Pro wrestling is not a career choice which tends to benefit most in the long-run. Wrestling history is filled with stories of men and women who reached the highest of heights in the industry, only to come crashing down to the lowest of lows.
A few theories exist as to why this is the case. One, is that the industry tends to attract an eccentric bunch of people. Like rock stars, pro wrestlers used to have a reputation as hard party animals living life in the fast lane. Nowadays, WWE's roster tends to be filled with men and women who enjoy video games more than late night bar trips or drug-filled rampages through whatever town they happened to be in that night. Perhaps WWE is now only interested in hiring personality types who won't be gigantic PR nightmares later down the road.
Another theory as to why pro wrestlers tend to do so poorly in later life is the toll the business takes on their bodies. Injuries associated with their in-ring careers has caused many wrestlers to develop addictions to painkillers which ended up taking them down a dark path.
Here are 20 photos of formerly beloved wrestlers after their careers were over, enjoy!
20 Perry Saturn
Perry Saturn's post-wrestling life has not gone smoothly. Following his departure from WWE in 2004, Saturn fell off the planet for a few years.
Word got out that Saturn had been involved in preventing a woman from being assaulted and ended up taking a bullet for it. The bullet hit Perry in his neck and shoulder. While he would survive, he ended up becoming addicted to pain pills. His addiction was so great he wound up homeless and out of contact with his family. He has since said he didn't want to see people until he had cleaned up his life.
Last year, Saturn announced in interviews that he was suffering the effects of traumatic brain injury from all his years of wrestling. He was a guest on Chris Jericho's podcast and a GoFundMe was set up in his name since he's unable to work.
Considering many of his contemporaries from ECW are no longer alive Raven doesn't look too bad! He's only 53, however, so he really shouldn't be looking as old as he does.
It has been a hard 53 years for Raven, be it through drug abuse or the rigors of being a professional wrestler, Raven did everything to the extreme. His exploits while a professional wrestler are what has made him one of the most requested former wrestlers for shoot interviews.
Raven now has a podcast through Chris Jericho's podcast network. It is a show unlike other podcasts out there currently, with most of the content focused on Raven's rather absurd humor and interests.
Between ECW, WCW, WWE and TNA Raven's impact on the wrestling business has been substantial. After nearly 30 years in the business, he has earned the right to look as old as he does.
18 Ahmed Johnson
Ironically, Ahmed Johnson became exactly what WCW feared. His shape was falling apart and because of that, WCW decided to part ways with the talent. He fell off the map soon after and looks unrecognizable nowadays looking like he’s kept the same weight, but with all of it turning into fat... That's the harsh reality as he's away from the business in the ring. Nowadays, many have a hard time even recognizing the star with the WWE from the 90s.
His rise was historical winning the IC Title and becoming the first African American to do so. Tough his push wouldn't last due to inconsistent performances in a time that was all about the in-ring work and pushing new stars.
17 Val Venis
There is nothing wrong with how Val Venis looks nowadays, but it will blow your mind all the same.
After a nine-year run with WWE, Sean Morley (aka Val Venis) was released by WWE. Following his departure, Morley discovered marijuana is a great substitute for pain medication. He promoted his discovery to the boys as often as he could and eventually dedicated his entire second career to it.
Nowadays, you can check out the Big Valboski as his new alter-ego, "the Kaptain". His YouTube channel gives reviews on new strains of marijuana, and he runs his own dispensary and lounge in Arizona. He has slipped away from the wrestling business completely at his age (46). He seems fully immersed in his new life and persona. No word on if he is still traumatized by the incident with Kaientai....
Bill Eadie and Barry Darsow were the longest reigning Tag Team Champions of all-time for decades up until New Day passed their record recently.
Eadie is now 69 years old, so he can be given a pass for perhaps following out of shape a bit. Barry Darsow is only 57. They are both doing better than the third man to eventually join their group, Crush, who passed away in 2007 at only 43 years of age.
Many will state that Demolition was a rip-off of the Road Warriors. This is only a partial truth, as the masked monster tag team was really a genre of tag-team which existed at the time. The Powers of Pain, Blade Runners and even The Ascension all fit into this category. If recent rumors are true, the Authors of Pain could be the next team to dawn the similar paint.
15 Lex Luger
Lex Luger suffered a spinal infarction in 2007 that left him temporarily in a paraplegic state. Thanks to treatment and physical therapy, Luger is now able to walk and get around more comfortably. He certainly is not the physical specimen he once was, however and far from it.
Luger's entire persona used to be built around him being super muscular. When he debuted in the WWE he was even given the moniker "The Narcissist" and his entrance would consist of him posing in front of a mirror in the ring. Nowadays, it looks as though Luger hasn't lifted a weight, or been able to do so, in many years.
