Hall of Fame Wrestlers, Then and Now
What happens to wrestlers when kayfabe ends and reality begins?
For some, wrestling is the start of mainstream superstardom. Others enjoy giving back as mentors to young wrestlers or through personal passion projects. Ex-wrestlers sometimes use their fortunes earned in the business to explore post-career opportunities. Between acting, philanthropy, writing or reality television, the WWE has given former wrestlers a platform to flex their passions, as well as their muscles.
Here's a look at where the top WWE Hall of Famers are today.
31. Then — Jerry "The King" Lawler
Born: Nov. 29, 1949
31. Then — Jerry "The King" Lawler Bottom Line
Jerry Lawler was the king in Memphis. As the head booker of the Continental Wrestling Association, he was one of the revolutionary creative minds in the wrestling business.
He and Andy Kaufman orchestrated a legendary storyline between the two shortly after Kaufman began wrestling women.
After making the move to WWE, Lawler had notable feuds with Doink the Clown and Bret Hart.
31. Now — Jerry "The King" Lawler
Post-wrestling career: Pre-show host, color commentator
31. Now — Jerry "The King" Lawler Bottom Line
Lawler may have left the ring, but he didn’t go far. He became the color commentator on "Monday Night Raw" almost immediately after stepping away from the ring.
He’s been the point person for in-ring interviews and, despite some health concerns over that time, has been a remarkably consistent week-to-week presence for WWE in a variety of capacities.
30. Then — Dory Funk Jr.
Born: Feb. 3, 1941
30. Then — Dory Funk Jr. Bottom Line
Dory Funk and his brother Terry are two of the originators of modern wrestling. Together, they have held tag team championships all over the globe for various promotions.
Dory shined in the ring in his heyday, winning Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Match of the Year in both 1973 and 1974.
He also is the longest-reigning NWA World Heavyweight Champion of all time, holding that title for over four years.
30. Now — Dorrance Earnest Funk
Post-wrestling career: Wrestling coach
30. Now — Dorrance Earnest Funk Bottom Line
Unlike his brother Terry, Dory Funk had his sights on something besides inflicting his body with tremendous amounts of pain on a nightly basis.
He operates the Funkin' Dojo, a school for young athletes looking to break into wrestling.
His notable students have included Kurt Angle, Lita, Matt Hardy and Edge.
29. Then — Terry Funk
Born: June 30, 1944
29. Then — Terry Funk Bottom Line
A beast of a workhorse, Terry Funk is the man who will never die.
He’s worked with seemingly every promotion under the sun. His prime years were spent in the NWA, where he was the world heavyweight champion in 1975. In the 1980s, he split his time between Japan and WWE or WCW.
He also was a premier figure in ECW, bringing an added level of legitimacy to the upstart promotion run by Paul Heyman.
29. Now — Terry Funk
Post-wrestling career: N/A
29. Now — Terry Funk Bottom Line
Funk doesn’t have a post-wrestling career, mostly because it seems his intent is to die in the ring.
He’s retired more times than anyone would care to count, but he always seems to end up back in the ring.
Age has slowed down his schedule at the very least, but the same passion is still there. It’s something to admire.
28. Then — Hulk Hogan/Hollywood Hogan
Born: Aug. 11, 1953
28. Then — Hulk Hogan/Hollywood Hogan Bottom Line
Maybe the biggest star in the history of the wrestling business, Hulk Hogan was catapulted into superstardom in the 1980s.
He ran through every bad guy on the WWE roster until there were none left. When "Hulkamania" began to fizzle out, he left to try his hand at a movie career.
He returned with WCW shortly thereafter and quickly turned into the biggest heel in the industry, joining forces with the NWO.
28. Now — Terry Bollea
Post-wrestling career: Actor, reality TV, WWE appearances
28. Now — Terry Bollea Bottom Line
It’s almost impossible to separate Hulk Hogan from wrestling. It’s been his whole like for the last 40 years, but he did at least attempt to go mainstream.
A few critically panned movies in the 1990s sent him back to the ring. His most successful venture has been his reality TV show that follows his family around — "Hogan Knows Best."
He also was part of some controversy and sued Gawker Media after Deadspin published portions of a personal tape of Hogan (aka Terry Bollea) with Heather Clem, the then-wife of radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge. Bollea won $31 million in a settlement.
