COMMENTARY | In the late 1990s, WCW did the unthinkable and briefly unseated the WWE as the top professional wrestling promotion in the world. Many fans consider this the golden age of modern pro wrestling as WCW, WWE, and ECW all tried to outdo each other. The WCW World Heavyweight Champions were some of the best wrestlers of their era and each helped make pro wrestling as popular as it's ever been in its history.
Take a closer look at where five former WCW Champions are today.
Ric Flair (1991, '93-'94, '95-'96, '99, 2000, '00)
Ric Flair is arguably the greatest pro wrestler in history. 'The Nature Boy' won numerous World Heavyweight Championships, including six in WCW. Besides his unforgettable matches, Flair was also an amazing showman, as wrestling fans still remember his promos, knife-edge chop, and strut.
After continuing to wrestle over the age of 60, Ric Flair may have finally retired. Flair still occasionally signs autographs at indy shows and he recently "gave" his figure-four leglock to The Miz in WWE. Flair still lives in Charlotte where he dates Wendy Barlow, who was 'Fifi The Maid' in WCW.
Sting (1992, '93, '97, '98, '99)
I still remember Sting and The Ultimate Warrior as The Blade Runners in UWF. But once Sting joined WCW, he quickly became one of the most popular wrestlers in the world. He showed his versatility in WCW as playing both a fun-loving blonde and a brooding wrestler who sat in the rafters.
It's starting to look like Sting may wrestle as long as Flair did. At 54 years of age, Sting is still wrestling in TNA as one of the promotion's top stars. Most recently, he fought Bully Ray for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship and he is reforming the Main Event Mafia. Sting now lives in Dallas, Texas.
Vader (1992, '92-'93, '93)
Size still mattered in pro wrestling in the 1990s and Vader took advantage of his push to reach the heights of WCW. Originally known as Big Van Vader in WCW, he had a frightening accessory (which you can see here) that looked like a cross between a gas mask and a mastodon.
After leaving WCW, Vader worked in Japan and the WWE. In fact, Vader appeared on the 1,000th episode of Raw in 2012. He became a born again Christian after spending 30 days in a coma. Vader, who resides in Boulder, Colorado, went into the coma on his way to Japan for an autograph signing.
Although WCW was beating WWE in the ratings with wrestlers who formerly worked for the promotion, Goldberg was a homegrown superstar for WCW. The former Atlanta Falcon personified intensity and helped WCW in its struggle with the NWO. Turning Goldberg heel was a serious error by WCW.
Despite being out of pro wrestling for nearly 10 years, Goldberg has remained popular with most fans. Now living in Bonsall, California, Goldberg has appeared in numerous movies and television shows after retiring from wrestling. Goldberg also has an extensive collection of classic cars.
Diamond Dallas Page (1999, '99, 2000)
Except for David Arquette and Vince Russo, DDP may be the most unlikely WCW Champion in history. (I apologize for mentioning Arquette and Russo's title reigns.) DDP got into pro wrestling late in life, but kept improving in WCW. Eventually, he became WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
DDP is leading a very productive post-wrestling career by helping other former wrestlers recover from their personal demons. He is using his "DDP Yoga" program to help Scott Hall and Jake Roberts recover from their addictions. DDP lives in Georgia and he is also a prolific actor.
Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of pro wrestling. Patrick's favorite wrestling promotion was Mid-South Wrestling back in the 1980s. Patrick's favorite wrestling angle of all-time was the NWO and his favorite wrestler is Roddy Piper. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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