Throughout the history of professional wrestling, there was no greater time period than the Monday Night Wars.
The rise of WCW catapulted the dueling between two brands. After getting former WWE names like Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage, youngster stars like Kevin Nash and Scott Hall put the company over the top. In addition, household creations like Diamond Dallas Page, Booker T, Sting, and Goldberg, led to WCW reaching heights in never saw beforehand.
While the WCW had their past stars, the WWE was busy creating new ones. Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker and The Rock got a chance because older names jumped ship. Kane, Triple H, The Hardy Boyz, and Edge and Christian all garnered a bunch of spotlight during WWE’s youth movement.
The 90s were a great time for wrestling fans, simply because there was so much great content taking place at the same time. Of course, those talents — for the most part — moved on from wrestling. But because they were so successful back then, it’s no surprise they’re doing well for themselves now.
Let’s take a look at these 20 stars of the Monday Night Wars and see what they’re up to today.
20. The Hardy Boyz
Then: While Rey Mysterio was doing his high-flying antics in WCW, the Hardy Boyz were holding their own on the WWE-side of things. Starting out as two enhancement talents, Matt and Jeff’s in-ring charisma combined with awe-inspiring move sets catapulted them to the top of the top of the tag-team depth chart, as they put on all-time matches with the Dudley Boyz and Edge and Christian.
Now: In 2017, the Hardy Boyz have remained one of the most relevant acts in the wrestling world, thanks in large part to Matt’s “Broken” gimmick. After wrestling for both TNA and Ring of Honor in the early months of 2017, the duo made their return to the WWE at WrestleMania 33, winning the Raw Tag Team Championships in the process.
19. Booker T
Then: When Vince McMahon finally bought WCW in 2001, there weren’t many stars that came over that made a true impact in the company. Booker T, however, was one of the exceptions, as he rose the ranks from mid-card act to main event star. It wasn’t a surprise, though — during his stint in WCW, Booker T also rose the ranks rather quickly, going from a top tag-team act to five-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
Now: Since leaving his in-ring days behind him, Booker T has stayed in the wrestling world in other capacities. Currently signed to a WWE Legends contract, he’s been a constant on pay-per-view preshow panels and is currently filling in for David Otunga on Monday Night Raw’s commentary team. Booker T also runs a wrestling school and promotion out of Houston, called Reality of Wrestling, while also stating that he wants to run for mayor of Houston in 2019.
Then: When looking back at debuts during the Monday Night War, Kane’s usually ranks at or near the top of all lists. One of the greatest monsters of that generation, his feud with The Undertaker, his addition to The Corporation, his return with a new look, all the way to the removal of his mask were all highlights of his prolonged career. He may not have been a consistent main event wrestler but was always a reliable hand for Vince McMahon.
Now: Today, Kane is still technically an active wrestler on the WWE roster but has yet to have a match in 2017. The reason, however, is more important than anything he could be doing inside the squared circle. After flirting with a career in politics for years, Kane is officially running for the mayoral seat in Knox County, Tennessee.
17. The Big Show
There weren’t many wrestlers that could claim they wrestled during the height of both WCW and WWE during the Monday Night Wars. The Big Show, however, is one of the few who has that distinction on his resume. After winning the WCW World Heavyweight Championship in his WCW debut, he went on to be a prominent member of the nWo. Once jumping ship to WWE, he was revealed as a main event star from day one as he worked alongside Vince McMahon. He eventually captured the WWE Championship by the end of 1999.
Now: In 2017, it isn’t much of a surprise that The Big Show’s in-ring career is winding down. What is a surprise, however, is the shape that he’s in. The Big Show has dropped a considerable amount of weight, en route to looking the best he ever has. His work ethic has reflected inside of the squared circle, as The Big Show put on two very good matches with Braun Strowman.
16. Kurt Angle
When thinking of the Monday Night Wars, Kurt Angle wasn’t a prominent member — and that’s only because he debuted in late 1999, a time when WCW was well behind the WWE in terms of business. But either way, Angle was a top-level star at that time; by the end of 2000 — which was his first full year and when the WWE was still technically competing with WCW — he captured the European, Intercontinental, and WWE Championships over that span.
Now: Angle left the company in a controversial way but returned in grand fashion in 2017. After spending the second half of his career in TNA, Angle was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame during WrestleMania 33 weekend. During the Raw after WrestleMania, he was named the General Manager of RAW, thus making him a consistent member of television every week. It looks like it’s only a matter of time before he makes his in-ring return to the company.
15. Rey Mysterio
Then: When the Monday Night Wars were at its peak, there were plenty of top tier names from wrestling’s past that took over the main event scene in WCW. But one of the biggest things that made the company relevant in the late 90s was their undercard — and Rey Mysterio was a big part of that. One of the top names of their heralded Cruiserweight division, Mysterio was one of the most popular stars in the company’s history.
Now: Fast forward nearly 20 years later and Mysterio is still an active wrestler. Not only is he a part of Lucha Underground’s roster but he’s also a frequent member of the independent scene, wrestling for companies such as What Culture Pro Wrestling, amongst others. On top of that, Mysterio is also looking to open a wrestling school. It’s safe to say this Monday Night War star will be in the business — in some form or fashion — for life.