27. Then — "Nature Boy" Ric Flair
Born: Feb. 25, 1949
27. Then — Ric "Nature Boy" Flair Bottom Line
There is none greater than the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair.
Flair’s charisma and confidence oozed off the microphone when he spoke. He captivated audiences nationwide with his ability to talk trash and flaunt his lavish lifestyle.
He followed that up with some all-time great matches. Legendary feuds with Dusty Rhodes got Flair on the map, and he stayed at or near the top of the mountain for the majority of his career.
27. Now — Richard Morgan Fliehr
Post-wrestling career: Pop culture icon
27. Now — Richard Morgan Fliehr Bottom Line
Ric Flair cannot sit still. Since his retirement from the ring, he’s enjoyed a pop culture renaissance of sorts. Flair is a typical topic thrown out in rap songs.
He also gives motivational speeches to professional sports teams, and he’s still involved in WWE, mentoring his daughter, who wrestles under the name Charlotte, which is also Flair’s adopted hometown.
26. Then — "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase
Born: Jan. 18, 1954
26. Then — "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase Bottom Line
After decent success internationally the first decade or so of his career, Ted DiBiase finally found his calling card.
When the "Million Dollar Man" vignettes debuted in 1987, it completely reintroduced DiBiase to the wrestling world. His skits with paying fans to do embarrassing things and paying wrestlers to forfeit matches were revolutionary heel work.
He carried it over to a successful run with the NWO.
26. Now — Ted DiBiase
Post-wrestling career: Minister, sporadic appearances, author
26. Now — Ted DiBiase Bottom Line
Ted DiBiase completely turned his life around in the late 1990s after finding religion.
Now an ordained minister, DiBiase and his Heart of David Ministry travel the world ministering to churches.
He’s also penned two books. One of them, "Every Man Has His Price," is part-autobiography and part-Christian testimony.
25. Then — Greg "The Hammer" Valentine
Born: Sept. 20, 1951
25. Then — Greg "The Hammer" Valentine Bottom Line
Trained by wrestling legend Stu Hart, Greg Valentine got his start in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling and teamed primarily with Ric Flair.
In WWE, Valentine built his reputation as a brutalizer with a devastating figure-four leg lock as his finisher. The high point of Valentine’s run came when he defended the Intercontinental Title at the first Wrestlemania.
Through the next few years, he constantly reinvented himself, typically more involved with the tag team scene, teaming with the likes of The Honky Tonk Man and Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake.
25. Now — Jonathan Anthony Wisniski
Post-wrestling career: Reality TV, WWE ambassador
25. Now — Jonathan Anthony Wisniski Bottom Line
Since being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004, Greg Valentine has had a few appearances on reality TV with appearances on "Hogan Knows Best" and Fuse's "Insane Clown Posse Theater."
He attempted to get a comedy series off the ground that centered around two wrestlers who purchase a fishing camp.
24. Then — Bob Slaughter/Sgt. Slaughter
Born: Aug. 27, 1948
24. Then — Bob Slaughter/Sgt. Slaughter Bottom Line
Sgt. Slaughter came to the WWE as a heel after standing out in the AWA, but turned face as the defender of America against the Iron Sheik.
After going back to the AWA, he returned in 1990 and was instrumental to the Hulk Hogan-Iron Sheik storyline,
Slaughter turning on the United States was a shocking heel turn, building the suspense for an eventual showdown between Slaughter and Hogan.
24. Now — Robert Rudolph Remus
Post-wrestling career: Voiceover work, sporadic appearances
24. Now — Robert Rudolph Remus Bottom Line
Sgt. Slaughter’s final true match in the WWE came in 1994.
While he continued to wrestle on the independent scene until 2006, he had several stints returning to WWE, including as the on-air commissioner.
Slaughter has done voiceover work in mostly wrestling-themed cartoons and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.
23. Then — Jesse “The Body” Ventura
Born: July 15, 1951
23. Then — Jesse "The Body" Ventura Bottom Line
Jesse Ventura quickly earned the nickname of "The Body" for his bulky, bodybuilder-esque physique.
He broke into the business in the Pacific Northwest, feuding with Jimmy Snuka, and later shined in the AWA, closer to his hometown of Minneapolis.
Ventura and Adrian Adonis won tag team championships both there and in the WWF, where Ventura later feuded with Hulk Hogan.
