Back in the day, wrestling for us was so different. It was a time when trump cards were all the rage with Bret Hart as rank one, steel plates were steel chairs when fighting with siblings, the middle finger was a gesture that we found cool because of Stone Cold Steve Austin, the only Sumo wrestler we knew by name was Yokozuna, RAW was WAR and even WWE was WWF.
It wasn’t just about the better story lines, god alone knows why they have zero creativity now, but it always takes us back to a simpler time. Watching those old videos will give you a whiff of nostalgia that’ll only make you miss your childhood.
Times changed, we grew up and so did those wrestlers. As it is in life, we moved on. But what of the men who once put their bodies on the line for us? What do they look like now? What are they up to these days?
Well, to answer that, here’s a list of some of our favourite childhood wrestlers and where they ended up:
1. Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart
Paul Heyman’s statement on him justifies his legacy the best – “A body of work so spectacular that it is beyond comprehension how brilliant a career he enjoyed.” He was a favourite among kids. Remember when he’d walk out and hand over his glasses to a lucky lad sitting in the front row? We still do. Sigh.
After winning numerous titles, Bret finally retired in 2000. In February of 2016, he announced that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The surgery was successful but he is yet to confirm if he is risk-free.
2. Hulk Hogan
There was a time when wrestling meant Hulk Hogan. We can never forget him tearing up that red & yellow Hulkamania t-shirt, asking us to take our vitamins & say our prayers.
After enjoying a huge career, he made sporadic appearances in the WWE. But recently he made a statement using the N-word which forced the WWE to sever all ties with the icon.
3. Stone Cold Steve Austin
By far the greatest superstar the wrestling world has ever seen. An anti-hero who made middle fingers and beers cooler than ever before. He could talk, he could walk and he could ‘stun’ the world with his in-ring abilities. Austin 3:16 surpassed the popularity of 99% of the WWE Hall of Fame.
After retirement, he started the Broken Skull Ranch which is a reality TV show where there are physical challenges for competitors to overcome. He also hosts podcasts after episodes of Raw on Monday nights. That too has garnered a large audience. He is signed to the WWE under the legends contract.
4. Kurt Angle
Aah, the Olympic Hero! Who can forget the ‘You Suck!’ chants to the tune of his entrance music. Loved by some, hated by some, you just couldn’t deny that this guy had some amazing technical ability. Oh it’s true, it’s damn true!.
Angle has been arrested for driving under the influence many times. He even entered rehab. Kurt acted in a few movies while wrestling in TNA simultaneously. His contract ended earlier this year and there are rumours that he may re-join WWE! The Olympic gold medalist may be coming home, again!
5. Diesel aka Kevin Nash
Big Daddy Cool! At 6’10”, he was one of the most dominant forces in his time. He shuffled between the WCW and WWE. He established the New World Order (nWo) in WCW with Hogan & Scott Hall and brought it to the WWE when he came back. His Jacknife Powerbomb was one of the most devastating finishers in the game.
After retirement, he made small appearances on TV shows and movies. He was to be cast as Sabretooth in X-Men but the deal fell through. Right now, the hall of famer is also signed to the WWE under the legends contract and makes sporadic appearances in the squared circle. Even at 56, he looks fitter than many on the current roster.
6. Razor Ramon aka Scott Hall
Kevin Nash’s inseparable buddy. Hall was famous for carrying a toothpick in his mouth and also immortalized the phrase- “Hey, yo!” Along with Nash, he was also a founding member of the nWo & was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014.
Life after wrestling hasn’t been easy for him. He’s had several legal charges brought up against him and alcohol related health issues as well. But, Hall always bounces back. Like he says, “Hard work pays off. Dreams come true. Bad times don’t last, but bad guys do.” He is not into DDP yoga and his kids are doing well in life as well. Razor Ramon says he’s living a happy life now.
You hear that name and you either ask ‘who’s next?’ or you start chanting his name to the tune of his marching entrance song. He wasn’t very gifted technically but then why would you need to be if you could spear someone’s ribs in half or drop them dead with a jackhammer. He stood amidst the fireworks and came out breathing fire.
After incredibly successful stints at both the WCW and WWE, Bill Goldberg became a commentator for few MMA shows and later started hosting ‘Garage Mahal’ on the DIY network in the USA. He appeared on Raw recently and is set to take on Brock Lesnar at a pay-per-view event! That will be epic!
8. Lex Luger
Pure power and muscles. That’s what you think of when you see this guy. He did not win any titles in WWE but he was always in contention. He did hold the world title in the WCW though. And his backbreaking finishing move, the torture rack, gained a lot of popularity as well.
