It must be hard for people like professional wrestlers who, after years of earning big bucks in the spotlight, must adjust to a much more anonymous life. It’s actually too much of a change for some of them. There are more than a few that have left the ring and fell into serious depressions, as the boredom and lack of attention became overwhelming. There are also those who simply don’t prepare themselves for the transition. It’s fortunate for modern athletes that there is a heavy focus on preparing for life outside of professional sports.
There are quite a few professional wrestlers that are fortunate enough to be able to stay in the business on some level. Ever heard of Vince McMahon? However, there isn’t room for everyone, which means that most must learn to stand on their own two feet in other areas. We often hear of an ex-pro that has fallen on hard times. These stories are way more popular than the stories of those who manage to make a whole new successful life but they aren’t necessarily any more interesting. It’s just that people are generally mean and revel in other people’s misery. Let’s look at the brighter side of things and take a look at some feel-good stories of ex-professional wrestlers that were able to find success in areas outside of wrestling after they retired. Sit back, relax, and pour a cup of piping hot inspiration as we look at Rick Steiner and 14 other retired wrestlers who now have regular jobs.
15 Rick Steiner
Rick Steiner put his wrestling prowess on full display while he attended the University of Michigan. On top of setting a record for the fastest pin, Steiner placed second in the 1983 Big Ten Championships. He earned a bachelor’s degree in education but after meeting George “The Animal” Steele, Steiner decided to pursue a wrestling career. Steiner would go on to win 8 World Tag Team Championships as one half of the Steiner Brothers in WCW as well as a pair of WWF World Tag Team Championships over his 30-year career. In 2004, well before his days in the ring were over, Steiner got into selling real estate and he continues to successfully do so in the Atlanta area. He has also worked with the Cherokee County School District board since 2006.
14 Diamond Dallas Page
Diamond Dallas Page got his start in professional wrestling as a manager in 1988 and continued to do so until 1991 when he began to compete in the ring. After an excellent 10-year stint in the WCW where he won three WCW World Heavyweight Championships, two WCW U.S. Heavyweight Championships, and four WCW World Tag Team Championships, Diamond Dallas joined the ranks of the WWF where he went on to win more titles and adoration. The WWE Hall of Famer ran into injury troubles in the early aughts which essentially put an end to his career although he has made occasional appearances in the ring since. He took to yoga and developed his own workout videos which have become quite popular and netted the guru millions of dollars. He should also be given credit for helping several fallen wrestlers kick serious addictions.
13 Ted DiBiase Jr.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the son of wrestling legend Ted DiBiase would try to follow in his father’s footsteps. Ted DiBiase Jr. made his professional wrestling debut in 2006 and signed the WWE on a developmental contract in 2007. It was pretty clear that Junior wasn’t going to be half the wrestler that his father was but, to be fair, those are some pretty big shoes to fill. Junior had other ambitions such as acting, business, and focusing on his family so he opted to not renew his WWE contract in 2013. Ted DiBiase Jr. now holds an executive position with CollegeGarageSale.Com which sells college textbooks online. He doesn’t fly totally under the radar as he also has his own YouTube show in which he chronicles his everyday life.
12 Vickie Guerrero
Do you remember Eddie Guerrero? When he wasn’t making headlines for his outrageous antics or winning titles, Eddie was making headlines for his battles with substance abuse. Anyway, just before Eddie’s untimely death in 2005, the wrestling world was introduced to his wife, Vickie. Mrs. Guerrero rose to prominence following Eddie’s death and she found success both in the ring and as a manager. She was a generally unlikable character who found herself in the midst of a lot of feuds. Looking to start a new career in medical administration, Vickie was granted her release in 2014. While she has definitely moved away from the spotlight, the ex-villain still makes sporadic appearances such as participating at 2018’s Royal Rumble where she got up to her usual underhanded antics following her elimination.
11 Barry “Bull” Buchanan
Standing at six and a half feet tall and weighing in at about 275 pounds, Barry Buchanan made his debut with Smoky Mountain Wrestling in 1995 as The Punisher. He then signed a developmental deal with the WWF where he became a part of the Truth Commission and won a USWA World Tag Team Championship. Barry, along with most of the Truth Commission, finally got called up to the WWF in 1997 but he never really seemed to establish himself despite a couple of big victories. He was finally released in 2002. Barry continued to wrestle part-time with other companies after his release from the WWF but he also pursued a career in law enforcement. Oh, he also claims that John Cena destroyed his life. These days, the 50-year-old is a Deputy in Carroll County in Georgia.
10 Mike Bucci
There haven’t been many wrestling gimmicks that were half as annoying as watching Simon Dean roll in on his stupid Segway and proceed to spout off about the Simon System. This guy made people like the disgraced pitchman, Vince Offer, seem tolerable. As luck would have it, the annoying jobber would usually get his butt kicked. His WWE career came to a grinding halt in 2007 after he opted for release. It wasn’t that he was too old or not physically capable of withstanding constant beatings. The amped-up fitness guru was more than capable of prolonging his wrestling career but he had another calling. Bucci became a licensed mortgage broker and is now a bank manager. It would be quite the head-spinning experience to have him give you a financial fitness pep talk.
9 Steve Blackman
Steve Blackman made his WWF debut in 1988 after starting out as a bodybuilder and weightlifter. Unfortunately, Blackman contracted malaria in 1989 while wrestling in South Africa and this put him on the shelf for 2 years. The determined wrestler fought hard to get back into shape and develop new skills and he was back in the WWF in 1997. While he wasn’t really much more than a mid-carder, Steve managed to capture six WWF Hardcore Championships and he took part in his share of storylines before leaving the WWE in 2002. He has since gone on to open a self-defense school, promote a clothing line, and developed Steve Blackman’s Fighting Systems. Steve apparently thrives on having a little more excitement in his life which is likely why he also works as a bail bondsman. You wouldn’t want that guy coming after you!