23. Now — Jesse Ventura
Post-wrestling career: Governor of Minnesota (1999-2003), actor
23. Now — Jesse Ventura Bottom Line
Maybe the first professional wrestler with supreme mainstream success, Jesse Ventura parlayed his charisma into a mainstream film career and a successful political run.
Roles in "Predator" and "The Running Man" gained him real celebrity status, and his governorship solidified his status as a transcendent figure in the wrestling profession that made him famous first.
22. Then — "Cowboy" Bob Orton
Born: Nov. 10, 1950
22. Then — "Cowboy" Bob Orton Bottom Line
"Cowboy" Bob Orton started off his main run as the bodyguard of Roddy Piper in 1984 and was in Piper’s corner at the first Wrestlemania.
Orton broke away as a singles competitor for a heated feud with Jimmy Snuka. Orton, with Don Muraco in his corner, later turned on Piper to launch a brutal feud.
Orton and Muraco stayed together as a competitive tag team until 1987. After their feud, Orton was let go from the company and spent some time in WCW, NJPW and mostly on the independent circuit before his in-ring career ended.
22. Now — Bob Orton Jr.
Post-wrestling career: Independent wrestling, sporadic appearances
22. Now — Bob Orton Jr. Bottom Line
Orton resurfaced for mainstream wrestling fans in 2005 as an inductee to the Hall of Fame.
He also entered into the storyline of his son Randy Orton’s feud against the Undertaker.
After several months of feuding, Taker came out on top, and Orton was released.
21. Then — "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff
Born: Oct. 29, 1949
21. Then — "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff Bottom Line
Dubbed "Mr. Wonderful" by "Rowdy" Roddy Piper upon his entry into the WWE, Paul Orndorff enjoyed nearly a decade-long run during the wrestling boom of the 1980s.
His feud with Hulk Hogan in 1985-86 put him on the map as a classic narcissistic heel. However, an arm injury in 1988 derailed his run with the company. After finally recovering well enough to come back, Orndorff signed with WCW and won the television championship, in addition to a tag team championship run with Paul Roma under the name "Pretty Wonderful."
The arm injury ultimately forced him to retire in 2001.
21. Now — Paul Orndorff
Post-wrestling career: WWE appearances
21. Now — Paul Orndorff Bottom Line
Paul Orndorff has made a number of appearances at anniversary shows, Hall of Fame inductions and other major events in the last 20 years.
Never losing his itch to get back into the ring, Orndorff returned to action in May 2017 for the Canadian Wrestling’s Elite promotion, where he won a six-man tag match.
20. Then — The Iron Sheik
Born: March 15, 1942
20. Then — The Iron Sheik Bottom Line
The anti-American Iron Sheik was born in the late 1970s NWA, when he touched on topical political conflicts in Iran to draw the ire of fans nationwide.
He dethroned the All-American Bob Backlund in 1983, ending his nearly six-year title run. Later, Hulk Hogan took down the great villain, which is largely credited as the jumping-off point of "Hulkamania."
After his feud with Hogan, Sheik bounced around different promotions, with a couple returns to WWE sprinkled in until 2010.
20. Now — Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri
Post-wrestling career: Actor
20. Now — Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri Bottom Line
Sheik appeared in the movie "The Tale of the 3 Mohammads" in 2005 and starred alongside Daniel Baldwin in "Operation Belvis Bash" in 2011.
His pet project since leaving wrestling was really his documentary, "The Sheik," which debuted in 2014.
19. Then — Pat Patterson
Born: Aug. 24, 1944
19. Then — Pat Patterson Bottom Line
Pat Patterson has a laundry list of accomplishments in wrestling, including continuing in the long line of proud Canadian wrestlers.
His No. 1 claim to fame from his in-ring days, though, is undoubtedly his winning the inaugural edition of the Intercontinental Championship. A title that has come to be highly regarded as the "worker’s title" is perhaps even more prestigious than the world title in some respects.
Patterson’s initial reign sent the title on a path to legendary status.
19. Now — Pat Patterson
Post-wrestling career: Backstage role
19. Now — Pat Patterson Bottom Line
Never straying too far from the ring, Pat Patterson transitioned quickly into a prominent backstage role with WWE.
Alongside Bruce Prichard, Patterson was one of the key figures in booking the product from the 1980s through the early 2000s.
Many wrestlers credit Patterson for his guidance and wisdom backstage, where he still maintains a mentorship role among the talent.
