The best professional wrestlers double as TV stars, and the public at large knows all too well how wealthy the top TV stars of the world can be. However, the average pro wrestler is far from a millionaire, and that includes even those who have reached the top of the mountain and worked for Vince McMahon’s WWE. Once a wrestler’s career starts winding down in the ring, they may find themselves without any source of income at all, and the sad reality is that a shocking number of wrestlers have in any way prepared themselves for retirement. Luckily for these struggling superstars of the past, the Internet has created a multitude of websites where people experiencing financial strain can ask the world for help. While these wrestlers may not have saved any money during their time in front of the cameras, their fanbase hasn’t forgotten the amazing things they did in the ring. Sometimes they are willing to help out if the star needs money fast, and if they explain themselves in a concise manner.
With all of this in mind, it would be fair to point out that there are pros and cons to how easy it is for wrestlers to ask their fans for money these days. While many of the wrestlers we’re about to discuss desperately and genuinely needed help with medical or personal issues, some wrestlers have been accused of taking advantage of the public’s kindness by asking for donations for some questionable causes. Keep reading to discover which wrestlers actually need your help, and which ones simply want your money, with this list of 15 superstars you never knew had to ask their fans for financial assistance.
15. Kamala – Can No Longer Work Due To Diabetes
Hindsight is 20/20, and it can be hard to frame the Kamala gimmick as anything other than a racist caricature some 30 years after the wrestler named Jim Harris was at the peak of his fame. Regardless of the connotations behind the character, the fact remains that Kamala was a main event caliber star for several years in WWE, and longer than that in smaller territories throughout the south. Kamala engaged in high profile feuds against legends like Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan, Jerry Lawler, and The Undertaker, and though he never won any major championships, his name will forever be etched in the legacies of those talents and indeed wrestling history in general. Not long after his days in the ring were over, Kamala learned he was suffering from diabetes and was forced to undergo a double amputation, leaving him without legs. Due to the amputation, Kamala has found himself completely unable to work. He was already suffering financial straits, which were only made worse by his health problems. A GoFundMe page was created in his name in 2014, with the results thus far already reportedly lifting the spirits of the previously destitute athlete.
14. Gorgeous George – Wants Help Moving And Doing Charity Work
Few names in wrestling are as legendary as Gorgeous George, and because of this reputation, there have been more than a few superstars to take up the moniker throughout the long history of the sport. Unfortunately, none of the subsequent Gorgeous Georges would be anything like the original and felt more like cheap cash grabs. Perhaps worst of all was Stephanie Bellars, the real life girlfriend of Randy Savage during the late ‘90s. The Macho Man purchased the Gorgeous George gimmick so that his girlfriend could use the name, which she did to accompany him during his final reign as WCW World Heavyweight Champion. Bellars mostly disappeared from the wrestling industry after her brief association with Savage was over, only for her to reappear online in 2015 to ask her old fans for help. With a significantly lighter schedule than most of the other superstars on this list, Bellars has no health problems to speak of, and rather was asking for money to help send her and her son to Guatemala, so they can help build schools for the underprivileged. While there has been some controversy around Bellars asking for help to move to a popular tourist destination, at least her stated intentions are noble.
13. Bobby Fulton – Needed Eye Surgery
Despite their name being an accurate representation of their talents, The Fantastics have unfairly become one of the forgotten great tag teams of the 1980s. Bobby Fulton and Tommy Rogers managed to win a slew of regional titles while competing for various NWA territories, although they never managed to win the NWA World Tag Team titles, which likely accounts for their relative obscurity. Regardless of their current reputation, in the late ’80s, The Fantastics were considered one of the best babyface teams in the business, with groundbreaking feuds against teams like The Sheepherders and The Midnight Express wowing critics and setting new standards in tag team wrestling. Bobby suffered a stroke in 2013, which caused him to develop glaucoma in his right eye. Doctors were unable to diagnose the problem at first, and by the time they realized what was wrong, Fulton was also suffering from a hardening of the arteries in his other eye. He was facing permanent blindness if he couldn’t treat his problems fast. Fulton and his website manager set up an Indiegogo for fans to donate, and though they did not reach their total goal, enough money was donated that Fulton was able to pay for his surgery.
