It’s probably time to face the music: the WWE isn’t exactly the holiest of professional sports leagues. Some leagues have their share of excellent role models, others just happen to be littered with examples moms tell their children to steer clear from. The WWE doesn’t have the greatest reputation in this respect. Many superstars succumb to the pressures of stardom. Booze and drugs are often vices that bring down even the most famous of wrestlers, no matter how invincible they may seem.
In a league filled with such disheartening stories, it may surprise you that there are plenty of heartwarming ones backing them up. For many, hitting rock bottom is only the set up for an amazing rebound. Wrestlers in particular will often find themselves newly motivated and remade, and oftentimes it’s due to a sudden interest in religion.
The WWE is filled with excellent examples of those who follow the Christian faith. Whether it be devout followers who have studied the Bible from an early age, or a wide variety of born again Christians seeking to better themselves, there is always something touching about reading their stories. What follows are the ten superstars you didn’t know were actually staunch Christians.
10. Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio is small in stature, but his devout ways are plenty large. The proud Mexican was born Catholic and trained at an early age in the ways of luchalibre. Many of his in-ring performances are riddled with homages to his humble beginnings, and it is clear that Mysterio values his sense of religion.
Before every match, Mysterio performs the Catholic cross across his chest. Many of his tattoos also carry religious connotations, the largest of which being the symbol of the cross inked onto his chest. Mysterio elaborates even further upon his sense of faith in his published books, describing the influence Catholicism has had on his life and his wrestling career.
9. Billy Graham
Superstar Billy Graham has recently become a rather outspoken critic of the modern day WWE. Whether the writing or portrayals of its characters, Graham isn’t afraid to make some waves for his former employers. He has even gone so far as to request his dismissal from the WWE Hall of Fame!
His religiousness has experienced a bit of a renaissance as well. He was named after a famous Christian evangelist, and has always been an outspoken Christian man. While his wrestling legacy has been tarnished by his relations with the league as well as allegations of steroid abuse, he’s proven to be a very devout Christian.
8. Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle is no stranger to the limelight. As one must be to become successful in a show-oriented league, Angle knows how to reach his message to the fans. One of the easiest ways of achieving this is through the social media realm. It is through this avenue that Angle frequently displays his Christianity, often posting messages about Jesus and God.
He has even used his faith as a way to clash with other wrestlers. CM Punk, for instance, has a record of spouting off some controversial remarks. This is especially true when it comes to his criticisms of Christianity. Angle has taken to Twitter and Facebook to strike back at Punk, even defending the Pope himself after Punk criticized him on his own social media outlets.
7. Ted DiBiase Sr.
Ted DiBiase’s character may lead many to believe that he is not a very religious individual. He was well known as a manipulator, whether he was wrestling or managing. He also displayed some sinful traits like greediness. What fans don’t know is that this character is not an accurate representation for DiBiase himself. When the cameras turn off, DiBiase is a devout Christian.
Like others on this list, he’s written an autobiography showcasing the influence of religion on his life and his career. He is also an ordained minister, founding a church of his own in the late 1990s. The WWE saw this aspect of his background and ran with it, organizing a fake wedding with Goldust and Aksana as a media gimmick.
6. Jake Roberts
Jake “The Snake” Roberts has had his share of demons. It’s fair to wonder if he’s even overcome the most out of anybody on this list in fact. He was infamously entangled in the common trappings of many who have the limelight thrust upon them. Hard liquor, drugs, and women truly brought him problems, but he seemed to turn his life around by the 1990s.
The WWE even began turning his character into a born again Christian, and as it turns out it wasn’t too far off from the truth. Roberts credits his turnaround to religion, and by all accounts remains completely committed to sobriety. His story is a heartwarming reminder of the positive effects religion can have for those caught in a never ending downward spiral.
5. Lex Luger
Lex Luger was involved in some serous domestic dispute allegations in the early 2000s with his then-girlfriend Miss Elizabeth. Over the course of the next month, Elizabeth passed away due to an overdose and Luger was arrested for carrying a variety of illegal drugs such as Oxycontin.
The death of Miss Elizabeth deeply affected him, however, and it was the beginning of a sort of religious awakening for the troubled man. Since his issues, he has appeared on Praise the Lord where he proclaimed his Christianity and gave credit to his faith for this life’s turnaround. He currently travels the country spreading the faith.
4. Shawn Michaels
Shawn Michaels’ wrestling career was mired in controversy. He has been very outspoken over the years, and his character was centered on an over the top attitude that fans loved. It also led him down a dark path filled with drugs, alcohol, and chasing women. He battled a well-documented pain pill addiction that even found its way into the WWE storylines as writers used it as material for the opponents he’d feuded with.
More recently, Michaels has written and published a book titled Wrestling For My Life. The book details his return to faith after discovering God. Raised Catholic, Michaels claims he knew of God but had never truly experienced him. Now, Michaels’ life is more under control, a fact he attributes to his newfound faith in Christianity.
Many of the wrestlers on this list found Christianity as a result of stressful and troubling times in their lives. Sting was no exception. While he was truly well-liked throughout the league, and caused few legitimate qualms as a result, his life on the road still proved stressful. Sting became reliant on coping mechanisms like alcohol and muscle relaxers for quite some time.
He attributes God for his recovery after his wife urged him to check into rehab. His faith has grown so much that it has begun to interfere with his wrestling. Sting has begun to value his faith over his paycheck, as his refusal to join the WWE back in 2014 stemmed from disagreements over the steamy content of today’s professional wrestling.
2. Hulk Hogan
Yes, even Hogan has gone public with his religious faith. While he’d been terrorizing opponents inside the ring, dominating wrestlers in a way that had yet to be seen, he’d also been a devout Christian. Hogan would go on to become one of the most famous WWE superstars in history, and much of his success is a result of his religious morals and drive for self-improvement.
His faith truly helped him during a messy divorce from his wife. He’s stated in interviews that he leaned on his religion during this time, contemplating Jesus’s sacrifice in an effort to absolve every one of their sins.
1. Eddie Guerrero
Eddie Guerrero’s story is remarkably similar to many other born again Christians, especially the ones who have found a place on this list. However, Guerrero’s downfall was much more drastic, as he hit rock bottom. His vices were similar to previous wrestlers’, but he took them to an extreme. It is well documented that he suffered from overdoses on two separate occasions yet continued his dangerous ways.
It wasn’t until he was virtually forced to check into rehab, left with nothing he held dear, that he turned to the bible. His daily routine began to revolve around reading bible passages, and he eventually was released from rehab. He then had to prove himself once more, fighting his way back up the independent leagues before finally earning a spot back on the WWE roster. Sadly, Guerrero passed away due to heart failure in 2005.