18. Then — Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat
Born: Feb. 28, 1953
18. Then — Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat Bottom Line
A technical genius in the ring, Ricky Steamboat built his reputation for his flashy work on the mat and quickly earned respect from the fans who saw him perform.
Remarkably, he stayed a babyface performer for essentially his entire career, working against heel Ric Flair for some classic matches in the 1980s and ‘90s.
He returned to the ring after a 15-year break in 2009, taking on Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania.
18. Now — Richard Blood
Post-wrestling career: WWE Ambassador
18. Now — Richard Blood Bottom Line
Since his induction to the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009, Ricky Steamboat has been used in a couple of storylines on Raw, being attacked by younger talent.
After some legitimate health concerns, he became a trainer for NXT at the performance facility until he left in 2013.
He is still considered an ambassador for the company, appearing at conventions and being used for special appearances.
17. Then — "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan
Born: Jan. 14, 1954
17. Then — "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan Bottom Line
Duggan broke into the wrestling business after knee injuries put a stop to his NFL career before it could get started.
He spent the majority of his career in the WWE as a patriotic babyface, often carrying the American flag to the ring and squaring off against more international wrestlers.
With his trademark "Hoooooo!" he remained a fan favorite for most of the rest of his career in WCW and some sporadic appearances in WWE.
17. Now — James Duggan
Post-wrestling career: Reality TV
17. Now — James Duggan Bottom Line
Bottom line: Jim Duggan appeared in a few different TV shows while he was still wrestling, most notably among them being "Harry and the Hendersons."
Since his retirement, he was on WWE’s reality show "Legends House," featuring former WWE legends living together.
He’s also appeared on "Duck Dynasty."
16. Then — "Bullet" Bob Armstrong
Born: Oct. 3, 1939
16. Then — "Bullet" Bob Armstrong Bottom Line
"Bullet" Bob Armstrong emerged as a popular babyface in the Southern states in the 1960s and quit his full-time job as a firefighter in 1970 to dive head first into the life of a professional wrestler.
After a horrific weightlifting accident cost him his nose and required massive plastic surgery, Armstrong donned a mask while recovering, wrestling under the name of "The Bullet."
His scars eventually healed, but Armstrong kept using the nickname for the remainder of his career.
16. Now — Joseph Melton James
Post-wrestling career: Occasional matches
16. Now — Joseph Melton James Bottom Line
Inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011, Bob Armstrong has not lost his love for the profession.
Between 2010 and 2015, he wrestled in several independent wrestling promotions throughout the state of Georgia, and even wrestled a match prior to his 80th birthday in 2019, fighting in Alabama’s Continental Championship Wrestling.
15. Then — Bob Backlund
Born: Aug. 14, 1949
15. Then — Bob Backlund Bottom Line
Bob Backlund carried the WWE from the era of Bruno Sammartino to the berth of "Hulkamania," a run that featured the second-longest title run ever for a WWE champion.
His six-year title run ended at the hands of the Iron Sheik, who then dropped the title to Hulk Hogan, kicking off the WWF’s first great boom.
Backlund took a hiatus and returned as a heel in the 1990s with a new look and a mean streak. His in-ring work with any major promotions closed out around the end of the decade.
15. Now — Bob Backlund
Post-wrestling career: Author, politician
15. Now — Bob Backlund Bottom Line
Still a fitness nut, Bob Backlund has stayed in tremendous shape and has returned to wrestling several times since his full-time run ended, both as an in-ring performer and a manager for younger talent.
In 2015, he published his autobiography, which featured interviews with other legends Ric Flair, Roddy Piper and Vince McMahon.
14. Then — Jake "The Snake" Roberts
Born: May 30, 1955
14. Then — Jake "The Snake" Roberts Bottom Line
Carrying around a sack filled with his venomous partner in crime, a king cobra named Damien, Jake "The Snake" Roberts was one of the most menacing faces in professional wrestling of the 1980s and '90s.
With a dark and subtle menace to his speaking cadence, he brought a new element to the otherwise goofy, character-driven WWE.
He is also known for having a keen eye in the business of wrestling.
14. Now — Aurelian Jake Smith Jr.
Post-wrestling career: Actor, rehabilitation
14. Now — Aurelian Jake Smith Jr. Bottom Line
Mostly just known now as "Jake," he fell on some hard times with drugs, alcohol and his overall physical health.
