The journey of an aging professional wrestler isn't as illustrious and respected as many would think it to be. Some wrestlers might remain popular as the years pass by, but others aren't so lucky. The WWE tries to ensure a proper life for their wrestlers after they bow out from the company, with some getting involved with the backstage crew and others making it big on their own after leaving the company.
While we've seen many wrestlers enjoy a lot of success even after leaving the WWE, there are certain others who aren't so lucky, as they have to work every inch of their bodies to be financially stable enough to live a respectable life. Some former wrestling stars who attained quite a lot of fame in their peak have been degraded to wrestling in unknown independent wrestling events and it's quite depressing to watch how some are wrestling in the most remote of conditions to make ends meet.
These wrestlers have badly fallen from grace in the past few years and it's pretty appalling to see them in such a state, as we take a look at these 15 Sad Images of Wrestling Stars On The Indies.
15 Marty Jannetty
Marty Jannetty was quite the popular wrestler back in the 80s and early 90s, rising in the WWE along with Shawn Michaels as part of The Rockers. Jannetty would later feud with Michaels after being betrayed by him and even won the Intercontinental Championship, but things went haywire for him as he got badly addicted to drugs. Jannetty's post-WWE career would be nonexistent for many years because of his addiction problems. Jannetty only gets work in small-time Independent events nowadays, as this sad picture of him wrestling in this small arena proves. Jannetty can't get work in big promotions and is forced to wrestle in these small-time shows.
14 Brian Christopher
Grandmaster Sexay was a really entertaining wrestler in the WWE back during the Attitude Era when he formed Too Cool with Scotty 2 Hotty and Rikishi. He was a really happy-go-lucky guy in the WWE, pulling off some cool moves in the ring and providing great entertainment. But ever since leaving the WWE after the Attitude Era, Sexay has struggled to get work for the big promotions and has only wrestled for low-key Independent promotions. This picture shows Sexay wrestling in a rather small-time Independent promotion with only a meager amount of fans watching him perform. He looks awful with that black eye, as it seems his WWE past doesn't help him get proper work in the Indies and his decline from the dancing dude in the WWE to a struggling wrestler in the Indies is pretty sad.
Sabu will always be remembered as one of the most extreme wrestlers from the original ECW, where he was at the peak of his game because of the amount of craziness he brought to the ring. He put his body on the line every time and entertained audiences who loved him for it, but as the years have passed, it's almost like the promoters have forgotten his great work. Sabu is recently struggling to get work on the Independent scene and with his broken body can only wrestle sporadically. This sad picture shows him making his iconic pose in a very small independent event, as only a small amount of people have come to appreciate his work. Sabu has been forced into appearing for whatever promotion he can to make ends meet and watching this hardcore legend in these kind of small-time Independent events is heart-breaking.
Nunzio may be remembered by the WWE fans of the Ruthless Aggression Era as he was part of the Full Blood Italians and competed most of the time in the Cruiserweight Division. He portrayed a very good heel character and did well in the division, even winning the Cruiserweight Championship twice during his time in the company. Nunzio enjoyed a healthy 6-year run in the WWE before he was released in 2008 and after a short stint in TNA, he seemingly went off the map. The reality is that he doesn't get work in top promotions anymore and has to wrestle for small, independent ones as this picture shows him with Hornswoggle in one such remote event. He's now working in events with mere hundreds of people, as his downgrade from wrestling in the WWE to these little independent promotions is pretty sad to see.
11 The Rock 'n' Roll Express
The Rock 'n' Roll Express were finally given their much-deserved recognition earlier this year when Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson both got inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, which they've definitely earned the right to for their work in the wrestling industry. While they might have seemed fine during the ceremony, they aren't really in the best of places as they are still wrestling to make ends meet, only getting opportunities in low-key wrestling promotions. One of wrestling's all-time best tag teams are only getting work in small-time wrestling events, as these two old wrestlers are still fighting it out in front of mere hundreds and it's pretty sad to see these two WWE Hall of Famers like this.
Gangrel was quite the terrifying wrestler back in the Attitude Era when he portrayed a vampire gimmick as the leader of The Brood. He was a cool character but couldn't really wrestle that well, which didn't help his case as he was turned into a lower-mid carder once The Brood broke off. He was later released from WWE and has been mostly wrestling in the indies ever since. But things have gotten worse for him in the past few years, as he's been forced to wrestle in very small-time Independent promotions. This sad picture shows Gangrel being choked by his opponent in what seems like a very remote Independent event with only a few people watching the match. It proves how even an interesting character like him struggles to get proper work.
Heidenreich was quite the intimidating character back during the Ruthless Aggression era in the WWE as he loved to beat people up and struck up an imposing figure as well. He was pushed for his looks at first but a horrible face turn did him no good, as he was released by the WWE after spending a few years with them. He was forced to wrestle in the indies before retiring from wrestling in 2009. But he came out of retirement last year to wrestle a couple of matches, but the most humiliating one must've been against a fake Doink the Clown outside a Golden Correl restaurant. This sad image is evidence of that match which must've been embarrassing for the former WWE superstar and be watching him wrestle in this awful scenario with little spectators and one guy recording with his phone camera, is pretty heart-breaking.
