The entertainment business is a difficult one that many dream of being a part of but fail to ever achieve. It is a competitive business that not everyone is cut out to be part of, many will go to great lengths just for the chance at fame, because as we all know fame brings fortune.
There are many avenues to take for one to become famous; most people’s first thought is becoming an actor or singer, as those two professions are the most profitable for fame. However, there is one profession that many seem to forget about (that produced some monster celebrities), and that is in the WWE. Becoming a WWE superstar has worked wonders for many to become noticed to mainstream media. Many have used WWE as a platform to venture off in other forms of entertainment, whether it be in movies, TV shows or music, it all started with this foundation.
Although getting fame from WWE can also have its difficulties, many are labeled because of their previous relationships with the company. Many are frowned upon because their success is only related to where they started. All the entries on this list have worked for WWE in some capacity and all have made a name for themselves outside of the ring. Some argue that these 12 former WWE stars used the WWE as a platform for fame. Who are they? Let’s find out.
12. Stacy Keibler
Keibler was a fan favorite immediately; she had striking good looks and the innocent girl next door look which fans adored. It was no surprise to fans when Keibler left the WWE in 2006 to pursue other endeavors. She appeared on Dancing with the Stars, finishing third, she then went on to guest appear in movies and television shows. Keibler made mainstream headlines when it was discovered she was dating George Clooney in 2011, though their relationship ended two years later. Keibler now hosts a Lifetime show called Supermarket Superstar. Keibler can attribute all of her fame from her days with the WWE.
11. Johnathan Coachman
He played many roles in the WWE, from interviewer, commentator, and presenter. Coach had a comedic role often getting mocked by The Rock. Later on in his career, Coach became a heel commentator and assistant to Manager Eric Bischoff. Coach left the WWE in 2008 to begin a career with ESPN. He now hosts a radio show called Coach and Company. Starting in the summer of 2015, Coachman began showing highlights of WWE’s best moments of the week on ESPN and also having weekly WWE superstars and Divas as guests on SportsCenter. Nice to see the Coach give back to the WWE.
Wilson had sex appeal, and for a short period of time she was the hottest thing in wrestling for the Women’s Division. Wilson hit mainstream media when she posed for Playboy for the May 2003 issue. She also posed again for Playboy alongside Sable for the March 2004 issue. Furthermore, Wilson also made headlines when she started dating Alex Rodriguez from 2011-2015. All of her success started because of the push she got back in the WWE. Wilson was one of the few wrestlers that the WWE kept from WCW.
9. Chris Jericho
One of the best wrestlers ever to step foot in the squared circle, Chris Jericho has had an outstanding career. No question, he will be in the WWE Hall Of Fame when he decides to retire. Jericho has won 30 championships between WWE, WCW and ECW. While wrestling, Jericho has taken time off on many different occasions to focus on his music career. His rock band Fozzy, has released six albums and toured all over the world. Much of his band’s success can be attributed to wrestling, Jericho has a huge fanbase, and many followed him into his music career. As it’s said, wrestling and rock fans are cut from the same cloth.
8. Jesse Ventura
Ventura had a successful eleven year career with WWE, going from fan favorite wrestler to doing color commentary. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004. Ventura also had success in the box office playing alongside friend Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Predator and The Running Man. Furthermore, Ventura made headlines when he decided to go into politics and run for governor of Minnesota. With his popularity from his WWE days and his impressive military background, Ventura won the election and in 1998 became the 38th Governor of Minnesota.
