The WWE is often known for their grand spectacles and larger-than-life performances. A lot of this can be attributed to the number of giants that have stepped through the ropes to compete. Currently, you can see Superstars like Big Show, Kane, and Braun Strowman duking it out with smaller wrestlers and awing fans with their massive sizes. Before these wrestlers became a part of the WWE Universe, there were several others that paved a way and made a huge impact (pun intended) on pro-wrestling. From Royal Rumble victories to WrestleMania main events, Vince McMahon always seemed to have some type of giant in the world title picture. Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Jake “The Snake” Roberts are just a few of the legends that have grappled with some of these large wrestlers.
Have you wondered what happened to these over-sized stars when they retired from the ring? Catch up with 15 of the biggest pro-wrestlers in WWE history, who are not still competing in the WWE, as it's obvious where those wrestlers are today. You’ll be surprised to learn about what stars are still performing, what stars went on to relatively normal lives, and which of your favorites have sadly passed away.
One half of The Natural Disasters, many fans may mock Typhoon for his brief stint as The Shockmaster in the WCW. While that moment has become infamous in pro-wrestling history, Fred Ottoman had a much bigger impact as WWE’s Typhoon. He debuted in WWE as Tugboat and was allies with Hulk Hogan. Shortly after, Tugboat turned on Hogan, renamed himself Typhoon, joined Jimmy Hart, and teamed with Earthquake to become The Natural Disasters. The duo was one of the largest and most physical tag teams in WWE history. Their size and power eventually led to a tag team championship victory over Money Inc.
After the whole Shockmaster debacle, Ottoman couldn’t recover and quietly drifted off from his pro-wrestling career. He now resides in Florida, where he raises his children and still has a love of pro-wrestling. Now 60 years old, Typhoon will still make appearances at pro-wrestling conventions and has appeared in numerous podcasts and interviews to talk about his career. His last wrestling appearance in the WWE was in 2001, when he appeared in the WrestleMania X-Seven gimmick battle royal as Tugboat.
14 Big Daddy V/Mabel
A lot of WWE superstars go through gimmick changes, but none may have been more drastic than the man known as Mabel. Mabel debuted in the WWE in the rapping tag team duo known as Men on a Mission. Wearing gold colored outfits and sporting bleached air, Mabel was a force in the ring, winning events like the King of the Ring. After leaving the WWE in 1996, the big star would return in 1998 as part of The Undertaker’s stable known as The Ministry of Darkness. Renamed Viscera, the behemoth would crush opponents and have a short stint as the WWE Hardcore champion. His bleached hair was shaved into a mohawk and he wore all-white contact lenses. As if Viscera wasn’t a big enough change, the world was introduced to Big Daddy V in 2007. With tattoos and a new angry attitude, he feuded with Superstars like Tommy Dreamer and CM Punk.
Sadly, Big Daddy V passed away in 2014. The cause of death was a ruled a heart attack. He had just turned 43, but had not wrestled for several years. He may not have been the most popular giant wrestler in WWE history, but he made a monstrous impact.
When a giant debuts in pro-wrestling, they are typically promoted as an unstoppable monster that tears through opponents. That is why it was so refreshing to see Rikishi come into the ring and dance his way around. One of his signature moves was the “stink face” and the performer had success as an Intercontinental champion and multi-time tag team champion.
Today, Rikishi may not be wrestling on WWE programming, but his children are. The Usos have been in the WWE for several years and are the twin sons of Rikishi. In 2015, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Rikishi now trains wrestlers at the KnokxPro Pro WrestlingAcademy and books appearances for independent promotions. One notable wrestler to train with Rikishi is the current United States Champion, Rusev.
12 Giant Gonzales
It was hard to ignore the 8 foot tall Giant Gonzales when he entered the WWE ring. It was also hard to tell if this was due to his height or the strange air-brushed bodysuit that he was fitted with. Gonzales wasn’t in the WWE long, but he a had memorable feud with The Undertaker that began at WrestleMania IX. While he didn't put on a class with Taker at the biggest show of the year, it was still a spectacle to see this mountain of a man in the ring.
His massive size led to a lot of health problems and forced him into retirement in 1995. He returned to his home country of Argentina where he lived for several years. After battling his health ailments, Gonzalez passed away in 2010. He was 44 at the time of his death.
11 Gene Snitsky
He stood at 6’ 8” and had an intimidating look during his time in the WWE. Famous for the catchphrase “It wasn’t my fault!” Snitsky quickly became humorous fodder and wasn’t taken seriously enough to become a true contender for the WWE Championship. I mean, if you're going to punt a toy baby into the crowd, it's likely not going to lead to a WWE Championship reign.
Even though his WWE career was short-lived, Snitsky took advantage of his massive size. Aside from landing small acting gigs, one of his more high-profile career choices was as a professional bodyguard to former New York Yankees player Alex Rodriguez. Now that A-Rod is retired, Snitsky may find more security detail and put that size to good use. He also does pitch videos on YouTube for pressure cookers and is trying to get into acting.
10 Kevin Nash
Kevin Nash is not only one of the biggest performers in pro-wrestling history, he was one of the most popular. Whether it was in WWE as Diesel, or in WCW as simply Kevin Nash, he has had several iconic moments in the squared-circle.
While you can never rule out a surprise appearance from Nash, the performer no longer wrestles full-time. He is still involved with the business, often recording interviews for documentaries, appearing on podcasts, and showing up with his Kliq buddies Scott Hall and Sean Waltman. More recently, he appeared as a guest manager to the minor league baseball team, the Bridgeport Bluefish, and has acted in a few different films, with his biggest role being Tarzan in Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL. He is also a member of the WWE Hall of Fame, a well-deserved spot for the big man.