8 The Sandman
The Sandman was one of the coolest characters in ECW where he was this bad-ass who managed to get over with the fans because of his antics. He was at his peak in the 90s, but after ECW folded up, his decline began. He did wrestle for some years in WWE which was a failed stint in general and later began wrestling in the Independent scene. But years of abuse to his body has resulted in him looking awful these days and no top promoter wants him to wrestle on their shows. So The Sandman wrestles in the small-time indies nowadays, with this picture proving how he has degraded over the years. He looks absolutely awful and is wrestling in front of a mere hundred audience which is a real decline from his WWE and ECW days, as this picture shows how heart-breaking his scenario is nowadays.
7 Jim Duggan
"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan is definitely a character everyone can enjoy as he's so positive and happy all the time that fans can't help but get entertained by him. Duggan did some great stuff in WWE during his years in the 80s and 90s and later in his stint during the Ruthless Aggression era, but has seemingly fallen off the map over the years. Duggan now only gets work in the small-time Indies, which is sad considering his legacy in WWE. This picture shows Duggan celebrating a victory in a low-key independent promotion in a tiny arena with a rather small audience. It's pretty heart-breaking to see that the first ever Royal Rumble winner can only get work in the small independent events, as his decline has been pretty sad over the years with many fans not even remembering this legend anymore.
6 Tito Santana
Tito Santana was quite the stunning wrestler back in the 80s when he was a solid mid-carder for the WWE and did a great job in the Intercontinental Championship scene. Santana won the Intercontinental Title twice and was also King of The Ring in 1989. While he may have fallen off after leaving WWE, Santana has kept on wrestling even though he doesn't get much offers from "big" promotions. He's a physical education teacher in New Jersey and also wrestles sporadically, but it's pretty sad to see him wrestle in small-time independent shows as it can be seen in this picture. Santana is wrestling in what it seems like a college gym or something with only a handful of supporters, as it's pretty heartbreaking to see how people have forgotten this amazing athlete.
5 Paul Orndorff
"Mr Wonderful" Paul Orndorff may be remembered by the 80s fans when he was a great mid-carder for the WWE and was part of some memorable feuds. Orndorff later also had a stint in WCW where he was the WCW Television Champion and competed for some years before taking a retirement from wrestling. Fans were worried to see him a rather terrible shape many years ago, but Orndorff surprised many when he returned to wrestling earlier this year. While he was looking better than before, Orndorff didn't get the most "grandest" of returns as this picture shows. He is wrestling in a small-time wrestling promotions and in a small room, with only a few spectators turning up to watch him wrestle, as this heart-breaking picture shows the reality of the situation for the likes of Orndorff.
4 Terry Funk
Terry Funk is the original hardcore legend as he will be known by wrestling fans of the 80s and 90s because of how much of a terrific worker he was in the ring. Funk would literally put his body on the line to entertain the audiences and has quite the reputation of coming out of retirement multiple times in his career. Funk still has the where-with-all to wrestle even at the age of 73, but he's looking pretty awful these days and only gets work in small-time Independent events. This picture shows a bloodied Funk wrestling it out at this age at an Independent event, with only a meager crowd watching it. While one has to applaud Funk's determination at entertaining audiences at this age, it's pretty disheartening to see a legend like him harming his body in front of this meager crowd just for entertainment purposes.
3 2 Cold Scorpio
2 Cold Scorpio will be remembered by the fans of the original ECW where he was one of the top guys and won the ECW World TV title four times. He also had a stint in WWE where he was known as Flash Funk, but his stint in it wasn't really that memorable because of how badly he was utilized. Scorpio lost his relevance once the 90s passed as he didn't really get much work in the "big" leagues and had to wrestle for the low-key Independent promotions. This recent picture of him wrestling at a small-time Indy event shows how sad his current situation really is. Scorpio truly looks exhausted in this picture and it's pretty heartbreaking to see a terrific worker like him wrestling in front of a small crowd, as his appalling fall from grace resembles that of many ECW originals.
2 Perry Saturn
Perry Saturn was quite the entertaining wrestler back in the day when he got over as part of Raven's Nest in WCW and later moved to WWE in an attempt to become a bigger star. He didn't get the best treatment in WWE as he's mostly remembered as someone who was obsessed with a mop. He actually made it work and entertained fans for some time before being released from WWE. But things went horribly bad for him afterwards, as he was shot while trying to save a woman from being assaulted, also mysteriously disappearing for the next couple of years. He re-emerged in 2009 and did some wrestling, but recently stated that he couldn't do any work because of a neurotic condition, with this sad picture explaining his depressing situation and showing him in an absolutely terrible condition.
1 Nikolai Volkoff
Nikolai Volkoff was one of WWE's original foreign heels as he did some amazing work in the 80s in the WWE, where he was a top heel along with the Iron Sheik with whom he won the WWE Tag Team Champion. He later became part of the Bolsheviks with Boris Zhukov and was a terrific heel in WWE before he was released by the company. But ever since leaving the WWE, Volkoff surprisingly never got a call from any other big promotions and had to wrestle in the small-time Indies. The former Intercontinental Champion is going through a rather difficult time and this shocking picture shows him wrestling Bobby Fulton in a basketball court without a ring. This heart-breaking picture shows the absolute sad state of Volkoff, proving how even a legend like him doesn't necessarily get good work in the Indies and how cruel wrestling can be at times.