The Ruthless Aggression Era was an exciting time for wrestling fans, and it was the closest the WWE has come to matching the Attitude Era in terms of overall coolness. Now some of you may not exactly know when the Ruthless Aggression Era started and ended in WWE, and for those of you unaware, the rough timeline for this era was between 2002 and 2008 respectively. Perhaps we didn’t see stars of the same caliber as Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Rock emerge in the Ruthless Aggression Era like we did during the Attitude Era. We still had some fantastic new stars to keep us entertained during this timeline – names like John Cena, Edge, Batista, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton among many others.
There were tons of talented Superstars to keep us entertained during the Ruthless Aggression Era, and the mid-card was almost as interesting as the main event scene. Sports Entertainment is constantly evolving, and many of the stars of this particular era in WWE were released over time, and the reasons behind each Superstars release varies as you can imagine. The WWE’s completely unrecognizable now compared to the Ruthless Aggression Era, and there are only a few names from this golden era of wrestling still remaining in WWE. I’m sure many of you are wondering what some of your favourite RA stars are up to today following their releases, and we’ll delve into where these 15 Ruthless Aggression stars are now.
15. Vladimir Kozlov
Vladimir Kozlov boasts wins against the likes of The Undertaker, as well as feuds with the likes of Triple H and Edge for the WWE Championship. Following a few losses against the top stars, he was rapidly demoted into a comedy big guy gimmick where he teamed up with Santino Marella.
Vladimir Kozlov was released from WWE in late 2011, and he hasn’t looked back since. Kozlov may have left the company in a bottom of the barrel role, but that hasn’t stopped Vladimir from attempting to achieve success outside wrestling. Vladimir’s now the vice president of his own production company (Quasar Entertainment), and he’s also been featured in a few movie roles, one role as a stuntman in Fast and Furious 6, another as a stuntman in John Wick 2 and a biggest role in Wolf Warrior 2.
14. Shannon Moore
Shannon Moore may not have climbed to the same heights of success as his good buddy Jeff Hardy did in WWE, but he was definitely one of the more popular Ruthless Aggression mid-carders during his multiple runs with the company throughout the mid 2000’s. Shannon would eventually say ‘so long’ to the WWE Universe in 2008 after getting released from the company following a string of months where Moore was very rarely used on television. So, where is Shannon Moore now?
Following his quiet release from WWE, Moore’s continued to wrestle, as he’s been performing on the Indies regularly, plus he also had a run in TNA a few years back. However, it’s clear Shannon’s small-time Indie wrestling appearances don’t quite cut in terms of making a sufficient amount of dinero, as he’s since opened up his own tattoo shop in North Carolina called ‘Gas Chamber Ink’.
13. The Great Khali
The Great Khali may very well be the worst WWE World Heavyweight Champion in history. That being said, when you think of notable names that dominated the Ruthless Aggression Era, Khali’s name surely would come to mind, as he was a force to be reckoned with between his debut in 2006 all the way up until the RA ended in late 2008 (those were his two peak years in WWE). The Great Khali had feud after feud with top tier Superstars between ’06 and ’08, and he holds dominating wins over the likes of The Undertaker, Kane and John Cena – some of the biggest Ruthless Aggression stars.
However, like most of Vince McMahon’s monsters, Khali would eventually find himself in a low midcard jobber position which is where he remained on the card up until he was released in 2014. So where is ‘The Punjabi Playboy’ now? Since leaving the WWE behind, Khali’s successfully opened up his own wrestling school in India (CWE), and he still has a close relationship with the WWE as some of his aspiring talents are under the WWE’s radar for future signings.
12. Chris Masters
Chris Masters had all the tools required to be a main eventer during the WWE’s Ruthless Aggression Era. He was jacked beyond belief, had presence and wasn’t half bad on the mic. However, his career was hindered due to multiple Wellness Policy violations, and he never recovered after the violations, unfortunately (he hadn’t established himself enough to warrant going unpunished like Randy Orton for example).
Chris Masters was released from the WWE in August 2011 after an uneventful second run with the company, and he’s since wrestled elsewhere. Where is Masters now? Well, as we’ve mentioned, Chris has continued to wrestle outside the WWE on the Indies and in Impact Wrestling, and though he’s been wrestling very frequently, he hasn’t been able to surpass the success he had in WWE. Chris is only 35 years old, so we can’t count out a possible WWE return in the future.
