We all love lists, and almost all of us love Mick Foley (hating the Mick would be like hating Santa Claus!). Well, Mrs. Foley's baby boy was on his Facebook account this weekend asking fans who the greatest former wrestlers are. And he didn't mean all-time wrestling greats. The Hardcore Legend wanted to know who his fans thought had had the best career after leaving the ring and performing full-time.
It's an interesting list, and a slant on our beloved pastime that we don't think of that explicitly. Here's Mick's list:
FOLEY'S TOP 10 FORMER WRESTLERS
By looking at the answers to my query about who the greatest former wrestlers are, I can see that I didn't make myself clear enough about what type of list I was looking for. I'm not talking about which wrestlers were best in the ring or on the microphone. In fact, this list has NOTHING to do with how great someone was DURING their wrestling career; it's about what they've done either AFTER their wrestling days were over, or (in the case of a few guys on the list) OUTSIDE of wrestling. Here then, are my picks:
10) 3-way tie with BRET HART, EDGE and SHAWN MICHAELS - OK, I'll admit I thought of these guys last, and didn't want to exclude any of them, since they have all done some notable things upon retiring from the ring.
9) MARC MERO - Scoff if you like, bu Marc has done some outstanding work speaking to young people about some important and difficult subjects. Plus, this makes me feel better about including him, in a not so positive way in my favorite story on my "Tales From Wrestling Past" tour.
8) RODDY PIPER - "Hot Rod" just never seems to rest, from his roles on TV and in movies, to his personal appearances and live story-telling show.
7) TRISH STRATUS - Talk about a graceful transition from the ring to the real world; Trish has become a successful business-person, and ius a pillar of the community in Toronto. Plus, with a little Stratusfaction in her life, Trish is going to be every bit as good at motherhood as she's been in the ring and in business.
6) Tie between STEVE AUSTIN and HULK HOGAN - Both have been successful in movies, and on reality TV. Austin hosts that popular podcast, and Hogan had that popular video out last year.
5) JBL - I'm not even including his broadcasting work for WWE here. John has done some impressive stuff, from his work on Fox Business News, to his Layfield Report, to his charitable work for at-risk kids in the Bahamas.
4) DDP - Sure, he's done some work in films, but DDP is high on this list for the amazing work he's done - changing, and probably saving lives - with DDP Yoga bro!
3) CHRIS JERICHO - Yes, he just had a nice run with WWE, but Y2J lands so high on my list for making the wrestling business look so good with every appearance he makes on mainstream television, from news shows to reality TV (that week-long stint on "Duets" notwithstanding). Plus, he's toured the world as the lead singer of Fozzy, and written two excellent books.
2) THE ROCK - What more can you say about a guy who goes from headlining Wrestlemania to starring in some of the year's highest grossing movies? The Rock has simply become iconic, and makes WWE look good with every outside the ring move he makes.
1) CHRIS NOWINSKI - Yes, this is going to seem like an odd choice at #1 for many, given his relatively short in-ring career, but the work Chris has done with Boston University's CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF TRAUMATIC ENCEPHALOPATHY has been of incalculable benefit to countless lives.
Interesting, no? While I think you can probably argue if some of these guys will ever be considered as "outside" pro wrestling, it's a nice change of pace from the "Dead Wrestler of the Week" stereotype and a reminder that many of our favorites in the ring are quite talented in ways that translate beyond Monday nights.
So what about you, Cagesiders? Which former/retired wrestlers do you think have had the most successful post-wrestling careers?