10 Professional Wrestlers Who Went From Riches to Rags
Breaking into professional wrestling is a tough nut to crack, but even harder is to maintain a stable lifestyle and not give in to the temptations that come with this job. Wrestlers like Steve Austin, The Rock and Trish Stratus have successfully utilized their fame to switch over to other lucrative careers. Sadly, the same can’t be said about countless others who preferred to live in the moment, instead of making smart financial decisions and saving for their retirement.
10. Perry Saturn
Saturn debuted in WWE as a member of the group called The Radicalz, along with Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko. He was released in 2002, and remained active on the independent circuit for two years.
Sadly, his downfall began with an act of heroism on his part. Saturn was shot in the back of his neck while saving a woman from getting raped by two men. He survived but the doctors didn’t clear him to wrestle and Saturn became addicted to methamphetamine. Saturn’s finances crumbled and he was homeless for more than two years. He disappeared from public view and was not seen for several years. He reappeared in 2009, stating that he had gotten over his addiction.
9. Ric Flair
Unfortunately, Flair’s real life persona wasn’t much different than his on screen one. He has gone through four divorces and as a result, has remained in debt for several years. Presently, Flair is working with the WWE in a backstage capacity.
8. Jimmy Snuka
Snuka was the inaugural ECW champion and the first opponent of The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. He was in the corner of Hulk Hogan and Mr. T in the main event of the first Wrestlemania. Snuka was one of the biggest stars during the Rock and Wrestling Era and introduced the high flying style of wrestling to the WWE.
In 2015, Snuka was charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Nancy Argentino, 32 years after the incident. By this time, Snuka’s financial condition had deteriorated. The publicity surrounding Argentino’s death made it hard for Snuka to get much work after his WWE stint. Snuka was deemed unfit for trial after his attorney told reporters that he was suffering from dementia.
At the peak of the Attitude Era, Fans used to flock in on a weekly basis to witness the attraction heavily promoted by the WWE as “the 9th wonder of the world”- Chyna. Her chiselled frame made her stand out among her peers. She was released in 2001, amidst rumours of Triple H’s (her real life boyfriend) affair with Stephanie Mcmahon behind her back. Chyna made her porn debut in a 2004 video named “1 Night in Chyna”, with former D-X associate, Sean Waltman. She had a brief stint with Vivid Video for 3 years.
Chyna’s post-WWE life saw her battling with drug issues, coupled with poor financial decisions. In 2015, Triple H stated on Stone Cold’s podcast that Chyna’s career choice as an adult movie star is a major hurdle in her induction into the WWE Hall of Fame.
On April 21st 2016, Chyna was found dead at her home in California. Reports stated that the cause of death was a drug overdose. She was 45.
6. Buff Bagwell
When Vince Mcmahon, bought WCW in March 2001, Bagwell was among the first to sign a contract with the WWE. Following a contest with Booker T for the WCW Championship on an episode of Raw is War, he was released from his contract. Bagwell spent years barely managing to make ends meet and was broke for a brief period of time.
Presently, Buff Bagwell works for an escort service company called Cowboys4Angels, as a professional gigolo. According to the owner of the service, Garren James, Bagwell is quite popular among the customers, and is the 2nd most sought after escort, after Nick Hawk.
Also, Bagwell is happily married.
5. Jake Roberts
He worked for all the major promotions as well as on the independent circuit, where he once wrestled on a one shot PPV called ‘Heroes of Wrestling’. The PPV has since become infamous because of Roberts’ antics during the main event. He came down to the ring in a highly intoxicated state, took out his snake and simulated masturbation with it. This incident ruined his reputation among independent promotors. His substance abuse problems grew worse with time. In 2012, DDP took him in and successfully rehabilitated Roberts with the aid of his DDP Yoga program.
4. Scott Hall
Along with Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash, Hall was the original member of the New World Order in WCW. Money was flowing in on a regular basis and this is when Hall’s downfall began. By the late 90s, Hall’s issues with drugs and alcohol had ruined his personal life, leading to a divorce in 1999.
By 2010, Hall’s issues had taken a toll on his body, forcing him to get a pacemaker implanted in his chest after suffering from minor heart problems. Careless spending along with bad investment decisions had left him broke. WCW alumni DDP invited Hall into his home and began a yearlong rehabilitation process, which possibly saved Hall’s life.
Kamala’s troubles started early in his childhood when his father was shot dead in an altercation during a dice game. After a brief stint as a truck driver, he tried his hands at wrestling. Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett repackaged him as Kamala, a monster from Uganda. He gained worldwide recognition while working for the WWE. His failing health put an end to his career as a wrestler.
His struggle with diabetes and high blood pressure resulted in the amputation of his left leg in 2011, followed by his right leg the next year. Kamala (real name Jim Harris) now resides in Mississippi, and barely manages to make ends meet by building wooden chairs.
Virgil debuted in 1987 as the bodyguard for “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase. He turned face at the Royal Rumble PPV in 1991 by hitting Ted Dibiase with his Million Dollar Chamionship belt, becoming a fan favorite. But the face turn didn’t do him any favors and he was eventually released in 1994.
Today, Virgil is broke and travels around the country to conventions, demands a hefty sum for autographs and wrestling memorabilia and has even kickstarted a GoFundMe campaign to help make him a millionaire. In a recent interview, Ted Dibiase revealed that Virgil used to book the both of them for shows without Dibiase’s knowledge, informing the promoters at the last moment that Ted won’t be able to make the appearance, ultimately damaging Dibiase’s credibility among the promoters.
As of August 2016, Virgil’s GoFundMe campaign has raised $1,185.
1. Tammy ‘Sunny’ Sytch
From being one of the most popular divas of all time to charging people to see her undress on Skype, Sunny has ruined herself beyond repair.
Sunny debuted in the WWE in 1994 and was used as an on screen manager for Chris Candido (her real life partner). She is widely considered “the first WWE diva”. Her backstage problems with Sable coupled with her substance abuse issues, led to her release in 1998.
Chris Candido passed away in 2005, following which Sunny’s career began falling apart. She posed nude for the first time for a site called Wrestling Vixxxens. In late 2012, she was arrested on charges of assault and disorderly conduct, and served more than 3 months in jail. She was recently arrested for DUI on two consecutive occasions. Her career hit a new low when she announced that she will be booking private Skype appointments and the fee will vary from $50 to $100, depending on the amount of skin she will expose.
As of 2016, Sunny is still accepting bookings for skype sessions.
Author – Abhilash Mendhe