12. Barbi Hayden – Wanted Help Moving
There are different layers of success in the wrestling industry as with any business, and this is how a wrestler with a celebrated year-long reign as the NWA World Women’s Champion can still be begging for fans to help her so much as receive an opportunity to get noticed by WWE. Barbi Hayden became the NWA World Women’s Champion in 2014, decades after the company had seriously waned in popularity. The timing resulted in her being virtually unknown, despite having achieved what once may have been considered a huge accomplishment in the wrestling world. Hayden made the move from her native Texas to Florida in November of 2015, the first step in chasing her dream and hopefully getting signed by either NXT or EVOLVE. Plenty of wrestlers have made this move, but what makes Hayden different is that she was just famous enough to ask her fans for help in the move. Hayden created a GoFundMe campaign to help her with expenses on the move, making sure to specify she didn’t exactly need the help, but she’d be happy to accept help from fans who wanted to give it to her. It probably should come as no surprise that Hayden’s request was somewhat controversial, considering how serious the situations were when most of the other wrestlers on this list resorted to these tactics.
11. Joe Doering – Needs Help Paying Medical Bills
Wrestlers are in a uniquely unfortunate situation due to their lack of retirement plans, but the truth is that even the most horrific health problems can creep in at practically any age. Joe Doering didn’t make much noise during his exceptionally short time with WWE, but he managed to turn into a huge star in All Japan Pro Wrestling in a manner of four short years. In 2014, Doering won the AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship and was only the sixth non-Japanese person to do so. He lost the title in January of 2015, and things only got worse from there when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor the next year. Although Doering wasn’t a big star stateside, he did manage to make a decent amount of fans, and some high-profile friends along the way. Doering started a GoFundMe page to help deal with the expenses of his cancer treatment, with WWE Hall of Famer, Mick Foley, helping to spread the word on Twitter. Doering is still undergoing his treatments as of the time this article is being written, and though his first surgeries have gone well, it will still be a long road to recovery before Doering even considers getting back in the ring.
10. Ian Rotten – Needed To Pay Legal Fees
Even in the wrestling world, there’s a level of violence that some fans feel is going too far, and Ian Rotten is the type of performer who made a career out of finding out exactly how far that was. He first gained national attention as a member of The Bad Breed along with his fake brother, Axl Rotten. Once the team broke up, Ian and Axl engaged in one of the most brutal and bloodiest feuds in ECW history, which ended unspectacularly when Ian left ECW over a money dispute. Ian then founded his own IWA Mid-South promotion, a company that would quickly become one of the most controversial in wrestling. Despite the company’s penchant for hardcore death matches and brazenly abusing its own talent, the incident that nearly destroyed Ian Rotten and his promotion was an allegedly small spot that damaged the floor of a gym where the company was holding a show. There were no cameras or reliable witnesses, but the court decision was that Ian and IWA Mid-South were ordered to fix the entire floor of the gym. After a long attempt to free themselves of responsibility, they were instead given only 30 days to pay for all the damages. Rotten didn’t directly ask fans for help, but rather he started a massive merchandise sale on IWA’s website after sending an email to members of the wrestling press asking for the situation to be publicized.
9. Virgil – Wants Money
Considering that he spent the majority of his career haplessly standing next to either “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase or his friend and actual millionaire Hulk Hogan, fans might expect Virgil was able to save himself a pretty penny after his decades in the wrestling business. Rather than try and rebuild his life, Virgil has firmly entrenched himself into his reputation as a beggar, creating perhaps the most ridiculous crowd funding campaign in the entire entertainment world. While every other wrestler on this list at least had some reason to ask fans for money, Virgil brazenly went to GoFundMe and asked fans to give him a million dollars, mostly because he’d like to have a million dollars. Unsurprisingly, more than a year into his campaign, Virgil remains nearly $999,000 short of his goal. Perhaps his fans weren’t as gullible as he had hoped. Although, the fact that he would receive any money at all is a testament to the giving nature of most wrestling fans.
