WWE Superstars are aware that they have a fairly short shelf life. They train for up to ten years for a chance to be on the main stage and a lot of the time their careers are shorter than the time it took to get there.
There is also the option of cashing in as soon as they are released by WWE and getting as many independent bookings as they can whilst their fans are still interested, but for many superstars their tour of the “indie” circuit is a fairly short one and they have to make a decision on where they are heading next.
It can be hard to go from a job in the public eye to queuing at the Job Centre, but many superstars head back out to normal 9-5 jobs. Much like footballers, there are only a select few who are able to stay in the business and be able to train or promote.
Those who do, often go behind the scenes of WWE and work as creative team members or producers. Some superstars are smart and they save their money wisely so that they have something left after retirement, but some just enjoy their life in the moment and have nothing left when the dream is over.
This list is compiled of the top 20 superstars who left WWE and went in a completely different direction to their former career, former Champions who are no longer living the dream and former dreamers who are no longer living like Champions.
20 Molly Holly
Former WWE Women’s Champion and considered one of the most all around talented Divas on the roster. Molly left the company in 2005 at 27 years old because she felt that she was nearing the end of her shelf life.
Molly went on to marry and then begin a job where she works for charitable organizations and helps support teenagers with substance abuse problems. Molly was said to have turned to the charity when many of her friends began having the same problems. There’s a big difference between fighting a real opponent and an invisible addiction and it seems Molly is doing her part to help.
19 Spike Dudley
The former Cruiserweight Champion had a relatively short career span with WWE but before his run with the company, he was a third grade English Teacher. So at the very least he knew that he was already well educated and had a career to fall back on.
In what was thought to be a cost-cutting measure from WWE, he left the company following ECW One Night Stand in 2005.
Spike did the usual tour of the Independent Circuit after being fired from the WWE, before comfortably settling down to a normal family life and training to become a financial planner. Maybe he could help his fellow superstars after their releases?
18 Scotty 2 Hotty
Perhaps most famous for “The Worm” dance move, Scotty 2 Hotty was most popular in the early 2000s along with Rikishi and Grand Master Sexay.
Scotty was released by WWE in 2007 when it became clear that his dance and his gimmick were slightly outdated, he then tried his luck on the Independent circuit for a few years before he realised that he need to maintain a full-time job.
Scott tried his hand at being a fire fighter, an EMT and a personal trainer before he settled with a job as a real estate agent in Orlando. While he does still occasionally wrestle as well, he's a long ways away from ever doing anything in front of a significant crowd again.
Ivory was one of the most underrated Divas when she was a part of WWE, but the shelf life of a WWE Diva is much shorter than one of a superstar. Once Divas begin to look older, WWE decide it’s time to bring in some new faces.
Ivory left WWE in 2005 following a string of training jobs by the company where she was a part of Tough Enough and the WWE Experience. She then opened up an Animal Day Care centre in 2007 which she has continued since.
To her credit, she can also be seen on my WWE Network shows giving her opinion on various superstars that appear on the show.
Mideon perhaps is best remembered as a member of The Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness, where he was truly thrust into the public eye for a fair few months.
After the group was disbanded, he was once again a spare part when it came to being booked on WWE shows and like so many before him, he was used as a character to help new put new talent over.
Mideon walked away from the business in 2006 after deciding it had run its course, and he can be found nowadays working as a chef in a classy restaurant in Tampa, Florida.
15 Jimmy Wang Yang
Jimmy Wang Yang was a funny addition to the Cruiserweight title scene in the early 2000s but after failing to make a big impact he was released in 2010.
Since then Jimmy has invented “Jimmy’s Redneck Party Bus” where he drive people around like a traditional party bus, but with a redneck twist.
He is also said to be trying to help prevent drunk driving by making the bus a safer option, which is a cause that everyone can get behind. Jimmy also still wrestles on the Independent circuit occasionally, although it has been stated that he doesn’t actually use the bus to get to any of his bookings.
14 Ron Garvin
The“Rugged” Ronnie Garvin as he was best known during his time in the WWF, was only a part of the company for less than two years between 1989-1991. His most notable match came when he faced Greg Valentine in a submission match at the 1990 Royal Rumble.
After a short amount of success on the Independent Circuit, Garvin then studied for his pilot’s licence and is now an accomplished pilot. He also seems to prefer keeping his feet firmly on the ground, since he owns and helps to run several used car dealerships in Gaston County, North Carolina.
13 Tito Santana
Tito Santana is a former Intercontinental Champion and one of the only superstars to have remained as a face character throughout his entire career.
He wrestled for WWE between 1979 and 1993 and is best remembered as the 1989 King of the Ring winner.
He also wrestled at the first nine WrestleMania events, but after he left WWE and pursued life on the independent circuit, he decided to study and he has since become an elementary-level Spanish teacher. He also teaches Physical Education and wrestling, while also working as a basketball coach and wrestling at least a dozen matches per year.
Tugboat is probably best remembered as Typhoon, when he joined up with Earthquake and the duo became known as The Natural Disasters and actually held the WWF Tag Team Championships.
Following his long stint in WWE, and his Shockmaster phase in WCW, Tugboat toured the Independent circuit, where he wrestled all over the world, including Japan, before retiring from the business in 2001.
He now works as a safety manager for Gaffin Industrial Services, which is a company that helps to clean buildings. He also helps to coach the little league team that his two sons are a part of, so at least he knows what things in life are important to him.
The former WWE Women’s and TNA Knockout’s Champion retired from the business in 2013 after a short stint with Ring of Honor.
