The bright lights and the grand stages that make up a World Wrestling Entertainment presentation are a sight to behold. Ever since Vince McMahon launched the company straight into the mainstream in 1985 with the first ever WrestleMania the spectacle known as WWE has continued to grow year after year into a phenomenon of epic proportions, with larger than life personalities competing in over the top battles for brief moments of glory and fictitious championship titles.
As longtime fans of such an outrageous form of entertainment, many of us tend to forget that not every viewer is able to see past the glitz and the glamour of a sports entertainment program and fathom that many of these men and women are not the “set for life” megastars they are presented to be. Casual or newer fans of professional wrestling, for instance, may not be aware that many of the greatest WWE Superstars of all time, like “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan have fallen on hard times themselves.
Even the buckets of money WWE is perceived to be paying its employees does not prevent the bank accounts from running dry for these usually well paid athletes. Sometimes bad investments are made and the money seems to vanish within the blink of an eye, or maybe an individual simply spent it all in one place without a backup plan. Whatever the case, there have been quite a few pro wrestlers who have lost it all financially, so let’s take a look at just who some of these irresponsible spendthrifts are.
15. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Few former professional wrestlers have the reputation of substance abuse and legal woes that Jake “The Snake” Roberts has. Roberts was one of the most talented and valuable stars on the World Wrestling Federation’s roster at one point in time, something of a precursor to Bray Wyatt with his eerily silent promos and superb in ring work. Roberts never won any Championships during his time with WWE, but he certainly left his mark and his influence saw him recently inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
As stated, Jake Roberts has perhaps had the worst history with alcohol of any pro wrestler. He has been very embarrassingly intoxicated in public and has gotten himself into plenty of trouble. Roberts wasted away his entire wrestling fortune and although he has been on good terms with WWE following his Hall of Fame induction and has been trying to get his life back together with the assistance of DDP Yoga, it would seem he is still stuck with his financial woes.
14. Marty Jannetty
Marty Jannetty might not be a name immediately recognizable to the younger pro wrestling fan base, but he was definitely a big deal at a certain point in time. His first big claim to fame came as one half of the tag team known as The Rockers. The other member of that team was a man that is definitely more recognizable as it was the WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels. Shawn Michaels famously turned on Jannetty in the early 1990s before breaking out on his own to become the “Heartbreak Kid” we all know and love today.
Jannetty had a pretty respectable solo run shortly after this, even winning the prestigious WWE Intercontinental Championship, but these days his relationship with the company has gone completely sour after failing several drug tests and being very outspoken against them. In recent years Marty has spoken about how he has seen no financial support from WWE and at one time was in need of surgery that he could not afford as the money from his wrestling days was long gone.
13. Lex Luger
Most wrestling fans will probably remember Lex Luger more for his time in World Championship Wrestling where he became the WCW World Heavyweight Champion and was a mainstay in the main event scene. However, it might be easy to forget that Luger was once an employee for Vince McMahon at the onset of the “New Generation” era. Originally billed as Narcissus, he name was later changed to “The Narcissist” Lex Luger and while he would chase the likes of WWE Hall of Famer Yokozuna for the WWF Championship, he never accomplished much under McMahon’s banner.
Luger has been dealing with health issues for many years and today is confined to a wheelchair. He has also been embroiled in legal battles related to his substance abuse problems and has spent his entire wrestling fortune. Today he works for a nonprofit organization and tries to help ensure that other wrestlers don’t travel down the path he himself took as an athlete.
Sean Waltman is something of a 1990s pro wrestling icon, having been a major player in two of the most famous wrestling factions of all time. First, he got his start with the World Wrestling Federation around the time Monday Night Raw was first rising to prominence in 1993. It was during this time, as the 1-2-3 Kid, that he picked up his first major victory over Scott Hall, also known as Razor Ramon. Waltman and Hall would go on later to both be some of the original members of the New World Order in World Championship Wrestling.
In the late ‘90s Waltman returned to the WWF as a member of D-Generation X and it was then when he would meet wrestling legend Chyna, whom Waltman would later be famously involved with romantically. The two had many troubles related to substance abuse and domestic violence, which understandably has left Waltman with some financial issues.
