Athletes in general tend to retire much younger than most other professions and female pro sports stars seem to have it even worse than the men. Regardless of one’s gender, the human body isn’t capable of performing at the same level throughout a person’s entire life. Especially in WWE, where appearance can unfortunately be as important as performance, this reality has caused most females to enter the sports entertainment industry to retire in their 30s, if not even earlier.
Of course, as countless self-help books will tell you, there are dozens of ways to find life after retirement. In fact, retirement from the wrestling industry typically leads way to a second career in an entirely new industry of the performer’s choice. Former WWE superstars have turned into teachers, models, animal workers, restaurant owners, and just about anything else you could think of and many have done so to great success.
It might sound like a cliché, but the reality is that the only limit to what retired WWE superstars could do is their own imagination. Keep reading if you want to learn about 15 women with wild enough imagines to take up every day jobs once their careers in WWE subsided, with a focus on the era these ladies were called divas.
15 Terri - Charity Worker
Although she made her mainstream wrestling debut as Alexandra York, and then debuted in WWE as Marlena, most fans know Terri Runnels simply by her real first name. Regardless of what they called her, Terri regularly managed some of the top superstars in wrestling, including Ricky Morton, Perry Saturn, The Hardy Boyz, and her one time husband, Goldust. Terri mostly left the wrestling industry behind when she was fired from WWE in 2004, and has since been spending her life supporting a variety of charity organizations. In addition to participating in a number of USO tours, Terri has worked extensively with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Boys & Girls Club of America, and the Miracle Network, amongst a variety of others. Terri has also been working as a corporate spokesperson for a variety of businesses around the country, although it is clearly the charity work that speaks to her true passions.
14 Tori - Yogini
Despite history constantly being rewritten to elevate the important of D-Generation X, fans today often forget about the group’s quieter female member, Tori. Tori actually started her wrestling career in Portland managing Scotty the Body, and things would come full circle in 2001 when she finished her career in WWE managing the same person, then known as Raven. In between, Tori became a huge star in DX albeit only for a few short years and was the focal point to the love story that first began to turn Kane into a normal human and not a horror movie monster. The story ended when Tori and X-Pac turned on Kane and while the men recovered from the storyline dying, Tori wallowed with little to do until her union with Raven resumed.
Tori returned to Portland after her day in the ring was over, where she studied to become a yogini. As of 2015, Tori owns her own yoga studio in Portland.
13 Shaniqua - Teacher
The original Tough Enough was responsible for some strange careers and perhaps most peculiar of the bunch was that of Linda Miles, also known as Shaniqua. Miles won Season 2 of the competition reality show along with Jackie Gayda and, like Gayda, Miles wouldn’t standout as a competitor until she became a manager, changed her name, and dramatically revamped her style. Miles debuted under her own name only to almost immediately get sent back to developmental for more training and later re-debuted as Shaniqua, a presumed dominatrix and manager of The Basham Brothers, who she managed to lead to the WWE World Tag Team Championships in late 2003. S
haniqua was released from her contract in early 2004 and never returned to the wrestling industry, instead retiring to life as a substitute teacher in Cincinnati.
12 Madusa - Monster Truck Driver
Females in the wrestling industry aren’t entirely accepting of the term Diva, which is why it’s going by the way side. One of the first women to speak out against the phrase was Madusa, known to WWE fans during her brief tenure with the company as Alundra Blayze. While performing as Blayze, Madusa won the original WWE Women’s Championship three times and was also the first woman to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. In line with Madusa’s uneasiness with the term Diva, her second career is one of the more badass on the list, as Madusa has been one of the few women involved in the monster truck business since 1999. Madusa operates a truck named after her wrestling persona and has won a variety of Monster Jam championships for her performances in freestyle events. After 17 years in the monster truck industry, Madusa announced her retirement in September of 2016 and is currently undergoing a farewell tour slated to end in March of 2016.
11 Stacy Keibler - Actress
Stacy Keibler’s first appearance in WCW actually occurred when she was merely a fan, when she was seen dancing in the crowd of Starrcade 1998. Less than two years later, Keibler was the winner of the first and only contest to discover a new member of the WCW Nitro Girls. Less than a full year after that, Keibler was standing out amongst the dance troupe to such a degree she accepted a larger role in the company as Miss Hancock and a six-year career as a wrestling manager followed. During her management career, Keibler managed such WCW and WWE luminaries as David Flair, The Dudley Boyz, and Randy Orton.
