World Championship Wrestling, which spawned from the National Wrestling Alliance, surprised many in the industry when the company rose to great heights in the 1990s. There was a time when WCW was such a super power in the professional wrestling business that it overtook the WWE in the so-called “Monday Night Wars,” and WCW was, for a while, so dominant in that feud that there were legitimate fears that the WWE would go out of business. That, of course, did not happen, as WCW went under in 2001 following a boatload of horrendous financial miscues.
As one would expect, the WWE, upon defeating its rival, raided the defunct company and obtained deals with wrestlers who had worked for WCW. Hulk Hogan and his new World order partners joined the company in 2002, and, while Hogan has predictably had a rocky relationship with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon over the years, the Hulkster still shows up for the occasional WWE date. Sting, the franchise and face of WCW for so many years, linked up with the WWE in 2014, and he wrestled a match with Triple H at WrestleMania 31.
Age, time and/or an overall lack of interest in the wrestling business has resulted in many of WCW stars to fade away from the scene. Some are still working in the industry in one way or another but are doing so behind the curtain and in creative discussions. Others, however, have taken on very different lives, and you may not even recognize some of them if you were to bump into them on the street. One such former WCW performer is making a living on the independent scene and also as a male escort. Do not feel bad for that man, however, as he seems perfectly happy with his current business endeavors.
15. Mikey Whipwreck
Mikey Whipwreck was one of several performers to break out in Extreme Championship Wrestling before accepting a deal with WCW. His WCW run would only last a couple of months, however, as he received no considerable push from the company. Whipwreck returned to ECW, where he remained until that company went bankrupt. He never received an offer to join the WWE following the demise of ECW, and Whipwreck went on to work for multiple companies including Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Whipwreck has trained big-name performers such as Zack Ryder and Jay Lethal, and he said in March of 2015 that the time had come to put his wrestling character away for good.
14. Dean Malenko
There was nothing flashy about the way that Dean Malenko handled himself inside of a ring. Known as “The Iceman” and “The Man of 1,000 Holds” during his days in WCW, Malenko was, for several years, the best in-ring worker in all of the company, and the only reason that he never emerged beyond Cruiserweight status was because he was under-sized in an era where jacked-up performers were pushed to main events. Malenko had a short run in the WWE after jumping ship from WCW as part of “The Radicalz,” group, and he has, since his retirement from the ring, worked as a producer and road agent for WWE.
For performers such as Konnan, pro wrestling is something that is in the blood. He became an international superstar while working for WCW, where he won multiple titles. Konnan was also a key player in several factions, including the nWo Wolfpac, No Limit Soldiers and Filthy Animals. He kept busy after WCW was crushed by the WWE, working for AAA and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Konnan is now an on-air character for the “Lucha Underground” promotion, he is a podcast host for MLW Radio, and he makes the occasional appearance on Figure Four Online/Wrestling Observer programming.
12. Arn Anderson
“The Enforcer” for the Four Horsemen was a mainstay in wrestling’s most famous stable, one that saw different members come and go until real-life injuries forced Arn Anderson to retire as an in-ring performer in 1997. Anderson would work some matches after his retirement, but he was very limited due to his fragile neck and fragile back. Following some time off after WCW folded, Anderson joined the WWE in 2002 as an agent. He has since made multiple appearances on WWE television, and he currently works for the company as a senior producer.
11. Lex Luger
The personal struggles that Lex Luger went through following the demise of WCW have been well-documented. He fought battles with drug and alcohol abuse, and he spent multiple stints behind bars. Not even the death of fellow wrestling star Miss Elizabeth, who passed away from an overdose inside of a townhouse the two shared, could cause Luger to get things right. He eventually turned his life around, and Luger has noted his Christian beliefs for being the reason that he did not completely fall apart. Luger has since become an author, and he currently works for the WWE regarding the company’s wellness policy.
10. Shawn Stasiak
WCW and the WWE both tried to make Shawn Stasiak a thing during his runs with those companies, both as a tag-team act and a singles competitor. He never got over with fans, however, in part because he was put in some terrible storylines (don’t hurry to re-live the “Planet Stasiak” era, anybody). Stasiak read the writing on the wall and left the pro wrestling business in 2002 to become a chiropractor, a goal that he achieved. He has since dedicated his life to helping others in multiple ways. Along with being a chiropractor, Stasiak also serves as a motivational speaker.
