With a billion dollar company in his grasp, Vince McMahon has a lot of employees underneath his feet. Most of his employees have never stepped foot in a ring and you shouldn’t be surprised about it. From the production crew to the executive officers and senior managers, most, if not all the employees never had a wrestling match in their life.
That doesn’t mean Vince never hires former wrestlers. Many of our beloved wrestlers have traded their trunks in for a suit. WWE hires former wrestlers as producers, trainers, road agents, or on-air personality talents. You may know some of them, such as Arn Anderson (Producer), Lex Luger (Wellness Counselor), and Road Dogg (lead Producer for SmackDown Live!).
This list is about employees you may never have thought were professional wrestlers at one point in their lives. For some, it’s been decades since they last strapped on boots and worked in a ring, for others, it’s only been a few years. Some of these employees have been top guys for a promotion while others never amounted to anything more than a mid-card in some high school gym. Each employee broke their tails trying to be wrestlers and although they aren’t today, that hard work has paid off as they work for the biggest promotion of them all. Enjoy!
15 John Laurinaitis
Most wrestling fans falling into the older generations category probably know about John Laurinaitis’ career as a wrestler, however, his real claim to fame in the WWE Universe came as an authority figure for the WWE. Since being hired by the company in 2001, Laurinaitis name would spring up every once in a while, however, his name wasn’t circulating until CM Punk’s infamous “pipe bomb.” Punk would describe him as “glad-handing, nonsensical, d**che bag yes-man.”
14 Steve Keirn
Steve Keirn is another example of a former wrestler that had a small impact in the ring but a larger one outside of it. He would make his professional debut in 1972 and become known as one half of The Fabulous Ones. Working mostly in the southern territories throughout his career, Keirn would bring his services to the WWE in 1991.
13 Paul Ellering
Paul Ellering has had a storied career as a manager in professional wrestling. Arguably his biggest impact in the industry came as the mouthpiece for the Legion of Doom, also known as The Road Warriors, from 1981 to 1997. Throughout those years, the three would work for several promotions, including American Wrestling Association, NJPW, and WWE.
12 Robbie Brookside
Liverpool might be known as the birthplace of The Beatles, but when it comes to professional wrestling, it’s the birthplace of Robbie Brookside. Brookside would make his debut in 1984 and quickly was spotted by the biggest promotion in England at the time, All-Star Wrestling. He would eventually become a champion for several promotions in Europe.
11 Adam Pearce
Masked Spymaster II, El Hijo de Matt Classic, and Tommy Lee Ridgeway are just some of the names Adam Pearce went by as a professional wrestler. A few weeks after graduating from high school in 1996, Pearce would make his wrestling debut. Although very young and inexperienced, the WWE would use him as a jobber several times from 1997 to 2000.
10 Johnny Moss
Hailing from England, Johnny Moss would be trained by Andre Baker in 1998. His first match would be for the National Wrestling Alliance the following year. Mostly known on the English indie circuit, Moss would dazzle fans with excellent technical skills on the mat. Known as “The Vigilante,” he has worked for promotions such as Premier British Wrestling, Insane Championship Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Elite.
9 Jessika Heiser
Anyone watch WWE’s Mae Young Classic and notice the female referee? Going by Jessika Carr in the WWE, the talented lady was mixing it up in the ring as a wrestler before signing a development deal with the company. In 2012, Heiser would start training at Gillberg’s (Yes, that Gillberg) Academy of Professional Wrestling. Not only did Duane Gillberg train her but also the newly inducted Hall of Famers, The Dudley Boys.
8 Scott Armstrong
Debuting in the industry in 1983, Scott Armstrong would become a household name in the Georgia and Alabama territories. As a second generation wrestler, Scott would be trained by his father, Bob, and would form a team with his brother, Steve, called The James Boys. He would work in several promotions in the south, including Jim Crockett Promotions.
7 Robert Evans
Hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Robert Evans made his wrestling debut in 2001. Some of the names he went by were The Mysterious and Handsome, Stranger, Archibald Peck, and R.D. Evans. For almost a decade, Evans would work the Texas indie circuit but got a big break when Ring of Honor gave him a deal in 2010. Considered one of the funniest wrestlers of his generation, Evan’s charisma would illuminate an entire venue.
6 Drake Younger
We’ve heard stories about our favorite Superstars going to a huge event and becoming inspired to work in the industry. Drake Younger is one of those people. Younger would attend WrestleMania VIII and become hooked on professional wrestling. In 2001, he would make his debut as a professional wrestler and live out his dream. He was more on the hardcore side and worked for promotions such as Insanity Pro Wrestling and Combat Zone Wrestling (Hall of Famer).
5 Mickey Keegan
The Massachusetts native would make his wrestling debut in 2005 for Chaotic Wrestling. His wrestling career would be cut short due to his spinal stenosis in 2013. The decision to leave the ring would open up a door as a creative assistant for the NXT brand. His hard work would pay off and he earned a writing position at Full Sail University.
4 Ryan Katz
Better known as GQ Money in his wrestling days, Ryan Smiley Katz made his professional wrestling debut in 1999. Trained by Dan Magnus and Bobby Black, Katz would make a big impact in Xtreme Pro Wrestling. The guy was hardcore to the bone and even was tossed off a 30-foot tower during his time with the promotion. WWE would him hire for several positions in the last decade.
3 Darryl Sharma
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1984, Sharma would become a professional wrestler in 2002. He would train under wrestlers such as Negro Casas, Notorious T.I.D., and Yuki Ishikawa. Some of the promotions he worked for over the years include Dragon Gate, All-Star Wrestling, CMLL, ROH, Chikara, and All Pro Wrestling. WWE would hire Sharma in 2014 as a Rosebud in the Exotic Express but it would be short-lived.
2 Ryan Tran
Born in Malaysia, Ryan Tran would come to the United States during his childhood in the 1980s and eventually live out his American dream. He grew up as a super fan of Ricky Steamboat and wanted nothing more than to be a professional wrestler. Tran would take the right steps and actually had the legend, Harley Race personally train him.
1 Sebastian Hackl
Usually, during a women’s match on a WWE PPV, the company likes to let the fans know they’re a global brand. They roll out the camera and allow each international broadcasting team to say something. WWE fans may be familiar with former wrestlers like Funaki (Japan) and Raymond Rougeau (French Canadian) - but do they know about Sebastian Hackl? Born and raised in Germany, Hackl broke into the industry after being trained by the greatest dancer in wrestling, Alex Wright.
He performed for Wright’s promotion, New European Championship Wrestling, as well as other European promotions before dedicating his time to broadcasting. Usually seen on PPVs, Hackl also commentates on SmackDown Live episodes for ProSieben Maxx and can be heard on Raw occasionally. If any international broadcaster was going to take a bump like Michael Cole, count Hackl in.
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