Stacy left WWE in 2006 to appear on the reality program Dancing With The Stars, after which she stayed in Hollywood to pursue a career as an actress. Keibler has since appeared in a handful of sitcoms, although she appears to have put acting on hold as of late in order to raise her first daughter.
10 Molly Holly - Teen Drug Councilor
With names like Miss Madness and Molly Holly, it’s clear the men she was attached to often unfairly dictated the real Nora Greenwald’s wrestling career. Regardless of what she was called, Molly was one of the most talented women to step inside the squared circle, especially given the era in which she did so. Despite a name that inexorably linked her to Crash and Hardcore, Molly may have been the standout of the fake Holly family, winning the WWE Women’s Championship twice. From 1999 to mid 2000, Nora practically served as WCW’s entire women’s division and she likely could have done the same had WWE not instead mocked her for not appearing identical to the other rail thin blondes in the company at the time.
Regardless, Molly holds no resentment towards the industry these days, and occupies her time as a teenage drug counselor. It was through her work that she met her husband, Geno Benshoof.
9 Eve Torres - Self-Defense Instructor
It would probably be reasonable to assume most former WWE superstars, male or female, experienced the most physically strenuous portion of their lives when they were stepping in the ring. Eve Torres is not like most superstars, however, instead choosing to act more like members of her new family, the legendary Gracie’s. Eve married into the family in 2014 when she tied the knot with Rener Gracie and has since used the Gracie family tradition to create the Women Empowered self-defense program. Torres was inspired by her own terrifying experience escaping a would-be assault and uses her fame and experience to teach women how to better protect themselves should they wind up in unsafe scenarios like the one she did. Torres has also worked as an actress, appearing in a regular role on the short-lived El Rey series Matador.
8 Vickie Guerrero - Medical Administrator
The loss of a spouse forever changes a person’s life in irreparable ways, but at least there are some stories out there like that of Vickie Guerrero that proves people can most certainly survive past the trauma and ultimately succeed on their own. Guerrero debuted in WWE in 2005 alongside her husband Eddie, who tragically passed away later that year from a sudden heart attack. Vickie slowly began appearing on WWE television more and more, first in sympathetic roles, but then gradually turning into one of the biggest heels of her day. Guerrero was arguably as successful as her husband albeit in different ways, as a manager of multiple World Heavyweight Champions and briefly the General Manager of both Raw and SmackDown. Vickie Guerrero nevertheless wasn’t content with life in the wrestling industry, and asked for her release in 2009 to focus on a career in medical administration. As of 2015, Vickie is officially certified in the field and is working for a pharmaceutical company.
7 Bull Nakano - Pro Golfer
Looking at her wild yellow hair and terrifying blue face paint, wrestling fans probably wouldn’t expect Bull Nakano to make a second career out of a relaxing pastime. It would come as a surprise then to discover that immediately after retiring from the ring in 1997, Nakano moved on to a career as a professional golfer. Nakano was as fierce in the ring as she looked and was considered a legend of women’s wrestling a full decade before making her official debut in WWE. Most fans probably don’t even realize Nakano’s first appearances actually took place in the 1980s, although at the time she only competed in the women’s tag team division. In her native Japan, Nakano was a veritable legend in both the tag and solo divisions, notably holding the WWWA World Championship for nearly three full years. Nakano was less successful as a golfer than as a wrestler, but still managed to participate in several LGPA and Duramed Futures Tours.
6 AJ Lee - Animal Rights Activist
Fun fact: the word “geek” originally referred to circus performers who ate the heads of live chickens. This most certainly isn’t what AJ Lee meant when she called herself the Geek Goddess and it might stand in opposition with her post-wrestling pursuits. AJ made her WWE debut in 2011 alongside Kaitlyn in a team called The Chickbusters and it wasn’t long before AJ cast Kaitlyn aside to instead standout as the girlfriend of a variety of high profile male wrestlers. Things came full circle when AJ defeated Kaitlyn for her first WWE Diva’s Championship in 2013, a title AJ would hold for a then record 295 days. AJ held the championship two more times before taking time off from wrestling in 2014 and then retiring only one month after her 2015 return. Since then, AJ has married CM Punk, written a memoir scheduled for release in 2017, and started working with the ASPCA on a variety of animal rights related causes.
