Pro Wrestlers Then and Now
Wrestling has delighted audiences for years. Pro Wrestlers then and now is such an interesting comparison…
With new wrestlers coming on the scene all the time to tell new stories, it shows no signs of ending after fifty years of popularity. Even with these new wrestlers, classic wrestlers have remained popular. When a wrestler leaves the sport, their lives can take them in different directions, including some surprises! Click “Start Slideshow” to read about what your favorite wrestlers are up to today.
Pro Wrestlers Then and Now
Hulk Hogan Then
Hulk Hogan surged to popularity in the ‘80s and very few have reached his heights. With his torn tank tops and boot to the face moves, it’s no wonder why Hulkmania captured the wrestling world. With his bombastic wrestling style and patriotic personality, Hulk Hogan became a popular figure in and out of the wrestling ring, selling action figures and video games. Hulk Hogan would take this style with him when he retired from wrestling.
Hulk Hogan Now
Hulk Hogan has used this personality to create success after wrestling. He has been inducted, removed, and re-inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He still does events for the WWE regularly and came back to wrestling as late as 2003. He has also made a name for himself outside of wrestling with a reality show, Hogan Knows Best. He shows no signs of slowing down with an upcoming biopic in the works.
Sting started wrestling in the ‘80s and made a huge name for himself with his colorful face paint. His signature move, the death drop, made it possible for him to win multiple matches. Sting was known for his rivalries that made his career exciting to follow, these rivalries did not distract from his abilities with 25 championships. Sting ensured that his career would be exciting to watch after wrestling too.
Sting signed a contract with WWE in 2014 after resisting for the majority of his career, though an injury in 2016 forced him into retirement. That same year he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Today he spends a lot of time going to conventions and meeting fans. He also talks about his Christian faith. He also debuted on AEW in 2020 showing that even in his 60’s he is not done yet.
Bret Hart Then
Bret Hart came from a family of wrestlers, so it is no wonder how he managed to captivate wrestling fans as a WCW and WWE wrestler. He had a very technical style that made him exciting to watch in the ring. His feud with Vince McMahon carried for years and also contributed to his popularity. Though his relationship with WWE was affected after the Montreal Screwjob incident, he still maintains a presence in the wrestling community.
Bret Hart Now
Bret Hart continues to interact with fans through interviews, convention tours, and frequent Make-a-Wish fulfilments. Despite his negative history with WWE and Vince Mahon, he continues to be a big supporter of wrestling. Though he may be well-known for his physical skills, he has also written poetry and wrote an autobiography called My Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling. He also has tried his hand at acting, with roles in Natural Born Killers and a stage production of Aladdin.
Trish Stratus Then
Though typically a male-dominated sport, Trish Stratus emerged on the scene in the early 2000s and has remained popular ever since. Moving from sex-based stories the more she acted in the ring, she became one of the top Divas in the WWE. She became known for her Chick Kick and Stratusfaction moves that quickly became her staples. After winning her 7th WWE Women’s Championship, she retired and took her Diva personality to other entertainment venues.
Trish Stratus Now
Trish Stratus continues to be active. She has appeared on reality TV shows, including Armed & Famous and The Second City’s Next Comedy Legend. She runs her gyms, including a yoga studio. She is involved in the Special Olympics and The Ronald McDonald House among other charities. Shortly after her retirement, she married her high school sweetheart and they now have two kids together. She has also appeared in more WWE video games than any other woman wrestler.
Shawn Michaels Then
Shawn Michaels, or “The Heartbreak Kid,” was a popular face on Wrestlemania and Raw. Starting as a villain, he quickly became a fan favorite by winning people over with his charisma and signature Arm trap crossface move. While wrestling in was in several feuds, including one with Hulk Hogan. He was a leader in wrestling as a founder of D-Generation X. His charm and good-looks would help his career outside of the ring.
Shawn Michaels Now
Shawn Michaels is semi-retired from wrestling and still makes appearances in the ring, mostly for legacy matches. His most recent appearance was in 2018. He is now a producer for WWE. He has also acted, appearing in Baywatch and The Resurrection of Gavin Stone. His book, co-written by David Thomas, is called Wrestling For My Life: The Legend, the Reality, and the Faith of a WWE Superstar. He is a born-again Christian and does appearances with former wrestler Sting.
Rey Mysterio Then
Rey Mysterio brought the Lucha Libra style to wrestling where he incorporates many aerial moves. Even though he is smaller than the average wrestler, standing at 5 foot 6, that didn’t stop him from becoming one of the most popular and lucrative acts in WWE Raw history. He is considered to be one of the greatest cruiserweight wrestlers in history. His drive to be the best would help his career outside the ring.
Rey Mysterio Now
Rey Mysterio is still fighting with RAW today, recently feuding with Seth Rollins. He also fights in the Smackdown Brand. Besides doing some acting, he also performed on the song “Booyaka 619” with Mad One using his WWE entrance song. He has been the focus of documentaries and wrote a book about his life called Rey Mysterio: Behind the Mask. He has recently suffered an injury but shows no signs of slowing down soon.
