The WWE is full on, all year long, and with decades worth of characters, stories and matches, some people just get lost from your memory, but that’s the beauty of lists like these: we get to look back on the past, remember some memories that we have forgotten, and see just how far these performers have come (or where they have gone if they left the wrestling business). Some of these people had success in the WWE, and continued on with wrestling following their departure, and some went the complete opposite way, as they left wrestling after failed performances in WWE, but that’s the beauty of life, everyone is different, and everyone has a unique journey. Some have gone on to great success in the acting business, while others have taken up regular jobs, and it’s weird to think of who from todays WWE would be on such a list that would be written in 10 more years.
So sit back and have a read (and look), as we look back at 20 forgettable wrestlers from the 2000s, what they are up to today, and just how different they look from their time in the biggest wrestling company in the world.
Gene Snitsky came to WWE with possibly the worst gimmick in the company's history, as he caused the miscarriage of Lita’s baby, and while it made him memorable, it didn’t exactly do his future prospects in the company any favors. He went on to feud with Kane, and other forgettable performances, but he ended up being nothing but another guy in the WWE, before leaving in 2008. He did little independent shows here and there, but nothing of note, and hasn’t really gone on to any avenue of fame since his retirement, but he has got in tremendous shape, and with his bushy beard, some people have joked that he is Braun Strowman’s dad, proving just how good he looks these days.
19 Scotty 2 Hotty
Scotty 2 Hotty made his name in the WWE as a member of ‘Too Cool’, but it took him a lot of work to get to that point, and since that ended, he struggled to stay relevant as a member of the WWE, or even in his limited work on the independent scene. Like many other performers who didn’t make it huge (by huge we mean John Cena/The Rock-level outside of the WWE), he explored other avenues of work, and that happened in 2013 when he graduated from firefighter-training academy, but as they so often do, WWE then came calling. They offered him a position as a trainer at the Performance Center, and he’s still there as a Level 2 trainer, helping the future of the WWE.
18 Charlie Haas
As a member of Team Angle alongside Shelton Benjamin, it looked like Charlie Haas was going to be a mainstay in the WWE for quite some time, but it didn’t work out that way, and whether it be solo or alongside Benjamin in The World’s Greatest Tag Team, he’s being doing great work all over the world on the independent scene. He retired in 2013, but we know that never lasts in wrestling, and he’s been making sporadic appearances ever since, even if he's often kept busy with his wife, former Tough Enough winner Jackie Gayda, and four kids. He now focuses on his job where he works as a spine specialist for a medical supply company in Dallas, but you can expect to see him in a ring somewhere if you wait long enough.
17 Shad Gaspard
A gimmick like Cryme Tyme, a tag team played by Shad Gaspard and JTG is something that would never fly in the WWE today, but those two made it work, and were incredibly entertaining as a duo. Once the WWE moved in a more PG direction, there was no room for them, and since both were released, they’ve done nothing of note in the wrestling industry. They came back together on the independent scene for a short run as "Crime Time," but that didn’t last, and the most notable thing that the big enforcer of the duo has done since is play parts in a few films, most known would be his role in Get Hard, starring Will Ferrell. We know they aren’t going to return to WWE anytime soon, so it’s good to see that Shad is staying in shape and looking to explore other avenues in the entertainment industry.
16 Luther Reigns
Luther Reigns may be the least remembered performer on this list, but during the early 2000s, he was a valuable part of Kurt Angle’s regime on SmackDown, and as a big, muscular guy, it was easy to see why. But once WWE abolished that storyline, he struggled mightily to stand out, and was eventually released from the company. That was 13 years ago, yet Reigns looks as good today as he ever did, and understandably so, he does plenty of work as a bodyguard, because let’s be honest, who wants to mess with a guy that looks like that? Like other failed wrestlers, his physique has also allowed him to crack Hollywood, and although he’s only made small appearances in movies, it’s better than nothing.
Mideon performed in the Ministry of Darkness during his time with the WWE, but his run was killed when he began playing Naked Mideon. Although those gimmicks were terrible, he put his all into them, but he still couldn’t last in the wrestling industry. He left the WWE in 2001, and made an appearance in TNA in 2006, but retired from the entire industry soon thereafter, and unlike so many on this list, he took a unique path once that side of his life was over. He has become a chef, and even owns his own private catering company, and if you saw him walking down the street, there is an incredibly low chance that you’d actually recognize him, because he looks so, so different from those days. (You know, he doesn’t walk around with symbols on his forehead… or playing a character who is basically naked most of the time).
