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Where Are They Now? WWF Superstars

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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25 Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog
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According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year in the United States. Although that number has gone down since 2011 (from 3.9 million) there are still millions of dogs waiting in shelters for a forever home. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month; here are 25 benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

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fun
How Urban Legends Like 'The Licked Hand' Are Born
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If you compare the scary stories you heard as a kid with those of your friends—even those who grew up across the country from you—you’ll probably hear some familiar tales. Maybe you tried to summon Bloody Mary by chanting her name in front of the mirror three times in a dark bathroom. Maybe you learned never to wonder what’s under a woman’s neck ribbon. Maybe you heard the one about the girl who feels her dog lick her hand in the middle of the night, only to wake up to find him hanging dead from the shower nozzle, the words “humans can lick too” written on the wall in the dog’s blood.

These ubiquitous, spooky folk tales exist everywhere, and a lot of them take surprisingly similar forms. How does a single story like the one often called “Humans Can Lick Too” or "The Licked Hand" make its way into every slumber party in America? Thrillist recently investigated the question with a few experts, finding that most of these stories have very deep roots.

In the case of The Licked Hand, its origins go back more than a century. In the 1990s, Snopes found that a similar motif dates back to an Englishman’s diary entry from 1871. In it, the diary keeper, Dearman Birchall, retold a story he heard at a party of a man whose wife woke him up in the middle of the night, urging him to go investigate what sounded like burglars in their home. He told his wife that it was only the dog, reaching out his hand. He felt the dog lick his hand … but in the morning, all his valuables were gone: He had clearly been robbed.

A similar theme shows up in the short story “The Diary of Mr. Poynter,” published in 1919 by M.R. James. In it, a character dozes off in an armchair, and thinks that he is petting his dog. It turns out, it’s some kind of hairy human figure that he flees from. The story seems to have evolved from there into its presently popular form, picking up steam in the 1960s. As with any folk tale, its exact form changes depending on the teller: sometimes the main character is an old lady, other times it’s a young girl.

You’ll probably hear these stories in the context of happening to a “friend of a friend,” making you more likely to believe the tale. It practically happened to someone you know! Kind of! The setting, too, is probably somewhere nearby. It might be in your neighborhood, or down by the local railroad tracks.

Thrillist spoke to Dr. Joseph Stubbersfield, a researcher in the UK who studies urban legends, who says the kind of stories that spread widely contain both social information and emotional resonance. Meaning they contain a message—you never know who’s lurking in your house—and are evocative.

If something is super scary or gross, you want to share it. Stories tend to warn against something: A study of English-language urban legends circulating online found that most warned listeners about the hazards of life (poisonous plants, dangerous animals, dangerous humans) rather than any kind of opportunities. We like to warn each other of the dangers that could be lurking around every corner, which makes sense considering our proven propensity to focus on and learn from negative information. And yes, that means telling each other to watch out for who’s licking our hands in the middle of the night.

Just something to keep in mind as you eagerly await Jezebel’s annual scary story contest.

[h/t Thrillist]

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