Every single wrestling fan has their particular favorite superstars. You know, the ones whom you follow and keep up with despite their time in the professional wrestling spotlight coming to an end. Then there are those other names and talents, whom we lose track of or who disappear off the map entirely.
Sadly, far too many names of yesteryear are no longer with us, which is something that's both tragic and often an indicator of the fast and heavy party days of the 1970s, 1980s, and some of the early ‘90s. Still, there are so many icons and legends still out there whom we don’t get to see all that often on mainstream WWE programming, if at all.
Whereas the likes of The Rock or Steve Austin usually make sporadic appearances on WWE programming on a yearly basis -- be it in front of a live audience or as part of a WWE Network-based show -- there are so many stars of yesteryear who don’t get thrust into the public eye on a regular basis. Plus, there’s also that urge amongst many longtime wrestling fans to see what their old favorites look like today even if for nothing more than pure curiosity.
So with that in mind, here are 15 former WWE superstars and what they look like today.
Where Raven is concerned, Scott Levy is largely considered one of the greatest minds the wrestling business has ever seen. From Scotty Flamingo in WCW, to Johnny Polo in the WWF, to then reinventing himself as Raven, he's a true icon of the industry where many fans are concerned.
Having mesmerized fans for his work as Raven in ECW and then in WCW, Levy returned back to the then-WWF in 2000. Sure, his run there maybe didn’t go as well as many longtime fans were hoping, but Raven would still stick around for 3 years before heading to TNA, Ring of Honor, and the independent circuit.
These days, Raven’s trademark long locks are no more, and Levy doesn’t have as much of a “grunge” vibe about him as in his heyday. Regardless, it seems a travesty that Scott Levy isn’t involved with a major wrestling promotion helping out younger talent with their characters and storytelling by now.
14 Paul Orndorff
For those of us who grew up with the wrestling of the 1980s, “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff was a big-time player back then. Whether it was his time in the WWF, in WCW, or various other promotions of the day, Orndorff was a huge name and a star always attached to the top of many a wrestling card. Hell, this is a man who headlined the very first WrestleMania!
Mr. Wonderful would take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005 although a battle with cancer lay ahead for this all-time great. Living up to his notorious tough guy reputation, though, 2011 saw Orndorff kick cancer’s ass.
Like so many stars of yesteryear, these days, Paul Orndorff can be found making the occasional convention circuit appearance.
During the mid-90s, Tatanka was one of the hottest babyfaces on the WWF roster. With a 2-year undefeated streak, it looked as if a career at the top of the card was in the stars for the Native American. Instead, Tatanka’s streak would be bested at the hands of uber-heel Ludvig Borga before a heel turn soon followed suit as he joined Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Corporation. He’d soon leave the company in 1996, although a well-received return would follow in the 2000s.
Nowadays, the real-life Chris Chavis is one of the most active old school wrestlers out there, regularly doing the convention circuit as well as still performing at independent shows to this day. And for those who’ve had the pleasure to meet him at such events, Tatanka is one of the nicest guys you could ever possibly meet, even letting fans wear his iconic headwear.
As one-half of the iconic Road Warriors/Legion of Doom, Animal is a true legend of the tag team game and the wrestling business as a whole. Dominating wherever he and partner Hawk went, Animal was a destructive force of nature between the ropes.
These days, Animal, real name Joe Laurinaitis, still sports his distinct mohawk and facial hair, and he’s a regular on the convention circuit. At those events, Animal goes all out and dons his familiar face paint and super-cool spiked football shoulder pads.
Whether we’ll see Animal featured on WWE programming again -- much like so many legends these days -- remains to be seen, although the fact he’s currently involved in a lawsuit against the company likely rules that option out.
There he is on the left, the Big Red Machine, the Devil’s Favorite Demon, Kane! On the right, why that’d be Glenn Jacobs in his current push to become Mayor of Knox County. The thing is, both of these people are one and the same.
