For some age is just a number, but it seems like for former wrestling stars, age eventually catches up and hits them pretty hard. After years and years of constant travel, lack of sleep and tough bumps and bruises, you can imagine some wrestlers will eventually burn out and lose the will to stay conditioned for the public eye. In the case of some of these former wrestling stars that’s exactly what happened. Some have started a family while others remain in the business trying to make a dollar off memorabilia, autograph sessions and appearances. The post wrestling life can be very dark for so many former performers.
This article will take a look at some former WCW stars that look unrecognizable in comparison to their glory days on live television every week. Some are still actively wrestling while others are completely out of the pro wrestling filed. One way or another, these wrestlers completely forgot about their image along the way. So, let’s find out who these wrestlers are; here are 15 former WCW stars you won’t even recognize. Enjoy!
It’s almost impossible to figure out that this guy is actually Vampiro who had long hair and was thin during his time in the public eye. Vampiro was slated to do big things with WCW, and many in the company believed he was a second coming of Sting, although he only managed to win a Tag Team Championship alongside The Great Muta during his time on Ted Turner’s network. In 2000, Vampiro was ranked number #31 on PWI’s Top 500 List. After the WWE refused to pick up his contract, Vampiro wrestled all over the world with the likes of CMLL, All Japan Pro Wrestling, TNA, XPW, AAA Wrestling, Wrestling Society X, Juggalo Championship Wrestling and his current home Lucha Underground. The 48 year old made headlines in 2009 when The Sun reported that the former WCW star jumped out of his 15 foot bedroom window breaking his back in the process. Vampiro jumped after he heard intruders in his house. Despite this setback, the Canadian is still going strong today.
14) David Flair – Then
Oh yes, that is in fact the son of ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair, David Flair. The 37 year old enjoyed some success with WCW during its final days as a successful wrestling promotion. During his stint with the company, Flair managed to capture the US Championship, along with the World Tag Team Championship. Not to mention he dated Stacy Keibler (now, that’s a pretty good resume, I must say). Wouldn’t you agree? Following a couple of brief stints with the WWE and TNA, Flair decided to hit the independent circuit. In 2008, David tagged with his late brother Reid, defeating The Nasty Boys in Charlotte, North Carolina. Judging by the picture above, you can probably guess David is out of the wrestling business. Flair is currently running a Seal Wire Company in Shelby, North Carolina.
Nice to see Flair succeed out of the wrestling business, as it was rather obvious that his climb towards his father’s legacy was never going to happen. Much respect from him realizing this and making it in another field.
13) Alex Wright
From a ravishing young German stud to a hairless 40 year old, like everyone else, age caught up to the former WCW Television Champion. His run with WCW was highly underrated. He proved to be a valuable piece in the lower-card for years; disappointing to see the guy never being rewarded despite his strong loyalty to the WCW brand throughout the 90s.
Wright had a long stint with WCW dating all the way back to 1994. Following the purchase of WCW in 2001, his contract was not bought out by the WWE. After this took place, Wright took a break from the wrestling industry claiming he had enough of the backstage politics. He would later branch out into different avenues becoming a banker and fitness instructor. Years later in 2009, Alex would open up his own wrestling school followed by his very own wrestling promotion called New European Championship Wrestling. Just recently, Wright was brought in by William Regal to visit the WWE’s performance center.
12) Juventud Guerrera
Wrestling fans remember this guy as “The Juice”. Juventud had a phenomenal WCW career helping to revolutionize the Cruiserweight Division. Juventud was part of the golden age for this weight class. After getting his first piece of North American exposure wrestling for ECW, Juvi made the transition to WCW signing a deal with the promotion in 1996. He would make an immediate impact defeating Billy Kidman during his WCW debut way back in August of 1996. He would wrestle his first year with his mask before finally scrapping it. In 1998, Guererra would defeat Ultimo Dragon capturing his first ever Cruiserweight Championship. He would go on to win the title two more times, and he would also enjoy a Tag Team Championship run with his long time friend, Rey Mysterio. His journey came to an end with WCW in 2000, when he was found by police under the influence of PCP. He was sent home from the tour following the incident to be released shortly after.
Following stints with TNA and the WWE, Juvi headed back home to Mexico working for AAA Wrestling. Today at the age of 41, Juventud is still wrestling independently, and he is also a DJ (believe it or not). Years later, Guerrera still loves that party life!
11) Big Vito
Oh yes, that is in fact the Full Blooded Italian Big Vito who is now 51. Vito’s biggest run as a pro wrestler came during WCW’s dying days through 1999 till 2001. He managed to win multiple WCW Hardcore Championships and a two time run alongside Johnny Stamboli with the Tag Team Titles. Vito was brought in as a part of the supposed new era of WCW, which they were trying to usher in at the time.