A born-again Christian, Luger does a lot of work with churches and fellow former wrestlers, like Ted Di Biase, in similar religious-based work. Luger has also been employed by WWE to consult on the company's Wellness policy.
14 Bret Hart
Bret Hart got old fast. When Bret was still a wrestler he looked somewhat ageless. With his jet black hair and freshly shaved face, Bret continued to look as though he was in his 20s even while he was actually over 40. When the wrestling career ended for Bret, however, it's as if his aging tried to make up for lost time.
Bret has had significant health problems as well, which has contributed to his appearance. He suffered a severe stroke in 2002 that paralyzed the entire left side of his body for many months. Hart required extensive physiotherapy to recover his lost mobility.
Last year, Bret announced he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. His brother Smith had also been diagnosed with the disease and would later succumb to it. Bret, on the other hand, was successfully cured after surgery and is now cancer-free.
13 The Sandman
It's not as though The Sandman ever looked good, but now with age playing more of a factor in his appearance, he has turned into an almost cartoonish-like ugly human being.
You wouldn't know it to look at him now, but the character was originally supposed to be a blonde surfer dude. The name "Sandman" had nothing to do with the Metallica song which would eventually become his theme music, and it had nothing to do with the popular comic book character either. He was called Sandman because he spent so much time at the beach. Eventually, somebody smartened him up to the fact that such a gimmick wasn't going to work for him, and he morphed into a beer-drinking and Singapore cane-wielding wrestler.
Now 54-years-old, Sandman's best days are behind him, and his best days weren't all that good to begin with.
12 Magnum TA
In the mid-1980s, Magnum TA was such a gorgeous heartthrob that many had him pegged as the next big thing in wrestling. His epic battles with his longtime rival, Tully Blanchard, are still widely thought of today as some of the best matches of the era.
In 1986, however, Magnum lost control of the car he was driving and wrapped it around a telephone pole. Doctors doubted that Magnum would ever be able to walk again. While they were wrong about that, he never regained enough movement to return to the ring, and he still needs assistance to get around comfortably.
The loss of mobility meant Magnum wasn't going to the gym as he had before, and he kind of let himself go, as you can see in the photo above.
Sunny is one of the most influential women to have ever worked in WWE. While she never wrestled, Sunny got over with fans in a way no other female had up until that point in the company. Wendi Richter and Alundra Blayze had each come before her, but they failed to have the impact Sunny did.
During the Attitude Era, Sunny would often get the biggest pops of the show, and Vince McMahon noticed. It wasn't long after that the company would begin to put far greater emphasis on women, such as Sable and eventually Trish Stratus and Lita.
Sunny's life has been ravaged by drugs and alcohol, however. Perhaps the saddest part is that Sunny's troubles outside of WWE have over-shadowed her accomplishments while employed by the company.
10 Jesse Ventura
Jesse "The Body" Ventura seems to have evolved into something of a mad scientist these days, complete with wild and out of control silver hair.
Ventura now spends much of his time in Mexico, writing books and generally being an eccentric guy. He's published five books over the last six years, including his last one titled Jesse Ventura's Marijuana Manifesto. It sounds, and looks, as though Jesse is basically spending his time getting high on beaches in Mexico. Not a bad retirement plan, Jesse, not bad at all.
Ventura was the color-commentator for WWE during a pivotal period for the company. In the mid-80s when Hulkamania was sweeping the nation, Ventura mastered the art of the heel commentator in a way that only Bobby Heenan could do better. Some have compared Corey Graves' commentating style to that of Venturas.
9 Greg "The Hammer" Valentine
In the 1980s Greg "The Hammer" Valentine looked like a beat-up and out of shape pro wrestler. In 2017, he still looks like a beat-up and out of shape wrestler.
While the haircut is the same, Greg Valentine's face appears to be falling off his head in recent years. In the next year or two, his eyes are going to be where his mouth currently is.
Valentine was such an old pro back in the day. His feud with Tito Santana over the Intercontinental Championship helped solidify the title as the one the best those in the company competed for. While Valentine couldn't do moonsaults or super-kicks, he had a solid psychology to his matches that always made them entertaining. Valentine could make a match exciting without exerting too much athleticism, which is good because he didn't have any.
8 "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff
Paul Orndorff earned the nickname "Mr. Wonderful" because of his physique and overall physical fitness. Now he looks like the drunk uncle everyone has in their family who drinks too much on holidays, makes inappropriate comments and passes out.
Granted, Orndorff is 67 years old, but he certainly looks every bit of it. It's as if he hit a certain age and decided he was done with going to the gym or picking out nice sweaters to wear.
