WWE is constantly evolving as time goes on. New wrestlers, new themes, and of course, new talent! With new talent and wrestlers, many of the older ones lay down their wrestling skills and take the back burner while the new blood get their chance to shine. Many of these wrestlers can have a hard time finding their place in a post-WWE lifestyle. Some, of course, continue to wrestle through other independent wrestling companies while others go and pick up your average, every day job to sustain financially.
You got to think about it too, like Football, WWE has to be hard on your body over time. Sure, there are rigorous training and eating routines going on, but it’s still a hard job on your body for years and years. It’s no wonder some of these guys get bad injuries or just aren’t able to do it as well anymore after the years go on and on.
Many of these stars have changed drastically as time has gone on. Even the ones that were famous and had a large following back in the 90s are now unrecognizable at times. While many of their appearances have changed due to diet, weight, exercise, age, or other lifestyle changes, all of these stars we’re going to look at today have all changed pretty drastically compared to what they looked like when stepping foot into the ring for the first time.
15. Sika Anoa’i
Do you remember the godfather of the three time WWE World Heavyweight Championship? Father of Roman Reigns? Him and his brother Afa were a force to be reckoned with, and Sika was known as one of the most famous Samoans in the WWE. As incredible a wrestler as his brother, he actually held close to around 20 different tag team championships internationally.
Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t, but did you know that Sika and Afa are actually derived from the famous Anoa’i wrestling family? There’s even some new blood talents out there today from this same family: Usos and Tamina Snuka. In fact, just last year there was a video going around from WrestleMania where Sika celebrates his son’s World Championship win. Age-wise, Sika has grown gracefully and it’s surprising that so many people don’t even recognize him anymore! The guy may be old but if you knew who he was, I think you’d still be able to recognize him.
14. Paul Burchill
Some of you might remember Paul with his whole pirate gimmick he had going on for quite a while, due in part to the exploding popularity of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series. Unfortunately, his gimmick didn’t take him too far. After only a few years of WWE SmackDown time and then to ECW, his whole thing just didn’t seem to go over too well and his contract was officially up in 2010. For whatever reason, they didn’t show much interest in renewing his contract with them and so that seemed to mark the end of his career.
It was then that Burchill returned to the UK and ended up working as a full time firefighter, as well as trying to squeeze some extra time in to do independent wrestling over there. Burchill is also now a father! He’s the proud father to two boys, and no, his kids aren’t taking after his dad and don’t seem to have an interest in being pirate wrestlers.
13. Beth Phoenix
It’s interesting the WWE had such a successful women’s division, and had many wrestlers in there that were actually just as big as some of the male wrestlers. Beth is a former Women’s and Divas Champion and was also one of the most prominent and dominating forces in the women’s division until she was released back in 2012. Interesting that she ended up going out with the well known WWE star, Edge. What a duo we would’ve never thought got together.
It gets even crazier, after leaving WWE her and Edge actually got more serious and had a child together that was born in 2013. Now, she’s a super mom, but not the kind of put-her-husband-in-a-headlock ripped. Due to her not having to be on such a strict training regime for the company, she’s lost a lot of that muscle mass but continues to stay thin and in shape.
12. Charlie Haas
Charlie has continued his momentum from his career in Ring Of Honor since his release from WWE back in 2010. The former Tag Team Champion, alongside his powerful partner Shelton Benjamin, had made some serious waves in WWE and the duo were noted as one of the world’s best tag teams. He ended up retiring back in 2013. The fact that he was able to put together the world’s most recognized, unbeatable tag team really says a lot, I mean that’s crazy!
He didn’t stay “retired” for long, and actually continues to wrestle to this day, but he’s staying within his home state of Texas and doesn’t at all look like the same tag team champion we were so accustom to seeing. He’s still in great shape and keeps up on his body and health. Don’t worry though, he hasn’t lost any of his wrestling chops and still performs just as good as he ever has.
11. The Kat
You may remember The Kat as being one of the more racy parts of WWE in general. You would be correct. Stacy Carter, known as The Kat or Miss Kitty wasn’t the least bit shy in showing off what she had. The biggest problem that WWE had with her doing this is that a lot of times she would do these things off the script. How much turmoil that caused between her and WWE is inconclusive, but we do know that WWE did end up releasing her about 15 years ago. To this day, she’s pretty unrecognizable from the character she played then, and of course age always has it’s way of changing how a person looks. Even if it’s subtle.
10. Spike Dudley
Spike is actually the smallest out of the Dudley Boyz, but also has the most fan power behind him. As likeable as he was and as many fans as he had, WWE didn’t really hold interest in him for a long time and his career within the company ended up being cut short after a little less than just 4 years. I was never a big Dudley fan when I watched wrestling, so I can’t blame WWE for the move.
Spike then moved on over to TNA for a little bit before he actually fully moved into the independent wrestling circuit. Interesting that he was also rumored to be coming back to WWE in 2015, with the likes of Bubba Ray and Devon. For whatever reasons, be it legal or contractual, this never ended up happening and disappointed many fans. Now, he’s a totally unrecognizable person with a shaved head, different from his “long locks” back in the early 2000s.
9. Trevor Murdoch
A man who has retired entirely from wrestling, Trevor Murdoch was at one point the three time Tag Team Champion of the world with Lance Cade. He was an unstoppable force until his contract released him in 2008. After that happened, Murdoch spent some time trying to find his place. He dabbled a little bit in the independent scene for a while and even detoured briefly into the TNA. It took some time for him to decide what felt totally right and how to still pursue wrestling post-WWE, as many former WWE stars come to find out.
Okay, so he’s not entirely retired because he still does wrestling part time. However, his full time job now is to install fiber optic cables for bigger heavy equipment companies – just another way he’s able to stay under the radar and stay unrecognizable. He’s settled down and is enjoying family life out of the limelight.