He faced a few legal issues and was even arrested on counts of possession of some banned substances. But right now life seems to be back on track for him as he is working with WWE on their wellness policy. He’s 58 years old! Yes, it has been that long.
9. ‘Road Dogg’ Jesse James and ‘Bad Ass’ Billy Gunn – The New Age Outlaws
These two were part of D-Generation X and held the tag team titles on several occasions. They will forever be remembered for their theatrical entrances and their antics against the establishment. Along with DX, they became one of the most popular tag teams in history.
Billy Gunn was let go from the WWE in 2015 and is currently twrestling in the Independent Circuit. Yes, the man is still fighting! How Bad Ass is that? Whereas our beloved Road Dogg is now a producer with the WWE itself. They managed a comeback in 2014 and even won the tag team title.
10. Hawk & Animal- Legion Of Doom/Road Warriors
They made face paint popular, had amazing physiques and dominating power. Again, one of the best tag teams in history. Who can forget Animal screaming, ‘What a rush’? Or those shoulder spikes they wore? They were extremely popular with the fans and very intimidating in the squared circle.
In 2003, Michael “Hawk” Hegstrand sadly passed away. Joseph Laurinaitis aka Animal released a book The Road Warriors: Danger, Death, and the Rush of Wrestling. His last appearance was on the 1,000th episode of RAW where he beat Heath Slater. He is also the brother of John Laurinitis, the infamous ex-Vice President of Talent Relations.
11. Matt & Jeff- The Hardy Boyz
When you talk of tag teams, you can’t leave the Hardy Boyz behind. The real life brothers took the WWE by storm. Their high flying wrestling style and risk-taking leaps enthralled audiences all around the world. Every fan loved these two. You can’t forget their Tables, Ladders and Chairs matches against other teams of the attitude era.
Jeff Hardy joined TNA wrestling in 2003 only to come back to the WWE in 2010 and then going back to TNA again! Matt Hardy is also currently wrestling in TNA. Both the brothers have held world championships there.
12. Papa Shango/Kama Mustafa/Godfather/Goodfather
Yes, he has performed under all those ring names. Charles Wright was however most famous for being the mystic Papa Shango and the “hoe” train riding Godfather.
He made a few appearances in the WWE after retirement and was inducted into the Hall of Fame earlier this year under his gimmick of the Godfather. Post wrestling, he manages a strip club in Las Vegas.
13. Val Venis
Another man famous for being slick with the ladies was Val Venis. He was never a world champion but did hold other titles like the Intercontinental Championship & the European Championship. He gained fame for walking to ring in a towel and flirting with numerous divas in the roster.
He left the WWE in 2009 and made apperances in the Independent Circuit and TNA. Under the name of Kaptain Kannabis, he is an advocate for legalizing cannabis. He also runs his own medicinal marijuana business, a ‘Health for Life’ marijuana dispensary called the Purple Haze Lounge.
14. Mankind/Mick Foley/Dude Love/Cactus Jack
The man who made the hardcore division famous. Remember Mankind falling off the top of a cage? Or how about falling on those thumbtacks? He put his body on the line, day in and day out. He did win several titles as well, including the World Heavyweight Title.
He is a multi-time New York Times best selling author for regular memoirs and is also known for writing children’s books. Foley is currently the General Manager of Pro Wrestling Syndicate. He is also actively involved in charitable work, especially for children.
Well, his inclusion in this list is BUTT obvious. The Samoan heavyweight was famous for delivering stink faces in the ring to his opponents. He could also groove to some tunes when he was in the group ‘Too Cool’ which consisted of Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty. Remember The Worm, people!
Rikishi was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015. He has made few appearances post-retirement as well. His sons, Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso are actively a part of the roster and popular with the WWE head honchos as well.
Well, we can’t leave the two most famous divas behind can we?
The first high-flying diva in history. She won the WWE Women’s Championship 4 times in her career. Her acrobatic style scintillated the crowds and enthralled audiences around the world. She was also popular for having an affair with Edge and before that, with Matt Hardy.
Amy Dumas was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014. She also formed a punk rock band ‘The Luchagors’ and is currently signed to the WWE as a producer.
17. Trish Stratus
Arguably one of the most famous and greatest divas in history. She held the Women’s World Title 7 times. Stratus was considered the complete package because of her fitness, looks and of course a great in-ring presence.
After retiring, she opened a yoga studio called ‘Startusphere’ in Toronto. In 2012, she won the Business Woman of the Year award. She is still best friends with Lita and named her godmother to her son.