The sad reality for many professional wrestlers is the realization of what life will look like after the wrestling days are long gone. As anyone might assume, other career options for wrestlers are extremely limited. Some look for a new start outside of wrestling, while others continue to wrestle for as long as they can, usually traveling all over the world. In this article you will see a mix of both those variations; some wrestlers that are wrestling all over the world trying to earn as many paychecks as possible, while other former wrestlers have found success outside of the business, doing work in banks or driving around a party bus. Yes, you read correctly, a party bus. How awesome does that sound? Let us now begin this walk down memory lane, and see what these 15 former WWE superstars have been up to since leaving the WWE.
Such a promising start for Chris Masters in the WWE. Chris was gaining popularity with his infamous “Master Lock Challenge”. Masters would also make a run at the title, but unfortunately for Chris, this would be the peak of his career. In November of 2007, Masters was suspended 60 days for violating the WWE’s “Substance Abuse and Drug Policy” for a second time, and a couple of days later, Masters was released from his WWE contract. Chris would make a brief return in 2009 due to RVD’s recommendations to Vince McMahon, but this return would end up being very brief, as Masters would end up being released once again in 2011. Masters would then hit the independent circuit and wrestle all over the world; from wrestling in the UK, to wrestling in TNA, to wrestling in Canada. Just recently on May 6th, Masters signed a new contract to join Jeff Jarrett’s new wrestling promotion, "Global Force Wrestling". The new wrestling promotion is set to open its doors July 24th, in Las Vegas. Chris will be using his real name, Chris Mordetzky. It is said that Mordetzky is still great friends with Randy Orton and Rob Van Dam.
Poor Mike Adamle. Certainly a brief, but tough stint for the former WWE broadcaster. Adamle will mostly be remembered for his botches on live television. In his first live on-camera appearance, Adamle made his most noticeable mistake (which is still laughed about today). Mike referred to Jeff Hardy as Jeff “Harvey”. Today, Adamle is a Sports Anchor for an NBC affiliate in Chicago. At the age of 64, Adamle also enjoys swimming and participating in “Ironman Triathlons”. Mike admitted that if the WWE came calling, he would go back in a heartbeat. Don’t hold your breath Mike.
A rare case in where a former wrestler, Paul Burchill, decided to look for something new outside of the wrestling business. When interviewing for his firefighting job, Paul compared it to being a wrestler. The job entailed 24/7 shifts and also required you to spend a lot of time with your peers, something he did in the WWE. Today, Burchill works for the fire department in Jeffersontown, Ky. In addition, Paul is also a paramedic for “Yellow EMS” in Louisville and a member of the Jeffersontown police department’s SWAT team. When he does have some spare time, Burchill spends time with his two sons.
Shad was the first of the pair to be released. He signed with the Japanese promotion “IGF”, in February 2011. In addition to focusing on an acting career, Shad made headlines on Twitter when he called out the “Prime time Players”, Gaspard, accused them of stealing Cryme Tyme’s gimmick and ripped the duo via a rap he made. Later in 2014, JTG was finally released. In 2014, the duo changed their name to “Crime Time”. The tag team announced they were open for bookings, and they have since wrestled for several independent wrestling promotions.
After a long career in the wrestling business, Simon Dean did what many wrestlers typically don’t do, and that is to prepare for life outside of wrestling. After leaving the company, Dean took a test to become a licensed mortgage originator in New York and New Jersey. Dean had great experience in that field, as he would often help wrestlers who needed to purchase homes while he was in the WWE. Simon would eventually move to Louisville, the home of his current job as branch manager of the bank. Dean stresses the importance for young upcoming wrestlers to have a plan when their careers are over.
As many of you already know, Beth Phoenix (born Elizabeth "Beth" Kocianski) is married to WWE Hall of Famer, Edge (born Adam Joseph Copeland) and the two have been building a family since leaving the wrestling business. Although it may seem this way, Beth admits that having a baby was not the reason why she left the wrestling business. Beth actually left the business to spend more time with her family, and the baby ended up being an unexpected bonus.