The Rock Then
The Rock emerged on the wrestling scene in the ‘90s as a former football player. He immediately became massively popular. His former football career helped him find success in the Attitude Era where trash talking was popular. His charm and his float-over signature move made him an instant superstar in wrestling. After he retired from wrestling in 2004, The Rock was able to translate his ring successes to other areas.
The Rock Now
Today The Rock is known for his acting career. Currently the highest-paid actor, he has starred in the new Jumanji movies, The Fast and Furious movies, and voiced a character in Disney’s Moana. All of his movies are massive hits, grossing over $10 Billion worldwide. He still works with professional wrestling and is involved in many charities. The Rock is a prime example of how far wrestling can take you and is an inspiration to many wrestlers and non-wrestlers alike.
Sable entered the wrestling ring in 1996 and became an instant success. Her promiscuous persona led to a lot of stories that were fun and exciting to follow. She had feuds with Luna Vachon and Jacqueline. She became the second WWF champion within her first three years as a professional wrestler once the title was reinstated to WWF. Unfortunately, her career would have to take a turn quickly.
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Sable’s career abruptly ended when she left the WWF and filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the company. Just as unexpectedly she returned for a brief few years in 2003. Outside of wrestling, she has modeled for Playboy three times and has acted. Among her acting credits are Pacific Blue and Corky Romano. She is married and has three kids. She shows that you don’t need to have a long career to make a lasting impression.
Lex Luger Then
This three-time world champion entered the ring in the’90s. He won the most popular wrestler of the year in 1993 and went on to compete among many of the other greats of the time, including Bret Hart. He is only the second person to win the WCW Triple Crown. His huge frame and physique helped make him popular in his early days. This would help him once he retired from wrestling.
Lex Leger Now
Lex Luger suffered from an accident in 2008 that stopped his wrestling career for good. He needed the assistance of a walker to walk but now he can walk and drive. He still works with the WWE on their wellness policy, helping current wrestlers with nutrition and exercise. He also travels around the country as a motivational speaker and talks openly about substance abuse. He is also a born-again Christian.
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Virgil came on the scene in the mid-90s and called himself a “wrestling superstar.” He wrestled for eight years in the WWF. He also wrestled in the WCW. He has gone by different names, including Vincent, Shane, and Curly-Bill. He wrestled as an undercard wrestler for much of his career while still leaving a lasting impression. His persistence in the ring has helped his career gain new life after wrestling.
Vigil’s career has taken on a new life after retiring from wrestling. His convention appearances have led to the creation of the “Lonely Virgil” meme. This meme was even the focus of a documentary about Virgil. He has also appeared in movies and makes frequent appearances on the game Vault online auction. He still makes appearances on wrestling shows and still fights in the ring. He recently signed a deal to be Boss Dawson’s bodyguard.
The Undertaker Then
The Undertaker earned his nickname through his intimidating size. Standing at 6 foot 10, very few people could compete with him. Especially when combined with his horror-based persona. His back body drop signature move was enough to frighten any opponent. He was undefeated with a streak of 21 wins at Wrestlemania. His persona led to a lot of specialty matches throughout his career. Could this persona give him a career outside of the ring?
The Undertaker Now
Today The Undertaker is still involved in professional wrestling. He has made appearances with WWE and RAW. This passion for professional fighting also extends to enjoying boxing and MMA. He also makes appearances on The Jimmy Kimmel Talk Show as The Undertaker and has appeared in movies related to wrestling, including Surfs Up 2: Wavemania.
Stacy Keibler Then
As a former cheerleader, Stacy Keibler entered the wrestling scene in 1999. By 2000 she was working as a Nitro Girl for WCW. She quickly developed her trademark entrance, putting her legs through the second tier of ropes and pausing briefly to let the audience see her underwear. She appeared in several storylines as a fan favorite. Her long legs helped her stand apart from her competitors and helped her career after wrestling.
Stacy Keibler Now
Shortly after retiring, Stacy Keibler went on Dancing With the Stars and placed third. She transitioned into acting where she appeared on several sitcoms such as How I Met Your Mother and George Lopez. She also continues to model, having appeared in Maxim and Stuff magazines. She continues to work with professional wrestling, with her latest appearance occurring in 2019 to induct Torrie Wilson in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Tito Santana Then
Tito Santana started his professional wrestling career in 1979 that spanned to 1993. Though he was baby-faced for his entire career, that didn’t stop him from winning the WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship twice. He won several championships throughout his career, making him a favorite to watch. He was critical in bridging that gap to the new generation of wrestling. His stature in the wrestling world would help him achieve success afterward.
Tito Santana Now
Tito Santana continues to make appearances and work with professional wrestling. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004. He still works on the independent wrestling circuit. He is also a Spanish teacher and basketball coach in New Jersey. Here continues to lead the way for young minds and future leaders of America in new ways. His autobiography, Tito Santana’s Tales From the Ring was released in 2008.
