It has been nearly 17 years since WCW closed its doors. The company’s demise meant the WWE was the only real game left in town. Not only did WCW’s closure allow the WWE to rise to the top of all wrestling companies in the world, but it put a lot of good workers out of a job. Hundreds of wrestlers went through the Atlanta-based company’s doors. Some came from the WWE while others got their start in WCW before moving north. Some wrestlers that stepped into WCW’s ring will be forever remembered by a generation of fans as mainstays of the Atlanta company. Scotty Riggs, Buff Bagwell and Diamond Dallas Page will all be remembered for their time in WCW and the mark they made on the business.
After leaving WCW, or the business of wrestling as a whole, not every former star found success. Some fell on hard times and lost money, their homes and more. The wrestling business is a strange, unforgiving industry. It can give some workers everything they ever dreamed of. For others, wrestling can only offer so much, and in the end give back so little. Some wrestlers have managed to find their way back from rock bottom, but those examples are sadly few and far between. It is unbelievable to imagine some of these former heroes have managed to fall so far. These 15 wrestlers hit rock bottom one time or another after their WCW careers came to an end.
15. Perry Saturn
Perry Saturn stopped two men from attacking a woman on the streets of Atlanta. However, in stopping the two men, Saturn was shot in the neck and shoulder. The excruciating pain that ensued led Saturn to a downward spiral of substance abuse. Saturn’s rampant addiction led to him becoming homeless.
For years, Saturn lived on the streets. At one time, he lived in an old abandoned farm.
Many in the business, including his friends, hadn’t heard from him for some time and assumed he had disappeared. In January 2017, Saturn appeared on Talk is Jericho and explained his incredible story. He also revealed he is suffering immensely which most likely resulted from the unprotected chair shots he took in ECW. That same month saw the former WCW wrestler post a Facebook video pleading for donations to his GoFundMe page.
14. Lex Luger
Lex Luger’s life began spiralling out of control in 2003 when he was involved in a domestic dispute with girlfriend Elizabeth Hulette. The former wife of Randy Savage passed less than a month later at Luger’s home, and the “Total Package” was arrested after his house was searched. Authorities found large amounts of illegal substances in his Georgia home and the ensuing legal fees cost Luger much of the money he had accumulated in wrestling.
Four years later, Luger was left wheelchair bound.
The cause of his paralysis was attributed to three decades of playing football and wrestling. Luger has gone through treatment but looks nothing like the bodybuilder he once was. According to one January 2018 interview, Luger is now living in his hometown of Buffalo, New York with his mother.
13. Ed Leslie
Ed Leslie has had a career that most wrestling fans link with Hulk Hogan. The former Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake arrived in WCW along with his good friend Hogan in 1994. After some brief appearances with Hogan, Leslie turned heel under the name of The Butcher. He somehow headlined Starrcade ’94 with the Hulkster in a widely criticized main event. Leslie would go on to portray several other horrible gimmicks such as The Zodiac and The Disciple during his WCW run. He made a great paycheque thanks to Hogan, but when WCW closed the money stopped. Leslie went on to work for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. The Boston Herald reported Leslie caused a massive scare in 2004 when he left a bag unattended in his work booth. More recently, Leslie has been at odds with Hogan after he sold counterfeit Hulkster merchandise that he forged Hogan’s signature on.
12. Vince Russo
In 2014, Vince Russo stated he had been dealing with depression for the last two decades. The former WCW head writer and former WCW World Champion claimed wrestling helped bring him down. Russo also stated the scrutiny he faced in WCW caused numerous mental problems, all of which led him to rock bottom. Although Russo has made a good living from wrestling, the former WCW employee has had plenty of low points since leaving the company. In addition, Russo’s very public feud with former colleague Jim Cornette hasn’t helped his wrestling image. In the summer of 2017, Russo, fearing for his life, filed a protective order against Cornette. More recently, Russo has railed against the WWE’s wrestling writers for not being cutting-edge. Russo has definitely hit rock bottom as he continues to live on his past glories which don’t age well!
