Over the years hundreds of wrestlers have come and gone through the ranks of the WWE. Some of these superstars will always be remembered and even achieved Hall of Fame status. Other wrestlers have not been so fortunate, and most of them are likely to be forgotten by wrestling fans unless they are reminded of them in one way or another.
Only the top tier wrestlers seem to be able to stick around for a really long time and influence wrestling fans of all generations. While some superstars might be happy with a short run in the big leagues of wrestling, they may easily be forgotten by some fans. Many wrestlers continue to compete in independent promotions across the country long after they are let go by the WWE. Some of them go in entirely different directions like acting or getting involved in more traditional business ventures. Take a look at where 15 forgotten WWE wrestlers are at today and what they have accomplished over the years.
15 Santino Marella
Santino Marella was perhaps better known for his antics than his actual wrestling skills. He had a short-ish career which only lasted from 2003 to 2014. Marella made his WWE debut by winning the Intercontinental Championship, and would win that title twice. He also held the WWE United States Championship and the WWE Tag Team Championship with Vladimir Kozlov. As an actor Santino appeared in the 2014 film Jingle All the Way 2. His career was cut short after three neck injuries and Santino was forced to retire in 2014. Since then he has been training Venezuelan athletes for the Pan-American Games and co-owns the Battle Arts Academy in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
Believe it not, Zeus was actually an actor who turned pro wrestler to feud with Hulk Hogan in order to mirror the pair’s movie No Holds Barred. Even though Zeus was a monster heel, he only had a few matches in the WWF in 1989. The man, whose real name is Tom “Tiny” Lister, also had a brief run in WCW as Ze Gangsta when he also feuded with Hogan in 1996. As an actor Lister has starred in several movies and has almost 200 acting credits to his name as of 2016 including Beverly Hills Cop II, Universal Soldier, The Meteor Man, Don Juan DeMarco, Immortal Combat, Friday, The Fifth Element, The Dark Knight, and Zootopia (voice).
Maven took advantage of the WWF’s reality TV series Tough Enough and was a co-winner of the show with Nidia. Maven’s biggest wrestling accomplishments included winning the WWF Hardcore Championship three times and eliminating The Undertaker in his first year at the Royal Rumble 2002. He wrestled on the independent circuit before retiring in 2007 (he returned in 2015). Maven was featured in the VH1 reality television series The Surreal Life and appeared on HSN Today and starred in the movie Bridge and Tunnel. Maven entered the WWE’s former talent rehabilitation program in 2012 for a pain killer addiction. In 2013 he worked as a bouncer in New York City.
12 Ezekiel Jackson
Big Zeke was a very formidable foe for a short time in the WWE. He became a part of the new ECW and held that promotion’s final championship. Jackson also held the WWE Intercontinental Championship. He briefly wrestled in TNA in 2014 and joined Lucha Underground as Big Ryck although he was not brought back for the promotion’s second season. In late 2015 Big Ryck debuted in a German wrestling promotion. Jackson is originally from Guyana, South Africa and made his debut in 2007 in Florida Championship Wrestling where he was trained by the likes of Steve Keirn, Tom Prichard, and Homicide.
11 Ted DiBiase Jr.
There have been plenty of second and third generation stars in professional wrestling. Some of them have thrived, and others have had a tough time living up to the hype they have had based on their last names. The son of the “Million Dollar Man”, Ted DiBiase, had some success in the WWE and was a two time WWE Tag Team Champion with Cody Rhodes. DiBiase also starred in the direct-to-DVD movie The Marine 2. He retired from wrestling in 2013 and has started the Ted DiBiase Foundation. After leaving the WWE DiBiase took a position with the college textbook website CollegeGarageSale.com.
Dennis Knight wrestled under several names including Tex Slazenger in the WCW, and Phineas I. Godwinn, Mideon, and Naked Mideon in the WWF. Knight teamed up with Mark Canterbury in WCW where he was known as Shanghai Pierce. The two later teamed up in the WWF as The Godwinns and won the WWF World Tag Team Championship twice. Knight also won the WWF European Championship and was part of The Ministry of Darkness under The Undertaker. He retired from wrestling in 2006 and now owns his catering company Dennis Knight Catering. Mideon has also been working on writing a screenplay about The Undertaker.
9 Steve Blackman
Steve Blackman (pictured on the left) was a part of the WWF Attitude Era and was a six time WWF Hardcore Champion. In addition to professional wrestling, Blackman has also been involved with martial arts. In 2003 he started the BlackmanMMA school which taught wrestling and jujitsu. He also teamed up with fellow wrestler Ken Shamrock to promote a clothing line and opened Steve Blackman’s Fighting Systems to teach MMA. Blackman even started up his own fighting league, the Pennsylvania Fighting Championship. He has also worked as a bail bondsman in central Pennsylvania where he lives.