Kevin Nash Then
Kevin Nash entered the wrestling ring in 1990 where he remained a popular wrestling staple in the WWE. He became the first wrestler to defeat Goldberg and his undefeated streak of 173 wins. He based his early appearances on the classic book The Wizard of Oz, later he would adopt the persona of a tough biker. His ability to adapt to new situations would help him after he retired from wrestling.
Kevin Nash Now
Kevin Nash was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015. His most recent professional wrestling appearance was for RAW in 2019. He is also a musician and poet. In 2014, he was arrested for battery charges against his son though the charges were later dropped. He is an advocate for athletes, saying that he will donate his brain to concussion research after his death and supporting gay wrestlers in the industry.
Scott Hall Then
Scott Hall, also known as Razor Ramon in the WWE, started his professional career in 1984. His WWF character was based on Tony Montana from the movie Scarface and was depicted as a Cuban American bully, even quoting the movie while fighting. He achieved international success winning four WWF intercontinental championships, showing that bullies can win. Though this act would prove to be a big problem in his post-wrestling career.
Scott Hall Now
Since retiring from wrestling, Scott Hall has faced some charges and arrests, from second-degree murder to disorderly conduct. He has also faced drug problems, these problems even making storylines while wrestling. He has been sober for ten years. His health problems also include needing hip replacement surgery and dental care, funds to treat them were raised by his fellow wrestlers. In 2019 it was revealed he would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame under his real name.
Tori Poch Then
In 1988, Tori Poch made her professional wrestling debut as Terri Power. She began her WWE storyline as an obsessed fan before entering the ring herself. In her stories, she dated fellow wrestler Kane and assisted other wrestlers during their fights. While at WWE she wrestled under the name Tori. She portrayed surprised characters, keeping fans interested in when she would appear next. Her next career move would also help people succeed in their goals.
Tori Poch Now
Shortly after retiring from wrestling, Tori Poch opened a yoga studio in Portland, Oregon where she also works as a yogini. She operates a YouTube channel so even fans who live outside of Portland can learn from her. When she left the WWE in 2001, she alleged that Scott Levy was verbally abusive to her, though no charges were filed. She has not made any guest appearances with WWE since her retirement.
Ric Flair Then
Ric Flair is considered the greatest professional wrestler of all time with a career spanning four decades. He is recognized as winning over 16 championships throughout his career and is the first person to have won the WCW Triple Crown. Throughout his career, he took on many personas, including co-owner of the WWE and a general rule-breaker. His sense of style and big personality ensured that when he retired from professional wrestling in 2012, he wouldn’t be forgotten.
Ric Flair Now
Ric Flair was the first person to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008. He has taken his career outside of wrestling with tv appearances in Baywatch, Stuff You Should Know, and The Cleveland Show. In the movie Magic Mike, he made his big-screen debut. He has even made appearances with The Insane Clown Posse, showing how beloved he remains to a wide audience. In 2004, his autobiography, To Be The Man was released.
Ted DiBiase Then
Also known as “The Million Dollar Man,” Ted DiBiase made his professional debut in 1974 and had a career lasting nearly twenty years. He wrestled as a millionaire who wore a gold-studded suit covered in dollar-signs. He even had a “Million Dollar Championship” belt that he awarded himself. He won other championships and became a fan favorite with his showy stage-persona. This persona would both mirror and change when he retired in 1993.
Ted Dibiase Now
Ted DiBiase wears many hats outside of the wrestling ring. As both an ordained minister and a color commentator, he can do it all. As a minister, he founded the Heart of David Ministry in 1999 and travels across the country preaching to others. He has featured in three documentaries and wrote two books, one an autobiography and the other a Christian testimony. His three sons are also professional wrestlers.
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat Then
Ricky Steamboat made his professional wrestling debut in 1976. He adapted the nickname The Dragon in 1985 and the name stuck. As this persona, he wore Japanese-inspired wrestling clothes, partly inspired by his mother who is Japanese American. He won many championships under this name and became a crowd favorite with his dragon-inspired look. He retired one in the ‘90s but came in 2005 before settling into the next stage of his career.
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat Now
In 2009, Ricky Steamboat was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. His most recent wrestling appearance was in 2019 to celebrate the birthday of Ric Flair. He has made 14 video game appearances for wrestling-based games. He also works as an Ambassador to the talent agency Triple H and as an NXT trainer, taking inspiration from his interest in bodybuilding during his wrestling days. His son and brother are also professional wrestlers.
Sunny is considered to be the first Diva and woman professional wrestler. She debuted in 1993 with great success playing villainous characters. She even gained a following outside of wrestling, becoming the most downloaded woman according to AOL. She played up her sex appeal during her matches and continued to play villains throughout her WWE and independent wrestling career. Her willingness to play villains would, unfortunately, play into her life after wrestling.
Sunny was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011, showing how important her legacy has been to the sport. Besides wrestling professionally, she also managed other wrestlers. In 2012 she was arrested five times over four weeks and went to jail for 114 days. This was the first of many times she would serve a jail sentence. Her autobiography called A Star Shattered: The Rise & Fall & Rise of Wrestling Diva Tammy “Sunny” Sytch details her experiences with drinking and recovery.