Not everyone makes it in the WWE - earning a contract is one thing but making a name for yourself and staying afloat is an entirely different animal. More times than not, talents fail to make it after a brief push. That was especially the case before the likes of NXT emerged; we saw countless examples of wrestlers failing to make it when called up to the main roster, only to see the rest of their career take place in smaller venues on the independent scene.
In this article, we take a look at wrestlers from the Attitude and Ruthless Aggression Eras and see what they’re up to nowadays. We’ll also look at what they look like today; some you might be able to recognize while others look completely different (for better or for worse). For the most part, these acts featured were lower tier performers with the WWE. Today, some have kept the dream alive while others have left the pro wrestling scene for good opting to pursue a regular job (like becoming the Vice Principal of a school).
Enjoy folks, and like always be sure to share the article with a friend. Without further ado, here are 20 wrestlers who enjoyed their 30 seconds of fame and what they look like today. Let’s get started!
20 Muhammad Hassan
Although his character was extremely controversial, you couldn’t help but to feel bad for the man behind the gimmick, Marc Copani who was actually an Italian-American. His WWE career came to end after his antics during an episode of SmackDown were deemed just too controversial – due to his gimmick he was forced out of the company and he later retired from the ring.
At times, a gimmick can sink or swim one’s career and in this case, Hassan sunk to the bottom shortly after being projected as a future World Champion.
Don’t feel too bad however, as the 36 year old is living a great life nowadays away from the spotlight as a proud family man; he became a teacher and Vice Principal.
19 Joy Giovanni
This name likely rings a bell, especially for fans of SmackDown back in the early 2000s. Giovanni served in the WWE’s Diva Search and although she fell short from winning the competition, WWE signed her to a deal nonetheless. Her most notable feud on the show took place against Amy Weber.
Joy was eventually released by the WWE and nobody really made much of it.
Her new career path is something most wrestling fans would not expect from the beauty. Nowadays, the 40 year old is enjoying life as a Psychic Medium. You can follow her new passions via Twitter as she gives us a sneak peek into her life as a medium. Don’t expect any type of return to pro wrestling as Joy seems more than content nowadays residing out of San Diego, California.
Signed to a WWE deal back in 2006, JTG was barely in his 20s inking a deal with the company. His calling card was as a Tag Team act serving alongside partner Shad Gaspard. The two enjoyed quite the run on the main roster serving as an entertaining act, although the Tag Titles escaped them during their rise to the top. He got released and returned for another run which was spent, for the most part, as a solo act.
He was released for the final time in 2014 and has been on the indie circuit ever since.
Still only 33 years old, JTG has a lot of fight left in him. As a matter of fact, he’s still performing alongside Gaspard at several indie events. He looks noticeably different nowadays looking a lot fuller than we remember compared to his WWE days.
17 Eric Angle
For those of you that don’t know Eric, you still likely see a resemblance to a certain WWE General Manager. Yup, that’s Eric Angle, the brother of Kurt. Eric enjoyed a brief run with the WWE from 2000 till 2003 – his run was a lot longer than most of us remember in truth. He was used for comedic release more so than anything else. Eric tried improving his skills down in development but unfortunately, he was eventually let go.
Angle hit the indie scene briefly but later, decided to hang up the boots for good after a short pro wrestling career.
Age 50 nowadays, Eric’s looking extremely jacked. His new life sees him as a personal trainer along with prepping future bodybuilders before their competitions. Maybe he’ll help Kurt out with a couple of workouts prior to his in-ring return at WrestleMania.
16 Zach Gowen
One of the most inspirational acts to ever step foot inside a WWE ring, Gowen is one heck of a story competing on one leg. As if that wasn’t remarkable enough, his in-ring style captivated the audience as an incredible high flyer. He enjoyed quite the run with the company even feuding with Brock Lesnar over on SmackDown at one point.
Still so young at the age of 34, Gowen continues to take on indie bookings, wrestling on the regular.
He’s also a proud family man nowadays as a father. You can keep up with Zack via Instagram as he posts on the regular whether it be his in-ring events or practicing DDP Yoga on his off-time. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours.
15 Rene Dupree
The casual WWE fan might have forgotten but the signing of Rene Dupree was a huge deal back in 2002. At the time of his deal, Dupree was the youngest talent to ever sign a deal with the company at 18 years old. He had the look to thrive and after just a year with development he was called up to the main roster serving as a tag team act – Rene was one-half of La Resistance. He was labelled as a huge star for the future, though his highest accomplishments turned out to be a couple of runs as a Tag Team Champion with both Sylvain Grenier and Kenzo Suzuki.
The 34 year old continues on in the business nowadays; just last week he was working independent dates.