14 Vladimir Kozlov
Vladimir Kozlov was a typical foreign heel in the WWE; once he went on a monster run, he turned face and joined a comedy team with Santino Marella, but never truly got over in either role, and it led to his release from WWE in 2011. Following that, he trained and worked for the Inoki Genome Federation in Japan, before announcing his full-time retirement from wrestling in 2012. Unlike others, he’s kept that promise, and has spent his time bulking up, and trying to make a name for himself in the acting business. He’s yet to get his big break yet, but he’s looking fantastic, and has done stunts for Fast and the Furious 6 and John Wick 2, so his big break can’t be too far away.
13 Tyler Reks
Tyler Reks had the looks, and reportedly had the talent to be a solid mid-card worker in the WWE, and even someone who could potentially rise to the main event level after a fair amount of time, but if you believe reports, that WWE career was cut drastically short due to problems with John Cena. What were those problems, you ask? His finisher too closely resembled the AA, according to Cena, and again, if you believe the stories, Cena forced him to stop using it, and when he didn’t, The Face that runs the Place used his power to speak ill of Reks. We don’t know how much of that is true, but Reks left the WWE, and hasn’t wrestled since. Looking incredibly ripped these days, he works as a fitness expert, as well as serving on the Chamber of Commerce in the two Californian cities of Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park.
12 Nathan Jones
Nathan Jones was big. That is literally all he had to endear him to Vince McMahon and the WWE, but it worked, and in the early 2000s, it looked like the company were eager to push him as a top star, but like we know, the wrestling business is about, you know, wrestling… and he struggled mightily in picking up that skill. Thankfully, management realized this fairly quickly, and the company released him not long after his return to the main roster, and he officially retired from wrestling in 2008. He’s still a big, jacked dude, and that helps him quite a bit in the acting industry, where he’s acted in movies like Mad Max: Fury Road and Conan the Barbarian, and it looks to be going well for Jones, much better than he ever did in the wrestling business.
Maven was the male winner of WWE’s first-ever Tough Enough competition, but unlike some others who were introduced to the WWE Universe in that competition, he didn’t have a very successful career in WWE. In fact, most people will only remember Maven for the moment he eliminated The Undertaker in the 2002 Royal Rumble match, because after that, he struggled to even stay relevant in the company's mid-card. Since leaving WWE, he ran into a myriad of problems with the law, but has since overcome that, and now, looking better than ever, he has been worked plenty of smaller independent shows, with not much else going on. Either way, he looks just as good, if not better than he did in his WWE days.
10 Ashley Massaro
Ashley Massaro was the winner of the 2005 Diva Search in WWE, and although she didn’t start the model turned wrestler phase in WWE, she was a key part of it during the mid 2000’s, but the most memorable thing she ever did in WWE was give out her phone number on live TV, other than that, she’s as boring and unmemorable as anyone in WWE history. She was pushed as a key member of the division, even getting a big title shot at WrestleMania 23, but that’s about all, and she was released to little fanfare in 2008. These days, she’s not doing much in the public eye, but she looks even better now than she ever did in her WWE days.
9 Chuck Palumbo
Chuck Palumbo was in the wrestling business since the days of WCW, and showed his range as a character ever since, including runs as a member of Billy and Chuck, and even when he had a singles run as a biker, but they all went bust, and his release came as a result of him never getting any traction. Since leaving the industry in the mid 2000s, Palumbo has followed up on his final WWE character, as he works on all types of motorbikes, and after poor performances late in his wrestling career, it seems to be more fruitful a venture. In terms of the shape he’s in, it just seems to have gotten better since leaving wrestling, and if he wanted to return to the WWE in a one-off capacity, he’d undoubtedly do it well.
8 Mike Knox
Mike Knox was never one of the most talented wrestlers in the WWE, but he played his character well, and the character we most remember from his time in WWE was as Kelly Kelly’s partner, where he’d constantly come out and stop her stripteases, much to the utter dismay of the WWE Universe. He didn’t do anything else of note, and could never stand out, so following his 2010 release from the company, he went on to wrestle in TNA as a member of the Aces and Eights, known as Knux. These days, Knox looks just as tough as he ever did, and he spends his time, like others on this list wrestling for the Inoki Genome Federation in Japan.
