The WWE Attitude Era really defined modern day wrestling. Most fans from that time period that are still fans today (or who abandoned it) clamour for the ways of the pre-PG era. The days of Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Undertaker or the likes of a stable such as D-Generation X are long gone. While the big names are starting to enter the Hall of Fame or have an elite status with the company, there were plenty of others that played a key role that you might have forgotten about. The people left their marks in the company, even if the WWE does not want you to remember it.
The one thing about the Attitude Era was the amount of tragedy involved. Big name stars during this time certainly left us way too early. These stars have been omitted from this list, but guys such as Test, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, and Big Bossman all played prominent roles during the latter part of the Attitude Era. However, you will be surprised at some of the people on this list. Some of these people have moved on to do great things and some are even still active in the industry, just not the WWE.
Guys like Chris Jericho, Kane, and The Undertaker still put their time in today as this proves how important this time period was. Some of the people on this list just could not catch on or were not the right fit for the characters they portrayed. Others moved on based on their own merits. While some of these people might have left a bad taste in Vince McMahon’s mouth, they should not be forgotten for their contributions during this revolution of professional wrestling. Here are our Top 15 “Where Are They Now” Stories for Forgotten Attitude Era Stars.
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The Undertaker and Stone Cold Steve Austin had a pretty awesome rivalry going during the Attitude Era. Before Taker went all “Last Ride” on us, he led the faction known as The Ministry. His closest disciple, Mideon, received a lot of time on television and was everywhere Taker was. It actually turns out that Mideon (Dennis Knight) is actually good friends with Taker outside of the ring, so this really worked out for him. After the breakup of The Ministry, Mideon would dawn the Naked Mideon persona. This certainly wasn’t one of the Attitude Era’s best moments. After he left the WWE in 2000, he went into the culinary industry where he now owns his own catering company, Dennis Knight Catering. As of late, he has been working on writing a screenplay involving The Undertaker.
Everyone that is even a partial fan of wrestling is familiar with the name Goldberg. He was the face of the WWE’s rival, WCW, during the Monday Night Wars in the late 90s. Goldberg went on an unprecedented undefeated streak that pushed him to the heavens. To poke at WCW, the bookers at WWE created the character of Gillberg, who was the complete opposite. He was an old, short, scrawny bald character that would lose every match he competed in. Ironically, the former member of the J.O.B. Squad held the Light Heavyweight Championship prior to going into this gimmick. He never put the belt on the line during this time and lost it on his final appearance in 2000 on Sunday Night Heat to Essa Rios. Gillberg would have some part-time appearances in the future and eventually opened Gillberg’s Wrestling School due to his love for the industry.
13 The Headbangers
There is nothing like rocking bald heads with face paint and plaid skirts in the 90s. Sadly, Glen “Thrasher” Ruth and Chaz “Mosh” Warrington actually had worked hard in the industry and were not the biggest fans of the gimmick. A forgotten tag team during the Attitude Era, they feuded with the likes of the Insane Clown Posse. After a torn ACL for Thrasher split the team up, there was not much more success afterwards. Once they were out of the WWE in 2001, Ruth would end up in the restaurant management industry and Warrington became a Sales Director for an imaging company in Tampa. However, thanks to Jim Cornette, the two have popped up competing in Ring of Honor, more recently.
12 Terri Runnels
Making her debut as Marlena alongside her real life husband Dustin Runnels, Terri Runnels went all out during the Attitude Era. She was an excellent manager and she was even the first female The Dudley Boyz put through a table. She actually requested the table not be gimmicked and enjoyed being put through it. Terri would eventually leave the WWE and subsequently divorce her husband. She still manages an excellent relationship with Dustin for her daughter Dakota. As for now, she has a strong involvement in visiting troops overseas and also supporting philanthropic causes such as Make a Wish Foundation and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America.
Tori was a top Diva during the peak of the sexual push of the Attitude Era. A former fitness champion, Tori was a part of D-Dgeneration X after Chyna departed. Alongside X-Pac and Kane, Tori was the perfect manager at the time. After some time spent with Raven, she quit wrestling altogether. Her focus was on yoga, as she know runs her own yoga studio in Portland, Oregon. Tori never won a women’s title in the WWE, however helped Stephanie McMahon accomplish this feat. She left the WWE, as a whole, after a stint as a trainer on the show Tough Enough.
10 “Lethal Weapon” Steve Blackman
The WWE’s spokesperson for kendo sticks, the “Lethal Weapon” Steve Blackman was a mid-card combatant during the Attitude Era. The reason I do not say wrestler was due to his focus on martial arts. After dominating the Hardcore division, Blackman would leave the WWE in 2002 after suffering a neck injury. Blackman stated in an interview that people approached him for training, afterwards. With his background in everything from Jiu-Jitsu to Muay Thai kickboxing, he was able to attract people who were interested in learning those disciplines. Blackman would go on to open his own facility in Harrisburg, PA. The success grew into Blackman starting his own fighting league called the Pennsylvania Fighting Championship.
