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Top 15 Wrestlers Who Made Successful Career Changes

When a wrestling career is all done and the glory days of yesteryear are long gone, what do wrestlers do and how do some of the best keep themselves busy? Life after wrestling is a struggle for many ex-pros, but when you’re out of the game, away from all the glitz and glamour -- the razzmatazz and fan frenzy that surrounds the business -- many wrestlers cannot just sit idle and twiddle their thumbs in the hope that something will come along. What’s that famous saying? “You can’t just sit there and wait for life to come to you, you’ve got to go and get it.”

Rather than watching their post-wrestling days pass in humdrum fashion, the wrestlers on this list weren’t content to just wait for opportunities to fall into their laps. They kept themselves busy, worked hard and made things happen. When one door closes, another one opens, and today these wrestlers have their feet firmly planted in the doors of other careers. They were successful in the ring and have used this to spur them on and find success elsewhere. So what are these ex-wrestling stars doing today and how have they kept the ball rolling? Check out this article - some of what you read may surprise you.

15 Stone Cold Steve Austin

via wwe.com

The former “poster boy” of the Attitude Era, Austin was certainly the main man at the turn of the century. He won a plethora of titles during his 14-year career and is certainly a deserved Hall of Fame inductee, but what’s Austin been doing since his last match in 2003? He’s been retired for well over a decade now, during which time he dabbled in an on-screen GM role with WWE and continued to make some sporadic appearances. But what’s Austin been doing outside of the world of wrestling?

14 Rick Steiner

via ringthedamnbell.wordpress.com

Rick Steiner, although he had a very successful tag team career, was probably overshadowed in many respects by his younger brother, Scott – although he might have something to say about this! The siblings dominated the tag team championships of NWA, WWE, ECW and WCW during the late 1980s and much of the 90s, but his solo career after the duo split brought less success. Rick still hasn’t officially called it quits, but his days in the limelight are long behind him – in wrestling terms that is.

Rick used his nous and business acumen to set up and run his very own real estate business out in North Metro Atlanta – Rick Steiner and Associates Real Estate Brokerage. Apparently, it’s been quite a lucrative venture too.

13 Chris Jericho

via smnews.com

Chris Jericho is still on the WWE roster, competes and occasionally hosts, but when he does step away from the ring, he’ll have no trouble getting accustomed to life away from wrestling. That’s because he’s already made a transition, of sorts, and has begun to place greater importance on other creative pursuits – music and acting. His music career in particular has taken off and he’s released a number of albums with his heavy metal band, Fozzy. Jericho’s their lead singer, and he’s also lent his vocals to other bands and artists around the world. We’re aware, because of wrestling, that Jericho likes the sound of his own voice, and it appears that others do too!

Jericho loves to get really involved in all aspects of his music. We’ve mentioned the singing, but Jericho’s also a songwriter and has played bass and the piano – a truly multi-talented man!

12 Trish Stratus

via cbc.ca

Arguably the most decorated and beloved women’s champion to have ever been contracted with WWE, Trish Stratus has the skills and the personality to match. She was one dynamite diva you didn’t want to cross. In addition to her championship titles, this “Diva of the Decade” was also involved in some steamy scenes during her time at the company – notably with the boss himself, Vince McMahon; he probably knew that her star appeal would ensure people tuned in.

Trish tasted a tremendous amount of success inside the ring, but away from the wrestling industry, she’s always been a bit of a fitness fanatic – she was involved in the fitness and modelling industries before her time with WWE, and after her final match in WWE in 2006, her attention fell back into fitness.

11 Jesse Ventura

via play.google.com

Jesse Ventura has led a decorated life. He won numerous titles across various wrestling promotions during his in-ring days in the 1970s and 1980s and can certainly be considered to be one of the original rockstars of the sport. After he called it quits in his wrestling career, Ventura’s come back to the company now and again as a guest referee and commentator, but today it’s his career in politics that has kept him in the limelight.

He was briefly Mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, and then went on to become the 38th Governor of Minnesota, a post which he held for four years. His political career – much like his time in the ring – has not been without controversy, but he’s stood up for his views and also gained a lot of respect from a whole new fan base.

10 Scotty 2 Hotty

via lookcrispy.com

From the age of 14, wrestling was all Scott Garland wanted to do. Even at that tender age, he was driven; he called up Vince McMahon to inquire about getting a gig with the company, and although he only got to speak to McMahon’s staff, it must have stuck in McMahon's mind – “the balls of this kid,” he must have been thinking. Almost three decades later, Garland has lived his dream, but it’s onward and upwards for Garland, who after leaving WWE and having a stint on the independent circuit, decided to train to become a firefighter.

After causing havoc in the ring, Garland decided he wanted to put out fires and graduated from Florida’s Lake Tech Fire Academy in 2013.

9 Gene Snitsky

via tumblr.com

Snitsky is a recognizable figure from his WWE days, mainly due to his various feuds with the company’s biggest superstars, Kane, John Cena and The Undertaker. He won a few titles here and there, but didn’t accomplish anything major in wrestling, and never got his hands on a world title or something similar.

