After 13 years of World Championship Wrestling, the WCW promotion decided to officially close its doors on March 26, 2001, a day which will be remembered forever in the hearts of wrestling fans, as the date the Monday night wars officially ended. Most of the wrestlers on the roster continued their wrestling careers by either moving to the WWE, or began to wrestle for other wrestling promotions. Besides a handful of superstars who lasted in the WWE, most of them were released upon the story-line of the “WCW invasion” being put to an end. Today, we will take a look at 10 superstars, and see how drastically their lives have changed since being a part of World Championship Wrestling. Let us now begin with the 10th wrestler on our list, the master of the cross-face chicken-wing, Norman Smiley.
15) Bill Goldberg: Hosts His Own podcast
After a short stay with the WWE, Bill Goldberg left in 2004 and began to work as a color commentator in 2006 for the MMA promotion, WFA. Goldberg worked as a color commentary personality for different MMA promotions till 2007. In 2010, Goldberg rose back to stardom by being cast on the hit reality TV series, The Celebrity Apprentice. Today, Goldberg is working on his own podcast entitled, Who’s Next?! With Bill Goldberg. The show can be found for free on iTunes, and deals with a variety of guests and topics form sports to movies to television. To this date, Goldberg has still not ruled out a return to the ring. Stay tuned wrestling fans.
14) Shawn Stasiak: Chiropractor & Motivational Speaker
After being let go by the WWE in 2002, Stasiak decided he was done with the wrestling business, declining to work for independent promotions or wrestling promotions overseas. Instead, Stasiak chose to pursue an old career path he always had interest in, to become a chiropractor. In 2007, Shawn earned his certificate to work as a chiropractor, and is currently working as one in Dallas. In addition, Stasiak aspires to put an end to bullying, his goal is to speak to young children at school, while they’re young, and keep them aware of this problem.
13) Lex Luger: Works For WWE & Author
One of my all time favorites, Lex was sculpted from head to toe. Lex has kept busy over the years. In 2013, Lex released his first book entitled, Wrestling With The devil: The True Story of World Champion Professional Wrestler-His Reign, Run and Redemption. The book discusses the trials and tribulations Lex endured during his wrestling career, with dark stories involving his life in and out of the ring. In addition, Luger began to work for the WWE in 2011, aiding them with their Wellness Policy. Luger worked behind the curtain, aiding the superstars with nutrition, wellness, training and how to maintain a healthy body. The goal of the Wellness department is to prevent the new generation of wrestlers from taking drugs (a mistake that was made by Luger and other wrestlers from his generation).
12) Dean Malenko: Road Agent For The WWE
After finally quitting WCW in 2000, Malenko, along with Saturn and Eddie Guerrero, were quickly picked up by the WWE. After a short run with the company, Malenko officially retired in the summer of 2001. Quickly after his retirement, Malenko was offered a job he could not refuse, working as a producer/road agent, which entitled him to help younger superstars to emerge and grow. Malenko’s job is key in order to grow young, new talent for the company, and Dean felt like it was his duty to give back to something he loved so much. His job does that exactly.
11) Konnan: Works For AAA in Mexico & Co-Host Of MLW Radio Podcast
At the age of 50, Konnan is still an active part of the wrestling business. Konnan is working for the popular Mexican promotion Triple A. Konnan takes an active part in the business, as a part of the creative team, as well as a personality in Triple A wrestling. Konnan is tremendously popular in Mexico and is often regarded as the “Mexican Hulk Hogan”. In addition, Konnan is also a co-host for the wrestling radio podcast on MLW, which discusses the latest wrestling news.
10) Norman Smiley: WWE Trainer In The FCW Division
Known to us simply as the “The Big Wiggle,” Norman Smiley is still working in the wrestling business today, as a trainer in the FCW. Norman stayed in WCW till the very end in 2001, and upon his release, Smiley wrestled for different independent wrestling promotions before finally being promoted as a trainer for the WWE. Smiley is sharing his wisdom with the new crop of young talent that the WWE is currently working on in its FCW promotions. Smiley has worked with the likes of A.J. Lee, Aksana, Kofi Kingston and Drew McIntyre. Smiley has undoubtedly been a big part of bringing up and developing new future talent for the WWE, and the FCW promotion continues to be a great stepping stone for future superstars of the wrestling business.
9) Crowbar: Physical Therapist
Chris Ford, known to us as simply “Crowbar” experienced some serious twists and turns throughout his wrestling career. Chris spent time bouncing around different promotions early on, before finally settling in with WCW. Shortly before being purchased by the WWE, Crowbar was released from WCW in March of 2000. Crowbar continued to wrestle after his release, but began to focus more on a career in physical therapy. In May, Ford opened his own physical therapy practice, which since its opening, has done tremendously well, better than even he thought he would be doing this early. Truly a great story for Chris Ford.
8) Tony Schiavone: Baseball Play-by-Play Broadcaster
One of my favorite wrestling commentators of all time, Tony Schiavone, is enjoying his new career in baseball, as the commentator for the Gwinnett Braves in the International league. After WCW was purchased in 2001, Tony proceeded in 2003, for a quick stop in the wrestling promotion, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). After his brief stint with the promotion, Schiavone took on baseball coverage, anchoring morning sports for WDUN in Gainesville and WSB-AM in Atlanta. Schiavone has also earned success on the radio and started his own radio production company, Blind Dog Sports. Today, Schiavone went back to play-by-play commentating, being the official commentator, and the voice of the Gwinnett Braves.
