CLOSE

Where Are They Now? WWF Superstars

Mickey Rourke may win an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as the past-his-prime Randy "The Ram" Robinson in The Wrestler, but what became of all the real-life wrestlers who entertained you as a kid? A depressingly high number of former stars have passed away, and many more continue on in wrestling in some capacity. Others, though, have drifted away from the business and started new lives free of choreographed violence. Here are a few of our favorites.

1. Nikolai Volkoff

Talk about life not imitating art. Volkoff, the WWF's premier Russian boogeyman throughout the 80s, spent his wrestling career decrying democracy. Then he became a Republican. The Yugoslavian-born Volkoff became a code inspector for Baltimore County following his retirement, and he even ran unsuccessfully in a Republican primary for Maryland's State House of Delegates in 2006. Perhaps voters didn't latch onto his anger at the cost of living; in a 2006 interview with Fox News he complained about once being able to spend "$2 for 20 cans of sardines, and now $5 will get you only six cans."

2. Abdullah the Butcher

abdullah.jpg

The Madman from Sudan, who was actually a Canadian-born fellow named Larry Shreve, has had some success as a restaurateur since his retirement. If you're ever in Atlanta, you can stop by Abdullah the Butcher's House of Ribs and Chinese Food. If you're lucky, he won't even stab you in the forehead with his trademark fork!

3. Hillbilly Jim

If you've got a Sirius satellite radio, you can still hear Hillbilly Jim every Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm ET when the company's Outlaw Country station airs "Hillbilly Jim's Moonshine Matinee," a program where Jim spins country and Southern rock and chats about his life in the ring.

4. King Kong Bundy

kkb.jpg

Andre the Giant's former rival isn't totally retired from wrestling, and he's got another way into the limelight: standup comedy. Yes, really. His MySpace page says he's still available for bookings as either a wrestler or a comic. See for yourself.

5. Mr. Fuji

Mr. Fuji, the villainous manager of wrestlers like Yokozuna, was never afraid to toss salt in an opponent's eyes. He's a bit more subdued these days. Apparently he works as an usher and ticket taker for a movie theater near Knoxville, and also reviews movies for the WWE's magazine.

6. Lanny Poffo

hearts-lungs.jpg

Leaping Lanny Poffo, "Macho Man" Randy Savage's poet brother, wasn't just playing to his gimmick when he recited verse in the ring. He really likes poetry that much. He's released two books of poetry, including 2004's Limericks from the Heart (and Lungs!), a collection of 335 anti-smoking limericks.

7. Papa Shango/The Godfather

Charles Wright's WWF gimmick changed a few times, from witch doctor Papa Shango to ho-escorted "˜70s pimp The Godfather. That second gimmick may have helped him in his post-wrestling gig: strip club manager. After retiring from wrestling in 2002, Wright took over managing Cheetah's, a Las Vegas gentleman's club best known for providing shooting locations for the film Showgirls.

8. Tully Blanchard

Blanchard, a founding member of the NWA and WCW's Four Horsemen stable, became a born-again Christian in 1989. Although he's worked for the WWE as a road agent, he's now spending most of his time on his evangelical prison ministry.

9. Koko B. Ware

koko.jpg
The WWF's resident Birdman now lives in Memphis with his family. His beloved macaw, Frankie, died in a house fire in 2001, but Koko bounced back with a new bird, Frankie Jr., that accompanies him to the ring when he makes appearances.

10. Rick Steiner

The Dog-Faced Gremlin can sell you a house! After his semi-retirement from the ring, Steiner became a realtor. His website promises that he's "Wrestling Real Estate for YOU" and everything. If I'm looking for a house in Cherokee, Cobb, or Pickens County, Georgia, I know who I'm calling. I'm also refusing to close until he lets me assist him in landing a Steinerizer.

11. The Ultimate Warrior

warrior.jpg

Remember how the Ultimate Warrior seemed just a little unhinged in the ring? It might have been more than just a stellar acting job. Although he was born Jim Hellwig, the wrestler realized in 1993 that he was in danger of losing his ring name if he left the WWF. His solution? Legally changing his name to "Warrior." That's it. He's just "Warrior" on his driver's license.

Although he largely retired from wrestling in 1999, Warrior has remained in the public eye as a virulently right-wing commentator who until last year frequently updated his blog, "Warrior's Machete," with all manner of ultra-conservative opinions.

12. The Iron Sheik

The venerable Iranian heel has found a new niche for himself, courtesy of Howard Stern. After the Sheik became a topic of conversation on Stern's show, he started making regular appearances on the radio program in 2007. He's made comedy show appearances as part of Stern's entourage, and has supposedly developed an hour-long radio show for Sirius Satellite Radio's Howard 101.

See Also...

1.jpg
Reviewing The Wrestling Album (with clips from each song)
*
WWF Superstars Action Figure Quiz
*
WWF Superstars Action Figure Quiz: The Unnecessary Sequel
*
Pro Wrestling Finishing Moves Quiz

arrow
History
The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
holidays
Custom-Design the Ugly Christmas Sweater of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)
iStock
iStock

For those of you aspiring to be the worst dressed person at your family's holiday dinner, UglyChristmasSweater.com sells—you guessed it—ugly Christmas sweaters to seasonal revelers possessing a sense of irony. But the Michigan-based online retailer has elevated kitsch to new heights by offering a create-your-own-sweater tool on its website.

Simply visit the site's homepage, and click on the Sweater Customizer link. There, you'll be provided with a basic sweater template, which you can decorate with festive snowflakes, reindeer, and other designs in five different colors. If you're feeling really creative, you can even upload photos, logos, hand-drawn pictures, and/or text. After you approve and purchase a mock-up of the final design, you can purchase the final result (prices start at under $70). But you'd better act quickly: due to high demand, orders will take about two weeks plus shipping time to arrive.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios