There aren't many crazier careers than as a professional wrestler. They travel all around the world, playing a character, all while performing high-energy stunts and storylines. They constantly risk injury or even death nightly, and rarely take days off. What could lure someone into this bizarre world? It’s a difficult question to answer and perhaps different for everyone who enters the industry.
Wrestlers come from many different backgrounds. If you can believe it, some actually start out as ‘amateur’ wrestlers! This makes the most sense as they work for years learning various holds and techniques that lend themselves to a more realistic performance in the ring. Don’t forget those holds can be real. Many a ‘real’ fight backstage has been stopped with a good ol’ front headlock. In fact, the legend is that diminutive wrestler Chris Jericho confronted the gigantic Bill Goldberg before it escalated into a brawl. You would assume that Goldberg would rip the much smaller Y2J apart, but as the story goes, it was a headlock that gave Jericho the upper hand (and saved his butt). Heck, word has gone around that Joey Styles once leveled JBL. OH MY GOD!
Many others hop over to wrestling from other sports. Professional athletes combining strength with flexibility and agility. Basketball and football players are especially mobile for being so huge and we all know soccer players fake pain like no other.
The length of a professional wrestling career varies widely. Hulk Hogan has wrestled more years than hairs left on his head. But many have a small window in which their bodies can cope with the intense punishment.
So what do they do after wrestling? After spending years on the road bleeding and sweating with other crazy muscular men what else can the world offer? I’m not talking about the superstars that became actors or regular celebrities. I’m talking about the mid-carders and jobbers that didn’t have the luxury of banking main-event money. These guys have to get real jobs when the lights go down.
So let’s take a look at what those wacky wrestlers have been up to since the last 1-2-3!
15 Scotty 2 Hotty
Scotty 2 Hotty recently made some headlines when he made his disappointment known that Rikishi didn't mention the rest of Too Cool in his Hall of Fame speech. However Scott Garland probably has the most uplifting post WWE career story, as in 2013, he graduated from Lake Tech Fire Academy in Florida and is now a firefighter.
He also trained as an emergency medical technician. Despite his new career, he still finds some time to wreslte on the independent circuit when he's off duty. Those worms might come in handy when he's trying to stay close to the ground during a fire.
Would you trust a man whose hobbies included carrying around a slop bucket, joined a Satanic themed stable, then finally a streaker who ran around arenas in nothing but a fanny pack, a thong and a pair of boots?
Well, Dennis Knight, who wrestled as Mideon, is now working as a chef in Tampa, Florida. Knight opened his own catering company, Dennis Knight Catering. He returned to cooking from the end of his wrestling career and it turns out he has quite a passion for it.
13 Shawn Stasiak
Shawn Stasiak didn't bother to further pursue the wrestling business once the WWE released him in 2002. Flip-flopping between WWE and WCW in the Monday Night Wars, including highlights such as wrestling as 'Meat', jobbing to Kurt Angle in Angle's debut match, and being fired after a heated argument with Steve Blackman and Davey Boy Smith. After dwindling in the midcard, he came back to WWE under the Invasion storyline, again normally used as a punchline.
Fed up with the wrestling business, Stasiak pursued a career as a chiropractor. He currently works for Advanced Comprehensive Medical team.
Rico was only in the WWE for a couple of years. He was part-wrestler, part-manager, mostly serving as a jobber and/or the manager for teams like Billy and Chuck then 3-Minute Warning. His over-the-top flamboyant gimmick eventually turned him into a fan favorite, but his short career eventually saw him land as his own man, with Miss Jackie as his valet. He was released in 2004.
Rico completed his law enforcement training a year later and is now a Sergeant Inspector for the Nevada Taxi Cab Authority.
11 Tito Santana
After finishing up as El Matador in the squared circle, Tito retired from pretend bullfighting and pro wrestling. Tito would give back to the wrestling world though, passing on his skills as a trainer for a number of years. But he’s now in a completely different field.
Just like Vince McMahon did with his gimmick, Santana decided to capitalize on his Spanish roots. He must have liked teaching wrestling as he is now a high school Spanish teacher!
Big Fred Ottman had a very respectable career both in the WWE and WCW. His likable Tugboat character actually had a very similar heel turn to Hollywood Hogan’s, but beat him by a few years. Tugboat became Typhoon when he turned on the poor Bushwackers in a six-man tag vs Earthquake and the Nasty Boys. Of course, Ottman will always be “none other than…..the Shockmaster!”
Ottman has become the Safetymaster (actually safety manager) working for Gaffin Industrial Services, a building cleaning service.
Ottman is also enjoying the role of superdad to his kids Berkley, Beau, and Bailey. He even coaches his kid's little league team. Could you imagine an umpire arguing with him?
9 The Berserker
Huss Huss Huss! The Berserker stomped around the WWE for a few years, leaving us with that unique catchphrase. Equal parts intimidating and comical, the Berzerker didn’t last too long, but was weirdly unforgettable.
