Long ago, a wise man advised me to pick a sport that I could play forever. It was my grandfather, and I think he just wanted a golf companion other than my grandmother, and decided to talk the game up. It's true though, golf is a game that can be played for a long time. While pros may suffer certain injuries, proper body maintenance can keep a golfer playing for decades. Baseball is a step down, but players are known to play over fifteen to twenty years.
Basketball reaches somewhat of a middle ground, and then we get into games like hockey and American football. The NHL and NFL sees young players chewed up and spit out year after year, and players who stick around invariably sustain injuries throughout their careers. Both sports involve bone crushing hits, which can cause broken bones, torn ligaments and, of course, head trauma.
I've said this before and I'll say it again, professional wrestlers are as tough as NHL and NFL players. Similarly, many suffer serious injuries and in many cases it is just a few of years before they leave their company (but long careers are not uncommon in pro wrestling, especially among popular stars). Obviously, wrestling also involves the "like-ability" factor and if a wrestler is not liked or hated enough, he or she may find themselves seeking other employment. Even if they are well liked, wrestling often becomes a part time gig and they focus on other ventures and interests. Here are fifteen examples of fifteen former wrestling stars who are now pursuing other interesting projects. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know, we are open to constructive criticism (but we prefer silent awe).
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15 Edge: Actor
WWE Hall of Fame inductee Edge spent roughly 20 years as a professional wrestler; winning dozens of championships and being one of the most popular competitors of his time. He picked up a few small acting jobs while he was still active with the WWE, but since his retirement in 2011, he has continued with that career. He has starred in two films made by WWE studios, "Bending the Rules" which came out in 2012 and "Interrogation" which is set to be released later in 2015. On television, he has earned minor roles on "Sanctuary" back in 2011 ,and more recently "Haven."
14 Lita: Music
One of the most memorable divas from around the turn of the century, Lita (Amy Dumas) is now a front-woman for a punk rock group; The Luchagors. She started her music career shortly after her retirement from wrestling in 2006, and The Luchagores produced their self-titled first album the year after. It found some success. They were working on a second album as of 2012, but ultimately stopped producing music in 2014.
13 Bill Goldberg: Broadcasting and Some Acting
Popular WCW and then WWE star Bill Goldberg, who was an NFL backup for a few years prior to his wrestling career, retired from performing back in 2004. He got out of the wrestling ring and became a commentator for various mixed martial arts promotions like K1 USA, EliteXC and World Fighting Alliance. He dabbled in acting for a while, appearing on reality TV and of course the Adam Sandler remake of "The Longest Yard". Recently he has been hosting his own podcast in which he interviews athletes, and other celebrities.
12 Hulk Hogan: Various Adventures
One of the most charismatic and popular characters it wto ever step into the ring, Hulk Hogan has done a bit of everything a retired athlete can do in pseudo-retirement. Of course, he has retired a few times, so if you are offended by Hogan being in an article discussing wrestlers who are out of the game, I sincerely apologize.
Outside of wrestling, he has had more television cameos that one can count, has done some voice acting gigs, including Saints Row III, and has even tried his hand at music. Restaurants have also been a passion for the now 61-year-old, and while a couple of his former projects have gone out of business, Hogan's Beach is currently operating in Tampa, and seems like a great time.
11 Rick Steiner: Real Estate/School Board
Again, Steiner isn't completely retired, but also again, sue me, wrestling is now his part time and he has moved on to much quieter and less dangerous things. After making a name for himself as one of the sport's all time best tag team wrestlers, Steiner has turned his efforts to real estate and local school board related politics. He operates a real estate brokerage office in Atlanta, and serves on the school board for Cherokee County in Georgia.
If you live in the Georgia area and would like to purchase a house from Steiner, here's a link to his site.
10 Mick Foley: Writing/Stand-up Comedy
Remember when I wrote briefly about how tough wrestlers were, despite people calling their craft "fake?" You should be saying choreographed, as fake is something else altogether. Mick Foley, or whatever you want to call him, is one of the toughest to ever enter the ring.
He still makes appearance at wrestling events, but has also been very active writing over the past decade and a half. He wrote multiple memoirs and autobiographical works, but has achieved great success writing children's books. Most of his memoirs have been New York Times Bestsellers, and a couple of his kids' books have won awards.
He has expressed a longing to write more, but claims that sitting in front of computer screens for extended periods of time gives him headaches. This is no surprise considering the amount of head trauma he sustained throughout his career.