Rene has also made headlines for his comments against the WWE, claiming the company should give out royalties for using the footage of former WWE employees.
14 Sylvain Grenier
You can’t talk about Dupree without mentioning his former partner, Sylvain Grenier. In a surprising twist, the two actually despised one another behind the scenes – the world of wrestling is a weird one, folks. Like Dupree, Grenier signed in early 2000 and made the main roster as a tag team act. He floundered for the rest of his run and was released in 2007.
He joined the indie scene later on and continues to work smaller local shows over in Quebec to this day. He also had a brief gig covering Impact Wrestling for RDS.
Like a couple of others on the list, he joined the class action lawsuit against the WWE for negligence pertaining to brain-related injuries. At 40 years of age, we’re not going to see this guy back in a WWE ring.
13 Big Vito
Remember Big Vito? Well, Italian wrestling fans certainly do as the veteran made a dent in the business serving time with the likes of ECW, WCW, TNA and the WWE. He was a member of the Full Blooded Italians during his WWE run, though he failed to replicate similar success from his WCW days (winning the Hardcore Championship twice along with multiple Tag Team Title runs). We assume that’s what happens when you’re no longer working alongside a buddy... we’re looking at you Vince Russo.
Now 53 years of age, you can still keep up-to-date with Vito as he remains active on Twitter and even YouTube posting videos irregularly. Not too shocking, he also makes appearances on Podcast One alongside close friend, Vince Russo.
12 Orlando Jordan
Lots of fans tend to forget but Jordan was the first openly bisexual wrestler in the business. Orlando actually started off with quite the push over on SmackDown joining JBL’s Cabinet stable and even claiming the US Championship. However, he couldn’t sustain such momentum and he was quietly released by the company in 2006.
He proceeded to join the indie circuit and as of 2016, he was still taking matches for smaller promotions, though he hasn’t been active in the last couple of years.
You can follow the 43 year old via Instagram as he’s a proud family man who’s married and has a child. Among other things, he loves hitting the gym still looking pretty darn jacked, similar to his WWE days years ago.
11 Kevin Thorn
A journeyman in the wrestling business, Kevin Thorn is still keeping the dream alive at the age of 41, wrestling for small independent shows nowadays. He signed with the WWE way back in 2002 and although his first stint didn’t go as planned, he was called back a second time in 2006 joining the ECW brand. His first run could have meant so much more... Under the gimmick of Mordecai, WWE set up some terrific vignettes for the character.
The point of the gimmick was to rival The Undertaker, though that fell short and never took place as he was sent back to OVW instead.
He didn’t fare any better during his WWE return joining the ECW brand. Thorn played the role of a vampire-type character and once again, he was sent down to development after the lacklustre run.
10 Kid Kash
Kid Kash served as an underrated talent during his WWE days with a lot of experience. Prior to joining the WWE, Kash made a name for himself with the likes of ECW, winning the promotion’s TV Title. He also enjoyed a decent run with TNA, claiming the popular X-Division Championship. As we’ve seen time and time again, success outside of the WWE really doesn’t mean much and unfortunately, that was the case for Kash who became an afterthought (aside from a brief run as the Cruiserweight Champion).
Nowadays, the 48 year old remains active in the business wrestling regularly on smaller indie shows, along with taking part in wrestling conventions.
Despite nearing his 50s, the former WWE star still looks to be in decent shape. He also has some MMA experience on his resume.
9 Shad Gaspard
We spoke about partner JTG earlier in the article; we now turn our attention to the enforcer of the duo, Shad Gaspard. Shad made the TMZ headlines back in 2016 for stopping an armed robber. The dude picked the wrong time as Gaspard manhandled the gun away from him and even body-slammed him outside of the gas station, forcing him out of the store. Aside from slaying thieves, Gaspard’s keeping busy nowadays as a proud family man along with taking on acting and writing gigs. As we mentioned earlier,
he also works events alongside partner JTG as the duo still takes part in independent bookings for lower scale promotions.
Nearing his 40s at 37, Shad’s still looking great as a regular inside of the gym – it helps when you’re good buddies with Mike O’Hearn.
8 Johnny Stamboli
From a gimmick that looked to be straight out of the movie Goodfellas, to being billed from the Depths of Hell - Jon Hugger went through some drastic changes over the course of his lengthy career, which started off with WCW during the company’s dying days in 1999. He joined the WWE after the buyout, though he became an afterthought for the majority of his run.
He completely changed gimmicks later on turning into Rellik; we appreciate the fact that he was willing to change but the gimmick totally tanked and became a joke more than anything else. He’s now 40 years old and happily married – we won’t see him back in a WWE ring, although we did see his name in a WWE related lawsuit as he joined the class action lawsuit against the company for brain-related injuries.
