Choosing professional wrestling as a career isn’t exactly a decision that one takes lightly. You’re on the road nearly all year long, you wrestle most nights of the week, and as soon as you’re injured and off TV, you risk becoming irrelevant. Of course, all this suggests that you’re even on TV in the first place; it can take years to get to NXT, and even then, there’s no guarantee that WWE will hire someone or keep them on the main roster long.
In the 1990s, when there were three big televised wrestling promotions (and countless other federations and indie wrestling groups), talent could be plucked from just about anywhere. Lots of people jumped from ECW to WCW to WWE and vice-versa. However, as WCW and WWE were engaged in a heated ratings war, both companies were willing to try anything and everything to keep people watching, including some pretty crazy storylines with wrestlers who were gone in the blink of an eye.
Careers are short, and many stars of the 90s that weren’t put in WWE’s Hall of Fame are just footnotes of a time gone by. If you remember these 15 wrestlers, you’re probably a diehard fan. Even still, you may be surprised at where these former stars are today.
15. Lex Luger
Lex Luger, born Lawrence Wendell Pfohl, made a huge name for himself in NWA, WCW, and later WWE. As part of the Four Horsemen, he’s a legend in this business. He began wrestling in NWA in 1985, moved to WCW in the late 1980s, and was then hired by WWE in 1993 before jumping ship and returning to WCW in the mid-1990s. He’s also had stints in TNA in 2003, 2006, and 2012. Pfohl has held the NWA/WCW United States Heavyweight Championship, the WWA World Heavyweight Championship, and the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
As influential as he has been, he couldn’t get stay the squared circle forever. Pfohl is nearly 60 years old and retired from the sport in 2005. However, he didn’t abandon wrestling entirely. He now works for WWE behind the scenes, helping wrestlers stay clean of steroids and other substances by enforcing the wellness policy.
14. Rick Steiner
You likely recall the crazy antics of WCW-turned-WWE wrestler Scott Steiner, but perhaps you’re a little fuzzy on who his brother Rick is. Born Robert Rechsteiner, he won the WCW World Tag Team Championship a grand total of eight times, once with Kenny Kaos and the other seven times with Scott, his real-life sibling. He moved on to win the WWE World Tag Team Championships with Scott twice. Regarding his singles career, Rick won the WCW World Television Championship three times and the WCW United States Championship once.
After wrestling for several decades, Steiner pretty much permanently hung up the boots in 2004. He does sometimes still wrestle now, but he’s since made a second career for himself as a real estate guru in Georgia. He’s so entrenched in his local community that he’s also a part of the school board.
13. Marc Mero
Everyone who watched WWE during the Attitude Era knows Sable, the blonde bombshell who once wore little more than painted handprints on her breasts and was later the first woman employed by WWE to pose for Playboy. Fewer probably remember her on-screen (and at the time, real-life) husband Marc Mero. Although Mero excelled in boxing, he later wrestled in WWE, WCW, and even TNA.
As of 2016 though, Mero will be 56 years old, so it’s no surprise that he quit wrestling years prior in 2006. Just what has the athlete done with himself since? He started the Champion of Choices nonprofit, attempting to prevent suicide, drug and alcohol use, and bullying in today’s youth. He calls himself the “Happiest Person on the Planet,” so whatever he’s doing is clearly working.
12. Scotty 2 Hotty
Yes, Scotty 2 Hotty, or Scott Garland, peaked in the WWE alongside large Samoan wrestler Rikishi and Jerry Lawler’s son Grandmaster Sexay in a stable called Too Cool. Long before Garland popularized the Worm as a wrestling move, he wrestled as Scott Taylor alongside Brian Christopher (Grandmaster) in the late 1990s as a less memorable tag team called Too Much. All said, he’s a one-time WWE Light Heavyweight Champion and a two-time WWE Tag Team Champion, once with Rikishi and once with Christopher.
Unsurprisingly. Too Cool’s star eventually burned out, and although Garland has been known to appear on the indies, he’s created a long-term plan for his financial future. He got his degree from Florida’s Lake Tech Fire Academy and splits his time in the ring and working as a firefighter.
Wrestling is a dangerous sport, but that doesn’t make the story of Darren “Droz” Drozdov any less heartbreaking. When wrestling in a match against D’Lo Brown on an episode of SmackDown in 1999, Drozdov was accidentally dropped on his head and paralyzed, rendering him a quadriplegic. While these days Drozdov has more control over his body, the former football player obviously has not done anything athletic since that fateful day.
