Top 5 ex-wrestlers
- Michael Behr
- 19 April 2013
The Rock, Hulk Hogan and Chris Jericho are among those who have attempted non-wrestling careers
With the dust from Wrestlemania XXIX still settling, and wrestler-turned-writer Mick Foley coming to Edinburgh on April 24 to try out his new persona as a stand-up story teller, The List looks at the top 5 wrestlers who tired of being beaten up for a living and gone on to find success in other careers.
5. The Ultimate Warrior
The Ultimate Warrior (properly Warrior, his legal name, changed from James Brian Hellwig) was one of the more intense and physical wrestlers. He also came with a colourful, if not clearly defined personality and set of ideals. Professional wrestling may not have been the best place to expound a philosophy.
Instead, Warrior wrote a comic book, trying to transform his character’s backstory into a proper belief system. Instead, he wrote an incoherent, ultra-violent, monstrosity. The comic was cancelled after five issues. Success in the ring didn’t translate to success as a writer or a philosopher.
4. Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho is a multiple championship-winning wrestler. But, it seems this wasn’t enough for him. Chris is also the lead singer of moderately successful American heavy metal band Fozzy.
His band’s latest album Sin and Bones saw the band’s first entrance to America’s Billboard Top 200 entering at 143. On the whole, Chris has certainly found more success as a wrestler than as a musician, but it’s still early days for Fozzy.
On top of this, he gained everybody’s dream job and hosted a game show, Downfall, where contestants answer trivia questions to win a million dollars. Cancelled after 5 episodes.
3. Hulk Hogan
For many, Hulk Hogan is the face of wrestling. Even people who don’t care about wrestling know who Hulk Hogan is.
He transformed his wrestling fame into a small part in Rocky III, followed by a few more ventures into the onscreen world, including a Saturday morning cartoon show, Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling in the 80s.
He has also appeared in a number of adverts, including this truly bizarre one from Japan. Ultimately, Hulk Hogan never managed to transcend wrestling in the same way that the next two did. But, for many people, he defined professional wrestling.
2. Jesse “The Body” Ventura
Jesse “The Body” Ventura was a popular, flamboyant star wrestler in the 70s and 80s. In 1987, Jesse made the now predictable leap from wrestler to action movie star by featuring in Predator, along with a few 80s and early 90s action classics.
Then he tried his hand at politics. In 1991, became mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota as an independent candidate. Then, in November 1998, he led the Reform Party of Minnesota to victory as governor. He only lasted one term, citing the effect public life had on his family as his reason for quitting. However, he still has an active interest in politics, and at a mere 61 (62 in July), he’s a political sapling. Who knows what he’ll do next.
1. The Rock
Really, The Rock has never changed his career. Whatever he does, he’s still The Rock. Powerful and charismatic, film and the ring are just two ways he connects to an audience.
His first starring role was in The Scorpion King, earning a cool $5.5 million, a record for a first time starring actor. Since then, his movie industry niche is to reinvigorate franchises with his particular brand of mojo, including the The Fast and Furious series (via performances in Fast Five and the forthcoming Fast and Furious 6), Journey to the Centre of the Earth (Journey 2, as part of a strategy of scouring unneeded words) and GI Joe sequel GI Joe: Retaliation.
Nobody wrestler has shone in tinsel town quite as brightly as The Rock. And his star has not begun to descend. Currently involved with no less than eight projects at various stages of development, and almost invariably bringing in big box office receipts, The Rock is well on his way to proving himself a pop culture icon bigger than either of his separate careers.