Wrestling isn't a permanent job for everyone that steps into the squared circle. There are those wrestlers that achieve great success in the business like Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin. These grapplers have been able to parlay their success into areas outside of the industry. However, not everyone one to step into the ring have been able to have the prolonged success of Hogan and Austin.
There comes a time when wrestlers have to decide whether to continue with the careers in the WWE, New Japan, Impact or elsewhere, or to hang up their boots. Some can work the indies and hang on to the hope of one last run. Others retire altogether and move into work in other industries. It isn't uncommon for a wrestler to leave the business and begin a 9 to 5 job. With the WWE still the biggest wrestling company in the world, wrestlers don't have the ability to move to another company to make similar salaries. At least not everyone. Despite the success of promotions like Ring of Honor and Impact, no other company can pay what the WWE can.
With a lack of options to make the same kind of money the; these wrestlers have given up the business and found employment elsewhere.
15 Tim Wiese
Tim Wiese was a German soccer goalkeeper for Werder Bremen and Hoffenheim in his homeland. He was also a German international that appeared at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. In the prime of his career and rumoured for a move to legendary Spanish club Barcelona, Wiese quit soccer and declared he needed a change of jobs. He became an obsessed bodybuilder and completely transformed his physique. Wiese went from a well put together soccer star into a mountain of muscles. His appearances suddenly looked more like a wrestling star than a professional soccer player. WWE scouts spotted Wiese and signed him to a developmental contract in 2016. It was predicted that Wiese would become the face of WWE in Germany.
After only one year in WWE Developmental, the 35-year-old Wiese left the company and returned home to Germany.
Wiese has appeared for a minor league soccer team in Germany since leaving WWE developmental. After returning to soccer, Wiese claimed he would return to the top of Germany's professional leagues. Reports indicated Wiese lost much of his muscle mass he gained while bodybuilding. He needed to drop the weight to be able to move in goal. While the muscle mass would have worked in the squared circle, it wouldn't on the soccer pitch.
14 John Nord
John Nord's biggest run in the wrestling business came in 1991 as The Berserker in the WWE. Clad in a Viking helmet and carrying a shield and sword, Nord portrayed a Bruiser Brody-esque gimmick. The wild man won his matches by tossing opponents over the top rope and getting them counted out. It was a different way for a heel to win a match and one not seen previously. Nord's career in the WWE came to an end when he helped Kevin Wacholz beat up Vince McMahon. Nord didn't physically attack his boss, but he did allegedly watch the door while Wacholz roughed up their boss. Nord's days were numbered and he was released weeks later.
He went on to wrestle in All Japan Pro Wrestling and Nord's last major run was in WCW in 1997. He was a regular on the company's 6:05 Saturday Night show. Since retiring from wrestling, Nord has worked as a car salesman. He has also been a part of lawsuits against the WWE for head injuries. In January 2018, wrestling message boards were a buzz when Nord appeared on an episode of Judge Mathis. Allegedly in poor shape, Nord had tried to sell some of his old figures for inflated prices. When the buyer found out, he took Nord onto the TV court show.
13 Diamond Dallas Page
Diamond Dallas Page is arguably more popular and famous for his yoga than for his wrestling. Few professional wrestlers have come as far as DDP. He started out as a bar manager in Florida who loved wrestling. Many of the stars of the 1980s would swing by his establishment and hang out on the way to the next town. He luckily found his way to the AWA as a manager during the promotion's last days. Later, he popped up in WCW as a manager and wrestler. Despite being tested by veterans that wanted him to leave the business, DDP stuck with it and got better. He made use of WCW's Power Plant and learned at every opportunity.
He got a mid-card push and slowly built himself a respectable career. When Kevin Nash and Scott Hall arrived in 1996, the duo gave DDP the rub of a lifetime. He went on to be one of WCW's most important wrestlers of all-time. After hanging up his boots, DDP began developing his yoga program. Based on traditional yoga and rehabilitation moves, DDP created a system that has helped thousands. In the same way that the Rock is more known for acting today, DDP is far more recognized for his yoga than his WCW World Heavyweight Title reigns.