His friend Diamond Dallas Page, who credits Jake with guidance throughout his own career, made it his mission to bring Jake back to health.
Through their efforts, Jake has become an advocate of Page’s DDP Yoga program.
13. Then — Diamond Dallas Page/DDP/Diamond Stud
Born: April 5, 1956
13. Then — Diamond Dallas Page/DDP/Diamond Stud Bottom Line
Bottom line: After getting a late start to taking in-ring bumps, DDP shot to the top of WCW, electrifying the crowd with his intensity and signature move: The Diamond Cutter.
A feud with Randy "Macho Man" Savage gave him the push he needed to make a name for himself while battling against the NWO.
He had a brief stint in WWE and a couple of different companies before phasing out his in-ring career in 2009.
13. Now — Paige Joseph Falkinburg (still goes by DDP)
Post-wrestling career: Fitness guru, author, motivational speaker
13. Now — Paige Joseph Falkinburg (still goes by DDP) Bottom Line
Shortly after his retirement, Diamond Dallas Page revealed that he had developed a workout program to facilitate muscle growth while alleviating aches and pains.
DDP Yoga has since grown into a multi-million dollar business and is credited with extending other wrestlers' careers, most notably Chris Jericho.
DDP is back in wrestling in a backstage and sometimes on-screen role in All Elite Wrestling.
12. Then — Goldberg
Born: Dec. 27, 1966
Career: 1996-2004, 2016-17
12. Then — Goldberg Bottom Line
An absolute wrecking ball of a man, the former NFL defensive lineman brought a previously unseen level of explosiveness and power into the ring.
Never the technical wizard, Goldberg ran over everyone in his path in WCW, winning the world heavyweight championship over Hulk Hogan.
He flamed out as WCW closed, but for a brief run, Goldberg was the hottest thing in the industry.
12. Now — Bill Goldberg
Post-wrestling career: Actor, MMA commentator
12. Now — Bill Goldberg Bottom Line
Bottom line: Since exiting the ring, Goldberg has popped up on a number of TV shows and in movies. Most notably, he was featured in the 2005 remake of "The Longest Yard."
He’s also had a few appearances as a color commentator for a number of MMA promotions prior to his most recent return to WWE in a year-long feud with Brock Lesnar.
11. Then — The Honky Tonk Man
Born: Jan. 25, 1953
11. Then — The Honky Tonk Man Bottom Line
It may seem a bit silly and on the nose, but the Tennessee native fully immersed himself in the character of the Honky Tonk Man.
Enjoying a long career as one of the most despised heels in the business, The Honky Tonk Man holds the record for longest intercontinental title reign, holding the belt for 64 weeks before a Summerslam loss to the Ultimate Warrior.
11. Now — Wayne Ferris
Post-wrestling career: Ambassador, retirement
11. Now — Wayne Ferris Bottom Line
The prime careers of Ferris in the ring ended in the mid-90s, but his natural heelish personality kept him a relevant figure in the industry.
He’s spent the bulk of the last 20 years making sporadic appearances on anniversary shows for WWE, even participating in a brief run in the late 2000s.
He’s wrestled on some special independent shows as recently as 2016.
10. Then — Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake/Dizzy Hogan/Ed Boulder/The Disciple
Born: April 21, 1957
10. Then — Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake/Dizzy Hogan/Ed Boulder/The Disciple Bottom Line
Brutus "The Barger" Beefcake has a bit of a reputation in professional wrestling circles as being a Hulk Hogan sycophant. This isn’t totally without merit, as Hogan frequently wanted to include Brutus in storylines, and the two often tag teamed together.
That truth notwithstanding, Beefcake was one of the characters instrumental to the character-driven era of 1980s WWE.
His most notable achievement is being the first person to pin Mr. Perfect on pay-per-view.
10. Now — Edward Leslie
Post-wrestling career: Reality TV
10. Now — Edward Leslie Bottom Line
Edward Leslie doesn’t have much of a developed skill set outside of wrestling.
Since he retired nearly two decades ago, he’s made appearances at a number of independent wrestling promotions. He was also on "Celebrity Boxing," losing to a competitive eater.
He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2019.
9. Then — Shawn Michaels/HBK
Born: July 22, 1965
9. Then — Shawn Michaels/HBK Bottom Line
With the word "headliner" written all over him, Shawn Michaels was the standout from The Rockers tag team in the 1980s-90s.