It became a customary act to see Debra and her “Puppies” on Monday Night Raw later in the Attitude Era. After Sable left, Debra seemed to pop up as the main sexual symbol for WWE. As a manager, she lead quite a few Superstars to the ring and even managed to win a Women’s Championship. She had the look and feel of professional wrestling, and even ended up marrying Stone Cold Steve Austin. That ended badly with a domestic dispute and she left the WWE in 2002.
Currently, Debra is going all out in school as she recently graduated the University of Alabama with honors and is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice.
8 D’Lo Brown
D’Lo Brown used to walk with a swagger during his time in the WWE, dawning a chest protector for a torn pectoral that he later admitted was a gimmick, Brown saw success in The Nation of Domination and as an Intercontinental Champion and a four-time European Champion. Unfortunately, he would end up being involved in another wrestler, Droz, becoming paralyzed. He has mentioned since that moment he was not the same and quit wrestling for a time. However, to this day, D’Lo is still involved in the industry. He was in charge of talent development and acquisitions for TNA’s Gut Check program. D’Lo was also a part of All Japan Pro Wrestling until 2014 and eventually ended up holding a weekly class for the Future Stars of Wrestling in Las Vegas.
7 Hardcore Holly
Bob “Hardcore” Holly was surprisingly with the WWE until 2009. However, his big peak was during the latter part of the Attitude Era with his Holly cousins Crash and Molly. Even more surprising is the number of injuries he sustained over the years. While he is still involved in the industry on the independent circuits, he had time to write a book, as The Hardcore Truth was released in April 2013. It was co-authored by another wrestler, Ross Williams, who actually competed against Holly in 2010. Many of the reviews were positive and plenty of notes stated that the book was very straightforward and honest.
The Tag Team Division was a key part to the latter half of the Attitude Era. For you “youngins," Edge and Christian were part of a vampire faction named The Brood. It was heavily influenced by the cult movie classic, The Lost Boys. The leader of that group was Gangrel, a creepy guy who wore fangs and spit blood. Gangrel had success in the ring until a broken neck forced him out of action and he'd only have a few more stints with the WWE. So Dave Heath (actual name) got into the directing business, by directing adult entertainment videos. Only one to be exact, before he realized it was a bad idea. He also toured and worked as a booker. He is still involved in the industry today.
5 Perry Saturn
Remember: Saturn Lives. This is what is stated on his official Facebook page.
Saturn was a main competitor in WCW before coming over to the WWE. Showing up with Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, and Dean Malenko in an invasion angle during the Attitude Era, he saw the least success of the bunch. After legitimately attacking Mike Bell in 2000, he was put in Vince’s dog house and eventually released in November of 2002. A few other stints elsewhere saw Saturn literally fall off the face of the earth. He was involved in breaking up a rape and shot. He struggled with addiction for years before resurfacing in 2009. He is now back working independent circuits and his story of redemption is a great source of inspiration.
4 The Godfather
Charles Wright, aka The Godfather, had some popular gimmicks during his tenure in the WWE. Starting off as Papa Shango, he openly admitted he was not a fan of playing that character. He mentioned the character being too dark and exhausting. He reemerged as The Godfather during the Attitude Era and actually had some success with the character. He left the WWE in 2001 and kept his life close to his mantra as he runs the nightclub Cheetahs in Las Vegas. While a family man, this certainly keeps his pimp roots real. But when pimpin’ ain’t easy, he rides motorcycles and plays disc golf.
3 Stevie Richards
Richards was basically a utility guy during the Attitude Era. He saw success with the bWo in ECW and came over mimicking current characters. He eventually formed the stable Right to Censor as the characters were basically against everything involving the Attitude Era. Dawning a suit and tie and having possibly the most annoying entrance of all time, he brought the likes of The Godfather and Val Venis to support his cause. When he decided to stop wrestling, he began putting his technology knowledge to use as a Podcaster hosting the “T4 Show,” which revolved around technology. He also got screwed by 2K Sports years later by pitching a perfect game in MLB 2k11. This should have netted him a million dollars, but he did it before the contest started.
2 Val Venis
Having quite a successful wrestling career in Japan prior to WWE, Venis came over as a adult entertainer during the Attitude Era. He also saw success in the mid-card as well and eventually cleaned up when joining Stevie Richards’ Right to Censor stable. Once out of wrestling, he suffered a shoulder injury that ended up getting him addicted to pain killers. He had close friends die because of this and ended up going with cannabis for his pain. Today, he has become a vocal advocate for the legalization of Cannabis. He has a serious political agenda in making it legal.
1 Ken Shamrock
“The World’s Most Dangerous Man” actually had quite a career in the WWE during the Attitude Era. However, most people just don’t think about him bringing him back to the WWE. According to Shamrock, the two sides are not on speaking terms and have not been in quite some time. However, the WWE website still acknowledges his existence. With his focus staying on a MMA style, Shamrock was part of the UFC before it blew up and returned during the stages of it really blowing up. Shamrock still fights today, although has received criticism of being past his prime, as he recently lost to Kimbo Slice and was unimpressive.
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