WWE hired him for a long time as a website contributor. Although he doesn’t work for the company anymore, he does still write and share his opinions in various magazines and websites. Drozdov also hunts, and although that’s not a job, he has a specialized wheelchair that’s like an armored vehicle so he can still enjoy some of his favorite activities.
10. Perry Saturn
Having wrestled in TNA, WWE, WCW, and ECW, Perry Saturn, real name Perry Satullo, has done it all in the wrestling business. He’s a former WWE Hardcore Champion, a WWE European Champion, a WCW World Television Champion, a WCW World Tag Team Champion, and an ECW World Tag Team Champion. However, if you remember Saturn for his later days in WWE, in which he capped off every promo with “you’re welcome” and carried around a mop with a face on it, that’s more reminiscent of Satullo’s post-wrestling life than anything else he did in the ring.
In 2004, Satullo rescued a girl who was being raped, attacking the assailants and being shot in the shoulder and the neck for his efforts. Although the injuries weren’t fatal, Satullo fell into a downward spiral. He was homeless and hooked on methamphetamines. For years, people assumed he was dead. No one in his real life knew what happened to him. Wherever he went for a while, he got clean, and in 2009 he returned to the face of the earth. It’s not known what he’s done since.
9. Chuck Palumbo
Chuck Palumbo, who somehow survived a career in wrestling with his real name intact, was involved in WCW in the late 1990s, right around the time the promotion tanked and was bought by Vince McMahon. Palumbo jumped ship to WWE, forming a tag team with Billy Gunn and even pretending that they were going to get married in one storyline (which was pretty radical for the early 2000s). All said, Palumbo won the WWE Tag Team Championships twice and the WCW Tag Team Championships two times as well.
After wrestling dried up as a career option, Palumbo went back to his other love, driving and fixing motorcycles, cars, and other vehicles. His mechanic skills are so renowned that he’s made yet another career for himself as a reality TV personality, appearing on Lords of the Car Hoards on Discovery.
8. Spike Dudley
The Dudley family, although not related off-screen, is a big unit, having wrestled in both ECW and WWE. Spike Dudley, real name Matthew Hyson, was D-Von and Bubba Ray’s half-brother. He debuted in ECW in 1996 as “Little” Spike Dudley. When he followed the Dudleys to WWE in 2001, he was still portrayed as their sibling. He’s won the ECW World Tag Team Championship twice (with Balls Mahoney though, not any Dudleys), the WWE Hardcore Championship a staggering eight times, and the WWE Cruiserweight Championship just once.
In 2005, Spike Dudley was fired from WWE. He had a stint in TNA and wrestled in the indies for a few years. Although he’s is a former teacher, he moved into the world of financial planning, landing a job at MassMutual in 2012 and leading what is otherwise a normal life.
7. The Mean Street Posse
Long before Shane McMahon showed the world how utterly insane he could be in the ring, he had a bunch of lackies doing his dirty work for him. They were known as the Mean Street Posse, and they consisted of Joey Abs, Rodney, and Pete Gas. Although all three of them fought in the ring, only Abs was trained as a wrestler. They’re mostly known for their sweater vests and the time they split ownership of the WWE Hardcore Championship.
The trio formed in 1999 and was gone by 2000, so what happened to them? Abs, or Jason Arhndt, is a part of the family body shop in North Carolina. Rodney, born Rodney Lienhardt, owns his own New Jersey landscaping business. Gas, real name Peter Gasparino, works for WB Mason, which sells office supplies.
6. Torrie Wilson
Looking at Torrie Wilson, you may wonder why you ever forgot the WCW and WWE Diva, but it’s likely because she never had much of an in-ring career. In fact, Wilson didn’t aspire to get into wrestling at all. She didn’t grow up watching her favorite stars. She was a model who later fell in love with fitness, becoming a professional bodybuilder. Although she wanted to be an actor, she got involved in WCW instead, working for the promotion in 1999 until it dissolved into WWE in the early aughts.
Wilson stuck around until 2008, appearing in Playboy in the process. She’d wrestle sometimes. After WWE released her, she opened a store in Texas with then-boyfriend and Spirit Squad member Nick Mitchell called Officially Jaded. She’s since moved back into the world of fitness as a personality.