12 Paul Burchill
Paul Burchill is remembered as the wrestling pirate. That is, if WWE fans remember him at all. Burchill has stated the company wanted someone to portray a gimmick due to Pirates of the Carribean. Vince McMahon told Burchill in person that he would be the second wrestler in WWE's history to be a pirate after Carl Ouelett. Burchill spent around four years in the WWE before being released by the company in February 2010. Burchill was another of the disposable wrestlers the WWE's roster contained in the noughties. Not wanting to give up the wrestling business just yet, Burchill worked the indies until 2017, when he decided to hang up his boots.
Burchill's young family influenced his decision to find a 9 to 5 job and put the wrestling industry behind him. Although he spent a further seven years working the indies, Burchill has stated the WWE was the pinnacle of his career and he had gotten his fill of the business. While working as an indie wrestler, Burchill started training to be a paramedic and firefighter. He currently works in Jeffersontown, Kentucky and works for the local fire department. Burchill has nothing but good things to say about the WWE after he was granted a WWE Talent Scholarship to help him gain his degree and become a fire fighter.
11 Spike Dudley
Spike Dudley, real name Matt Hyson, burst onto the wrestling scene in 1996 as a kayfabe member of the Dudley family. Spotted by ECW training school head trainer Taz, Dudley dropped his life in California and moved to New York. There, he began training at the ECW House of Hardcore before debuting in the promotion. Dudley started out mostly doing jobs as the runt of the Dudley family. In ECW, Dudley grew a cult following due to the incredibly crazy bumps he would take, like being thrown from the ring into the front row of arenas by Bam Bam Bigelow. Dudley went on to the WWE after ECW's closure and built a solid four-year career in the promotion.
In June 2005, Dudley was released from the WWE as the company began cutting costs.
He later turned up in TNA and continued his dangerous wrestling bumps. Dudley left wrestling in 2015 and began working in the financial sector. He went on to work for MassMutual and numerous WWE wrestlers consult with Dudley about investing their money. Dudley decided moving into a permanent position rather than to work on the indies. His decision was made due to having a young family and the life of an indie wrestler being unable to properly support it.
10 Trish Stratus
Diamond Dallas Page isn't the only former wrestler to become a yoga instructor. Trish Stratus moved into the yoga world following a highly successful WWE Hall of Fame career. Stratus debuted in the WWE in 2000 as a manager. Within her first year, she was working as a wrestler and had gained the WWE Women's Title for the first time. Stratus would win the women's belt seven times along with the WWE Hardcore Championship on one occasion. Stratus' small frame made each bump even more dangerous. Due to the physical toll, Stratus only wrestled for six years in the WWE.
Although she had sporadic appearances in the WWE after retirement, Stratus focused on work outside of the company. In 2008, Stratus opened the Stratusphere Yoga Studio. She now owns a large yoga studio that teaches the discipline and preaches healthy living. In 2013, Stratusphere Yoga Studio won Top Choice Award's Best Yoga Studio award. Stratus has also starred in a number of yoga videos for all levels. Now more than 10 years after leaving the squared circle full-time, Stratus looks far different. Her success as a yoga instructor shows that DDP has some competition. However, the Stratusphere appears to teach more traditional yoga than DDP's version.
9 Greg Gagne
Greg Gagne was a star of the AWA territory throughout the 1970s and 1980s. His father Verne owned the promotion, and Greg had a hand in running the day-to-day operations. Thanks to his father owning the AWA, Gagne got a substantial push and his family's reputation helped establish him as a top grappler. After the AWA closed its doors in 1991, Gagne went on to work for WCW as an agent. He also worked on the booking committee, and according to Gagne, he helped bring Hulk Hogan to WCW. Upon leaving WCW, Gagne became a car salesman and sold Mitsubishi cars at a Minnesota car lot. He later took a role with the WWE as an agent, but when that ran out, Gagne became a financial trader.
The commodities he trades in helps former AWA wrestlers who are in need of money. Additionally, Gagne worked with several former wrestlers and friends as a trainer at a wrestling school. The school was headed by former AWA wrestler "Rock 'n' Roll" Buck Zumhofe. However, Zumhofe was found in serious trouble for an incident involving his daughter. Reports reveal that Gagne has also coached football while in his post-wrestling years. Gagne had played college football at the University of Minnesota in the late 1960s.