8. The Iron Sheik – Needed Surgery And Wanted Help Funding Documentary
Decades before he was a crazed Internet personality, The Iron Sheik was world renowned as one of the world’s greatest technical wrestlers, culminating with a brief but monumental reign as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. To simply consider Khosrow Vaziri a transitional champion who beat Hulkamania is a disservice to Sheiky Baby’s significant talents in the ring and on the microphone as one of the greatest heels in wrestling history. In addition to his month with the top prize in WWE, The Iron Sheik also won a slew of regional NWA titles around the world, as well as the WWE World Tag Team Championships with Nikolai Volkoff. Despite how integral Vaziri was to WWE history, it was a serious struggle for his film to get made and released, and Sheik’s managers needed to ask his fans for help during production. Thanks to fans donating thousands of dollars, not only were Sheik’s managers able to finish funding his movie, but also, The Iron Sheik was also able to pay for ankle and knee surgeries thanks to his fan’s generosity.
7. Jim Duggan – Needed Shoulder Surgery
The career of “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan is a testament to how popular and legendary a wrestler could become without ever truly reaching the main event level. Duggan was the winner of the first Royal Rumble match in 1988, but as fate would have it, this was his one brush with the true top of the card. Nonetheless, Duggan still managed to shine as a huge star, winning the WCW United States and Television titles, while also engaging in dozens of high-profile feuds in both WCW and WWE. Duggan’s patriotism and simple-minded manner of expression allowed a connection that brought him to the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011. Yet, Duggan’s career didn’t slow down simply because he got older. Duggan kept wrestling even as nagging injuries caused his shoulder to hurt so badly that he couldn’t even lift his arm to salute the crowd with a thumbs up, which was the cue that it was time for the surgery that he had been putting off for decades. Duggan created an Indiegogo campaign so fans could donate to his medical expenses, which went on to raise over 1.5 times the amount Duggan was requesting.
6. Abdullah The Butcher – Needs Help With Legal Fees
Hardcore wrestling has turned into such a mainstay of American wrestling that fans today probably don’t realize how shocking it was when a handful of superstars first started bringing weapons into the ring. One of the first was Abdullah The Butcher, who would continue bringing a fork into the ring with him throughout his entire fifty-plus year wrestling career. Abby was a journeyman of the most literal degree, wrestling all around the globe and rarely sticking around anywhere long enough to become the top star. Although he never won any World Championships, Abdullah’s unique madness allowed him to stand out everywhere he went, including the WWE Hall of Fame, which he was inducted into in 2011. Despite his legendary reputation, he has also turned into one of the most controversial names in wrestling due to allegedly continuing to wrestle his bloody style while aware he was carrying the Hepatitis C virus. In 2014, a Canadian court ruled that Abdullah transmitted the disease to indy wrestler, Devon Nicholson, and demanded that he pay over $2 million in damages. Abdullah took to the Internet to ask fans for financial help, and though some have helped him in his pleas, few cases on this list are as blatantly the fault of the performer begging for money as this one.
5. The One Man Gang – Lost His Home To Flooding
Few names in wrestling are quite as evocative as The One Man Gang, and at nearly 7 feet tall and over 400 pounds, the real George Gray was more than able to live up to his moniker. OMG first stood out in Southern US territories such as World Class Championship Wrestling and Mid-South, after which he jumped to WWE in the late ‘80s as a client of The Doctor of Style, Slick. Slick turned OMG into Akeem, The African Dream, and despite a great deal of controversy surrounding that gimmick, it managed to make Gray a main event star, teaming with The Big Bossman against The Mega Powers. Gray continued his association with gangs after his time in the ring ended, retiring to a second career as a prison guard in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. When The Great Flood of 2016 hit the area, Gray’s home was declared a no-flood zone by FEMA, but this didn’t stop his entire house from becoming submerged in water for more than three days. Gray’s insurance company didn’t cover any of his losses, so he created a GoFundMe page to help his family remain on their feet while they attempted to rebuild their house.