11. John Morrison
Johnny Nitro aka John Morrison was one of the key Superstars in the WWE’s mid-card during the Ruthless Aggression Era. Though he never became a full fledged main eventer in WWE, Morrison was the guy who kept the upper mid-card scene interesting with his fantastic in-ring work and great presence. John captured many titles in the WWE during his run between 2006-2011 including the ECW and Intercontinental Championships.
Morrison would eventually get released from WWE on his own terms in ’11 due to injuries and because he wanted more creative control, and his absence was definitely a loss for the WWE. So where is the pretty boy John Morrison now? Well, he’s been wrestling on the Indies, in Lucha Underground and most recently in Impact Wrestling. Aside from his plentiful wrestling work, Morrison has also dabbled in Hollywood, and he’s been featured in a few smaller movie roles.
Similar to John Morrison, MVP aka Montel Vontavious Porter was one of the WWE’s top midcard acts during the Ruthless Aggression Era. Had the likes of 2006/2007 MVP been in WWE now, he’d probably be a main eventer – just goes to show how solid the midcard scene was back then. MVP was a guy who made the United States Championship feel prestigious and significant, and his feuds with the likes of The Miz, Rey Mysterio and Matt Hardy were quite compelling.
However, the self-proclaimed ‘MVP’ of WWE would end up finding himself released from the company in late 2010 following a couple losses. Now the question begs, where is MVP today? Since his release, MVP’s continued to wrestle elsewhere in promotions such as NJPW, TNA, Lucha Underground and of course, on the Independent scene. MVP’s definitely not seen more success than he did during his WWE run, but he hasn’t done too bad either.
Finlay was a major part of the Ruthless Aggression Era, and though he never captured the WWE or World Heavyweight Championships, he always found himself close to the top of the card on SmackDown with his handy shillelagh in hand. Finlay was an absolute brawler, and his hard hitting style eventually led the Irishman to capture the United States Championship.
However, Finlay would eventually get released from the WWE in 2011 after he authorized The Miz to interrupt the national anthem at a house show which was said to have offended many people (Finlay was working behind the scenes for his last year in the company). So where is Fit Finlay now? Well, after his unfortunate release from WWE, Finlay decided to start wrestling on the Indies once again, and he did so up until he re-signed with the WWE as a backstage producer one year later in 2012.
Gene Snitsky has to rank among the worst big men Vince McMahon has attempted to push. However, with how surprisingly long Snitsky stuck around for in WWE, he’s still remembered by fans to this day for his wacky gimmicks that never caught on. From his debut feud with Kane all the way to his final gimmick of being a grotesque yellow-teethed freak of nature.
Vince McMahon obviously learned from his mistakes with Snitsky, and he was quickly granted his release from the WWE without hesitation in December 2008. As I’m sure some of you are wondering, where is Snitsky now? Following his departure from WWE, Gene’s wrestled occasionally on the Indies, but he’s put a large portion of his time and energy in acting. Snitsky’s been featured in shows such as ABC’s ‘What Would You Do?‘, and aside from acting, he’s also an active member of various charities in Pennsylvania.
7. Hardcore Holly
Hardcore Holly certainly made sure that he lived up to his nickname ‘hardcore’, as he was without question a tough (and stiff) wrestler. Hardcore Holly had been with the WWE throughout much of the 90’s, but he was still a recognizable star of the company’s Ruthless Aggression Era. After his tag team with Cody Rhodes dissolved, Holly was released from the WWE, ending his decade and a half run with the company.
So you must be wondering, where is the hard hitting Hardcore Holly now? Since his release, as you may have expected, the 55 year old Hardcore Holly’s continued to wrestle on the Indies and he’s still performing to this day. Aside from occasionally wrestling on the Independent scene, Holly spends much of his free time mountain biking and driving across the country with his wife. Holly’s definitely living a pretty laid back life now.
Carlito was by far one of the Ruthless Aggression Era’s most talented and memorable mid-carders. Carlito definitely had a solid introduction to the WWE Universe, as he had defeated John Cena for the United States Championship in his debut match. However, Carlito never fully reached his potential in WWE, as his pushes slowly fizzled out towards the end of his run.