Some jobs that ex-wrestlers end up with don’t surprise you. If they get into acting or training future wrestlers, it makes logical sense. But would you believe that the Huss-man is now selling cars?
John Nord now spends his time stomping around his brother’s car dealership out in Michigan. If you feel like grappling with the Viking over the price of a new car, stomp on over to East Nord Motors!
8 Damien Demento
During the first season of RAW, Demento was a frequent competitor. Hailing from the furthest reaches of your mind and dressed like a barbarian voodoo shaman, it was even more bizarre to see him wrestle clowns and “indian” warriors.
Fans may be surprised to know that Thies is an artist. He actually describes himself as a lifelong artist who ‘dabbles’ in wrestling. He first found interest as a child, creating his own toys from cardboard. This grew into a love for sculpture and his own evolving form of expression.
Thies was even profiled by the New York Times for an art exhibition he did in 2012 called Karnal.
Not even in the ‘furthest reaches of my mind’ did I think Damien Demento was a Manhattan hipster artist!
7 “Mean” Gene Snitsky
Coining the catchphrase “it’s not my fault”, feuding with Kane, and wrestling superstars John Cena and The Undertaker were his main WWE highlights.
Big Gene is currently heavily involved in the acting world. He co-produced a project named “Manhunt”, directed by Jay Lee of “Zombie Strippers” fame (for any fans out there). And he also was a part of a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers project, where he played the role of Silver Guardian.
Snisky said he always enjoyed the acting aspect of wrestling so it’s great to see he’s still involved with his passions.
A sad tale for the former Ugandan Giant.
James Harris was discovered by Jerry 'The King' Lawler. The Memphis promoter created Harris’s most famous character, and they enjoyed great success. A couple runs in the WWE later and Kamala is entrenched in wrestling history. Unfortunately, Harris felt his overall lack of education and ignorance of business hurt his long-term financial stability (even after main-event programs with the Hulkster himself)
In 1992, Harris was diagnosed with diabetes and urged to use a dialysis machine by his doctors. Tragically, he ignored their advice and paid a heavy price. Diabetes has claimed both of Harris’s legs, and he’s currently confined to an electric wheelchair.
Harris says he’s on a fixed income and currently hand-makes wooden chairs that he personally signs “Kamala”. They’re available for sale online for only $150 if you’d like a very unique type of wrestling memorabilia for your home.
5 Ivan Koloff
Koloff still made a few in-ring appearances after the turn of the century. In 2003, he was Mr.Wrestling IV, a masked man who laid the smack down on old Dusty Rhodes a few times. (He would lose the mask and turn face for anyone worried about how that story turned out)
Outside of wresting, Ivan took a surprising turn towards religion! He is an ordained minister who can marry you and your wrestling obsessed spouse for an extra-special Wedding day.
If you’d like even more updates on the Russian Bear you can always subscribe to his Twitter account @IKoloff
Remember this guy? Skinner was a part of the WWE’s super-cartoony early 90’s era. A time when wrestlers were more likely to wear a costume than tights and knee pads.
Skinner is Steve Keirn. Keira has always had a backup plan. He’s been involved in wrestler development since the late 80’s, when he fist opened his “Professional Wrestling School of Hard Knocks”. Diamond Dallas Page, Goldust, and Mike Awesome are a few of his former students.
The WWE absorbed his school into their developmental program, FCW, even making Keirn the President! As the FCW transformed into NXT, Keirn still works as a trainer.
Not too bad for the chaw spittin’ gator ‘rassler!
3 Duke The Dumpster Droese
Mike Droese wrestled during the “occupation” era of WWE as a friendly garbage man. It made sense at the time. In a real fight, I would put my money on a garbage man over say: a clown, a repo man, or a dentist.
After his WWE career was put out on the curb, he found a job working in high school football. He transitioned that to a job in Special Education, but it was his extra-curricular activities that gained him the most notoriety.
In perhaps a quiet protest against the low pay of teachers, Droese was indicted on three counts of delivery of a controlled substance after selling to an undercover buyer.
Come on Mike, that’s garbage!
As a professional wrestler, Robert Maillet was a large man required to do a bit of acting. He parlayed that into a career as a large actor who is required to do a bit of physical work.
His first big role was in Frank Miller’s stylized action film 300, in which he played the Uber-Immortal. This led to a role alongside Robert Downey Jr. in 2009’s Sherlock Holmes. Maillet would win an MTV Movie Award for “Best Fight” for that film. Perhaps the fight was so good because he actually bloodied Downey’s nose for real while filming! Downey was ‘uber’ cool about it, saying Maillet was “10 times more upset about it than I was.”
Chyna isn't the only ex-wrestler to break into the adult film world. Don't worry, Gangrel is only behind the camera, as David Heath signed on to direct as many as 12 films for the New Porn Order (you can't make this stuff up).
Gangrel is still rocking his fangs even in his post-wrestling career. He still does occasionally wrestle on the independent circuit and he has made a couple of appearances for the WWE since his retirement.