Today it’s the movies – surprise, surprise – that take up a lot of Snitsky’s time. He hasn’t achieved anything on the scale of some of the other ex-wrestlers' careers in Hollywood, but Snitsky is slowly and surely making waves, building a name for himself. He’s appeared in a few films and numerous TV shows, such as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers project and has also tried his hand at producing a movie. He co-produced Manhunt, spending time behind the camera, though he loves to take center stage.

8 Spike Dudley

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Dudley won a number of titles competing with ECW, WWE and TNA over almost two decades in the business. He was involved in some classic match ups, but in 2013 decided to call it quits – he probably had enough of his in-ring persona as the “little runt” of the famous Dudley family and wanted to branch out into other ventures. He did just that, and instead of taking up a management role/backstage role with the company – as most wrestlers tend to do to bridge that transition leading to life post-wrestling – he instead embarked on a career as a financial advisor – a far cry from the glitz and glamour of professional wrestling.

7 Mideon

via pl.wwe.com

During a 17-year career, Mideon won a few titles here and there and engaged in some pretty amusing gimmicks. He was a hog farmer, portrayed a deranged soothsayer, Leatherface from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie, and a monster – certainly a varied bunch of characters. Let’s be frank: Mideon wasn’t the greatest wrestler to have ever entered the ring. But he worked hard, stuck at it despite all the nonsense that working with such companies entailed, and was rewarded with a few titles and a pretty long career. Many wrestlers like Mideon disappear into the wilderness and are rarely heard from again. But Mideon has popped up post-wrestling in Clearwater, Florida, and is...wait for it, running his own catering business working as a chef.

6 Lita

via piccsr.com

Lita called time on her wrestling career in 2006 after winning the women’s championship a remarkable four times. She's certainly a deserved Hall of Famer if ever there was one.

Lita had no trouble adjusting to life post-retirement. Wrestling aside, music is her passion, and she’s gone on to form the punk rock band, “The Luchagors” – the name apparently given in homage to the Lucha libres of Mexico. She’s toured with the band, released an album, and with her singing prowess, she’s contributed her vocals to various other bands.

5 DDP

via ddpyogapc.com

Think about yoga for a sec and why people may do it. Yoga’s touted for its physical, mental and spiritual benefits – perfect for life after – or even during – the testosterone-fueled sport of wrestling, a sport which many people may leave feeling beaten down, broken and mentally and physically exhausted.

DDP recognized the benefits of yoga, and started to develop his own programs after experiencing the benefits of yoga therapy first hand while recovering from injuries in 1998. He went on to work with his chiropractor to develop a unique set of yoga programs, which he published in book form in 2005 - Yoga for Regular Guys. This took off and became a success, so DDP made the decision to branch out further into the world wide web and develop a video series to go along with the book – a series of yoga workouts and some interviews with people who had reaped the rewards of DDP yoga.

4 Edge

via tumblr.com

Adam Joseph Copeland enjoyed a fantastic career in professional wrestling and won a stack load of titles – 31 in all – decimating opponents in the process. But Copeland has plenty of other strings to his bow and has had no problems acclimating to life away from the ring. His post-wrestling days have been kept busy with acting and television and that famous podcast he hosts with Christian.

3 Mick Foley

via wboi.org

Where do we start with Mick Foley? He’s currently the General Manager of Raw, deservedly so considering what he’s brought to wrestling over the years. He’s won a stack load of titles with various wrestling promotions around the globe, but his achievements away from wrestling are equally, if not even more, impressive.

Take one look at Foley, with his large frame, scraggly beard and mangy hair, alongside his in-ring persona and you certainly wouldn’t think that he’s made a successful career as an author. That just goes to show that looks can be deceiving because he’s a bestselling author and has written numerous books, not only about his own experiences in wrestling, but also books for kids.

2 Brock Lesnar

via mmafighting.com

Brock Lesnar's original tenure with the WWE lasted only two years, but it was an unbelievable run regardless. In two years, Lesnar managed to main event a WrestleMania, won multiple world titles and beat some of the greats in the business. He was touted as WWE's "next big thing" and it certainly appeared to be the case. Unfortunately, Lesnar never took to the strenuous nature of the business, despising the extensive travel. He left the business in 2004 and after an unsuccessful tryout with the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, he took to the world of MMA.

1 The Rock

via collider.com

We’ve mentioned Austin and his successful foray into the movie industry. Most wrestlers try and make it big in Hollywood once their wrestling days are behind them, but put all of their achievements together and they still won’t stack up against Dwayne Johnson’s.

To say Johnson has been successful in the movie industry would be an understatement of epic proportions. The guy’s been named as the biggest star to appear in movies since Arnie, high praise indeed, but a statement that is certainly justified. Today, Johnson is one of the biggest box office stars on the planet. He’s the world’s highest paid actor, and is arguably worth more – and demands more – than he was in WWE, no small achievement considering he was one of the best in the company's history.

The Rock still makes appearances in the ring now and again, but that’s just because Johnson loves the business of wrestling – he certainly doesn’t need the money.

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Top 15 Wrestlers Who Made Successful Career Changes