The former US and IC Champ would go onto be released from the WWE in May 2010, and we’ve only seen Carlito once in WWE following his release – at the 2014 Hall Of Fame induction ceremony to induct his father Carlos Colon Sr. into the HOF. So where is Mr. Caribbean Cool now? Since his leave from WWE, Carlito’s continued to wrestle elsewhere on the Indies and in Mexico. Aside from his sporadic wrestling appearance, Carlito recently had a role in the comedy television series GLOW.
Perhaps ‘star’ is a bit of a stretch considering Funaki was mainly utilized as a glorified foreign jobber, but like Vladimir Kozlov, he’s still a memorable RA wrestler. Funaki did see some forms of success in WWE, as he captured both the Cruiserweight Championship and the Hardcore Title on one occasion each. Funaki would go onto be released from the WWE in mid 2011 after spending nearly 12 years there, and he returned to the Indies where he continued wrestling up until 2014.
So where is good old Funaki now? For those of you who don’t know, Funaki’s returned to the WWE as of 2016 where he works away from the cameras as one-half of the WWE’s Japanese commentary booth for pay-per-views. The recent photo above showcases Funaki backstage posing alongside Christian and Edge, two wrestlers who were huge stars during the Ruthless Aggression Era.
4. Mr. Kennedy
Mr. Kennedy was without question one of the Ruthless Aggression Era’s breakout stars, and he’ll be remembered by fans forever due to his charismatic energy and fantastic mic skills. Kennedy had ‘WWE main eventer’ written all over him, but backstage politics ended up killing his entire career with the company. Mr. Kennedy’s gone on record to state that he didn’t get along with big stars such as Randy Orton, John Cena and Triple H – the recipe for failing in WWE.
Where is Mr. Kennedy now? After he departed WWE, Mr. Kennedy continued to wrestle on the Indies for a brief run before signing with Impact Wrestling. Aside from currently wrestling the Indies, Mr. Kennedy now runs his own wrestling school with fellow former WWE star Daivari, runs his own podcast, and has since become a boxing ring announcer (a perfect fit for him).
3. Spike Dudley
The spunky Spike Dudley’s mainly remembered by wrestling fans for his alliance with his ‘half-brothers’ The Dudley Boys between ’01 and ’05 – he even had a singles run where he captured the Cruiserweight Championship. Spike may have been the runt of the Dudley Family, but he still made his mark in WWE none the less. Unfortunately for Spike, his dream would be cut short as he was released in 2005.
So where is the little Spike Dudley now? Following his release, Spike continued to wrestle for a number for years on the Indies and in TNA prior to semi-retiring in 2012. Since his retirement from Sports Entertainment, Spike now works in another line of work – in the financial planning business. Dudley works for the company MassMutual as a financial planner.
2. Muhammad Hassan
Hassan’s foreign heel gimmick drew legitimate heat from the WWE Universe, and he was a natural in the ring as well. However, Hassan’s career in the company would be extremely short lived, as he was released from the WWE in 2005 following the ’05 London attacks.
It’s since been stated that Muhammad would have eventually been pushed to the moon and become World Champion, but the real-life events ended his career. So the question begs, where is the talented Muhammad Hassan now? Once released from WWE, Hassan retired entirely from Sports Entertainment, and he’s never been seen in a ring since. Hassan’s been living the quiet life in recent years as a building administrator for the New York State Education Department, though he received recognition for the graphic novel he wrote with fellow former WWE star Shad Gaspard titled ‘Assassin And Son’.
1. Bobby Lashley
Bobby Lashley was one of the most pushed WWE Superstars during the Ruthless Aggression Era, and he was constantly featured in main event angles as Vince undoubtedly loved Lashley’s big chiseled physique. Lashley may have captured the US Title and ECW ‘World Championship’, but he never became a WWE or World Heavyweight Champion. Lashley was released from the WWE in February 2008 following a six-month injury that kept him on the shelf.
However, rumors suggest that a backstage fallout between Michael Hayes and Lashley was the reason for his sudden departure. So where is the former ECW Champ now? Well to be blunt, the 41 year old Bobby Lashley’s currently finding his way back to WWE, and rumours suggest he’ll be back in the company sooner rather than later for a return feud with Lesnar.
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