11. Perry Saturn
Perry Saturn is a name that will likely ring a bell for fans of WWE’s biggest competition throughout the famous “Monday Night War” of the 1990s, World Championship Wrestling. Right around the time Vince McMahon bought out that company, four of WCW’s biggest stars defected and those men were Saturn, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, and Dean Malenko.
The men teamed together for a while in WWE as The Radicalz and Saturn would go on after the fact to a pretty respectable program with his girlfriend “Moppy.” For those of you who don’t remember, Moppy was literally just a mop, but it went over with the crowd to a ridiculous level. After leaving WWE, though, Saturn’s luck ran out and he disappeared for many years, even becoming homeless at one time. He has returned to the independent wrestling circuit but it seems he is in dire need of financial assistance for medical reasons as there was recently a GoFundMe account set up to support him.
10. Nicole Bass
Even the most devoted and schooled of pro wrestling fans would be forgiven for not having a clue who Nicole Bass is. Bass was a monster of a woman who was only around in the World Wrestling Federation for a cup of coffee during the Attitude era in the late 1990s, but she was certainly dominant, to say the least. Her strength, huge frame and mean mug made her one of the most intimidating WWE Divas of all time, but it’s not likely we will ever see her inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
That is partially because of her lack of accomplishments during her time with the company, but also because the relationship between the two parties ended on quite a sour note with Bass claiming she was sexually harassed by longtime WWE employee Steve Lombardi, known more commonly as the Brooklyn Brawler. In 2015 Bass was caught shoplifting and had made a prior statement on the Howard Stern show that she was broke.
9. Scott Hall
Pro wrestling fans first got to know Scott Hall as Razor Ramon, the greasy haired, chain wearing “bad guy” who made history at WrestleMania X across the ring from Shawn Michaels when they battled for the Intercontinental Championship in one of the first ladder matches in WWE. Hall was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014 under the Razor Ramon name, but he is just as well known for his time in World Championship Wrestling as one of the original members of the infamous New World Order alongside Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan.
However, Scott Hall has had so many substance abuse issues that they have somewhat overshadowed his time inside a wrestling ring. He’s been arrested several times and at some point went flat broke. Though he remains on good terms with WWE and is working to stay clean of drugs and alcohol, his money has fled the premises.
8. Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka
If you’re an older fan of the sport of pro wrestling, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka is probably familiar to you as one of the pioneers of the high flying style of squared circle combat. If not, you will perhaps be more knowledgeable of his daughter and longtime WWE Diva Tamina Snuka. Whatever the case, you should know that Jimmy Snuka is one of the more influential competitors to come out of the early WrestleMania era, even appearing ringside during the main event of the first iteration of the spectacular annual show.
For many years now Snuka has been plagued by accusations that he murdered his girlfriend in 1983 and was set to stand trial recently, although he was declared mentally incapable of doing so. That is far from the only issues that have impacted Snuka who recently lost his house after suffering more financial setbacks. It was also sadly revealed that he only has a few months to live as a result of terminal cancer, as well as suffering from dementia that allegedly makes him constantly fear that he is late for a WWE match.
7. Ric Flair
It doesn’t need to be said that “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair is one of the most highly revered individuals in the rich history of professional wrestling. Before Hulk Hogan was taking WrestleMania into the mainstream spotlight, Ric Flair was wrestling classic matches and winning World Championships. This high profile career would go on for decades and it was only a few years ago that Flair finally hung up his wrestling boots for good. Truth be told, if Ric Flair still wanted to wrestle today he could probably school WWE’s entire roster.
Though he’s been in the spotlight again lately due to the great successes of his daughter Charlotte Flair, it has been said that Ric has been in some major debt for years now and doesn’t actually have much in the way of cash these days. Years of alcohol abuse and personal issues have not helped his situation, but if anyone can work his way out of a situation like this it’s the Nature Boy.
6. Tony Atlas
As one of the most noted pioneers for black wrestlers, Tony Atlas is often celebrated by World Wrestling Entertainment during Black History Month every year. Atlas was an accomplished tag team wrestler, winning the WWE World Tag Team Championship in the early 1980s with Rocky Johnson, the father of a man you may know as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Many years later, Tony Atlas returned to WWE to manage Mark Henry in WWE’s resurrected version of ECW, but his working relationship with the company has largely faded since then aside from a couple of appearances and his role on the WWE Network show Legends’ House.
