Being a professional athlete is a dream that many aspire to, but very few consider the aftereffects of such a lifestyle. Pro athletes work their bodies to the bone and sacrifice the primes of their lives for the sake of entertaining and competing at the highest level. But when it’s time to call it a career, most are left with one burning question: what comes next?
For these 10 former WWE superstars, life beyond the squared circle is definitely nothing like the glitz and glamour of their primes. Whether you’re a wrestling super fan or can’t bear the sight of it, you’ll be shocked to see who left the sport behind in their retirement, and who just couldn’t fully let it go…
1. Ric Flair: Hailed as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, Ric Flair and his “Nature Boy” persona remain as iconic now as they were back in the early 1970s. Over his 40-year career, Flair held 16 world championships, though some sources credit him with 25.
At age 69, Richard Fliehr is actively involved in the wrestling world, having most recently managed his daughter, Ashley, a.k.a. Charlotte Flair. The Hall of Famer also recently tied the knot for the fifth time, wedding his former WCW valet Wendy Barlow in 2018.
2. Mick Foley: Over the course of his illustrious career, Mick Foley wrestled under three unique monikers: Dude Love, Mankind, and Cactus Jack. The “Three Faces of Foley” served to put Foley on the map, but his talent in the ring cemented the four-time world champion’s legacy as a WWE legend.
Foley continues to make regular appearances for WWE, though most of his time is dedicated to promoting wrestling as a whole and campaigning for increased representation in the sport. He’s also a best-selling author, having penned 11 works including several children’s books.
3. Lita: Often cited as one of the first WWE divas to be incredibly skilled in the ring, Lita is perhaps best known for her feuds with WWE Hall-of-Famer Trish Stratus. as well as high-profile pairings with the likes of Matt Hardy, Edge, and even Kane.
Amy Dumas stills maintains an active presence within WWE, serving as a trainer, producer, and commentator for the company since her retirement in 2006. The 2014 Hall of Famer and four-time women’s champion wrestled as recently as 2018!
4. The Undertaker: Known as “The Phenom,” “The Deadman,” and even “Big Evil,” The Undertaker is arguably one of the most well-known wrestlers of all time. Over his 25-year career, the 17-time champion established a legacy that no mortal man could replicate.
Though he popped up in a number of matches in 2018, Mark Calaway now spends most of his time as a real estate investor — a far cry from tossing opponents into open graves. He is also married to former WWE diva Michelle McCool, with whom he has one son.
5. Hulk Hogan: Since 1983, “Hulkamania” has been running wild over the wrestling world. The 12-time world champion has been the poster boy for the sport for almost four decades, and beyond the ring, he’s established himself as an entrepreneur.
Following a 2015 scandal, WWE cut ties with Hogan, though in 2018, he began making appearances again after issuing numerous apologies. Now reinstated to the WWE Hall of Fame, Terry Bollea is expected to reclaim his place among wrestling’s royalty.
6. Shawn Michaels: Most wrestling pundits include four-time world champion Shawn Michaels in the G.O.A.T. conversation. His 18-year career saw him wrestle some of the sport’s greatest matches, earning him a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.
Today, “The Heartbreak Kid” is one of the primary trainers at the WWE Performance Center, molding the next generation of professional wrestlers. He also hosts his own outdoor television show, Shawn Michaels’ MacMillan River Adventures.
7. Jacqueline: After a brief WCW stint, Jacqueline Moore made a name for herself in the WWF as a manger and then a mainstay of the women’s division. Moore won the women’s championship twice during her career and even once held the men’s cruiserweight title.
Moore left the company in 2004, though she’s been honored by WWE over the years for her role in furthering the women’s revolution in wrestling. She was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2016.
8. Batista: Getting hit with a “Batista Bomb” was a fate many succumbed to between 2002 and 2014, so it’s no wonder the 6-time world champion holds the record for longest World Heavyweight title reign at 282 days.
Outside of the wrestling world, “The Animal” Dave Bautista has taken to acting full time, starring in The Man with the Iron Fists, Riddick, and the James Bond film Spectre, among many others. His most notable role to date is that of Drax the Destroyer in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.
9. Stacy Keibler: An early-2000’s sex symbol in the world of sports entertainment, Stacy Keibler was pushed as one of WWE’s premiere divas for her striking looks and risqué performances. Her long legs also earned her the nickname “The Legs of WWE.”
Following a 2006 appearance on Dancing With the Stars, Keibler parted ways with WWE to pursue a career in both acting and modeling. She wed Future Ads CEO Jared Pobre in 2014 and gave birth to the couple’s second child in 2018.
10. Big Show: Originally billed as “The Giant” during his tenure with WCW, Big Show has been a staple of WWE programming for over two decades. Known for his enormous size and strength, “Show” has seven world-title reigns to his credit along with an impressive 11 tag-team belts.
Big Show – whose real name is Paul Wight Jr. – is still listed on WWE’s SmackDown roster, though age and injury have limited him to sporadic appearances. Outside the ring Wight has established himself as a solid actor, having earned his first lead role in 2010’s Knucklehead.
11. The Rock: As the most electrifying man in all of sports entertainment, The Rock put jabronis to shame with a string of 10 world championship wins from 1998 to 2013. Though initially despised by fans, The Rock is now arguably one of the most beloved wrestlers of all time.
These days, Dwayne Johnson is known as a Hollywood A-lister, starring in one blockbuster film after the next. But while Johnson has made a name for himself both in the ring and on the big screen, his life behind the scenes tells a completely different story about the man we know and love as The Rock.