The Ruthless Aggression Era is still remembered fondly for the impressive wrestlers and storylines to come from the time. WWE said goodbye to the Attitude Era in 2002 shortly after losing the WWE trademark to the World Wildlife Fund. The new identity of WWE gave them a chance to start a new era with talents like Steve Austin, The Rock, and Mick Foley phasing out for different reasons.
WWE’s biggest project in the Ruthless Aggression Era was creating new stars to build around. Talents like John Cena, Batista, Edge and Eddie Guerrero were given chances to become main eventers. The roster was loaded with everyone having to contribute something in the ring. Unlike the Attitude Era, it was no longer easy to get by with a silly gimmick. We will look back at certain wrestlers from the time regarding their current lives. These are five Ruthless Aggression wrestlers that are still wrestling today along with five that are surprisingly retired.
10 Still Wrestling: Chris Masters
WWE expected Chris Masters to become one of their top stars when giving him a strong heel push as The Masterpiece. Masters remained dominant throughout his first few months with the Masterlock hold and he even would have a PPV storyline with Shawn Michaels.
A combination of wellness policy violations and lackluster work doomed him from thriving. WWE eventually cut bait with Masters as he’s spent most of the decade wrestling on the independent circuit. Some of the promotions to spotlight Masters include F1rst Wrestling, IPW Germany and BWT.
9 Surprisingly Retired: Trevor Murdoch
The tag team of Trevor Murdoch and Lance Cade showed great potential for WWE during the end of the Ruthless Aggression era. Murdoch drew comparisons to legendary wrestler Dick Murdoch which inspired his name. Despite three reigns as World Tag Team Champions, WWE split the team of Murdoch and Cade up.
Murdoch struggled as a singles performer and would get released faster than expected. The final match of Murdoch took place in early 2018 as he has since left the sport. Murdoch now works a normal life with a job installing fiber optic cables for an equipment company.
8 Still Wrestling: Tajiri
Tajiri had an impressive run in WWE that lasted about seven years. The track record of WWE’s use of Japanese talents has not been ideal which provides more reason to respect Tajiri’s longevity in the company. WWE even tried bringing him back in 2016 for the cruiserweight division, but injuries ruined those plans.
Tajiri is still wrestling full-time at the age of 49, primarily in Japan. The main promotions to book him include AJPW and BJW. Tajiri still makes rare appearances in North America as he was recently booked during WrestleMania 35 weekend for the major WrestleCon show and a House of Glory show.
7 Surprisingly Retired: Candice Michelle
The recent appearance at Raw Reunion for Candice Michelle saw her win the WWE 24/7 Championship in a comedic moment before losing it a few seconds later. Michelle still looks like she can perform if need be, but she officially retired back in 2017.
The sole wrestling match outside of WWE would see Michelle retire on her own terms defeating her good friend Lisa Marie Varon aka WWE’s Victoria at a House of Hardcore event. Tommy Dreamer booked the show and would give Candice one final match in her home state of Wisconsin.
6 Still Wrestling: Katie Lea Burchill
Katie Lea Burchill was called up to the main roster towards the end of the Ruthless Aggression Era. The controversial gimmick the act of her and a brother character Paul Burchill having romantic overtones. WWE, however, started to switch to the PG Era around this time which canceled the gimmick.
There was no real plan for Katie aside from this character and she did not find much success on the main roster. The wrestling career is still going for her today under the name of Katarina Waters. She started the year as part of the Impact Wrestling roster and is now a member of the WOW roster. Waters also has an acting career going outside of the ring.
5 Surprisingly Retired: Muhammad Hassan
The push of Muhammad Hassan in the Ruthless Aggression Era made him one of the most controversial figures at the time. Hassan touched on the prejudice he faced as a Muslim a few years after 9/11 despite being American. The element of reality, however, was used in a heel manner to rip apart the fans and face wrestlers.
WWE went too far by having Hassan and a group of masked men orchestrate an intense attack on The Undertaker on the same day as a terrorist attack in London. The television network demanded the character end and Hassan would ultimately lose his spot. Hassan is now working as a junior high school principal away from wrestling.
4 Still Wrestling: MVP
MVP’s WWE run made him one of the top mid-carders of the Ruthless Aggression Era. A tremendous push started with the portrayal of an arrogant athlete that received a big contract from WWE that loved to showboat against his opponents with little respect.
The lengthy United States Championship reign of MVP made him a valuable star. MVP’s run eventually ended when he wanted to leave WWE to chase of his dream of wrestling in Japan. The current work of MVP has him wrestling on the indie circuit with his most recent noteworthy appearances coming in ROH.
3 Surprisingly Retired: Shane Helms
Shane Helms found tremendous success as The Hurricane in WWE during the Ruthless Aggression Era. A memorable feud with The Rock was his peak in the company during the time frame. Helms made the comedic Hurricane character as a delusional superhero.
The life after WWE has seen Helms wrestle on the independent circuit and working as a producer for Impact Wrestling. WWE would make the call to hire Helms back as a producer given his experience and knowledge. Helms took the offer to retire from the ring with his final matches coming in April before starting full-time in WWE.
2 Still Wrestling: Rob Van Dam
Rob Van Dam is among the most surprising wrestlers from the Ruthless Aggression Era to still wrestle today. The ECW legend made a bigger name in WWE as one of the most beloved stars as the company transitioned out of the Attitude Era.
Most fans expected RVD to retire by now given his older age and history of concussions. Van Dam recently returned to Impact Wrestling as an active member of the roster. There is no doubt that RVD has lost a step or three, but his name value is important for Impact. Van Dam even appeared for WWE at the Raw Reunion show in a non-wresting role.
1 Surprisingly Retired: Charlie Haas
The tag team of Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas found tremendous success in the early stages of the Ruthless Aggression Era as Team Angle. Kurt Angle was a top star and helped provide great credibility for them right away. WWE eventually split them up when seeing more potential in Benjamin as a singles star.
Haas and Benjamin reunited once more in Ring of Honor before that run came to an end. The current life of Haas him retired from wrestling working for a medical supply company. Charlie and his wife Jackie Gayda also have started a few health and fitness projects together.