5. Stevie Richards
Whether you saw his 90s matches in ECW or WWE, Stevie Richards (real name Michael Manna) has worn a lot of hats. He was an extreme hardcore wrestler, he was part of the Job Squad, and he was the leader of a censorship group. Although he was underutilized in WWE, he’s wrestled in NWA, ROH, TNA, and even WCW. He was an NWA National Heavyweight Champion, a WWE Hardcore Champion, and an ECW World Tag Team Champion,
The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native (making ECW a natural fit in its heyday) will still get in the ring occasionally despite retiring once or twice. However, he’s also become a podcaster, founding The Tech Today Tech Tomorrow or T4 Show in 2007. The next year, Manna became a teacher at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting.
4. Brian Christopher – Grandmaster Sexay
Being the son of one of the biggest names in WWE history doesn’t guarantee you a job with the company, just so you know. Despite that he always downplayed it on TV, Jerry “the King” Lawler’s son is indeed Brian Christopher, whom we mentioned above as one half of the popular tag team Too Cool with Scotty 2 Hotty. He’s wrestled under his real name and he’s wrestled as Grandmaster Sexay. His career with WWE ended in 2002, so he signed with TNA for a few years before being rehired to WWE in 2004. For storyline purposes, Christopher appeared on WWE programming for one episode of Raw in 2011 to lambast his father.
Like many wrestlers and former wrestlers, Christopher had problems with alcohol and substance addiction. He was arrested twice in 2009, once for public drunkenness and again on a disorderly conduct charge. He spent 30 days behind bars that same year. In 2013, he cleaned up his life, getting sober and talking to students at school about the importance of abstaining from drugs and alcohol. He also books wrestling matches.
3. Buff Bagwell
Sometimes a wrestler’s character isn’t really one at all, but rather than just an extension of their off-screen personality. Marcus Bagwell, also known as Buff Bagwell, was a WCW star who wrestled for the promotion in the 90s until it was bought by WWE. He’s won the World Tag Team Championships a grand total of six times with the likes of Shane Douglas, Scotty Riggs, the Patriot, and 2 Cold Scorpio.
Today, Bagwell is a gigolo. He acts too, having appeared in a 2014 show called Gigolos (for real), and, oh yeah, starring (we’re imagining) in the 2015 flick The Good, the Bad, and the Buff: The Marc Bagwell Journey. In his spare time, he works for Cowboys4Angels, a website that offers the services of gigolos, male strippers, male companions, and male escorts. Seriously, you can easily find his profile and view his rates or… erm, “request an encounter.”
As an early trailblazer for women’s wrestling, Debrah Anne Miceli broke a lot of ground. She’s a WWE Hall of Famer as Alundra Blayze. In WCW, she was the catalyst for the Monday Night Wars between that promotion and WWE when she took WWE’s Women’s Championship and threw it in a trash bin on a live episode of Nitro. Although WWE banned her for 20 years from setting foot inside their Stamford, Connecticut offices, Miceli is still known today for that stunt. She’s also trained Molly Holly, Stacy Keibler, and Torrie Wilson.
If you think men’s wrestling careers are short, women’s are even briefer as newer, younger, and prettier talent is always available. Miceli had a long career, wrestling from 1984 until 2001. Before her wrestling candle burned out entirely, she began gravitating towards racing monster trucks. Although her awards are multiple, her biggest career accomplishment is winning the Monster Jam World Finals, as no other woman had ever done that before.
1. Val Venis
If you maybe remember Val Venis as the long-haired, towel-wearing, adult film star of WWE’s Attitude Era, it’s okay if you want to stop reading here. Even if you recall his more serious days of teaming with Lance Storm, you can stop if you want to. Just kidding, you’re not going to stop. You’re in too deep now. Let’s just say that Sean Morley, who is a former WWE World Tag Team Champion, a former WWE European Champion, and a former WWE Intercontinental Champion, doesn’t go by the name Val Venis anymore.
He’s Kaptain Kanabiss now. Yep. Somehow Morley got sucked down the path of complaining about politics and pushing for the legalization of marijuana. He owns Mesa, Arizona’s Purple Haze Lounge and makes YouTube videos where he buys and smokes different kinds of weed. He has a newsletter where he aggregates articles matching his political and social views. Just so he’s not too alienating, if you scroll to the bottom of the newsletter, the little bio starts with “hello, ladies.”