Atlas has seen plenty of hard times throughout his life, even once having been homeless until Vince McMahon gave him a job. He seemed to get everything together but recently seemed to be desperate for wrestling related work and many assumed this meant he was once again in a rough financial situation.
5. Haiti Kid
As fans may or may not be aware, Vince McMahon has always had a bit of a fondness for small wrestlers. The likes of Hornswoggle, El Torito, and any number of the plethora of additional mini-grapplers to have made WWE appearances over the decades have proven this fact, and one of the earliest of these performers was Raymond Kessler who performed in the 1980s for the World Wrestling Federation under the name Haiti Kid.
Though Haiti Kid never had a very prominent presence on WWE programming, he was involved in a couple of notable WrestleMania moments including his role at ringside in support of Mr. T for a boxing match against the late WWE Hall of Famer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper at the second WrestleMania event in 1986. For years, rumors swirled that Haiti Kid had passed away and he went completely unheard from until someone spotted him living on the streets in Brooklyn, New York.
The world of pro wrestling has certainly been home to many controversial figures over the decades and many of them have been real trouble makers. When we discuss wrestling trouble makers we absolutely must talk about Tammy Sytch, who famously played Sunny in the 1990s and was a living, breathing version of every young boy’s dream come true. Sunny was drop dead gorgeous and as charismatic as any Diva to have ever graced WWE television.
Unfortunately, she was also linked to plenty of romantic scandals and could not seem to get along with her female coworkers. In the years since retiring from the wrestling business Sunny, who has attempted to sell her WWE Hall of Fame ring on eBay, has found herself almost constantly on the wrong side of the law and has seen difficult financial problems related to legal fees. Though she has recently signed a deal with an adult film company, it’s likely she remains in a tight spot money-wise.
Virgil was a pretty big part of WWE programming in the late 1980s and early ‘90s. He is most famously known for playing the role of a bodyguard for “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase around this time, though he turned on his boss eventually and broke out on his own for a solo run. Unfortunately for Virgil, that run went practically nowhere and he eventually realized he had peaked in his wrestling career.
Throughout the last few years Virgil has been at the center of a popular internet meme known as “Lonely Virgil.” This phenomenon was born after the former WWE Superstar started hitting the road with a merchandise table in hopes of earning some cash through his autograph signings. When it seemed that no one was interested fans started snapping photos of Virgil sitting all alone at his table and as a result he has become one of the most notoriously broke former wrestlers in the world.
2. Dynamite Kid
Tom Billington, known to wrestling fans the world over as the ever popular Dynamite Kid, was one of the finest tag team wrestlers in the history of the sport. Together with his real life cousin Davey Boy Smith as the tag team known as the British Bulldogs, Dynamite Kid was one of the most consistently entertaining and athletic acts in the World Wrestling Federation’s tag team division in the ‘80s. The British Bulldogs wrestled many classic matches for the gold, but it was all cut short when Billington suffered a back injury.
Other injuries and drug problems eventually forced Dynamite Kid to retire from the wrestling ring and things have not always been good for him since leaving the business. In fact, his financial woes became such a problem that his wife started a GoFundMe page for him, claiming Billington had been in a care home for an extended period of time and WWE was not assisting them with the costs.
Known as the “Ugandan Giant,” Kamala was once one of the most fearsome individuals to ever step foot inside a wrestling ring for the World Wrestling Federation. Kamala was a wild beast of a man who didn’t speak English and had a “handler” named Kim Chee escort him to the ring for his matches. Kamala was one of the most memorable faces in wrestling during the ‘80s and ‘90s, though he never won a single Championship title with the company.
The case of Kamala is one of the saddest stories of a former WWE Superstar who has fallen from a place of glory. He hasn’t had any working relationship with the company in many years. Both of Kamala’s legs have been removed following complications from diabetes, and although he can barely pay his bills he has reportedly received absolutely no assistance from Vince McMahon and World Wrestling Entertainment, despite his legendary status and contributions to the business.