He's also done a little bit of stand-up comedy, which has been well received.
9 Jesse Ventura: Acting and Politics
Prior to his wrestling career, "The Body" was a military man, serving with the US Navy during the Vietnam War. He would go on to a career in wrestling and later turned to acting. His best role was probably his first, playing Blain in the Schwarzenegger classic "Predator," in which he famously stated "I ain't got time to bleed."
More recently, he has been active in politics, having been elected as mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota and later Governor of Minnesota. He has also written a few books and hosted a TV show in which he voiced his belief in various conspiracy theories. Most recently he gained notoriety for suing the estate of "American Sniper" Chris Kyle, who had written in his book that he had punched out the aging former wrestler.
8 Scotty 2 Hotty: Firefighter
— Scotty 2 Hotty (@TheScotty2Hotty) June 5, 2013
Scott Garland, who I personally think looks like Guy Fieri (the cooking show guy) after a few months in the gym, is our number eight, and traded in the tight pants for fireproof ones a couple of years ago, becoming a firefighter and EMT in Florida. It is unknown whether he is able to "do the worm" while carrying a woman out of a burning building. I'd imagine he is more professional than that, and that such an atempt would be dangerous and unwelcome. Maybe he could do it as a celebratory dance after the fire is extinguished.
7 DDP and Trish Stratus: Yoga
Not to sound like a broken record, but as has been discussed before, wrestlers are notoriously tough and train as hard as any athletes around. A part of that training, that is sometimes not considered by fans, is flexibility and restorative forms of training. Diamond Dallas Page suffered a serious back injury back in the late 90s and discovered Yoga while recovering. He has since started his own Yoga program known as DDP Yoga, which is focused on introducing men to the exercise.
One of the most beloved divas of all time, Trish Stratus, has started "Stratusphere Yoga" in Vaughn, Ontario, Canada. Her studio is widely considered among the best in the region.
6 Shawn Michaels: Religion
The Heartbreak Kid, born Michael Hickenbottom (why didn't he go by the name "Kicken'Bottom?) once posed for Playgirl back in 1996. About a decade ago, however, he became a born again Christian, and while he still makes appearances at wrestling events, his true passion is his religious beliefs. Outside of the ring, he is an active member of his church in San Antonio, Texas and is a bible study instructor.
5 Kane: Acting and Some Politics
While he too still shows up at wrestling events these days, Glenn Jacobs has embraced some other passions over the past few years. He has done some acting in his time, and has costarred in "See No Evil" and "See No Evil 2," a pair of WWE Studios' bloodbaths.
Outside of the ring, he is active in politics, being a staunch libertarian and a fan of Ron Paul. He has often spoken of running for office, but has yet to follow through. Many of his supporters argue that despite the reputation he has built throughout his career, he is very smart, well spoken, and brilliantly versed in political issues.
4 Chris Jericho: Music
Jericho still shows up now and again, but he is more or less retired. He now spends the vast majority of his time in the studio with his heavy metal band Fozzy. They are a high energy band with the self described goal of "bringing the fun back to rock and roll." I didn't know the fun had left but I guess this is just like "sexy" having to have been brought back.
The band have been making music together since just before the turn of the century and in 2014 they released their sixth record "Do You Wanna Start A War?"
3 Jonathan Coachman: ESPN Host
Coachman was active in the WWE community as a interviewer/commenator/wrestler between 1999 and 2008, but has since quit to broadcast full time. While his start at commentating was in wrestling, he has covered basketball, baseball and football; mostly at the collegiate level. Coachman was the host of Coach and Company and prior to that was an anchor on Sportscenter.
2 Marc Mero: Motivational Speaker
While he was never the biggest name in wrestling, Marc Mero will always have my respect for having married Sable. Since he retired from pro wrestling, Mero has embarked on an amazing journey as a successful motivational speaker and anti-bullying advocate. He and his group, "Champion of Choices," go across the country appearing at community events and schools, explaining how to avoid bullying and generally fostering positivity and healthy interactions among young people.
1 Chyna: Adult Films
Moving from Marc Mero, who some consider to be the front man of a life-changing organisation, we now look to another of wrestling's greatest female stars. Chyna, known for being one of the most intimidating ladies to ever enter the ring, has made a total of six adult films.
She played She-Hulk in a couple of films which were "Avengers" parodies, and in the others she just played herself. While she went through some tough times in the mid 2000s, she claimed that her experience in the adult industry helped get her back on her feet.
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