7) Chuck Palumbo: Motorcycle Builder, Musician & Gym Owner
Chuck Palumbo has gone through a crazy journey to get where he is at today. Living alone at the age of 17, Palumbo’s odds to make it in the real world were always pretty much against him. Despite these crazy odds, Palumbo built quite a successful career for himself, spending time in WCW, Japan wrestling and the WWE. Today, despite not wrestling anymore, Palumbo is keeping busy. Chuck is the guitarist and back vocalist for his band, 3 Spoke Wheel. Additionally, he also kept busy by building motorcycles, and has created motorcycles for several WWE superstars including, Batista, Rey Mysterio and Chavo Guerrero. What began as a passion, turned into a real full-time business called, CP Kustoms. Almost 5 years into the business, Palumbo is enjoying massive success with his new venture. If all this wasn’t already impressive enough, Palumbo is also the proud owner of his own gym. This guy has certainly kept busy since his departure from the wrestling business, kudos to Chuck!
6) Ernest Miller: Actor/ Karate Teacher
If you remember “The Cat’s” big persona back in his early days in WCW and in WWE, you knew this guy was going to be entertaining, and go on to do big things, and that’s exactly what he did. Ernest Miller played a role in the Oscar nominated film, The Wrestler, in which he played the role of “The Ayatollah”, a fierce enemy of the main character from the film, Randy “The Ram” Robinson. This was truly a once in a lifetime role for Ernest Miller, but his roles did not stop there. Miller will be appearing in the film, Superfast and continues to get scripts for other possible movie roles. Additionally, Miller is also enjoying being a trainer in karate, something he was passionate about since he was young.
5) Lance Storm: Owner of “The Storm Wrestling Academy”
Back in the day, Lance Storm was a tremendously gifted technical wrestler and was a graduate from the school of the Hart brothers’ Wrestling Camp in Calgary. Lance graduated from the school and became great friends with current WWE star, Chris Jericho while attending the school. The two have certainly made quite an impact on the wrestling world, despite taking some different twists and turns along the way. In 2004, due to back injuries, Storm decided to retire, and upon retirement, Lance joined OVW as a trainer (surely a great stepping stone to his career). Today, he is the owner of “The Storm Wrestling Academy,” located in Calgary, Canada. Lance has produced some great talent already, with the likes of former WWE Champion, Dolph Ziggler. The ultimate dream for Lance is to create an affiliation with the WWE, as a Canadian trainer scouting future WWE talent. Despite not being affiliated with the WWE, the company recognizes and understands the potential that wrestlers coming out of “Storm Wrestling Academy” have for the future.
4) Juventud Guerrera: Wrestles for AAA in Mexico and DJ
Man could this guy fly back in the day – known to us as “The Juice”, at the age of 39, Juventud Guerrera is still involved in the wrestling business today. From time to time, he appears in AAA wrestling, a popular promotion which takes place in Mexico. After his stint in the WWE, Juventud was released in 2006, and would later spend time in AAA and hit the independent circuit. In 2012, “The Juice” returned to his home in Mexico and returned to wrestling in the AAA promotion. Today, in addition to finding Juventud in the promotion (as he is still billed as part of the roster), you can also find him DJing in Mexico.
3) Eric Bischoff: Entrepreneur and Television Producer
Despite his huge success in the wrestling business, the former New York Times bestselling author has found ways to stay busy. Eric Bischoff, along with actor Jason Hervey, co-own and run their very own production company, Bischoff-Hervey Entertainment. Bischoff’s company “BHE TV” specializes in creating, as well as producing television content. The business has been very successful, working for different series involving networks: NBC, VH-1, CMT, E!, Spike TV and A&E. The company has also purchased the rights to online and mobile games in North America and Europe. BHE has released several games including: Hulk Hogan’s Hulkamania, The Hoff and are currently working on a Blues Brothers game, along with Dan Aykroyd, which is scheduled to launch in Europe. As you can see, Bischoff has managed to stay very successful since his departure from the wrestling business.
2) Booker T: Founder and Owner of ROW (Reality of Wrestling)
Booker T is still signed as a member of World Wrestling Entertainment, and is still eligible to make appearances for the company. Booker has stayed close to the company and also does special commentary for the new WWE network. Today, Booker Huffman spends time running his very own wrestling promotion, Reality of Wrestling. The independent wrestling promotion is based in his hometown of Houston Texas, and has been up and running since 2005. In April of this year, ROW partnered with Soul of the South Network to air episodes of the wrestling promotion in Dallas, Miami and New York.
1) Buff Bagwell: Gigolo
Marcus Bagwell, known to us as simply Buff Bagwell, took a dramatic career change this year. Bagwell was found on Season 5 of Showtime’s reality TV series, Gigolos. The former wrestler can now be found on Cowboys4Angels, a top line gigolo service. According to Garren James, the owner of the gigolo service, Bagwell is currently the second most popular escort in the company. Bagwell’s rates are quite pricey, though, they range between $800 for two hours, all the way up to $25,000 for a weekly rate. Definitely a pretty crazy turn of events for the 20 year wrestling veteran.