8. Billy Kidman
Holding the former Cruiserweight Championship title that was held so dearly by both WWE and WCW, Billy Kidman was one heck of a superstar. He was such a powerhouse in the late 90s, early 2000s and totally redefined what it meant to be a Cruiser Weight Champion with his supreme endurance and stamina. He was released from his WWE contract in 2005, and had a few brief run ins with the independent wrestling circuit, trying to find his way, something many wrestlers get stuck in.
After some time had passed, WWE got back in contact with Kidman and actually decided to bring him back on as a road agent. He also functions currently as backstage producer for WWE but unfortunately for the fans, he doesn’t look anything like he did when he was that young and powerful cruiser weight. He now mostly remains behind the scenes and still works with WWE to this very day.
Melina was a powerful figure among the WWE Female championship and Divas alike. She’s been out of power for numerous years at this point, but still holds firm in the independent wrestling circuit that stands strong in both America and Europe. Melina, to this day, holds the best entrance in the history of all wrestling, and you can’t forget her memorable flexibility in the ring! Get on YouTube and check out some of her rounds in the ring and you can see just how truly flexible she is.
Even though she’s no longer a working part of WWE, she still uses her infamous wrestling entrance when working with other wrestling companies. It’s really the only thing about her now that is recognizable. Despite those things, she has lost weight and is looking thinner than ever, while at the same time changing her hair entirely for a totally different look.
6. Orlando Jordan
The former US Champion who had a very successful 3 year journey in WWE, like many of the wrestlers that get into WWE, was weeded out and never reached his full potential as a wrestler. Shortly after WWE, he ended up switching over into TNA. After about a year, he left TNA and decided it was time to open his own Pro Wrestling training school in 2011. The school is said to be continuing to this day, and seems to actually be pretty popular.
Even though he’s been out of the public eye for quite some time, he looks quite different than he did in his WWE days. Not surprising as most wrestlers who end up leaving WWE or move on from it generally change their look entirely. Considering when you do it as a career, your training regime has to be very strict to keep up on that same image.
5. Paul London
Yet another former Tag Team Champion, along with his teammate Brian Kendrick, he has actually been doing really well within the independent circuit of wrestling since being released from his contract with WWE back in 2008. Move forward in time to 2014 and London and Kendrick actually travelled over to Scotland to compete in the Insane Championship Wrestling, showing that even their time in WWE wasn’t put to waste!
Even though he ended up winning the championship and the title, they ended up being defeated by a different tag team duo only a few weeks later. As of 2014, Kendrick ended up going back to WWE, ending any sort of team London and him had. Of course, it’s been 9 years and London is still out of the public eye, and has not returned to WWE for any one off appearances of any kind since. Looking in the press, he doesn’t seem to have too many goods things to say about WWE, either.
Many probably won’t remember her at all due to such a short career in WWE. She wasn’t really given the time to fully show off her character. She was only used for a very short time with Deuce ‘n Domino as they portrayed their 70s style fashion. She actually did end up doing some wrestling on SmackDown but she was later released from her contract in 2008. Probably just wasn’t popular enough or didn’t catch on like they thought she would.
She’s actually been off the radar quite a while in the past 8 years of her departure from WWE. From what we do know, she doesn’t do any other forms of wrestling, and like most other wrestlers who’ve been out of it for a while, looks much different than what she did then. Her life now remains a mystery to many fans that did follow her back when she was on WWE.
3. Trish Stratus
Trish is very well known in the WWE world, and I would assume as much considering she’s only the former seven-time Women’s Champion. Now retired from WWE, she got married shortly after her 2006 departure and also has a son! Just because she’s not with WWE anymore doesn’t mean she doesn’t try and uphold her legacy. She stays up to date with her fitness with yoga and eating a proper diet, but now she looks totally different than what we remember her being. Well, almost entirely different.
She’s even gone as far as taking out her breast implants and dyed her hair a darker color, separating her even further from the woman she used to be all those years ago. She’s no longer the blonde, fake breasted beast that we knew all too well back in the day.
2. Jimmy Snuka
Did you know that Jimmy Snuka is actually the father of the current female wrestler Tamina Snuka? Well, Jimmy was actually hands down one of the best wrestlers in the 90s and still has fans from his days back in the ring. Things haven’t always been so grand since his departure from the wrestling scene. Back in 2015, he was actually the main suspect in a murder involving his ex-girlfriend. The murder itself was based around an incident that happened and she was thought to have been murdered quite some time ago (decades). With him being as big of a wrestler as he was, I’m surprised to see that he didn’t dabble in the other independent wrestling companies, he probably could’ve really kept his career going. Who knows?
Jimmy didn’t seem to be in the best shape of his life either, considering he was getting up there in age and he was under a lot of the stress. The famous Superfly Splash is no longer. He unfortunately passed away last month.
1. Kristal Marshall
Believe it or not, back in 2004, she appeared as one of the contestants for the 2004 Miss California Pageant and also appeared in various music videos for artists like 50 Cent.
Going back to 2006, Kristal was one of the main faces you would see in the women’s division on SmackDown. She was the former girlfriend of general manager Theodore Long. She ended up suffering from a heart attack in the ring on September 21 2006. Since her time in WWE, she only had a brief stay in TNA where she was actually portrayed as the wife of her real life boyfriend, Bobby Lashley. Her and Bobby had some children together, but ultimately decided to part ways back in 2010.
It’s weird but Kristal now seems to be in a much better shape than she was back when she was wrestling. Maybe she just wasn’t cut out for the wrestling scene and perhaps it caused her too much stress. Speaking of great shape though, she actually does modeling now along with being a mom.