The 2000s were a great era for wrestling – in fact many would say it was the greatest period of all time. The era that followed the so-called Attitude Era saw several now high profile wrestlers rise to stardom, including the likes of Brock Lesnar, Batista and John Cena. They all have fascinating backstories, come from varied upbringings and paved their way through the various wresting governing bodies and entertainment companies in different ways. But one thing’s for sure; they all had successful careers in wrestling, gained a huge amount of popularity and will certainly go down in history for their achievements.
It already seems like the Ruthless Aggression Era was so long ago. While the WWE claims we're in the "New Era" it doesn't quite feel like it's a new era yet, as many still feel we're in the so-called "PG Era". The Ruthless Aggression Era was a fantastic time in its own right. While it doesn't quite have the notoriety that the Attitude Era did, it may have actually featured an all around better product. The in-ring action was better, the rosters were deeper and the era was successful in creating new stars, some of whom are still around today.
But what happens to a world-famous WWE professional when the curtain is drawn on a career spent in the limelight? Find out what some of your favourite professionals from the 2000s are up to now and how they’ve made their way in a world spent outside of the ring.
15 Gene Snitsky
Gene Snitsky didn't quite succeed in WWE, but he did have some memorable moments, even if it was for the wrong reasons. Snitsky was put in a storyline with Kane and Lita where he was inadvertently responsible for Lita miscarrying her baby with Kane, coining the phrase, "it wasn't my fault!" Snitsky was also saddled with a foot fetish gimmick, before eventually fizzling out.
Since retiring, Snitsky has made a living in the acting world. He co-produced a project called "Manhunt". He also became a pitchman for Tristar Products' Power Pressure Cooker XL. He has a series on YouTube where he demonstrates how to cook various foods with the product. He also had a brief stint in TNA in 2014.
Victoria was part of the golden age of women's wrestling in WWE. While Trish and Lita were the big stars of the era, Victoria was a very important part of the Divas division, as she often made for a great heel to both Trish and Lita who were mostly babyfaces throughout their runs. Victoria was a two-time Women's Champion, but left the company in 2009 to go to TNA.
Victoria went as Tara in TNA and won the Knockouts Championship five times. In 2013, Lisa Marie Varon opened a wrestling themed restaurant in Chicago called The Squared Circle. In 2015, she moved to California, leaving the business with her husband and a friend. She's kept pretty quiet since her wrestling career ended.
13 Stacy Keibler
Stacy Keibler was another one of the most famous ladies of the early 2000s in WWE. Following her arrival from WCW, Stacy got popular with fans as a valet for the Dudley Boyz, Test and eventually was Super Stacy with The Hurricane and Rosey. She is known for her legs that just wouldn't end.
After retiring from wrestling in the mid 2000s, Stacy took up a career in Hollywood, where she made a guest appearance in How I Met Your Mother. She was the host of the E! Special Maxim's Celebrity Beach Watch: 15 Hottest Bodies. She also was under the microscope when she dated George Clooney between 2011 and 2013. She has since gotten married and has a daughter, who was born back in 2014.
12 The Great Khali
Dalip Singh Rana, a.k.a The Great Khali took the world of wrestling by storm when he stepped into ring for the first time in 2000. Viewers suddenly realized that monsters do exist; his immense size gave him an immediate push in WWE and put him on the path that saw him win the World Heavyweight Championship in 2007. Hailing from India, a country that idolizes its successful sports stars, Khali had no problems carrying on with life after his contract expired and he left WWE in 2014.
He opened his own wrestling school, the Continental Wrestling Entertainment School, and has appeared in four Hollywood films, two Bollywood films, and several television shows, and can often be found hanging with the rich and famous in India’s glamorous hotspots.
11 Montel Vontavious Porter
Known as MVP, Porter’s contribution to the sport of wrestling was certainly valuable. After making his debut and retiring in the 2000s, Porter exploded onto the scene in 2006 and was once the highest paid wrestler in SmackDown history. After retiring in 2016, Porter briefly joined Lucha Underground – a weekly wrestling drama series – before making a cameo appearance – like many of his wrestling predecessors – in the American action comedy film, MacGruber.
However, hip hop is the MVP’s passion and seems to be his sole concentration at the moment. His first hip hop song, Holla to the World, was released in 2011, after which he released several more, such as Return of the Ronin, through iTunes.
10 John Morrison
Morrison enjoyed a long and illustrious career in WWE which saw him reign as three-time WWE Intercontinental Champion and become a one-time World Tag Team Champion with The Miz. However, the former great mid-card wrestler wasn’t getting the success he was after wrestling in WWE, so in 2011, Morrison began performing around the world as an independent wrestler, before signing with the Lucha Underground series.
Here his popularity reached new heights, and he became a Lucha Underground Champion and a one-time Gift of the Gods Champion, and the rest is history. Stardom inside the ring, as it often does, brings with it a host of other media opportunities, and Morrison made full use of his. He pursued acting, played bit part roles in a number of films, before getting his big break as a lead in the action horror film Diablo Steel, scheduled to be released in 2016.