8 Reckless Youth
Any wrestling fan that flipped through a copy of Pro Wrestling Illustrated during the late 1990s would have seen Reckless Youth. Real name Tom Carter, Reckless Youth was a high-flying cruiserweight that most fans never got to see wrestle during his prime. Instead, fans read about the indie superstar and saw his grunge-inspired persona in black and white wrestling magazine pictures. Reckless Youth was synonymous with indie wrestling in the 1990s. Somehow, he never got his big break despite being constantly rumoured to debut on Raw or Monday Nitro. Reckless Youth continued working steadily into the 2000s. Many of his noughties matches were in Combat Zone Wrestling and Chikara.
After years of working the Reckless Youth gimmick, Carter felt it was time for a change. He also believed a new gimmick might help his chances with the WWE as he got older. Injury and time off also influenced Carter's gimmick evolution, and when Ring of Honor called him about its Pure Division Title, it gave birth to the "The Technician" Tom Carter. While wrestling, Carter worked as an accountant to fuel his wrestling habit. After retiring, he became a full-time accountant and currently works for Jones Apparel as Tax Department Director. Many of the cruiserweights he influenced have gone onto big things in wrestling today.
7 Jim Crockett Jr
Jim Crockett Jr went toe to toe with Vince McMahon in the 1980s, and had the WWE not sabotaged many of the NWA-JCP's events, the Crocketts may be the most famous wrestling family today. Crockett took over the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling company from his father in 1973. Up until the takeover, Crockett had been interested in other sports promotions, but quickly got up to speed with one of the hottest wrestling properties in the United States. Although Mid-Atlantic Wrestling and JCP would become the face of the NWA by the mid-1980s, the company was still operating as a mom and pop business. Tony Schiavone regularly recollects JCP's small time operations. Shows were recorded live to tape and marketing promotions were nonexistent.
Crockett has even said he wasn't the businessman he should have been and he wasn't paying enough attention to the purse strings until it was too late. In 1988, Crockett sold the company to Ted Turner amongst protest from his family. His employment at WCW didn't last long and Crockett was soon out of wrestling. He did make a slight comeback with Paul Heyman and created the World Wrestling Network. It was ultimately unsuccessful. After retiring for good in 1994 from the business, Crockett became a well-known realtor in Texas. He apparently kept his past a secret from many of his employees. Crockett works in the Dallas area as a veteran home loan specialist currently.
6 David Flair
David Flair didn't want to be a wrestler. His half-brother Reid and half-sister Ashley did, and the latter has become well-known for her in-ring work. David just wanted to have a closer relationship with his father, the famed Ric Flair. It isn't easy being a second-generation wrestler and it certainly isn't easy being Flair's son. David tried his hand at wrestling and surprisingly lasted nine years in the business working from 1999 to 2008. Trained at the WCW Power Plant, it wasn't long before veteran wrestlers were trying David in the ring. Hulk Hogan famously whipped David with his weight belt on an episode of Monday Nitro, perhaps seeing if the kid really wanted to be a professional wrestler.
David got a strong push in WCW following his whipping and even turned heel against his father.
He went on to hold both the WCW United States Title and co-hold the company's World Tag Team Titles. After WCW closed, David was signed by WWE, but didn't last long in developmental. He did work a segment with The Undertaker as the "Deadman" prepared for an upcoming WrestleMania match with his dad. David worked TNA and the indies until finally retiring in 2008. He married Robin Haskell, whose family owns Seal Wire Company, a wholesale electric wire and cable business. David works with his wife at the company.
5 Trevor Murdoch
Trevor Murdoch was a throwback to wrestling from a bygone era. The Missouri native joined WWE in 2005 and his physique was far from the chiseled, muscle bound superstars that Vince McMahon salivates over. Murdoch was trained by former NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race. His abilities and in-ring skill were solid thanks to his training and having Race's wrestling school on his resume helped Murdoch land a job in WWE. But just as Murdoch was getting started with the WWE, winning the World Tag Team Titles on three occasions with Lance Cade, he was gone.
In July 2008, Murdoch was released from his contract. Murdoch worked the indies and TNA briefly during 2009. After Cade was released from the WWE as well, the two teamed back up to work independent shows. After years of working a real job and wrestling on the weekends, Murdoch decided to hang up his boots in May 2017. Murdoch's family and aging body helped influence his decision. Along with his wife, Murdoch ran a bar and grill in Eldon, Missouri. However, more recently the former WWE superstar worked in construction as a fibre optic cable installation worker. In 2016, it was reported he had opened his own wrestling school in Kansas City, Missouri.