Once he went solo, Michaels pretty much stayed at the top of the ladder, racking up five-star matches and several intercontinental and world championship runs.
Back problems, a bad attitude and some substance abuse issues looked like they had forced him to an early retirement until a reformed Michaels returned to the ring for the greatest second act in wrestling history.
9. Now — Michael Shawn Hickenbottom
Post-wrestling career: Family life, NXT Trainer
9. Now — Michael Shawn Hickenbottom Bottom Line
Away from the ring, Shawn Michaels mostly is a stay-at-home dad, tending to and working on his ranch near San Antonio.
He and his hunting buddy Keith Mark host an outdoor TV show called "Shawn Michaels' MacMillan River Adventures."
Once Triple H took over the reins at NXT, he brought his old mentor back in as a trainer, and he’s been spending the past couple of years mentoring more future stars.
8. Then — Trish Stratus
Born: Dec. 18, 1975
8. Then — Trish Stratus Bottom Line
Trish Stratus broke into WWE as the arm candy for Test and Albert’s tag team, better known as T & A.
Crass insinuations aside, Stratus was a prominent on-screen character before diving into the in-ring work, which she took to naturally.
She was able to shake off the reputation of the women of WWE not being able to go at it in the ring with some legendary matches against Lita and Mickie James.
8. Now — Patricia Anne Stratigeas
Post-wrestling career: Fitness guru, yoga studio, actor
8. Now — Patricia Anne Stratigeas Bottom Line
After retiring from a full-time in-ring career in 2007, Trish Stratus went on to film CBS’s "Armed & Famous," a reality show where celebrities become police officers.
She has also hosted some travel shows and comedy competitions. She came back to the WWE in 2011 as a trainer on their reality show, "Tough Enough."
Stratus owns and operates an eco-friendly yoga studio in Toronto.
7. Then — Lita
Born: April 14, 1975
7. Then — Lita Bottom Line
After breaking in as the manager of Ese Rios, Lita quickly aligned herself with the Hardy Boyz and earned tons of indie wrestling cred with moonsaults and table bumps.
The second half of her career could not have been more different, aligning with Edge and holding the crown of most despised woman in the industry for having cheated on Matt Hardy.
It’s a shame a neck injury while performing a stunt for a TV show ended her career before the women’s wrestling revolution took hold.
7. Now — Amy Dumas
Post-wrestling career: Singer, author, actor, radio host
7. Now — Amy Dumas Bottom Line
Amy Dumas has appeared on several TV shows, including "Dark Angel" and "Headbangers Ball."
She still hangs around the wrestling industry, coming back briefly for a match with Trish Stratus in 2018.
Her side projects include singing in her band The Luchagors and running her animal-focused charity, Amy Dumas Operation Rescue and Education (A.D.O.R.E.).
6. Then — Mankind/Cactus Jack/Dude Love/Mick Foley
Born: June 7, 1965
6. Then — Mankind/Cactus Jack/Dude Love/Mick Foley Bottom Line
Mick Foley was a breathtaking performer, and his calling card was to put himself in unreasonable harm and walk away unscathed.
He carved out a reputation for being a madman, taking bumps off the bare floor in WCW and ECW as Cactus Jack.
He flourished in three character roles in WWE, and enjoyed an emotional championship victory on "Monday Night Raw" as Mankind.
He had as many must-see moments as any performer of the last 50 years.
6. Now — Mick Foley
Post-wrestling career: Author
6. Now — Mick Foley Bottom Line
Mick Foley’s wit and sharp promo skills translated very well to the written word.
Starting during his career, he penned four different memoirs and two fictional novels, three of which ended up on The New York Times Bestseller list.
The bumps he took while wrestling have been more apparent recently in his gait and speed of movement, and his subsequent surgeries have been chronicled throughout wrestling media.
5. Then — Bret "Hitman" Hart
Born: July 2, 1957
5. Then — Bret "Hitman" Hart Bottom Line
One of the greatest in-ring performers to ever grace the ring, Bret "Hitman" Hart was groomed to be a professional wrestler.
Maybe the most talented son of legendary trainer Stu Hart, Bret Hart carried his talent to the top of the industry in the late 1980s and into the 1990s.
A main-event draw for years in WWE, he endured a controversial exit from the company at the infamous Montreal Screwjob.