Following his release from the WWE, Vito spent some time on the independent circuit, and he also had a brief acting career. In 2015, Lograsso made headlines filing a lawsuit against the WWE with another former wrestler, Adam Mercer. In his lawsuit, Vito claimed that he suffered from neurological damage which lead to deafness during his time with the WWE. Vito is suing for a lack of concussion protocol back in his day. Lograsso also went on the record claiming Bryan retired because the WWE was scared that he would file a lawsuit against them. Vito believes it is cause of him that the WWE now takes concussions very seriously. The court battle is still ongoing between the two.
10) Johnny Stamboli
You can’t talk about Big Vito without discussing his associate during the bulk of his career, Johnny Stamboli. Like Vito, Johnny was brought in as a fresh new face promoting a new era in WCW. The Bull was actually spotted by DDP while working at a local gym. Page encouraged Johnny to train in order to become a wrestler. After attending the Power Plant, Stamboli was ready in nine months when he would make his debut as a member of The Mamalukes, alongside Big Vito. He had some success during his time winning a Hardcore Championship and two Tag Team Title runs with the previously mentioned Big Vito.
So some of you might be confused, that weird Star Wars wannabe character is actually Johnny Stamboli under his Rellik gimmick, which is ‘killer’ written backwards…. Stamboli’s run was short lived with TNA, as he was released after 6 months of work. Ouch. After working the independent circuit for a couple of years, Johnny stepped out of the wrestling business and into the financial world. He is currently working as a Senior Mortgage Consultant.
9) The Great Muta
There just ain’t no stopping this guy. At the age of 53 and with over 30 years of in-ring experience, The Great Muta is still going strong. Billed from The Land of the Rising Sun, Muta enjoyed some great moments around the world including his top moments with New Japan Pro Wrestling and All Japan Pro Wrestling. The veteran has held 22 championships from his stops all around the world, including a run with WCW.
Muta enjoyed his biggest success outside of the main wrestling markets like WCW, although he went on an improbable title run alongside Vampiro holding the WCW Tag Team Championships. Muta won titles in various different promotions which included title runs in AJPW, NJPW and W-1. In total, the Japanese native collected 22 Championships; something not many people can say they have done. His legacy still lives on today, and it’s a real shame we never got to see him succeed in front of the big lights of the WWE. We hope the company will honor his contributions in the wrestling business at some point. It’s great to see him still going strong today.
8) The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express
It’s not very often you see such a legendary Tag Team, which is so highly regarded throughout the course of history, be that prestigious despite never winning a WWE Tag Team Championship. The two really thrived outside of the big company, winning the Tag Titles in practically every other promotion. In 2003, PWI ranked the duo as high as number four on their top 100 list; that just shows you how good these guys were in their prime. They are remembered for their epic feud against the Four Horsemen and the eight Tag Team Title reigns they had with NWA.
Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson shocked the wrestling world when they made their in-ring return in 2009, working independently across the US. The team also made a brief pit stop over in Japan. As of 2014, the Tag Team was still wrestling, if you can believe it. The Tag Team has almost 40 years of wrestling experience along with over 100 combined championship runs throughout several promotions. Morton also opened up his own wrestling school in 2014, residing out of Chuckey, Tennessee.
7) Bob Orton
Today, he is simply known as the father of Randy Orton (to modern day wrestling fans). Bob Orton Jr., is a legend in the wrestling business. Orton wrestled all over the world starting in 1972. Orton was a tremendous heel during the 80s, mostly remembered for his work as Roddy Piper’s bodyguard. Bob would reach the pinnacle of his career in 1985, main eventing the first ever WrestleMania live from Madison Square Garden. An accomplishment which truly speaks for itself. Orton teamed with Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff, taking on mega face Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. He would continue to thrive following the match feuding with some of the very best in the company, which included a feud with Hogan and Andre The Giant. After years of service he would leave the WWE and take his talents over to Japan where wrestling was finding its mark.
Surprisingly, at the age of 64 last year Orton was still wrestling independently, and he was also very active making appearances and signing autographs. On May 30th, 2015, Orton defeated Bradley Stephens III during an event in Springfield, Illinois. Orton won the match using his son’s RKO finisher. Just awesome.
6) Chris Harris
At one time, Chris Harris was regarded as the breakout star from his Tag Team ‘America’s Most Wanted’, alongside his partner James Storm. Harris would enjoy some serious success with TNA, most notably winning six Tag Team Titles alongside partner James Storm. He would also win another one with Elix Skipper. He seemed destined for superstardom, as he looked to have the size and at times, the ability, but as we’ve seen so many times before TNA is not a good measuring stick for wrestlers to showcase their talents. This was rather obvious when Harris transitioned out of TNA and failed miserably instantly with the WWE’s high octane product.