7. CM Punk
One of most unique wrestlers in the industry, Punk created a cult following fanbase. He was different from the other wrestlers and didn’t have the stereotypical look of a WWE champion. Punk’s gimmick was his real life mentality; he’s an outspoken, sharp-tongued, anti-establishment, straight edge iconoclast, and fans were drawn to it. Before Punk’s departure from WWE, he was one of the top Main Event draws, but his career would be cut short because of his dismay with the direction of WWE and his character. Punk revealed he was going into MMA, signing a multi fight contract with the UFC. His much anticipated debut will be sure to be a PPV draw. Punk has also ventured into graphic novels, and he has co-written numerous works for Marvel Comics. Even though Punk doesn’t like talking about the WWE and has a bitter relationship with the company, he still should be grateful. It’s because of WWE that Punk has a chance to fight in UFC without any previous experience in MMA. Furthermore, Punk would have never been noticed by Marvel had he not wrestled for the WWE.
6. Hulk Hogan
He was a hero to wrestling fans during the 80’s and early 90’s. Hulkamania created a huge following that will never be replicated. Hogan became a star to millions because of the WWE gaining worldwide recognition. With his star power Hogan began gaining celebrity status by entering into the film industry, staring in main and supporting roles on numerous movies and TV shows. Hogan also had his own reality TV show, based around himself and his family called Hogan Knows Best, which ran for four seasons on VH1. Hogan’s status as a celebrity is all thanks to Vince McMahon, as he is the one who created “Hulkamania”.
She will go down as one of the toughest and strongest female wrestlers in history. Chyna had a successful Hall of Fame-worthy career (although we all know she will never get inducted). After wrestling, Chyna decided to venture in the adult entertainment industry. Chyna starred in six adult films winning two AVN awards, one for “Best Selling Title of the Year” and another for “Best Celebrity Sex Tape”. In addition, she has posed nude for Playboy on two occasions, in 2000 and 2002. She is arguably the most popular and successful wrestler to transition into the adult entertainment industry.
4. The Miz
Starting out as a reality TV star on MTV’s The Real World, Miz made it known that he was a wrestling fan and that his persona would be a perfect gimmick in the WWE. Well, the WWE took notice and signed him. WWE made Miz into a star eventually by putting the WWE Championship on him and making him Main Event Wrestlemania XXVII against John Cena. With all his success with WWE, The Miz took on another venture and went into acting, staring in four films.
3. Brock Lesnar
Brock never liked professional wrestling and most likely still doesn’t, but it pays well and his work days are very limited. Brock had all the tools of a potential superstar when he broke into the industry in 2000. He went up in the ranks, squashing many WWE legends and was billed as the future of WWE. He was one of the hottest things in wrestling when he decided to part ways with WWE in 2004. In 2008, Lesnar joined the UFC, with Lesnar’s drawing power because of his former fame with WWE it only took two fights to get a title shot. A move which Dana White would never do with any other fighter. Lesnar also got the opportunity to try out for the NFL, another chance you just don’t get everyday. His fame from the WWE opened up many doors for the mayor of Suplex City.
2. Eva Marie
One of the stars of Total Divas, Eva Marie has had huge success with WWE with limited in-ring work. For wrestling fans it’s a love / hate relationship with Marie (fans likely love her because she is very appealing to look at). However, those same fans also dislike her because of her awful in the ring skills. Eva has branched out to other ventures because of her WWE fame. She has been in commercials and posed for various fitness magazines. Marie also got a sponsorship with the popular fitness company Shredz.
These days, fans aren’t really welcoming the idea of seeing Batista in the ring, prompting them to nickname him “Bootista”. At one time, Batista was a fan favorite and one of the top guys in the industry. His career includes being a six time World Champion, three time Tag Team Champion, and two time Royal Rumble winner. All his achievements will likely get him into the WWE Hall of Fame one day. In 2010, Batista left wrestling to pursue different endeavors. He had a short run in MMA, only fighting once and picking up the victory. Batista would then go on to pursue an acting career, getting little notoriety in The Man with the Iron Fist. Batista would get celebrity status in his next film by staring in the box office hit Guardians of the Galaxy, and to the surprise of many he was very good in playing his role. This lead to another huge role in the James Bond Film, Spectre. If it wasn’t for WWE, Batista would have never had the popularity he did going into the film industry.