She has embarked on many business ventures with her husband which include opening up a restaurant in Kentucky, but she decided to sell this in 2007. She then opened a car shop in 2008 which she called “Black Widow Customs”, but the shop was destroyed by a fire in 2010.
Following her departure from the wrestling business, she and her husband opened up a wrestling themed restaurant in Chicago, Illinois where they often hold Pay-per-view party nights. Even though Victoria moved back to California in 2015, she still visits the restaurant regularly.
10 Val Venus
The Former WWE Intercontinental Champion is probably best remembered for his unique gimmick in which he thought he was some kind of God to women.
He had a lengthy tenure with WWE from 1998-2009 before he was released from the company after over a decade. He then made the switch to TNA but spent less than a year working with the company.
He still wrestles occasionally on the independent circuit, but he spends his time working under the name “Kaptain Kannabis” where he is an advocate for the legalisation of Cannabis. Venis also runs his own medical marijuana business which is now “Health for life” in Mesa Arizona.
9 Paul Burchill
Paul Burchill found fame in WWE back in 2005 under a unique pirate gimmick. This had various amounts of success due to the release of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, but you should never base a character around a movie. Burchill only stayed with WWE for five years before he was released from his contract. He then experienced a brief stint in ECW.
Burchill eventually returned to the UK where he continued to wrestle on the independent circuit but also landed a full-time job as a firefighter. A job that he apparently is able to do, alongside making time for wrestling bookings.
8 Trevor Murdoch
The former WWE Tag Team Champion, along with the late Lance Cade, was packaged under a cowboy gimmick that somehow went on for two years.
Following their break up, Murdoch was left to wrestle on the fringes of WWE before he was released all together in 2008 and tried his luck on the independent scene.
After a brief stint in TNA and a short amount of time in Ring Ka King, Murdoch left the business and is currently working as a fibre optic cables installer for a heavy equipment company in Missouri. He still wrestles occasionally.
7 Ted DiBiase Jr.
Following his father’s impact on the world of professional wrestling, his son Ted came through the ranks with WWE and is best remembered for his part in the trio known as Legacy.
Ted, Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes created hell for around two years before the faction came to an end. He then tried his luck as the Million Dollar Champion like his father, but it didn’t seem to fit him as well.
Ted decided to leave the company in 2013 to spend more time with his family and has since been working as an executive at CollegeGarageSale.com, an e-commerce website.
6 Jackie Gayda
The winner of the second season of Tough Enough, Jackie Gayda is famous for being relatively forgettable to the WWE Universe, but still managing to be put into one of WWE’s video games.
Gayda didn’t make a big impact in WWE and left the business after just two years, but she did however meet her husband Charlie Haas whilst she was a part of the company.
Following her release in 2005 she headed over to TNA where she stayed until 2006. Jackie and her husband Charlie then opened up a “Custom Muscle Nutrition and Smoothie Shop” a nutritional store in Frisco, Texas in 2008.
5 Marcus Cor Von
The Alpha Male Marcus Cor Von gained fame while in the WWE as part of their ECW brand when WWE decided to re-run the ECW promotion back in 2006.
Cor Von was a part of many big feuds the following year, but it wasn’t enough to keep him in the company as WWE decided upon his release in 2007. This came after he had asked for a several months away from the company due to unspecified “family issues.”
Marcus retired from wrestling after this and instead began working on a range of athletic clothing entitled “Scripture Clothing.” He also works as a personal trainer in his home state of Michigan.
4 Bart Gunn
Bart found fame in WWE as part of The Smoking Guns where he became a three-time Tag Team Champion before his release in 1996.
Following a brief stint in TNA and various runs in New Japan Pro Wrestling and All Japan Pro Wrestling, Gunn returned to WWE for their 15th Anniversary of Raw for a brief cameo appearance.
He retired from the wrestling business in 2004. Before he found fame in the wrestling industry he worked as an electrician up until 1993, and 15 years later he managed to resume this job, almost like the wrestling career had never happened.
One of the most menacing superstars to ever set foot in a WWE ring, Snitsky was portrayed as a scary, sadistic superstar for his duration in the WWE, which lasted between 2004 and 2008. Snitsky also tried to make an impact on their ECW brand, to no avail.
After a brief time on the independent circuit, Snitsky then joined TNA but only managed to last in the company for a year before his departure.
Since then Snitsky has become a pitchman for Tristar products XL Cooker and has been a part of many of their product pitches on YouTube. He currently has a YouTube channel where he demonstrates how to prepare food using these cookers.
2 Lance Storm
Storm has managed to keep up his popularity on Social media since his departure from WWE in 2005 and is regularly seen live tweeting his thoughts on Raw.
He didn’t make as big an impact as he was hoping during his time with WWE, but has still been able to remain on the independent circuit. He wrote an e-book in 2011 entitled Storm Warning which was a collection of columns from his website.
He currently writes articles for Fighting Spirit Magazine and appears on many wrestling associated podcasts to ensure his name stays relevant within the business.
Best known as The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase’s bodyguard, Virgil’s popularity increased after he turned on his former client, but after this feud became stale, he was released by WWE.
He had a brief return to the company in 2010, but has since become a social media sensation as fans have shared “Lonely Virgil” memes, where they post pictures at Virgil at Conventions where no one shows up.
He worked as a school teacher for a short time, but now travels around selling autographs and merchandise. There was also a documentary made about him in 2015 entitled The Legend of Virgil and his Travelling Merchandise Table.