Unless your name is Ric Flair, you likely can’t be a wrestler all the way into your old age. Instead of shifting into other wrestling roles or opening a gym, these seven grapplers reinvented themselves in retirement just like we’re sure Daniel Bryan will.
In what is sure to be the biggest wrestling event of 2016, Daniel “The Internet’s Favorite Wrestler” Bryan was forced to retire due to the cumulative effect of concussions he had collected over his 17-year career (which we’ve been covering regularly over the last three-and-a-half years on the Cheap Popcast podcast). He did so with an emotional 20-minute promo on Monday Night Raw in his hometown of Seattle, which you can watch below. Get your hankies ready:
But what’s next for the American Dragon? While many WWE stars have gone on to utilizing their physical skills as backstage roles as producers and trainers or parlaying their gift of gab into podcasting and Q&A tours, a few former WWE stars have bucked the trend of opening gyms and opened their horizons to reinvent themselves outside of the squared circle. While time will still tell what’s next for DB, the leader of the Yes Movement might want to drop an email to one of these wrestlers who found a new passion.
7 – Scotty Too Hotty Is Saving Lives As A Firefighter And EMT
If you looked at the entire Attitude Era locker room, it’s very unlikely that you’d suspect Scott Taylor to be the one most likely to save your life. Surely The Rock could bust down a door of a house during a domestic dispute, or maybe Ken Shamrock would rappel from a helicopter to save folks from the roof of a burning building, but the goofier guy in the white-guy comedic rap tag team? While we didn’t know it at the time, Scotty “Too Hotty” Taylor would take the same agility that allowed him to chain The Worm dance move into a diving chop and use it to deftly navigate burning buildings.
With a family to provide for and the need to fit more time in with loved ones, Scotty took himself off the road after a momentous career and started firefighter training. Not long after his new education, he also gained certification as an EMT, making him as well rounded in the firehouse as he is in the ring. Even while racking up saved lives, Mr. Too Hotty still fits in time for the occasional wrestling cameo which included beating Heath Slater in 2012, a match for Japan’s NOAH league, and fighting on the first WWE Network Live event in 2014. Now that’s worth dancing about.
6 – Kevin Nash Incorporated Wrestling Injuries Into A Stripper Movie
Kevin Nash got his start in wrestling thanks to stripping, so it’s funny that it’d come back to help him post-retirement. After working as a bouncer at an Atlanta strip club, he became a pro wrestler, quickly climbing the ranks at WWF to become the champ as Diesel, then to WCW where he formed the New World Order while making huge amounts of money. As his career wound down, the handsome giant looked to acting which brought him back to stripping via Steven Soderbergh and Channing Tatum of all people in the Magic Mike films.
The first Magic Mike is an interesting character piece following the lives of a crew of dancers who strip with passion, and Nash plays an old lion of a man named Tarzan. Soderbergh took a real liking to Nash on the independent film production, telling Kevin to keep on his knee brace, making his injuries part of his flawed character. Magic Mike was a huge success, leading to an even more successful sequel where Tarzan evolves into the perpetually stoned elder of the group who offers up words of wisdom while working on his paintings. Both films let Nash show nuance and vulnerability the wrestling ring isn’t known for, and it got him a brand new rabid following that likely never heard of him during his wrasslin’ career. The journey of Big Daddy Cool’s life is definitely Too Sweet! (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.) – Henry
5 – Chuck Palumbo Hosts A Car Version of Hoarders
Chuck Palumbo wore many hats as a wrestler, and rarely did they fit his style. He started out as a cocky upstart during WCW’s dying days, which would have worked if that wasn’t the default gimmick for half of the roster during that era. Once brought over to WWE he was a cocky interloper (like the rest of WCW’s “invaders”), and was then put into weird tag teams that didn’t match his personality. His most notable run was as part of the faux-gay tag team “Billy and Chuck,” which ended in a controversial wedding segment, so his personification of an Italian stereotype as part of the FBI (Full Blooded Italians) went under the radar.
Only during his brief final run did we get a look at the real Chuck Palumbo, a biker who just wants to crack skulls. Fortunately, his new gig manages to mesh his toughness and love of vehicles as he co-hosts the show “Rusted Development.” The Hoarders/Storage Wars/American Hot Rod hybrid has Palumbo and pals scouring overloaded collections of clunkers to find the diamonds in the rough that can be restored to automotive beauty, all the while looking like Weird Al Yankovic’s buff older brother. We’d love for him to bust out a “You Look So Good To Me” when he finds a particularly hot ride.
Superheroes and monster truck drivers await you on the next page!