Professional wrestling is a give and take sort of industry, which often leads a lot of the performers involved feeling a bit numb after many years of service. Of course, that isn’t true for everyone, but there certainly are a handful of names that would probably go back and change big aspects of their career if they could.
We aren't suggesting that they’d change everything, but you can often find yourself looking back at different points of your life and thinking “what if”. With the squared circle, it certainly possesses the ability to take over the lives of the wrestlers involved and that can often cause a great deal of stress.
With that in mind, these guys and girls would probably like to scratch certain portions of their time in sports entertainment off their resume.
17 Ted DiBiase Jr.
Don’t get this confused people – Ted DiBiase Sr. is the definition of what a great wrestling heel should be. Confident, great in the ring, and his character will live on for many years to come. When it comes to his son, however, things didn’t go quite so smoothly for good old Teddy Junior.
For whatever reason DiBiase just couldn’t capture the spark that his father once had, and he found himself forever living in his father’s shadow. Instead of pursuing the same career as his dad maybe Ted should’ve taken it upon himself to choose a different path because he could’ve been a lot further along by this point.
15 Bobby Lashley
Look, Bobby Lashley has been extremely fortunate throughout his entire wrestling career with both WWE and TNA/GFW, but let’s get real here. The guy is clearly much more passionate about mixed martial arts than anything related to the squared circle, and that shines through whenever he is placed inside of an octagon.
Now in his 40s, it seems as if Lashley won’t be able to continue on in Bellator for much longer and a big reason for that is probably his links to Impact Wrestling. Sure, he’s been successful, but if he’d have started in the fighting game at a younger age then perhaps we could’ve seen a much more interesting career from the former WWE Superstar.
14 Stacy Keibler
Stacy Keibler is a beautiful, intelligent and incredibly talented woman by all regards. Both in and outside of professional wrestling, the woman whose legs never end has been able to do some remarkable things, furthering herself in ways that the woman herself probably would’ve never thought possible.
But if you think about it, is she really going to be all that proud of her time with World Wrestling Entertainment and World Championship Wrestling? From the objectification of her body to the endless sexual references about her, perhaps Stacy would rather have you forget that this is where she originated from.
If you google Nailz, you’ll quickly begin to understand why he is one of the more feared competitors to have stepped foot inside a WWE ring. Not only was he extremely intimidating, but his run-ins with Vince McMahon proved that you should probably think twice before challenging this guy to a real fight.
After the endless lawsuits and constant stress that must accompany them, it’s a safe bet to assume that Nailz would probably have preferred to stay away from the limelight in this manner. If nothing else, a non-wrestling career path could’ve led to some interesting opportunities in the bodybuilding world. At least, that’s what we’re going to assume.
12 Muhammad Hassan
We’ve been over the whole Muhammad Hassan issue plenty of times, but given how things ended up turning out for him, we feel the need to include him on this list. You see Hassan, who made quite a splash in the WWE back in the mid-noughties, is actually quite a clever guy by all accounts.
He likely made his way into the pro wrestling world as a backup, and ended up being shipped out of the business quicker than you can say "controversy." Looking back, Hassan’s entire career trajectory after pro wrestling probably centred around what happened to him. That, in itself, is quite sad.
Zeus is not a professional wrestler, Zeus is a character that was being played by an actor. Yes, we hear you cry, the same can be said of every single wrestler in the history of the business – but this guy quite literally didn’t have an athletic bone in his body and his only purpose was served back in the late '80s during a feud with Hulk Hogan.
Everybody knew that the only reason Zeus was being brought in was because of his appearance in the No Holds Barred movie, and it was one of the most obvious publicity stunts that the company have ever put on. Given the nature of his persona, we can’t imagine that Zeus’ actor, Tiny Lister, wants to recall these days anytime soon.
The Bizarre One, Goldust, also known in real life as Dustin Runnels, was and still is an exceptionally talented performer. He can talk on the mic, he can do work behind the scenes, and his in-ring product makes him one of the more capable mid-carders in recent memory. Unfortunately, you wouldn’t think it when you look at the character that he’s been stuck with for the last few decades.
Goldust is always worth a good pop among members of the WWE Universe, but one of the primary reasons for that is down to nostalgia and not much else. The odd and, quite frankly embarrassing nature of the painted freak has proven that Runnels could’ve done so much more if given the chance. No wonder his brother Cody Rhodes, aka Stardust, went running to the indies.