9 Big John Studd
If Andre the Giant wasn’t stealing headlines during the 1980s, then Big John Studd may have been featured in multiple WrestleMania main events. Studd stood at 6’ 10” and often overshadowed his opponents. At the inaugural WrestleMania, he went toe to toe with Andre the Giant in a body slam challenge. After Andre got the best of Studd, his career quietly drifted off as Studd retired and made very few appearances in the following years. He tried his hand in acting, with a couple of small roles in films like Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man and The Protector.
After being diagnosed with liver cancer in the earlier nineties, Studd passed away in 1995 due to the disease. His son also became a professional wrestler, but never had reached the same status as his father.
8 King Kong Bundy
At nearly 500 pounds and standing over six feet tall, King Kong Bundy had a huge presence in the ring. He shocked fans by crushing Hulk Hogan’s ribs and had a memorable steel cage battle with him at WrestleMania 2. That was only the beginning of Bundy’s career as the performer has competed all over the globe for several years, continuing on the indie circuit until 2016 and winning a variety of championships.
Today, Bundy can be found actively tweeting fans on his twitter and performing stand-up gigs around the country. He is also a part of the massive CTE lawsuit that was filed against the WWE. The lawsuit tries to hold the WWE responsible for injuries, brain damage, and trauma associated with their careers in pro-wrestling.
John Tenta is better known to wrestling fans as Earthquake. Originally a sumo wrestler, he used his girth and size to crush opponents and even once squashed the beloved python owned by Jake Roberts. Even with his nearly 500 pound frame, Earthquake could go with the best of them and had great movement in the ring. He had a fairly successful career in both the WWE and WCW, managing to win the WWE World Tag Team Championship as half of The Natural Disasters, along with the aforementioned Typhoon.
In the year 2004, Earthquake announced to his fans that he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. After multiple years of fighting the cancer, he passed away in 2006 at the age of 42. His legacy lives on through memorable battles with Hulk Hogan, Big Boss Man, and Yokozuna.
6 The Great Khali
He may not have been the smoothest wrestler in the WWE, but it was hard to deny the impressive size and height of The Great Khali. With a few swats of his hand, Khali went on to win championships and feud with stars like Batista and John Cena.
The 7’1” pro-wrestler from India would gain more attention than just in the WWE ring. He is considered a hero in India and currently does several appearances there. During an appearance in February of 2016, The Great Khali was attacked in the ring, creating a bloody display that many fans thought were real. He needed stitches for the incident and the story quickly spread through the news. He also has had several small roles in movies and television shows in both India and the United States.
5 Bam Bam Bigelow
Bam Bam Bigelow was large, fast, and delivered an incredible flying headbutt from the top-rope. He had a unique gimmick but never got his true chance to shine in the WWE. After leaving the WWE in the mid-1990s, Bigelow continued to wrestle for several promotions and still delivered his high-flying and fast style to opponents.
Outside of the ring, Bam Bam Bigelow will likely be remembered for his heroics in the year 2000. After he noticed that a home was on fire, Bigelow headed back inside to save three children from the burning flames. In 2007, sadly Bigelow passed away due to a drug overdose. The wrestler was only 45.
He is often featured as a character in WWE video games, including the newest game, WWE 2K17.
Often referred to as the “The Ugandan Giant,” Kamala wrestled through multiple generations of the WWE. He battled the likes of other huge men like Andre the Giant and The Undertaker. While he never won any WWE titles, his unique character and white face paint will always be remembered by fans. He'd also wrestle in WCW and ROH, along with making sporadic appearances at other indie events.
After a lengthy battle with diabetes, Kamala had to have both of his legs amputated. He currently makes appearances at wrestling events and conventions to help promote his autobiographical book. The book details his career in wrestling and the battle with diabetes that he has had to overcome. Like King Kong Bundy, Kamala is also a part of the lawsuit against the WWE over brain injuries.
3 Big Van Vader
Vader was rough in the ring and known for his iconic leather mask. He was main event superstar in both WWE and WCW, where he feuded with Mick Foley, Sting, and Shawn Michaels among others. One of his more impressive feats was the moonsault he performed while weighing 400 pounds. Vader would often use this move as his finisher and crowds would be in awe as he flipped to the mat below.
Despite being out of the WWE spotlight, Vader still loves to get in the ring. He often makes independent appearances, displaying his aerobatic skills at the age of 61. One of his biggest presences right now is on Twitter where he often writes about current WWE storylines and wrestlers on the independent scene. Recently, he was in the limelight for criticizing a match between Ricochet and Will Ospreay, and actually had a match last August.
It was hard to ignore Yokozuna’s presence in the ring. This was either because of his 580 pound frame or the fact that he barley covered it up by wearing a small singlet and tights each time he wrestled. Yokozuna will probably go down as one of the best giant wrestlers ever. He won a Royal Rumble, main evented at multiple WrestleManias, and had great feuds with The Undertaker, Bret Hart and Hulk Hogan.
The massive weight that made Yokozuna a star also led to his downfall and eventual death. Yokozuna passed away in the year 2000 due to a pulmonary edema. Many of his family members would go on to see success in the WWE. This includes performers like The Rock, Umaga, and The Usos.
1 Andre the Giant
You cannot talk about the rise of the WWE without mentioning Andre the Giant. He demanded attention when he entered the ring and his natural charisma led to roles in iconic films like The Princess Bride. Andre would be a huge part of the WWE in the 1980s, feuding with Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, and Jake “The Snake” Roberts. He'd win a couple of championships in the WWE during that time, winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and WWE Tag Team Championship.
After retiring in the early 1990s, Andre went back home to Paris, France so that he could live out his final days. He passed away in early 1993 and was the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame. His legacy now lives on with the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal taking place each year at WrestleMania.
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