He went to WCW, where a misfired kick from Goldberg ended his career in the middle of a lackluster run with his new organization.
5. Now — Bret Hart
Post-wrestling career: Personal appearances, WWE involvement
5. Now — Bret Hart Bottom Line
Since his in-ring career was cut short, Bret Hart has stuck around the industry, making personal appearances at autograph signings until he reconciled with Vince McMahon in the mid-2000s.
Hart accepted his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame and has made a few brief appearances for storylines.
In a surprise appearance, he kicked off recently formed All Elite Wrestling’s inaugural pay-per-view event to unveil its new championship.
4. Then — Edge/Sexton Hardcastle
Born: Oct. 30, 1973
4. Then — Edge/Sexton Hardcastle Bottom Line
A star from the start, Edge broke into the WWE as a member of the Brood, a vampire-like faction and quickly broke into tag team stardom alongside fellow Brood member Christian.
Together, those two formed one of the most prolific tag teams in WWE history. Following their split, Edge went on to dub himself the "Rated R Superstar" and had several title runs before a neck injury ended his career far too soon.
4. Now — Edge/Adam Copeland
Post-wrestling career: Actor, podcast host
4. Now — Edge/Adam Copeland Bottom Line
Since exiting the ring, Edge has dipped his toe into the acting waters. After a few cameo roles on TV and in lesser-known movies, Edge scored a starring role on "Haven," which lasted five seasons and 42 episodes.
He’s also been featured on History Channel’s Vikings. He’s stuck to his wrestling roots, reforming his tag team with Christian for a successful podcast.
In January, he returned to the wrestling ring for the Royal Rumble.
3. Then — Diesel/Oz/Vinnie Vegas/Kevin Nash
Born: July 9, 1959
3. Then — Diesel/Oz/Vinnie Vegas/Kevin Nash Bottom Line
Nash went through some ridiculous gimmicks in his early days in WCW, but once he jumped to WWE, Vince McMahon saw pure money in him.
Breaking in as the bodyguard for Shawn Michaels, Nash enjoyed a lengthy title run as Diesel before jumping back to WCW with Scott Hall to launch the NWO.
He had another run in the main event scene of WWE after WCW ultimately folded.
3. Now — Kevin Nash
Post-wrestling career: Actor
3. Now — Kevin Nash Bottom Line
Kevin Nash has little need for a post-wrestling career outside of staving off boredom. The residuals he collects from NWO merchandise and video games is still substantial.
Nash has popped up in a few notable movies and TV shows. He also has been an outspoken advocate of brain and concussion research, as well as social justice issues.
2. Then — Booker T/King Booker/G.I. Bro
Born: March 1, 1965
2. Then — Booker T/King Booker/G.I. Bro Bottom Line
Booker T was one of the few true homegrown products of WCW, and his athleticism made him a captivating figure in the ring.
He debuted as one half of the tag team Harlem Heat and developed into a top draw for WCE, winning five world championships.
He flourished in WWE, as well, with a memorable run as King Booker.
2. Now — Booker T. Huffman
Post-wrestling career: On-screen GM, color commentator, mayoral candidate
2. Now — Booker T. Huffman Bottom Line
Booker T has worn a number of hats since his in-ring retirement, but he has mostly hung around WWE in one form or another.
He played an on-screen Smackdown general manager and has done color commentary.
Nowadays he is one of the hosts on "WWE Backstage" and is a panelist on their pre-shows before major events.
1. Then — Deacon Batista/Batista
Born: Jan. 18, 1969
Career: 1999-2010, 2013-14, 2018-19
1. Then — Deacon Batista/Batista Bottom Line
Breaking into the WWE mainstream as "Deacon Batista" alongside Reverend D-Von following an ill-fated split of the Dudley Boyz, Batista turned heads with his power and explosiveness.
He was scooped up by Triple H for the faction Evolution, which catapulted his career into a big mainstream singles run, despite his late start in the wrestling industry.
1. Now — Dave Bautista
Post-wrestling career: Actor
1. Now — Dave Bautista Bottom Line
Following his somewhat bitter exit from WWE, Dave Bautista was thrust into the mainstream, landing a prime role in Marvel’s "Guardians of the Galaxy" as Drax.
A sequel later, and Bautista is now one of the biggest action stars in the world.
He’s made a couple of reappearances in WWE, but his induction into the Hall of Fame likely means his in-ring days are over.
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