Obviously, we’ve seen the evolution of the now semi-retired Kane play out on WWE TV over the past 20 years from his debut in 1997, to his various different attires and masks, to finding his voice, to losing the mask altogether, to the groan-inducing Corporate Kane. These days, it’s odd to see this former World Champion now part of a mayoral race. After all, this is someone who once electrocuted a man’s testicles on live TV!
To longtime (and long-suffering!) wrestling fans, the current appearance of Kane isn’t that much of a shock due to having seen him on TV the past few years. If you’ve not seen Kane since the heyday of the Attitude Era, though, it’s a huge transformation to see.
10 Val Venis
In the hot and heavy Attitude Era, few superstars pushed the envelope as much as the Big Valbowski, Val Venis. Debuting in the WWF in 1998, the Canadian and his plethora of sexual innuendos would end up winning Intercontinental, European, and Tag Team gold by the time his time with the company came to an end in 2009. A talented in-ring worker with a memorable gimmick and natural charisma, Venis is someone whom many longtime wrestling fans still remember to this day.
These days, however, the real-life Sean Morley is in a very, err, “unique” business when it comes to paying the bills. Known as “The Kaptain,” Morley runs his own medical marijuana business called "Health for Life" out of Arizona.
Leon White, aka Vader, is generally (and rightfully) revered as one of the greatest ‘big man’ performers of all time. Whether it was his legendary battles in Japan, his time as an unstoppable monster in WCW, or his poorly-booked WWF stint, Vader had a reputation and an aura that very few could top. And to many longtime fans, his time in the WWF during the ‘90s is one that still frustrates due to how Vince McMahon and Co. wasted such a valuable and impressive talent.
These days, despite being largely out of the public spotlight, Vader is surprisingly still active in an in-ring capacity, even wrestling this April over in Japan. Unfortunately, that match saw him legitimately knocked out due to landing on his head. More worryingly, the start of this year saw Vader reveal that serious ongoing health issues mean he’s only got a few years left to live.
Despite beginning life as a Road Warriors rip-off, Ax and Smash would go down as one of the greatest tandems of all time for their time spent in the WWF in the ‘80s and ‘90s. 3-time Tag Team Champions, the team is still regarded to this day as one of the most dominant and impressive units to grace the squared circle. Obviously, the addition of Crush to the team wasn’t exactly well received by most fans, and the writing was on the wall for the eventual break up that came in 1991. Ax would then continue to work on the independent scene, while Smash would be repackaged as Repo Man and Crush would become “Kona” Crush.
The original duo of Ax (Bill Eadie) and Smash (Barry Darsow) are still active on the convention circuit and for sporadic spot shows. As for Crush, the real-life Brian Adams sadly passed away in 2007.
Whether you know him as Tugboat or Typhoon, Fred Ottman’s stint in the then-WWF in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s saw him positioned as one of the biggest monsters in the company. Eventually forming the Natural Disasters with Earthquake, Typhoon would become a Tag Team Champion during his WWF tenure. Of course, Ottman would infamously be the man under the glitter-adorned Stormtrooper helmet of WCW’s Shockmaster, and from then on out, he largely became a joke figure before eventually retiring in 2001.
Now 60 years of age, the former Typhoon can often be seen doing the convention circuit. And yes, he does indeed take his Shockmaster helmet with him whenever he makes such appearances.
6 Brutus Beefcake
For those watching the WWF in the 1980s and early ‘90s, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake was a staple of regular WWF programming. As well as winning the WWF Tag Team Championship as part of the Dream Team with Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Brutus was also famous for being the bestest bud of one Hulk Hogan, brother. Of course, Beefcake would follow the Hulkster to WCW in the ‘90s and take on a wide range of personas such as "the Butcher," "the Man with No Name," "the Booty Man," and "the Disciple."
The real-life Ed Leslie may have had a whole variety of different looks over the decades, but he’s still instantly recognizable… especially when he’s accompanied by his famed sheers!