After a brutal run with the WWE, Harris fell off the map, and instead his partner James Storm would enjoy tremendous success outside of the WWE. Following his failed run, Harris joined the independent circuit, he later signed with TNA in 2011 only to be released once again after losing to his former tag team partner James Strom. Ouch.
His contributions in the wrestling business were extremely underrated. Raven started off as a creative head for the WWE and later made the jump as a wrestler in WCW. His character was so ahead of its time, similar to Bray Wyatt’s today. Instead of pushing his gimmick and his stable of Flock members, Raven fell to irrelevancy occupying an under-card spot with a roster filled with former WWE stars. His career highlights would include a United States Championship run, along with a Tag Team Championship reign with his stable member Perry Saturn.
Raven is absolutely unrecognizable these days. The former leader of Raven’s Flock is currently spending most of his time at wrestling conventions signing autographs. He is also still making appearances at various independent wrestling promotions. Just last year, Raven tried suing the WWE in an attempt to set up a healthcare system in the company. According to the former WCW star, “the judge was in Vince’s pocket”. According to Raven, Vince would’ve had to owe around $225 million had he lost the case.
4) Ahmed Johnson
They say his shadow once killed a dog… just kidding. No, but in all honesty, what on earth happened to this guy? You know things are pretty bad when your employer fires you for being overweight, and this after giving you a few warnings. This was the reason why the WCW ended up releasing Johnson after a little less than a year. After retiring from the wrestling business, Johnson earned himself a degree in Criminology from Huston-Tillotson University. He is also still active today like many other former wrestlers, making appearances and signing autographs at various wrestling conventions across The United States. Johnson’s WWE Hall of Fame induction remains in serious jeopardy because of the way he spoke about the company throughout the last couple of years during various shoot interviews. It remains to be seen if the WWE will ever acknowledge the 52 year old.
3) Billy Kidman
A gifted wrestler to say the least, Kidman thrived in a WCW era that promoted a ground breaking Cruiserweight division. He would become one the company’s best homemade under-card stars even beating the likes of Hulk Hogan at one point. His other accomplishments included three Cruiserweight Title runs and two other Tag Team Title victories alongside Rey Mysterio and Konnan. Although extremely popular in his time, WCW failed to push Kidman onto the main event scene, something fans would have wished for, especially during the new era of WCW in the 2000s. He was instead pushed to mid-card status at best, not counting his one upper-card feud with Hulk Hogan.
Not sure anyone could have predicted this former WCW star would end up working for the WWE in a backstage role at the age of 41. The three-time Cruiserweight Champion is currently working as a producer at the gorilla position for the WWE. Kidman is in charge of talent and making sure segments on RAW and SmackDown fit into their allotted time slots. Billy is also still making appearances from time to time at various wrestling conventions signing autographs and meeting fans.
2) Alundra Blayze
Alundra arguably put women’s wrestling on the map during a more modern era which was catering towards glamorization of women in the wrestling business, as opposed to seeing them as actual in-ring performers. Despite the label, Blayze focused on her in-ring work dominating both wrestling scenes in WWE and WCW. Early on it was obvious that she was a star, winning PWI’s Rookie of the Year in 1988, a rarity for a woman to win. She won the Women’s Title three times with the WWE and would later win the Cruiserweight Championship with WCW.
From a soft spoken technical women’s wrestler to a bada**monster truck driver, it seems like Alundra just got better with age. The former WWE and WCW star underwent a major makeover since her time with the companies, and she now supports a pretty visible tattoo on her arm. In addition, Blayze is a monster truck driver, becoming one of the first ever women to break into the business. Her contribution to women’s wrestling and the Monday Night Wars will never be forgotten.
1) Lex Luger
Labelled as the Hulk Hogan of the new era, Luger failed to capitalize on a role which could have made him a huge player in the wrestling industry. Instead, he failed to improve as an in-ring performer and struggled to deliver a memorable promo. These factors eventually led to his demise. His most memorable moment would happen when he jumped ship to WCW unexpectedly when his contract expired. Luger appeared on both Raw and Nitro that night, a scene which shook the foundation of the Monday Night Wars. Following his memorable cameo, Luger would fall into the mid-card becoming just another recognizable face in a massive pool of talent. He would be a marginal player for the rest of his time with the company.
Although he looks visibly unrecognizable, Lex Luger is lucky to even be alive today. In 2007, Luger suffered nerve damage to his neck which led to temporary paralysis. For a long time Luger was living in a quadriplegic state with no movement in his arms or legs. Thankfully today, Luger is recovering, and he is now able to walk and drive on his own. Lex is also making appearances at various wrestling conventions and giving motivational speeches for schools and seminars.