After a strong 4 year career in the WWE, MVP was released from his contract in December of 2010. MVP would quickly find work though, and in 2011, he would sign a deal with “New Japan Pro Wrestling”. Due to his prior arrests, obtaining a visa took a little longer than expected. Montel would finally make his debut in February under the name MVP, as WWE only had the right to Montel Vontavious Porter. After a 2 year stay, MVP left Japan to get closer to home and “recharge his batteries”. In January of 2014, MVP would sign a deal with TNA wrestling, the promotion which he is still actively wrestling for today.
After leaving the WWE in 2010, Jimmy Wang Yang continued to wrestle frequently independently, but what people don't know is that Yang always had an entrepreneurial mind. Yang is always investing in new business ideas. His most recent was a party bus, which travels around Cincinnati. Business for Yang has been great, and the bus gets plenty of attention wherever it goes. The bus can be used for tailgating, sports events, concerts, bachelor parties or themed parties. Bookings for the party bus with Jimmy can be done online.
After his release in 2005, Spike Dudley was extremely devastated that his career with the WWE had come to an end. Spike worked several years in the independent circuit and spent some time operating a wrestling school, as well. Spike’s life would later change completely after he met his wife. She encouraged him to finally get out of the business and look elsewhere. This inspired Spike towards his new career path- a financial planner. Spike is proud of his new job and is proud to be helping people start a new life.
Melina Perez was released by the WWE in August of 2011. After her release, like most wrestlers do, Melina hit the independent circuit and began travelling internationally. During an episode of Jim Ross’ podcast The Ross Report, Melina discussed that she was headed back to school at the age of 36; quite admirable for Perez. Melina is still involved with wrestling and continues to make appearances. She was seen signing autographs in March at WrestleCon in San Jose, California.
Yet another tough enough winner gone from the WWE. After his release in 2005, Maven hit the independent circuit for 2 years. Unfortunately in 2012, Maven found himself in trouble with the law, as the former tough enough winner was receiving oxycodone and hydrocodone. Maven was released and faced up to 5 years in prison. Maven later joined the WWE’s former talent rehabilitation program. In 2013, Maven was working as a bouncer in New York City at 1015 Midtown. Just recently, Maven signed a deal to join “Extreme Cage Fighting” as a commentator.
Another wrestler that hit the independent circuit following his release, Carlito Cool changed his in ring name to Carly Colon. After wrestling for various promotions, Colon finally returned to Puerto Rico to wrestle for WWC (World Wrestling Council), a promotion that he has been wrestling for till this day. Carly Colon’s latest achievement was capturing the “WWC Universal Championship”, defeating Mighty Ursus and Ray Gonzalez.
A very bitter ending to otherwise a great career, Alberto Del Rio was released by the WWE after he struck a fan for making inappropriate comments about his nationality. Not shocking though, that Del Rio was able to find work quickly. Del Rio spent some time wrestling for AAA, Japanese Wrestle-1, Ring of Honor and today, the new promotion “Lucha Underground”. Del Rio signed a deal on January 17th, and he would later debut for the promotion during a taping in Los Angeles the same day. Del Rio is also still making appearances for ROH and AAA. As you can see, Del Rio is still keeping very busy in the wrestling industry.
On April 22, 2010, Shelton Benjamin was unfortunately part of a long list of wrestlers that were released, a list which included Jimmy Wang Yang, Funaki, Mickie James, Slam Master J and Katie Lea Burchill. Following his dismissal, like Del Rio, Benjamin quickly found work on the independent circuit. Later in 2010, Benjamin would reunite with his former tag team partner Charlie Haas, and the two would join “Ring of Honor”. After a successful run in ROH, Benjamin would join MVP wrestling for “New Japan”. At the age of 39, Benjamin is still putting on some fantastic matches outside of the WWE. In a recent interview, Benjamin did not rule out a return to the big company one day.
Many were surprised to hear about John Morrison’s release. John admitted he needed some time off to regroup and perhaps pursue other things. Shortly after, Morrison would return to wrestling and work the independent scene. Morrison worked under his real name John Hennigan. After spending a couple of years working independently, John would sign a contract in September of 2014, with “Lucha Underground”. John would once again change his name, this time to Johnny Mundo. John is still working with Lucha Underground today. Additionally, he is still looking to pursue acting. After his WWE career, Hennigan spent some time making appearances in various films and TV Shows.