8 Tonga Fifita
There are those that talk the talk and then there are those that don’t need to say a word because everyone else is doing the talking. Tonga Fifita falls into the latter category. Whether he was fighting under the name Haku in the WWE or as Meng in WCW, the six foot, one inch, 290-pound beast left opponents and fans in awe of his toughness and brute strength. Stone Cold Steve Austin, Bill Goldberg, Brutus Beefcake, and Hulk Hogan are among many revered wrestlers to give high praise to Fifita’s abilities. Despite his reputation as a no-nonsense bad boy who once successfully laid out seven cops who were trying to arrest him, Fifita is regarded as a friendly guy and a family man. He now has a regular job running a detail shop in Florida where you are advised to not complain too much.
7 Shawn Stipich
It didn’t take Shawn Stipich very long to make the leap from the minor ranks to his 1999 debut in the WWF as Shawn Stasiak. The former college standout caught the WWF’s attention when he sent them a promotional video in which he dressed up in a Halloween costume and instructed children on how to safely go trick-or-treating. He did pretty well for himself winning 15 WWF/WWE Hardcore Championships and a WCW World Tag Team Championship but Shawn had other professional aspirations and he left the ring in 2002. Shawn became a chiropractor who now plies his trade in Texas and he even earned a certificate in manipulation under anesthesia. He also works as a motivational speaker who uses the same character as he did in his WWF promotional video when he talks to kids.
6 Eve Torres
There are a lot of WWE Divas that would probably be living in run-down trailers and either unemployed or stuck in dead-end jobs if it wasn’t for the WWE. Eve Torres is not one of them. She possesses that rare combination of beauty, brains, and superior physical abilities. Had she not won Diva Search in 2007, Eve would likely have been a successful model, actress, or engineer. She made her debut on SmackDown in 2008 and she went on to be the main attraction, who claimed 3 WWE Divas Championships and was a central character in plenty of feuds and storylines. Despite turning into a heel in the latter part of her short career, Eve maintained a large and loyal fan base. She was granted her release in 2012 so that she could devote her time to other pursuits. She now works as a party events manager.
5 Spike Dudley
Matthew Hyson began to make his mark in ECW in 1996 where he was introduced as “Little” Spike Dudley. With his ring name having the initials LSD, Spike would get into the ring and act as if he were on an acid trip to the amusement of the audience. He made the jump to the WWE in 2001, where he joined his half-brothers D-Von and Bubba Ray to make the Dudley Boyz. Dudley was released from the WWE in 2005 but he continued to wrestle part-time in the independent circuit and TNA. So, what did he do with the rest of his time? Well, he became a financial transition specialist and helped raise a family. It turns out that he is far from the vacuous acid-tripping loon that he made himself out to be in the ring.
4 Tito Santana
The fictional and self-absorbed Kenny Powers from the television comedy Eastbound and Down didn’t transition from being a professional baseball player into being a substitute gym teacher all that well. On the other hand, Tito Santana embraced his post-wrestling transition into his role as a Spanish instructor and gym teacher. After winning King of the Ring, two WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championships, and a pair of WWF Tag Team championships, the WWE Hall of Famer and lifelong fan favorite called it quits and made the move into teaching. The 64-year-old still makes the occasional appearance in the ring and the living legend also gets his wrestling fix by imparting his wrestling wisdom on students in New Jersey’s Independent Wrestling Federation. It’s good to see that he is still a great role model.
3 Paul Burchill
Lots of kids dream of being a professional wrestler when they grow up and there are plenty of people that dream of being a firefighter or a teacher one day. Paul Burchill is one of the few that has been able to realize all three dreams. Burchill started out as a teacher in the UK before leaving his job in 2001 for a shot at wrestling glory. Paul mainly wrestled in Europe but found himself in the spotlight when he debuted on SmackDown in 2005. Burchill went through a few different character changes, including one that saw him portray a pirate. That fad eventually fizzled out as did Burchill’s career in the WWE and he was released in 2010. Not to worry. He still gets into the ring from time to time when he’s not busy with his job as a full-time firefighter.
2 Lisa Moretti
It’s been nearly 15 years since Lisa Moretti walked away from the ring. Better known as Ivory to wrestling fans, the gorgeous Moretti won the WWE Women’s Championship on two occasions, while making herself out to be some kind of ranting right-wing fanatic. She was a bit of a late bloomer and already in her late 30's by the time she entered the WWE in 1999, so it didn’t come as much of a shock when her appearances became more sporadic and she left the WWE in 2005. Moretti left her mark during her short run and it earned her a place in the WWE Hall of Fame. After her wrestling days ended, Moretti did a bit of landscaping and volunteered at an animal shelter before opening up her own pet grooming business in 2007.
1 Trevor Murdoch
William Mueller is more commonly known as Trevor Murdoch from his time in the WWE. He began honing his wrestling skills in 1997, where he gained recognition as part of The Dupps who went on to perform in ECW and TNA. He then made the move to WWE in 2005, where he was rebranded as Trevor Murdoch, who was perceived as an angry redneck trucker. Along with his tag team partner Lance Cade, Murdock was credited with three WWE World Tag Team Championships before being released in 2008. He continued to wrestle briefly in TNA and did stints in the independent circuit but he officially retired in 2017. The 37-year-old had owned a restaurant but sold it in 2013. Murdoch now happily works as an installer of fiber optics at a heavy equipment company.