7 Juventud Guerrera
Known as The Juice, Guerrera had tremendous talent which was on full display during WCW’s prime Cruiserweight Division. He oozed with talent and had great charisma inside of the ring, though his attitude is what held him back from becoming something even bigger.
His WWE run was a total fail as he was slapped with a terrible stereotypical gimmick; he continued on following his WWE release and remains active to this day.
You can keep track of Juvi via Instagram and Twitter. He appears a lot in Mexico whether it be in the ring or taking part in appearances. Again, he’s extremely talented, though lots of wrestlers (including Konnan) have taken issue with his behavior behind the scenes as one of the more selfish wrestlers in the business.
6 Essa Rios
Speaking of Cruiserweights, Essa Rios was brought into the WWE as a way to rival WCW’s division. Rios got promoted as the Light Heavyweight Champion with the WWE, though most remember Rios strictly as the dude that was alongside Lita during her initial WWE run. He was released by the WWE in 2001 after his 30 seconds of fame.
To his credit, he built a name and a legacy for himself back in Mexico and he remains active today at the age of 40.
Competing under the name of Mr. Aguila, Rios looks completely unrecognizable compared to his earlier days with the WWE. He rocks an outrageous Mohawk nowadays along with some bizarre face paint. To his credit, he got the persona over and that’s really all that matters.
5 Matt Striker
He started with the WWE in 2005 and although he was pretty decent in the ring, Striker made a name for himself in the commentary booth as a brilliant color commentator for the Raw announce team. He was one of the most underrated commentators the WWE had as his comments were quite insightful and well received. To his credit, he stuck to his commentating prowess following his WWE release.
He’s worked with various indie promotions ever since, even taking to the commentary booth with New Japan for the English commentating team.
Nowadays, at 43 years of age, you can find Striker with Lucha Underground as he continues on with the company. He also works indie events for smaller scale promotions. To his credit, Matt has kept in great shape despite the fact that he’s more so known as a commentator.
4 Mark Jindrak
Joining the WWE in 2001, Mark has the look of a future World Champion. Initially, the WWE felt the same way as he was slated to join the Evolution faction. Heck, the company even shot vignettes with Jindrak as a member of the group. It wasn’t meant to be however, as Batista would later take his place. Mark’s WWE run came to an end in 2005 and his potential was never met. He didn’t give up and he bet on his talent over in Mexico, a decision that worked out extremely well.
Under the gimmick of Mark Corleone, the former WWE and WCW star made a huge name for himself even taking part in Soap Operas in his new home.
At the age of 40, Jindrak continues to thrive over in Mexico. He looks completely unrecognizable nowadays in comparison to what he looked like during his 30 seconds of fame with the WWE.
3 The Jackal
Pro wrestling is a crazy world. Who would have thought that The Jackal would be responsible for bringing in Chris Jericho to New Japan and setting up a dream match between Y2J and Kenny Omega? The former WWE manager serves as a color commentator for New Japan, he now took on another role becoming the Co-Executive Vice-President of Impact Wrestling. A native of Manitoba, Canada like Chris Jericho (who grew up in Manitoba), perhaps he can entice Y2J to join Impact as well? Okay, now maybe that’s a stretch.
At the age of 54, most would be shocked to realize that Don Callis is the same dude that joined The Acolytes and Oddities during the Attitude Era back in the 90s. He remains active in the business today serving a big purpose as a huge behind the scenes presence.
2 Mean Street Posse
The Attitude Era is the most beloved time period in WWE history, though what lots of fans tend to forget is along with the good, there was a lot of bad and that included this stable of the Mean Street Posse. The group was meant to provide comedic relief as Shane basically put a couple of his life-long buddies inside of the ring - the only one with actual experience though, was Joey Abs.
The group enjoyed their 30 seconds of fame during the Attitude Era and would not return.
The trio still takes part in lots of conventions making some extra bucks. Surprisingly, Gas is still good friends with Shane as the two were spotted together during an NXT event – truly great seeing the two still that close, however don’t expect a Mean Street Posse reunion in a WWE ring anytime soon.
In terms of unrecognizable wrestlers on this list, Kaitlyn might be the biggest example despite the fact that she’s still so young at 31. She hasn’t really aged but instead, completely resurfaced her look compared to the days that saw her carry the Divas Championship. Kaitlyn decided to retire young as she left the WWE with the intent of breaking into the fitness industry alongside her ex-husband PJ Braun. She did well for herself, especially in terms of completely revamping her look. Known as Celeste Bonin, her actual name, fans were drooling over her IG photos.
Nowadays, Bonin has decided to step back between ropes. After some brief training, Celeste returned to the ring taking on smaller indie gigs.
Still in her early 30s, we might see her back in a WWE ring at some point.