11. Vincent (Virgil)
Vincent, real name Mike Jones, has become a parody of himself. The former WWE and WCW wrestler is regarded as a comedy figure, and one that few people are laughing with. In 1996, Jones arrived in WCW after years of portraying the Virgil gimmick in WWE and on the indie circuit. Following a run in the N.W.O., Jones was again on the indie scene as he attempted to keep fans interested in him. Over the last 18 years, Jones has tried to stay relevant living off of his former wrestling personas. According to former friend and colleague Ted DiBiase, Jones would get the two booked on indie shows and comic cons without the former Million Dollar Man’s knowledge.
He would then tell the promoters DiBiase couldn’t make it at the last minute.
James Harris, a.k.a. Kamala, has been in bad shape for years. On an episode of The Steve Austin Show, Harris stated he was diagnosed with diabetes while wrestling for the WWE in 1992. In his own words, Harris said the diagnosis was accidental as a doctor at a WWE show was simply showing off how the test worked.
Diabetes would lead to Harris’ retirement, and in 2011, the amputation of his left leg just below the knee.
A year later, Harris’ right leg was amputated just below the knee as well. In November 2017, Harris was placed on life support as doctors frantically removed fluid from around his heart and lungs. As November came to an end, it was reported that Harris had been taken off of life support.
9. Buff Bagwell
Buff Bagwell claims sleep apnea led him to rock bottom. In a 2015 interview on The Steve Austin Show, Bagwell stated he turned to substances to help him get over the disorder. In the interview, Bagwell said he would ingest them to get through the day as he “felt horrible” due to sleep apnea. While it may have helped with the disorder, it made the rest of his life a mess. The former American Male had five DUIs in a 10-year period, and in 2012, Bagwell was involved in a car accident that changed his life. While driving, Bagwell had a seizure and flipped his Jeep. The former grappler suffered facial injuries and a broken vertebrae in his neck. Bagwell was on a feeding tube and ventilator following the accident. He subsequently recovered and has since got his life back on track.
8. Fred Ottman
Fred Ottman was well-known as Typhoon and was one-half of the WWE tag team The Natural Disasters. However, Ottman’s most memorable moment came in 1993 when he portrayed the ridiculous Shockmaster gimmick. His stumbling entrance through an episode of A Flair for the Gold is one of the most memorable WCW moments of all-time. After hanging up the boots, Ottman worked as a safety manager for a company in Florida. However, recently Ottman has hit rock bottom with his health.
Only 61-years old, Ottman has been fighting an infection in his leg that could take his life.
In January 2018, Ottman posted on Facebook about the infection and not being “out of the woods”. The former WCW strongman plans to get back into the ring, or at least make appearances, once his health scare is over. However, it is unknown if and when he will be fully healthy again.
7. Scotty Riggs
Scotty Riggs and Marcus Alexander Bagwell formed the American Males in WCW. Riggs credits Jimmy Hart with pairing the good-looking duo together in the mid-90s as the two went on to mild success. Despite winning the tag belts with Bagwell, Riggs may be better known for his time as a member of Raven’s Flock. It was a gimmick in which Riggs donned Raven’s grunge style and an eye patch to further an injury angle. Riggs worked for ECW after leaving WCW, and later the indies following the former’s closure. He retired from in-ring competition in 2009 due to an accumulation of injuries. In 2012, Riggs had a major health scare when he was unable to hold down fluids. He recovered, but he looks little like he did when he worked for WCW in the ’90s. Today, Riggs is typically one of the wrestlers featured in ‘where are they now?’ articles.