8 The Godfather
Some people are wondering what The Godfather actually did to deserve being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Charles Wright also wrestled under several other names including Kama (Mustafa), Papa Shango, and The Godfather. As Papa Shango he had a notorious feud with the Ultimate Warrior and as The Godfather he held the WWF Intercontinental Championship. Wright also held the World Tag Team Championship with Bull Buchanan as the Good Father. After retiring from wrestling he moved to Las Vegas and became a manager of Cheetah’s strip club.
7 Val Venis
Val Venis was a popular wrester in the WWF/WWE with an over the top porn star turned wrestler gimmick. Venis was a two time WWF Intercontinental Champion, a WWF European Champion, and a World Tag Team Champion with Lance Storm. He left the WWE for the independent circuit in 2009 and is now an advocate for the legalization of cannabis. Venis owns a marijuana dispensary in Mesa, Arizona and uses the online pseudonym Kaptain Kannabis. He has also held the CMLL World Heavyweight Championship in the Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre in Mexico.
Before winning the third (all female) season of NXT, diva Kaitlyn was a body fitness model who won the National Physique Committee John Sherman Classic Bodybuilding Figure and Fitness Championship. She was teamed up with A.J. Lee in the WWE and quickly won the WWE Divas Championship. After only being signed with the WWE for a few years Kaitlyn terminated her contract. She has worked as a contributor for Hardbodynews.com and started a fitness clothing company called Celestial Bodiez with her husband, bodybuilder PJ Braun, in 2014. Kaitlyn has also been a spokesperson for Blackstone Labs and Prime Nutrition and opened a smoothie bar in Boca Raton, Florida with her husband.
Virgil is perhaps best remembering for being the “personal assistant” to the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase in the WWF. Virgil started wrestling himself and captured DiBiase’s Million Dollar Championship. Virgil jumped ship to the WCW and was originally the head of security for the nWo under the name Vincent (reportedly a shot at Vince McMahon). In 2000 Virgil retired from wrestling and was a high school math teacher. He did make a brief appearance in the WWE in 2010 as the bodyguard of Ted DiBiase Jr. Virgil has been active on the wrestling convention and autograph scene and is featured in the documentary The Legend of Virgil & His Traveling Merchandise Table.
Steve Keirn was a journeyman wrestler who made his professional debut in 1971 and officially retired in 2001. During that time he held the NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship five times and the NWA Florida Tag Team Championship 12 times. Keirn wrestled in the WWF under the name Skinner with an alligator hunting gimmick. He also was one of several wrestlers to play the role of Doink the Clown. Keirn ran the Professional Wrestling School of Hard Knocks in Florida before it became a part of the WWE, first with Florida Championship Wrestling and now with NXT and the WWE Performance Center where he is an official trainer.
3 Saba Simba
Saba Simba was one of the most racially insensitive characters in the history of the WWF. Before portraying that character, Tony Atlas was a WWF Tag Team Champion with Rocky Johnson (the father of The Rock Dwayne Johnson). In 2006 Atlas was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and he had a role in the new ECW as well. In 2014 he was one of the cast members for the WWE Network reality TV series Legends’ House. Tony Atlas is also a member of the World Bodybuilding Guild Hall of Fame Class of 2007 and has been known as “Mr. USA”.
Chyna was a huge name in the WWF, but years later she seems to have been forgotten. Chyna was one of the first mainstream women’s wrestlers to compete against men and won the WWF Women’s Championship once and the WWF Intercontinental Championship twice. She was known for being associated with the stable D-Generation X and left the WWF in 2001. She would later make a brief appearance in TNA wrestling in 2011. Chyna has starred in six pornographic films and has also appeared in more mainstream films including White T in 2013. Since 2012 she has been living in Japan teaching English.
Kamala was another controversial racial gimmick as he was billed as being a wild savage in the WWF. Kamala made his pro wrestling debut in 1974 and retired in 2011. He never managed to capture a championship in the WWF, but feuded with the likes of Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker and Jake “The Snake” Roberts. After leaving the WWF, Kamala drove a truck for two years and would later wrestle for WCW and on the independent circuit. He authored his autobiography Kamala Speaks which was funded on Kickstarter and released the album The Best of Kamala Vol 1. Kamala has had both of his legs amputated below the knees and now sells handmade wooden chairs and depends on disability.