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.
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.
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Scotty was released by WWE in 2007 when it became clear that his dance and his gimmick were slightly outdated, he then tried his luck on the Independent circuit for a few years before he realised that he need to maintain a full-time job.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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