4 Jimmy Garvin
"Gorgeous" Jimmy Garvin retired from professional wrestling in 1994 after 26 years in the business. The kayfabe relative of Ronnie Garvin, "Gorgeous" received national attention in 1983 when he arrived in Dallas' World Class Championship Wrestling. He became a major star in the promotion feuding with the Von Erichs. He won WCCW's major titles before moving to the AWA where he won tag team gold. In 1986, Garvin moved to NWA-Jim Crockett Promotions and became known for his inflammatory promos targeted at Wahoo McDaniel, Magnum TA and other babyfaces.
As the 1980s came to an end, Garvin joined Michael "P.S." Hayes as a member of the Fabulous Freebirds. The tag team was an updated version of the original heat seeking trio of Hayes, Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts, and it has influenced Jim Cornette to call the duo the Fake Birds. Following retirement, Garvin became a commercial airline pilot and more recently works for a private jet company called NetJets. In 2016, Garvin was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame alongside Hayes and the rest of the Fabulous Freebirds.
3 Rick Steiner
Google the name Rick Steiner and real estate, and you will find a number of links with information about the "Dog Faced Gremlins'" post-wrestling career. The former Michigan Wolverine debut in the squared circle in 1983. His amateur skills were highly sought after by wrestling promoters at the time and it helped get Steiner into the business. Although he wasn't a big fan growing up, professional wrestling was a way to make some money. A graduate from Michigan with a degree in education, Steiner began wrestling professionally to pay the bills. Turns out, he was a natural.
One of his early territory stops was in Bill Watts' Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF). He teamed up with a green wrestler named Sting and the pair won the company's tag team titles. From there, Steiner went to the NWA-Jim Crockett Promotions, which became WCW. A move to the WWE followed in 1992 before returning to WCW in 1996. After taking a break from wrestling for TNA in 2004, Steiner got into the real estate business. It was an industry the former multi-time tag team champion was meant for. Not only is Steiner great at his job, reviews on LinkedIn from long-time fans praise his work after buying a home from him.
Brakkus was one of the most hyped WWE wrestlers during the Attitude Era. Discovered by Shane McMahon, the WWE fell in love with the German bodybuilder's bulging physique. His muscly frame convinced Vince McMahon that Brakkus could be the next big professional wrestling star. This, despite McMahon's early 1990s World Bodybuilding Federation being a bust. Brakkus, real name Achim Albrecht, was brought into train with Dr. Tom Prichard. The trainer had worked with and developed some of the best WWE wrestlers of the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, Brakkus wasn't one of them. Several wrestlers including Prichard and Don Callis have spoken about Brakkus being a danger and unable to work.
The bodybuilder turned grappler was quickly loaned out to USWA and ECW to get some seasoning.
However, neither move helped. After leaving the WWE in 1999 and working a few indie shots, Brakkus retired. In his two-year career, he had already gained numerous injuries that forced him out of the business. Today, he lives in San Francisco and works as a strength, fitness and body building coach. Although his Facebook page hasn't been updated in a while, fans can see the future professional bodybuilders Brakkus has worked with.
1 Ted DiBiase Jr
Ted DiBiase Jr left the WWE in 2013 and later that year retired from wrestling. The son of the world famous "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, he found living up to his father's incredible wrestling persona difficult. Dibiase Jr also found the road schedule and life in the WWE to get old. In a 2015 interview, DiBiase Jr said he woke up one day hating what he had become. The birth of his child also influenced his decision to leave the wrestling business. Since leaving, DiBiase Jr has become a businessman and his profile on LinkedIn outlines the companies he has worked with post-WWE.
Now living in Mississippi, DiBiase Jr is the Vice President of Business Development for One Life America. The company works in financial and insurance services. The son of the "Million Dollar Man" also works as a motivational speaker alongside his father. The DiBiase duo speak at religious and church events around the United States. They share their stories from a world of wrestling that is foreign to many and the temptations that they both saw. Although DiBiase Jr has been seen at WWE events in Mississippi, the family man doesn't appear to have any desire to put on the trunks once more.
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