9 Trish Stratus
This blonde bombshell and began her career in 2000 and rose to become one of the most popular divas in WWE. Often at the center of a number of outrageous storylines and feuds, Stratus was far more than just a bit of eye candy. Her career went down a path with plenty of ups and downs, but she was a fierce competitor who possessed the skills and beauty – a combination which contributed to her winning the Women's Championship seven times during her WWE career.
Now a Hall of Famer, Patricia Stratigias – going by her non-ring name – is a proud mother, doting wife, and keeps herself busy away from the world wrestling. She frequently appears on television as a panelist, has played a part in the movie ‘Gridlocked’, and operates her yoga studio, “Stratusphere," in Canada which she also uses as a means of promoting her brands and products.
Another former WWE Diva known for her fiery nature and battles with some top wrestling personalities, not many would have thought that this tomboy and four-time Women's Champion would try her hand at singing. But Lita, real name Amy Dumas, has become quite a success with the mic in her hand. In 2007, after she waved goodbye to life in the ring, she formed a band, ‘The Luchagors’, and they released their first album.
Lita has since returned to WWE as a creative writer and is now in the Hall of Fame.
7 Shelton Benjamin
One of the greatest wrestlers of the 2000s, Benjamin rose to prominence in the sport after becoming three-time Intercontinental Champion, two-time WWE Tag Team Champion (with Charlie Haas) – part of the world’s greatest tag team – and becoming United States Champion. A highly respected wrestler, Benjamin put on some great matches during his tenure with WWE, but is now a popular face on the independent circuit, fighting in shows, mainly in Asia, such as the Pro Wrestling Noah and Suzuki-gun with the New Japan Pro Wrestling organization.
6 Torrie Wilson
Once the poster girl of WWE, Wilson was best known during her time in the ring for her period fighting with the World Championship Wrestling and WWE. However, many of her fans from around the world can be attributed due to her exploits outside the ring after her retirement in 2008.
She gained a whole heap of fans after appearing on the cover of Playboy, and regularly models while promoting her fitness brands and clothing line, "Officially Jaded". And of course, what do former popular WWE stars do when they retire? get into TV, that’s what. She came second in the NBC reality show "I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!" – bet she was wishing she was still inside the ring when faced with a meal of sheep testicles and cockroaches!
5 CM Punk
Phil Brooks, retired wrestler, is certainly a multi-talented man. While his peak in WWE was from 2011 to 2014, he accomplished quite a bit in the 2000s, winning Money in the Bank on two occasions and even becoming a multiple time world champion. He was also a star in Ring of Honor in the decade, well before his days in WWE.
The fighting bug must be coursing through his blood, his bones, because after stepped away from one dangerous sport, Brooks stepped right into another. He’s currently signed with UFC, but this straight-laced cool cat has plenty of other strings to his bow. Also a comic book writer and - of course – an actor, there’s not many things that Brooks hasn’t done, and if his time away from WWE is anything to go by, he’ll have no problems adapting to a regular life once his martial arts career is behind him, with plenty going on to keep him busy.
4 Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy, the younger of the Hardy brothers, has plenty of accolades from his long tenure in WWE. He’s currently signed with TNA and tours the world with his brother – both prominent names on the independent fighting scene. But aside from exerting his fighting prowess, Jeff has many other non-violent pursuits away from the ring.
He’s made several film appearances, but he’s now mostly recognized for his artistic side. Who would have thought that Jeff would enjoy sculpting and painting? Well, he does, and has made several huge sculptures of his brother. He’s a man of many talents, enjoys the thrill of dirt biking, and has even set up a recording studio in his house, setting up a band called ’Peroxwhy?gen’, which has already released several albums.
With the rippling muscles, tattooed body and hard guy persona, Batista caught the public’s imagination when he burst onto the scene in the 2000s. Six world championships later and a host of other accolades, Batista’s place in WWE as being one the greats has certainly been cemented. But after being released from the WWE, the need to fight still remained within him, so he switched to MMA after gaining a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. But today, his one-fight MMA career has been put on hold and he doesn’t look to be in any hurry to add to his perfect win record as he focuses on life as an actor.
2 Molly Holly
Holly held the Women's Championship twice during a career that will be remembered for its bust-ups with other divas and allegiances with the Hurricane and other prominent figures in WWE. After her five years in the industry, Holly went into the wilderness for a period before resurfacing and beginning to wrestle on the independent circuit. The now deeply religious Holly, works with various religious groups and charities, supporting organizations that help people with substance abuse problems.
Adam Joseph Copeland is a veteran WWE competitor, enjoying a career that spanned just under two decades and winning 31 championships in the process. Pooling together the skills he learnt while at college, and his media personality gained from life inside the ring, Copeland is now a very successful actor, but unlike many of his wrestling predecessors, appears in lead roles as opposed to cameo appearances.
He’s also recently returned to WWE, this time with his best buddy, Christian (William Reso), hosting ‘The Edge and Christian Show That Totally Reeks of Awesomeness’. His medical issues certainly had a negative impact on his career, but he swept these issues aside and has since made a successful career in the world of acting.
He also has a child with former WWE Diva Beth Phoenix with the couple expecting their second child.