4. Jake Roberts – Needed Shoulder Surgery
The personal problems of Jake Roberts have arguably become as well-known throughout the wrestling community as any of his accomplishments in the ring. That said, his accomplishments in the ring were nothing to scoff at, as there was a period when Jake was one of the most popular and enigmatic stars in the entire wrestling world. Roberts is arguably the greatest superstar never to win a championship in WWE, although he still managed to etch his place in history through his legendary feuds with superstars like Rick Rude, Sting, Andre The Giant, and Randy Savage. Jake’s drug problems started overtaking his life in the late ‘80s, at which point he rapidly deteriorated in the ring. Jake finally started piecing his life together when he began receiving help from his old friend “Diamond” Dallas Page, who helped Jake experience the longest stretches of sobriety he has managed in decades. DDP turned Jake’s life around in part through a steady regiment of exercise, which started to become a problem when nagging shoulder injuries were preventing Jake from working out. At DDP’s insistence, Jake went to the Internet and started an Indiegogo campaign to pay for his surgery. In addition to being one of the earliest examples on this list, Jake’s campaign was also one of the most successful, raising more than three times the stated goal and easily paying for Jake’s surgery.
3. Scott Hall – Needed Hip And Dental Surgery
As dangerous as a wrestling career can be to a person’s body, it hardly compares to the toll of a lifetime of drugs and alcohol. Scott Hall’s struggles with substance abuse started just under a year prior to his entrance into the wrestling business, when he committed second-degree murder in self-defense, a crime he was never able to forgive himself for. Hall nevertheless was able to turn into one of the biggest wrestling superstars of all time, changing the business in an instant by invading WCW on behalf of the nWo and forever changing the course of the Monday Night Wars. Hall also won a plethora of championships during his great career, and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014. Due to his exploits in the ring and the damage drugs did to his body, Scott Hall desperately needed hip surgery in 2013, and felt he had nowhere to go for support. At the encouragement of Jake Roberts and “Diamond” Dallas Page, Hall created an Indiegogo campaign of his own, which ultimately raised over $100,000 to pay for his hip surgery and additional urgent dental work. Hall’s road to recovery is far from over, but the journey will no doubt be easier now that he knows fans are willing to cheer him on and put their money where their mouths are during his fight.
2. Sabu – Needs Hip Surgery
In an industry where even the safest performers can end up in the hospital in seconds due to a badly timed move, earning a reputation as “homicidal, genocidal, and suicidal” sounds like a surefire way towards an outrageous health care bill. Unsurprisingly, Sabu, the superstar who earned those adjectives through his long tenures in FMW and ECW, not to mention shorter stays in WCW and WWE, found himself in that exact scenario when he recently discovered his years of putting his body on the line meant he desperately needed hip surgery in order to get a full night’s sleep without searing pain. In addition to being one of the most dangerous and death-defying wrestlers in modern history, Sabu has always been a man of few words, and therefore he needed some convincing before asking fans for help. One of Sabu’s most noteworthy accomplishments came when he won the ECW Tag Team Championships with Rob Van Dam, who remains one of his closest friends in life. Despite Sabu’s insistence on dealing with his issues by himself, RVD took to the Internet and creating a GoFundMe for his friend anyway, which as of this writing is still significantly short of reaching it’s goal.
1. Rico Constantino – Needs Help Paying Medical Bills
The world has always been taught to never judge a book by its cover, which has never been more accurate a statement in regards to Rico Constantino. Rico came to fame for his portrayal as a flamboyant stylist, first managing WWE Tag Team Champions Billy and Chuck and then turning into a minor solo star in his own right. Prior to his foray on the main roster of WWE, Rico was an early tag team partner of John Cena, who then performed as The Prototype. Rico and Cena together won the OVW World Tag Team Championships, and he later won the WWE World Tag Team Championships himself with Charlie Haas. Rico disappeared from the mainstream wrestling scene when he was unexpectedly fired from WWE in late 2004. Following nearly a decade of obscurity, Rico reentered the public spotlight at the behest of his former OVW manager, Kenny Bolin, who alerted the Internet of ongoing health problems that had been incapacitating the former tag champion for several months. Soon after, a GoFundMe page was started in Rico’s name, hoping to pay for his medical expenses. WWE superstars such as Lilian Garcia and Chris Jericho have both supported the cause, but Rico still has a long way to go in his recovery as of the publication of this article.