7 Steve Blackman
Steve Blackman should have been one of the top stars in the WWE, but for whatever reason, his run just never clicked, and after several failed runs (which did include a 172-day run as Hardcore Champion, a record), he left the WWE in 2002, but it wasn’t the wrestling industry that would bring him his next job. Instead of doing that, which he certainly could have, because he was a legit tough guy and a decent wrestler, instead decided to open up his own self-defense school in Pennsylvania. These days, you can see Blackman in his own TV show, Blackman’s Bounties where he works as a legit bounty hunter, so he’s still performing on TV, just not in the way you would have expected.
6 Mason Ryan
Mason Ryan is exactly what you think of when you imagine the kind of performer that Vince McMahon loves to have, but unfortunately, he just never caught on with the audience, and after several failed stints in NXT and on the main roster, he was let go, and like many others on this list, he walked away from wrestling. Still, he’s found a very unique path since that point. Since 2014, he tried his hand on the indie scene, but didn’t pick up any traction there, so like Vladimir Kozlov, he worked at the Inoki Genome Federation in Japan, but has found a stable job with the world famous Cirque De Soleil as Chief of Ka, and that’s a pretty good gig, so we doubt he’ll be back to a notable wrestling promotion anytime soon.
5 Kristal Marshall
It’s been talked about at length with the way WWE women are being utilized today, but during the mid 2000s, the company loved to employ women based on nothing but their looks, and that brought us women like Kristal Marshall, who was a model, and not much else. Unfortunately, not everyone can transition from a model into a wrestler like Trish Stratus could. Like so many others, Marshall went to TNA for a few years as “Kristal Lashley,” as she was Bobby’s real life girlfriend, but left a short time after, and she doesn’t look much different these days. She’s running her own makeup and hair salon, so she’s still doing good things for herself.
4 Mark Jindrak
If one decision had gone the other way, Mark Jindrak could have been a huge star in the wrestling industry, but luckily for Batista, he was chosen to join Ric Flair, Triple H and Randy Orton in Evolution. That was unfortunate Jindrak, but he has still been keeping at the wrestling thing since. Instead of following the paths of wrestlers who have left WWE since and making it big in Japan, Jindrak focused his efforts in Mexico, where he is currently the CMLL World Heavyweight Champion as Marco Corleone. He worked hard at his craft, and has been given the training and freedom to become a top star, a place he never would have got too in the WWE, so it’s again another example of how WWE isn’t the be all, end all.
3 Eve Torres
Eve Torres is absolutely stunning, and physical capable of handling herself inside the WWE arena, so it’s weird to see that she isn't too memorable despite multiple Divas titles. However, mismanagement led to her release from WWE in 2013. That wasn’t her last involvement with the company, as she worked as an ambassador in 2014, but she hasn’t wrestled since then, instead focusing her time with instructing the Gracie Women Empowered self-defense course. Obviously that means she’s in tremendous shape, and she genuinely looks better now than she did at any point in her WWE career. With the women climbing to the top in the company today, it wouldn’t shock anyone to see her return sometime soon, even if it’s just for a short run.
2 Trent Barreta
Trent Barreta is the very definition of wasted talent in the WWE, as he never made it beyond the mid-card (you can argue that he barely made it there), but he’s yet another star proving that you don’t need the WWE to succeed. Since leaving the WWE, Trent has gone on to wrestle in Ring of Honor, PWG, New Japan Pro Wrestling and other smaller indies, and he’s doing very well for himself, whether it be wrestling alongside Rocky Romero, Chuck Taylor, or his latest venture into the heavyweight division in NJPW. He had potential in the WWE with The Dude Busters (alongside Caylen Croft), and as a solo competitor, but they never treated him as such, and he’s now coming into his own in New Japan, and is set to break out as one of the companies top heavyweights in 2018.
1 Ted DiBiase Jr.
Ted DiBiase came into the WWE to join Cody Rhodes as a second generation pairing, and it looked like he had all the talent in the world. Unfortunately he just wasn’t as charismatic or interesting as his father, and after a short run with the WWE, he left, and hasn’t been involved with wrestling since then. His full time retirement from the wrestling industry came in 2013, and since that point he’s done a lot of work with underprivileged youth in Mississippi, and to be completely honest, he doesn’t look that much different from his wrestling days. It looks like he’s staying in shape, and he’s doing great work for the community, so don’t expect him to return to wrestling anytime soon.
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