Johannesburg - Although World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is huge across the world, most readers will remember watching wrestling when they were still kids. Back when WWE was still the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), these guys were household names. So, where are they now?
No one epitomises wrestling in the 1980s and 90s quite like Bret “The Hitman” Hart does. In his signature pink spandex and mirrored sunglasses, he’s been recognised for revolutionising wrestling thanks to his technicality and agility in the ring. After raking in titles, Hart retired in 2001 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006. He has continued with appearances and work in the wrestling industry. His niece Natalya is a pro wrestler and WWE superstar.
Goldust, whose real name is Dustin Runnels, was so eccentric, flamboyant and kind of kinky that, thinking back on it now, it’s surprising that he was even allowed on family TV back in the 1990s. Apparently, Runnels initially hated the sexually ambiguous character, but Goldust became so popular that he was forced to embrace the gimmick. After five departures and comebacks from WWF/E, the 48-year-old Goldust appeared again in the ring this year, stating that “the Golden Age is back”.
Yokozuna – Rodney Agatupu Anoa‘i – was not a sumo wrestler. In fact, he’s not even Japanese, but the Polynesian fighter became popular for his sumo gimmick and massive 291kg frame. Yokozuna won several championship titles, notably beating Hulk Hogan in 1993, and was famous for signature moves such as the bear hug and body avalanche. Unfortunately, he was let go from the WWF in 1996 after failing a physical test. Anoa‘i died in 2000 from pulmonary edema. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012.
“I’m just a sexy boy. I’m not your boy toy.” Who could forget The Heartbreak Kid and his awesome entrances? Regarded as one of the finest wrestlers of the 1990s and 2000s, Michaels raked in innumerable titles during his career. After retiring from WWE twice, he did acting, personal training and TV presenting – he even teaches the Bible. He still makes WWE appearances and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.
Probably the most famous wrestler to step into the ring (save, perhaps, Hulk Hogan), The Undertaker still fights. His last appearance was in March, when he performed his famous choke slam on Braun Strowman. At the age of 56, he is one of the most popular wrestlers around, and fans delight in his macabre persona and theatrical entrances. Long live The Undertaker!
WWE airs on Supersport 4, 7, 9 and 10.