9. Ernest Miller
Ernest Miller became somewhat of a cult icon among pockets of wrestling fans when he got over via his “The Cat” gimmick, during which he would mimic James Brown with his dance moves. While he did evolve into a talented in-ring worker, karate was always a first love for Miller, and he returned to that world following a brief stint with the WWE after the death of WCW. Miller, 51-years old as of the posting of this piece, still takes part in karate competitions. When he is not facing off with competitors and likely trash-talking in the process, Miller serves as a karate instructor.
8. Scott Norton
Scott Norton was one of the more under-appreciated performers in WCW during the 1990s, a bruising competitor and, during his prime, one of the strongest individuals in the company. Norton was a hired gun for the nWo, and WCW never booked him to be a main eventer to feud with the lines of Hulk Hogan, Goldberg or Sting. He worked overseas after WCW went under, and he still makes appearances at small wrestling shows even though he is in his 50s. Norton is also reportedly working on a book, one that he first told WWE.com about in February 2014.
7. Rick Steiner
Rick Steiner made his name in both WCW and WWE as a team with younger brother Scott Steiner, and the two won tag-team championships in both of those organizations. While Scott would go on to become a main-event player as a singles act and “Big Poppa Pump,” Rick never had a big run while out on his own. He has since retired from in-ring action, and Steiner now runs a real estate firm that shares his wrestling name. When Steiner is not dealing with commercial and residential property deals, he is completing duties while serving on the Cherokee County Board of Education.
6. Billy Kidman
Billy Kidman burst onto the scene in WCW as a jobber and little more until he linked up with Raven and joined “The Flock.” Kidman would then go on to have a successful singles and tag-team career in both WCW and WWE, one that would see him win multiple championships in both companies. There was even a time when he feuded with Hulk Hogan, although all involved would probably like to forget that program. The former Cruiserweight has put on the pounds since retiring as an in-ring worker (he won’t be hitting a shooting-star press anytime soon), and he currently works as a producer for WWE.
It was such a WCW move to try and create a real-life wrestler straight out of the Mortal Kombat video game series, and that was what the company did with Glacier. While he was hot during what had been a well-hyped debut, the Glacier character cooled during a time when the nWo invasion storyline was dominating WCW television. Glacier, real name Ray Lloyd, will make the occasional appearance wearing the Glacier gear, and he is involved with multiple charitable organizations. He also serves as a motivational speaker, he has appeared in television shows and movies, and he oversees an advertising and marketing agency.
4. Stevie Ray
Stevie Ray was most successful in WCW as one-half of the Harlem Heat tag-team that also featured the five-time (x 5) WCW champion Booker T. The two were broken up in storyline when Ray joined the black-and-white faction of the nWo, but he never rose to main event status as did Booker T. Ray has stated in interviews that he actually never officially retired as a pro wrestler, but he and Booker T did have their final Harlem Heat match in February of 2015. Other than being a not-retired performer, Ray is the president of the West Houston Cruisers motorcycle club. He will also be appearing in an independent movie in 2015.
3. Lance Storm
Lance Storm made his name in ECW, but he also won several championships while working for WCW. Storm moved on to WWE following the death of WCW, where he achieved moderate success and then retired with his health intact. Unlike so many sadder tales that are often associated with the wrestling business, Storm would have to be considered to be a massive success story. He has taken the occasional wrestling dates over the past several years, and he also runs a profitable wrestling school. Storm can be heard on Figure Four Online/Wrestling Observer podcasts multiple times per month.
Goldberg was booked to be an unstoppable force from his first ever appearance on WCW television, and his undefeated streak and run to a World Heavyweight Championship victory helped put the company ahead of the WWE in Monday night television ratings. The former WCW champion won a title while with WWE, and he retired from in-ring action after a lackluster match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XX. Goldberg then went on to have a stint as a mixed martial artist commentator, he has appeared in multiple movies and television shows, and he is a motor sports enthusiast. Those looking to have more Goldberg in their lives can listen to his “Who’s Next” podcast.
1. Buff Bagwell
Buff Bagwell was a tag-team specialist in WCW before he linked up with the nWo, and he was then mostly a midcard performer who could not break into the top of the card. He did link up with the WWE following the demise of WCW, and his match with Booker T that occurred on Raw was so poorly received by fans that the company changed the entire “Invasion” storyline. Bagwell still takes independent wrestling dates, but he is also a male escort on the side. Those interested in Bagwell’s services can, according to a TMZ story, pay him up to $3000 for overnight…companionship.
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