Orndorff was one half of the heel tag team in the main event of the first-ever WrestleMania. While Roddy Piper was clearly the bigger heel of the two, Orndorff's role in the original WrestleMania was significant. Later, Orndorf would sign with WCW where he played a pivotal role in training new wrestlers at the WCW Power Plant.
7 Scott Steiner
At the age of 55, it's safe to say Steiner's career is pretty much done with despite the fact that he does still appear from time-to-time at indie events. Nowadays, he's spending more time at his restaurant than in an actual ring. Looking at his current shape, we can definitely say age is catching up to the Genetic Freak who looks rather different compared to his glory days with WCW in the late 90s and early 2000s.
In large part, due to enhancement use, we can expect Steiner to age a little worse in the years to come as of course, he infused his body with lots of enhancements back in the day. For that reason, he looks largely unrecognizable nowadays. Also smiling in pictures recently, that adds to his new unrecognizable look!
6 Ric Flair
Ric Flair nearly died this summer, but as of this writing, it sounds as though he is going to pull through. Doctors say that Ric's drinking played a role in his health scare and now Flair is saying he'll never drink again. We'll see about that.
You don't need to be a doctor to be able to tell that Ric's drinking is having a negative impact on his health. Ric is a 68-year old man and as the above photo attests he has the face of a man who has been drinking for 80 years.
We all love Ric Flair, but this is a man who has lived a tiring life. It's no secret as to why his body is aging faster than normal. Perhaps it's not just his drinking that is aging Ric, he has four ex-wives!
62-year-old Leon White, better known to wrestling fans as Big Van Vader (or just Vader) has not exactly taken care of himself over the years.
Following a car accident he was involved in last year doctors did some tests and discovered Vader is suffering from chronic heart problems. The doctors gave him just two years to live. Vader has continued wrestling despite the diagnosis.
Diamond Dallas Page, who has helped save the lives of Jake Roberts and Scott Hall, reached out to Vader. Page was hoping Vader would quit wrestling and take part in the DDP Yoga program. Unfortunately, Vader has yet to agree to quit wrestling and Page says that is necessary for getting Vader back into the shape he needs to be to extend his life. Here's hoping Vader is the next person DDP is able to help.
4 Hulk Hogan
The above photo is Hulk Hogan giving testimony during court proceedings for his lawsuit against Gawker. It is Hogan at his most vulnerable. During the testimony, Hogan had to speak on many things that could be considered embarrassing. It was all part of a plan to bring down the media conglomerate, however, and prevent others from becoming victims of audio or video files being leaked on their website.
Hogan has been out of wrestling ever since the audio recordings of him using racially charged language were leaked by Gawker. WWE cut ties with him and Hogan was able to sue Gawker for his lost earnings, bankrupting them in the process.
The looming question is if Hogan will ever return to wrestling, or if the leaked files were too damning to his reputation?
3 Vince Russo
56-year-old Vince Russo looks every bit his age. These things tend to happen when you've become the most ridiculed person in your industry.
The above photo is Russo on his podcast. He runs his own website and comments on the current state of wrestling. Considering the state his booking of WCW and TNA put the business in, it's not altogether clear why people are willing to listen to him. There are Vince Russo fans out there, something his recent radio shows have been able to prove. That fact alone is mind-blowing.
Not only is he still offering his opinions on wrestling, he was even hired to be a booker again! The regional organization, Rocky Mountain Pro, in Colorado brought on Russo as their head of creative. Their shows air on the FITE App, but you don't have to watch it if you don't want to.
2 The Undertaker
The older-Taker went decades without showing his age. At 52 years old, however, those days are long gone for Undertaker. After possibly retiring at this year's WrestleMania, there is no more hair-dye, smoke machines or hooded robes to hide 'Taker's wrinkled face from the masses.
'Taker's retirement at WrestleMania this year will go down as one of the most iconic moments in wrestling history. The way Taker took off his gloves, hat, and jacket and left them in the ring, all while never speaking a word, was some of the most effective non-verbal communication that has ever occurred in the history of the industry.
It'll be interesting to see what the next few years have in store for 'Taker. Perhaps the WWE Network could host a special first-ever out-of-character interview with him.
1 Dynamite Kid
It has been many years since Tom Billington, aka the Dynamite Kid, has been able to walk. Following a stroke a few years ago he has been living in an assisted living facility. A GoFundMe account was started to raise the money to bring him home.
Billington's story has many facets to it. Some feel his struggles in later-life are a type of karma for his bullying and mean-spirited pranking while he was a wrestler. His critics will state that being immobile and not being able to take care of himself is the perfect revenge from the universe for all the bad things he did to others.
Still, many consider him to be one of the greatest pound-for-pound wrestlers that ever existed. To his fans, his decimated physical state is the worst possible curse that could have been put on the man.