6. Dick Slater
Dick Slater was one-half of the WCW tag team The Hardliners with Dick Murdoch, and later a member of the Stud Stable with Bunkhouse Buck. Slater was known as a very good technical wrestler and all-around tough guy in the 1970s and 1980s. However, there were some that saw him as one of the biggest bullies in the locker room. In 2004, eight years after his retirement, Slater was arrested for attacking his former girlfriend. The court ordered Slater to pay his victim $18,000 in medical expenses and lost wages. Slater blamed medication and his addiction to them, for the attack. In 2013, Slater was arrested once more for theft. When he was arrested, it marked the fifth time since 2007 he was behind bars. Slater truly hit rock bottom during that time period.
5. Jeff Jarrett
Jeff Jarrett’s dream of merging Global Force Wrestling and Impact took a major hit when he was dismissed from the company due to his addiction problems with drinking. The idea was to combine the two companies to make one big rival for the WWE. Jarrett had been battling addiction for some time when he was finally fired from Impact in October 2017. Several reports indicated his behaviour had become increasingly erratic inside and outside the ring. Jarrett won the WCW World Championship four-times despite former company employee Mike Graham claiming the wrestler never drew a dime. Following his firing from Impact, Jarrett entered rehab with some claiming it was sponsored by the WWE.
4. Scott Hall
Scott Hall hit rock bottom several times during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Alcohol and drugs took their toll on the former N.W.O. member. ESPN’s E:60 documentary tells the story of Hall’s fall; but the grappler wasn’t new to alcohol and drugs when he finally hit rock bottom in 2011. Hall had been charged with second degree murder in 1983. The incident occurred outside of a nightclub Hall bounced at. Hall wrestled the gun away from a club patron after being threatened and shot the man. According to Hall, he has been unable to forget the night and it still haunts him. Hall’s best friend Kevin Nash believes the former Razor Ramon has been dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder since the incident. Nash has stated that is why Hall has used alcohol and drugs to medicate over the years. In recent time, Hall has got his life back together thanks to his pal Diamond Dallas Page.
3. Magnum TA
Magnum TA was destined to be Jim Crocket Promotions and WCW’s Hulk Hogan. Some say Magnum TA would have saved JCP/NWA, although it is hard to say what would have happened had he not suffered a career ending injury. On October 14, 1986, Magnum TA crashed his $53,000 Porsche. He simply lost control on a wet road and it left him battling for his life. The grappler was making around $500,000 a year as JCP’s No. 2 babyface behind Dusty Rhodes, and with his wreck, the entire future of the business changed. His wife left him a few years later, and the two hospitals that treated his injuries sued him for $100,000. His career ending injuries not only changed the business, but it caused Magnum TA to go into a dark place. Today, Magnum TA uses a modified Segway to get around as he can’t walk long distances.
2. Lord Steven Regal
Lord Steven Regal, a.k.a. William Regal in the WWE, hit rock bottom during his late-90s run in WCW. Regal’s substance use led to his firing in WCW. In 1998, Regal landed a job with the WWE only to be fired shortly after for substance use. Regal hit rock bottom on a flight from Japan to the United States when he was so messed up he did something terrible to a stewardess. When he awoke in a jail cell, he had no idea how he had got there. Once he walked to the ring with his boots on the wrong feet. Regal got help yet again and finally got straightened out. Since getting clean, he has been a member of the WWE and continues to work in NXT. Regal is an example of a former WCW wrestler who came back from rock bottom.
1. JJ Dillon
J.J. Dillon became one of the least liked figures in wrestling as the manager of the Four Horsemen. For around eight years, Dillon worked in the front office, but left the company on bad terms. His departure had a lot to do with the pay cuts former wrestlers in the front office were receiving at the time. Dillon resurfaced in WCW thanks to Kevin Nash’s help as the two had grown to be friends in Stamford. However, the former manager wasn’t embraced by his new boss Eric Bischoff. Dillon only lasted until 1998 with the company and was forced to find work in the real world. Dillon was able to pick himself up and dust himself off after a while. He got a job with the Delaware Department of Corrections. Dillon worked with the DOC for 13 years until recently retiring.
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