14. Hulk Hogan
Then: If one thing has been proven true, it’s that there would’ve been no Monday Night Wars if Hulk Hogan never signed with WCW. After continuing his Hulkamania run during his early days with the company, his unprecedented heel turn and alignment with the nWo put WCW on the map, directly leading to them beating WWE in the ratings for over a year’s time.
Now: When Hogan ran a ton of legal trouble — including a leaked sex tape which also featured a racial slur — he was released from his WWE Legend’s deal. Now that 2017 has rolled around, many believe it’s only a matter of time before Hogan indeed returns to the company, as most of the criticism has died down. In addition to his eventual comeback, Hogan also runs Hogan’s Beach Shop in Florida.
13. Shawn Michaels
Then: When fellow Kliq members Kevin Nash and Scott Hall jumped ship to WCW, they were integral parts in helping WCW compete with the WWE on a national stage. While the Vince McMahon-led brand struggled at times, Shawn Michaels did his best to keep the company afloat. Consistently booked as the top star, Michaels was memorable for various storylines, including the creation of D-Generation-X and his feuds with Bret Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin, amongst others.
Now: Far past the partying days that occupied his time during the Monday Night War, Michaels is staying busy with more positive things in 2017. As it stands, Michaels is currently the host of the outdoor television show named Shawn Michaels’ MacMillan River Adventures and is also starring in The Resurrection of Gavin Stone. In addition to his film work, Michaels also serves as an instructor at the WWE Performance Center.
12. Scott Steiner
Then: During WCW’s dying days from the end of 1999 up until 2001, Scott Steiner was positioned as one of the company’s top stars. Despite being a tag team wrestler for the majority of his career, his physique and charisma catapulted him to the main event scene, resulting in winning the United States, Television, and World Heavyweight Championships.
Now: After leaving mainstream wrestling companies in WWE and TNA, Steiner worked for various independent promotions and conventions, including Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling. Fortunately for fans of Steiner, they’ll be seeing him on a consistent basis as he recently re-signed with Impact Wrestling (TNA) and will be a consistent member of their television program.
11. Edge and Christian
Then: Like The Hardy Boyz, Edge and Christian began their WWE careers in the early days of the Monday Night Wars as secondary talents. But after working side by side with top-tier stars in the Ministry of Darkness, Edge and Christian became superstars of their own as they dominated the tag team division for years. Their TLC and ladder matches with The Hardy Boyz and The Dudley Boyz won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
Now: After making sporadic appearances on WWE television while also hosting The Edge and Christian Show That Totally Reeks of Awesomeness on the WWE Network, the former Tag Team Champions recently boarded the podcast train and created E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness. While the show is still in its infancy stages, they’ve gotten rave reviews and the show is expected to continue to trend upwards.
Then: When thinking back to WCW during the Monday Night Wars, names like Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall usually come to mind first — but there is no bigger WCW loyalist than Sting. Wrestling with the company from day one and never wanting to sign with WWE made him one of the most popular stars of his generation, and that was helped by his terrific gimmick change from surfer Sting to crow Sting and his consistent spot as a main event player.
Now: Yes, Sting did eventually sign with the WWE, even wrestling a match at WrestleMania 31 while also receiving a WWE Hall of Fame induction. While it’s easy to believe he’d still be wrestling in a WWE ring, an injury from the hands of Seth Rollins ended his run in a short manner. While he doesn’t wrestle anymore, Sting does make many appearances at conventions and also steps into the ring and hits signature moves on different independent wrestlers.
Then: Mankind was never booked as WWE’s biggest star during the Monday Night Wars but it’s hard to deny that he was one of the most popular. Constantly putting his body on the line while equally entertaining with comedy gimmicks, Mankind — who, of course, goes by his real name Mick Foley — won the adoration of the fans simply because he did whatever it took to entertain the audience.
Now: When the WWE decided to bring back the brand split, Mick Foley was chosen as the General Manager of Raw. While he was eventually replaced by the aforementioned Kurt Angle, he had a solid run while leading the red brand. Once he was fired from the GM position, Foley underwent surgery for a hip replacement and is back to doing charitable work across multiple platforms. It’s also great to see that Foley has slimmed down all the way below 240 pounds.
8. Diamond Dallas Page
Then: When looking back at WCW during the Monday Night Wars, the company never made true stars outside of wrestlers that the WWE and Vince McMahon had made previously. Diamond Dallas Page, however, was one of the lone exceptions. Despite being older than a majority of the veterans on the roster, DDP, through hard work and determination, worked his way up the ladder and became arguably the most popular wrestler in the company, en route to becoming WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
Now: After his wrestling days came to a close, DDP decided to turn his attention to helping anyone who needed it. He created DDP Yoga, a workout that has helped not only former wrestlers but various plenty of people who have had different physical disabilities. He was also inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame during WrestleMania 33 weekend.
