin Lakes. Through the group’s ministries, DiBiase is able to work with kids from a variety of backgrounds from financially deprived to sexually abused. Through the program, DiBiase is able to give back to the community and work with young people in Mississippi to build a better future.
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