9 Ashley Massaro
Ashley Massaro was being tipped for greatness ever since she walked through the doors of WWE, and yet nobody aside from Vince McMahon ever seemed to give her an extended chance on the main roster. Why? Well, probably because she had no real talent or skill inside the ring and was actually nothing more than just a pretty face.
The only real thing of note that Ashley got out of her WWE tenure was the Playboy cover, and depending on your views with that kind of thing it may not be something to brag about. Still, her WrestleMania match was kind of alright – if you enjoy the degradation of women’s wrestling, that is.
8 Mr Kennedy
What do you get when you take an extremely talented pro wrestler and mix him together with a whole host of bad decisions? Mr Kennedy. This is a man who seemingly dedicated his life to becoming a star, and by our calculations, he was one or two solid moves away from achieving that goal in World Wrestling Entertainment.
Unfortunately, several bad moves on the part of Kennedy (also known as Mr Anderson) led to the downfall of a guy who was once proclaimed to be the next Stone Cold Steve Austin. Given his talents we, can foresee him succeeding in several other jobs, which begs the question as to why he prioritised the squared circle.
When the most memorable part of your wrestling journey was the catchphrase “girl, bye” then you know things have gone wrong somewhere down the line. Cameron was perfectly capable as an entertainer on Total Divas, but outside of that, she didn’t really accomplish anything of note – apart from being one of The Funkadactyls, of course.
She didn’t even really manage to further her career outside of the ring either, which was quite clearly her original ambition. Unlike Eva Marie, she has now been left without much of a direction moving forward, but with that being said, several Superstars have managed to surprise the public in the aftermath of their wrestling tenures.
6 Wade Barrett
Wade Barrett should’ve been the first ever British WWE champion. Fact. There aren’t too many people on the face of this earth that would disagree with that statement because it’s whole heartedly true. Barrett was an all-round superstar and you don’t get too many of those in the modern day, which makes his decline all the more frustrating.
WWE’s inability to fully invest in Wade as a character must’ve been extremely annoying, and whilst he had a good run we can’t help but think that he may regret portions of it. After all, he seems to be pursuing an acting career with a lot of intent right now, so maybe he would’ve been further along if he hadn’t slapped on a pair of tights.
Sabu was hardly a world title calibre guy throughout his career, but he did some fairly impressive stuff. He was one of the original innovators of the hardcore style in many ways and despite the multitude of botches that we were forced to witness, he still did a solid job of getting other guys over whilst making himself look like a maniac.
Alas, with that kind of style comes some long term damages and Sabu has been suffering big-time from the crazy things that he’s done over the last few decades. Sure, we as fans are grateful, but being in that much pain on a regular basis can’t be good for the physical or mental health of such a treasured veteran.
4 Santino Marella
Few will know that once upon a time, down in developmental, Anthony Carelli was actually set to debut as a cold-hearted Russian fighter instead of his jokey Italian character, Santino Marella, that we know and "love" him for. If that’d happened perhaps Santino would’ve flourished in the upper mid-card scene, but as it is he’ll forever go down as one of WWE’s biggest comedy successes.
Still, given the many injuries that have been piling up as of late, Santino probably regrets putting his body on the line for the amount of time that he did. That isn’t to say we don’t appreciate it, but you have to think about your long term health and right now Marella isn’t exactly what you’d call a picture of healthy living.
2 Damien Sandow
Look, there’s no doubting that as a character Sandow was a thoroughly impressive performer, but when you try and piece the entire package together things sort of start to fall apart. His gimmick would’ve worked well for a mid-card champion, but for whatever reason, the fans never bought into him as a world title contender.
Sandow gave his everything to the business and at the age of 35, perhaps it was all for nothing. Sure, he probably earned himself a solid wage with WWE, but things aren’t looking overly promising for him right now on the independent circuit, and the less said about his ill-fated time with Impact Wrestling, the better.
1 Jack Swagger
The Real American, Jack Swagger is a former World Heavyweight Champion, and as such, it seems silly to suggest that he’d regret that portion of his career. Still, not everything during his WWE experience went his way and because of that, we feel like he deserves a spot on this list.
Swagger, who has a great wrestling background, has openly admitted that he’d like to break into the world of mixed martial arts. If he’d made that decision a long time ago he could have a relatively successful career by this point, or at the very least he could’ve discovered another passion.