7. The Undertaker
Then: Like Sting to WCW, The Undertaker was the flag-bearer for WWE during the Monday Night Wars. Was he ever positioned to be the face of the company like The Rock or Stone Cold Steve Austin? No. But he was also viewed as a cut above the rest due to his tremendous gimmick and unparalleled athleticism. A constant main eventer, The Undertaker did it all in the WWE — and a lot of his accolades took place during the time when the WWE was competing with WCW for ratings supremacy.
Now: The Undertaker, meanwhile, continued to wrestle for the WWE up until 2017. After losing his WrestleMania winning streak at WrestleMana XXX, many believed he should retire. The Deadman, however, continued to compete on a part-time basis up until WrestleMania 33, where he lost at the big event for only the second time in his career. After leaving his hat, gloves, and jacket in the ring after his loss, it’s safe to imagine 2017 was the last of his in-ring career.
6. Scott Hall
Then: Sure, big names like Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, and Mean Gene Okerlund jumped ship to WCW once their WWE days were over. But Scott Hall, however, was the most prominent to do it while being an active and successful WWE star and was one of the big reasons behind the company’s success. While he was never WCW World Heavyweight Champion, Hall was always a main event player and a key contributor to the success of the nWo.
Now: As it has been well documented over the years, Hall has had his fair share of bouts with demons. While he’s ran into some troubles even after being clean, Hall is doing the best he’s done in many years. After enlisting the help of Diamond Dallas Page, he’s gotten into great shape and has also made sporadic appearances backstage at WWE shows.
5. Triple H
Then: After starting out as a sidekick to Shawn Michaels in D-Generation-X during the early years of the Monday Night Wars, Triple H rose to prominence once The Heartbreak Kid went on a leave of absence. From leading the new DX stable to climbing the top of the card as one of the most hated heels in the company, Triple H became a key figure in the WWE, and the groundwork was laid during the late 1990s.
Now: As it has been well-documented, he’s now the real-life COO of the company as well as being a semi-active wrestler. Most importantly, Triple H is the Vince McMahon of NXT as he signs the talents for the brand, runs the show on a week-to-week basis and also is in charge of all other aspects both behind the scenes and in front of the camera on WWE’s developmental system. Now seen as the heir apparent to McMahon, many can’t wait for that day to come.
4. Kevin Nash
Then: As previously mentioned, Scott Hall was the first to jump WWE wrestler who was a star to jump ship in the prime of his career. While that made a dent in the Monday Night Wars, it was Kevin Nash switching sides that really put WCW on the map. While many have considered Nash as a reason behind WCW’s late failures, he was also a focal reason behind the company’s success during their heyday.
Now: While Nash has made a decent amount of appearances on WWE television — including a Hall of Fame induction during WrestleMania 31 weekend — he’s largely stayed away from the spotlight of wrestling. Aside from making appearances at conventions, Nash — who also is clearly in great shape, especially for his age — also made an appearance on the Comedy Central show Detroiters.
3. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Then: When thinking of the WWE, there may be no bigger star than Stone Cold Steve Austin — obviously including, but not limited to the Monday Night Wars — his brash attitude and anti-authority nature combined with his massively successful feud with Vince McMahon made him beloved across the world. Throw in the chugging of beer and the flipping of middle fingers and the WWE had a star that everyone could relate to — and that was reflected in the television ratings.
Now: While Austin makes rare appearances on WWE television, he’s still massively successful without the wrestling industry. In addition to his Broken Skull Challenge and Redneck Island teleivision shows, he’s also the host of the wildly popular Steve Austin Show podcast. He may not be on WWE television every week but is still as popular as he’s ever been.
Then: When speaking of wrestlers that WCW created themselves, Booker T, Sting, and Diamond Dallas Page all come to mind. But when it comes to the biggest star of the specific time period of WCW going head to head with Monday Night RAW, Goldberg has to take the cake. He was the only true homegrown star of WCW in this era and his undefeated streak of 173-0 was truly one of the highlights of the era. He was never a great technician and was limited, but something about Goldberg just worked.
Now: Goldberg made a surprising return to WWE 12 years after having an unsuccessful run in the company. Part of what made Goldberg so appealing was his intense look and his superhero like physique and Goldberg ensured that he kept that when making his recent WWE return. Even at 50 years old, Goldberg looked as good as ever and for all the shortcomings of his recent run, it was a success overall.
1. The Rock
Then: The Rock is a WWE guy through and through, as he debuted with the company just months after first training to be a wrestler. After a brief run as a bland Rocky Maivia, The Rock changed up his character and soon grew to become the most charismatic performer in the business. Stone Cold’s rise may have been the no.1 reason WWE beat WCW in the war, but The Rock was a close second. He was a young icon and nobody in WCW could match that.
Now: Of all the stars of the Monday Night Wars, The Rock remains the most popular one today, due to his crossover success into Hollywood. He’s become the most recognizable pro wrestler on the planet and a big reason is because he’s taken his physique to another level. Having recently turned 45, The Rock looks as good as ever and he’s grossed billions of dollars at the box office.
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