5 Ken Shamrock
Known as The World’s Most Dangerous Man, Ken Shamrock was instantly a huge deal upon debuting in the WWF in 1997. A former UFC Champion, Shamrock was initially brought in to serve as the special referee in the Bret Hart vs Steve Austin bout at WrestleMania XIII, but he’d soon become a member of the main WWF roster. Intense, aggressive, and a genuine loose cannon, Kenny would go on to win the King of the Ring, the Intercontinental Championship, and the Tag Team Championships with the Big Boss Man.
After leaving the then-WWF in 1999, Shamrock would switch between independent wrestling shows and MMA bouts, even turning up in TNA during its infancy and becoming their first recognized World Champion.
These days, 53-year-old Shamrock is still in great shape and has continued fighting up until as recently as last year, losing to longtime rival Royce Gracie in Bellator.
When it comes to falls from grace and battling with demons, Tammy “Sunny” Sytch is one of the most notorious names in the wrestling business. As Sunny, Sytch became the first ever “diva” of the then-WWF, with her sex appeal and cheeky charisma winning her a place in the hearts of many fans during spells in the WWF, ECW, and WCW. Sadly, Sytch has also battled drug and alcohol issues over the decades, not to mention had to deal with the death of longtime partner Chris Candido.
Having had several stints in rehab, it looked as if Sytch was getting her life back on track when she was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Instead, since then, she has listed her Hall of Fame ring on eBay, done sexual Skype chats with fans, and even turned to doing p--n in the does-exactly-as-it-says-on-the-tin Sunny Side Up: In Through the Backdoor.
3 Lex Luger
“The Total Package” was a huge deal in WCW throughout the years, becoming a 2-time World Champion and a 5-time United States Champion. And if Vince McMahon had his wish, Lex Luger would’ve been a huge deal in the then-WWF, too.
After debuting as The Narcissist, Luger and his chiseled physique were soon switched over to an all-American babyface designed to be the heir apparent to the gap left behind by one Hulk Hogan, brother. But for Lex, there was one small problem: the fans just didn’t buy into it. Regardless of how much touring he and his Lex Express did, many fans rejected him in favor of Bret Hart.
Luger would eventually return to WCW and remain there until it closed in 2001. Sadly, he would suffer a spinal stroke in 2007 that would initially leave him in a quadriplegic state. These days, he has regained the majority of feeling in his arms and legs but looks far different from how many wrestling fans remember him.
2 Bret Hart
To many wrestling fans, Bret Hart is simply the greatest professional wrestler to lace up a pair of boots. A legendary in-ring performer, the Hitman has a mass legion of fans spanning the entire globe. Having won WWF World Heavyweight, Intercontinental, and Tag Team gold -- not to mention his various titles in WCW and his brief United States Championship win in the WWE -- Hart is a true icon of the business, and still, to this day, serves as everything a modern wrestler should strive to be when it comes to learning their in-ring craft.
Now 59 years of age, this Canadian hero is looking great, which is even more impressive considering he had a stroke in 2002 and then defeated prostate cancer only last year. Even to this very day, Bret Hart is idolized by so many, and that’s testament to the career of the Excellence of Execution.
1 Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan is still just as Hulk Hogan as ever. Orange tan? Check. Bandana? Check. Trademark mustache? Check. Ripping off t-shirts, taking his vitamins, saying his prayers, and training hard? Double check, brother.
When it comes to truly being the Babe Ruth of the WWE, Hulk Hogan simply is that guy, seemingly always looking the same, always acting the same, and always working out an angle for his own benefit. A notorious backstage politician, if it was down to Hogan, he’d still somehow be parading around as the WWE Champion at the expense of younger talents while refusing to do the J-O-B to anyone on the roster.
While Hulk is still Hulk, these days, he’s actually not in the WWE’s good books following racist comments he made during a leaked sex tape. Yep, a Hulk Hogan sex tape. We’ll leave you to make your own 24-inch python joke there. Still, a Hulkster return looks on the cards before the year is out.
Sources: PW Torch, WWE.com, Wikipedia
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