Where Are They Now? Shawn Stasiak

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June 19, 2013

Stasiak wasn’t blacklisted entirely. WCW signed him soon after his WWE release and presented him as the heir apparent to Curt Hennig. Using Mr. Perfect’s entrance theme and even his PerfectPlex finishing maneuver, Stasiak was dubbed “PerfectShawn” and beat Hennig on pay-per-view weeks into his tenure in WCW. The victory may have meant something, but in typical WCW fashion, it was abandoned before long.

He stayed relevant as a member of The Natural Born Thrillers — a group of promising young upstarts that was ready to take the spotlight away from tenured competitors like Lex Luger and Kevin Nash. At one point, the faction — which included studs like Sean O’Haire, Mark Jindrak and Chuck Palumbo — seemed to hold a legitimate claim to being the future of professional wrestling. Yet, somehow, not a single member of the stable ended up as a major sports-entertainment player.

Watch Stasiak capture the WCW Tag Team Titles alongside Chuck Palumbo

“As time progressed, we realized they didn’t know what they were doing,” Stasiak said of WCW’s notoriously misguided management. “They were breaking us up, making tag teams. Things weren’t consistent.”

WCW was problematic, but Stasiak made his greatest strides as a talent with the company, becoming a two-time WCW Tag Team Champion while beating major stars like Diamond Dallas Page and Bam Bam Bigelow. When WCW finally buckled under the weight of corporate ineptitude in 2001, Stasiak returned to WWE as a foot soldier in the invading WCW army. It was an unexpected homecoming for the second-generation Superstar, and another opportunity to realize his goal of reaching the mountaintop.

“When my contract got bought over in 2001, I felt really confident,” Stasiak said. “I think my look and my ring savvy had improved. I was really happy. It felt like home to me.”

Stasiak did not become the imposing WWE Champion he had imagined himself being, but he did find a decent mid-card spot as an oddball villain. He lost matches by literally tripping over his own two feet and acted spaced out as the man from Planet Stasiak.

See Planet Stasiak's shaky partnership with Brock Lesnar

In his mind, the persona — inspired by Jim Carrey’s portrayal of The Riddler in “Batman Forever” — could have been menacing, but it ended up as a punchline. Stasiak had a gift for over-the-top physicality, but the recurring disconnect between who he was and who he wanted to be impeded upon his ability to succeed in sports-entertainment. Ultimately, he was released by WWE in fall 2002.

“I knew at that very moment that I was not moving to Japan, I was not going to work the indies,” Stasiak said. “I was going to purse another career I always questioned whether or not I could do, and that was to become a chiropractor.”

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