5 Nidia - Chef
People within the wrestling industry fairly criticized Tough Enough for the fact it was a free ride into a company some performers worked years or even decades to even receive a tryout at. These critiques were reasonable, although it wasn’t enough to discount the effort of a few wrestlers to make it through the Tough Enough system. Nidia in particular stood out as someone who only spent a few years with WWE, but was able to create a unique and memorable character during her time there anyway, due to her ability to go all in with her Natural Born Killers inspired redneck nightmare couple with Jamie Noble. Once the on-screen relationship with Noble ended, Nidia failed to standout as a wrestler and quietly left the business in 2005. While a profile with WWE.com strangely painted her solely as a stay-at-home mom, Nidia in fact is a trained master chef, having studied at the Culinary Institute LeNôtre. She also does indeed also have two children, whom she lives with alongside her husband, David.
4 Ivory - Dog Care Specialist
For some reason, Ivory hasn’t been getting the credit she deserves amongst wrestling historians for being one of the first women in WWE to start the shift towards actually having in-ring talent to go along with her looks. While she wasn’t as technically proficient as Trish Stratus or Molly Holly, Ivory was a master heel on the microphone, likely due to the fact she actually entered the wrestling industry as an actress auditioning for what would become Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Ivory spent 10 years between GLOW and WWE, and still managed to make a huge impact as soon as she started working for the McMahon’s, winning the original WWE Women’s Championship three times. Ivory has long claimed her passion for the wrestling industry spurned from a general passion for the performance arts and her second career would indicate her true passion lies with animals. Ivory is the owner of Downtown Dog, what she describes as a do-it-yourself bathing facility for animals, and she also donates to and participates in a variety of dog-related charities.
3 Kaitlyn - Fitness Clothing Designer
Professional wrestlers in general need to be in pretty good shape and the women are no different, which is how a former fitness model like Kaitlyn was very quickly able to dominate the women’s division in NXT and go on to win the WWE Divas Championship. Kaitlyn engaged in lengthy and memorable feuds with AJ Lee and Eve Torres while becoming attached on-screen to male wrestlers Derrick Bateman and Dolph Ziggler. Kaitlyn decided to leave WWE to focus on her brawn, taking things literally by marrying fellow bodybuilder PJ Braun in 2014. Kaitlyn, who’s real name is now Celeste Braun, has also opened her own fitness-based clothing line, Celestial Bodiez. Kaitlyn also does work with her husbands companies Blackstone Labs and Prime Nutrition, and as if that weren’t enough, the couple also co-own Boca Nutrition & Smoothie Bar in Boca Raton, Florida. Fittingly, their smoothie shop is located within the Busy Body Fitness Center.
2 Victoria - Restauranteur
From the moment she debuted for WWE in 2002, it was clear Victoria wasn’t like the other female superstars in the company at the time. Making an impact on day one, Victoria immediately engaged in a feud with Trish Stratus, whom she went on to defeat for the WWE Women’s Championship in a rare women’s hardcore match. Victoria won the title once more and went on to have arguably even greater success in TNA, where she became a five-time Knockout’s Champion under the name Tara. Outside of wrestling, Victoria has been involved in a number of business ventures with her husband Lee Varon, including multiple pizza parlors and a custom car shop. The custom car shop went up in smoke, but at least one of her restaurants, The Squared Circle, survives in Chicago as of 2016. Victoria no longer manages the restaurant directly, but remains the owner and still makes regular appearances on the location.
1 Trish Stratus - Yoga Instructor
In hindsight, Trish Stratus was destined to become one of the preeminent legends of women’s wrestling as soon as she made her debut for WWE in March of 2000. Stratus had been a lifelong fan of pro wrestling and had a body seemingly etched out of Vince McMahon’s dreams, and yet at the time of her first WWE Women’s Championship victory, no one had even expected Trish to be regularly stepping in the ring. She debuted as the valet of Test and Albert and remained a manager and arm-piece until her surprise title win, at which point she rapidly turned into one of the best in-ring female talents WWE has ever seen. Six more WWE Women’s Championships later, Trish decided to retire on top in September of 2006 and has since been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Outside of wrestling, Stratus has begun a successful career as a yoga instructor, opening a studio named Stratusphere in her native Ontario. The studio has won a variety of awards for its high quality and has been called the largest eco-friendly yoga studio in Canada.