That's What They Do: Wildest Superstar Hobbies
Everybody needs a hobby. The WWE Superstars just have more interesting ones than most.
It’s safe to say that traveling 300 days out of the year accustoms one to a fairly unique lifestyle, and when it comes to filling their down time, the guys and gals who inhabit the WWE locker room tend to gravitate towards similarly left-field (yet admittedly awesome) pastimes. And rest assured, unless Curt Hawkins is hoarding untold quantities of quartz that the WWE Universe doesn’t know about, there ain’t no rock collectors in this bunch.
So, from Superstars who moonlight as literal rock gods to a multi-time champion who lets his geek flag fly, WWE.com takes a look at some seriously unique Superstar hobbies.
Chris Jericho has carried himself like a rock star ever since he applied the first of his 1,004 holds (Did You Know: Jericho’s trademark crucifix entrance pose is inspired by Michael Jackson), but Y2J’s glam-rock swagger is far more than just empty-headed posturing: The Ayatollah actually rock ‘n’ rollas on his off days with Fozzy, a band he helped form and tours with to this day on his days off from WWE.
Though the hard-rock quintet initially started as something of a gag (Jericho details their humble origins in his memoir, "Undisputed"), they’ve since amassed an impassioned following and an impressive resume of opening gigs: They’ve set the stage for Metallica, Anthrax, Shinedown, Stone Sour, Avenged Sevenfold and Motörhead. Truth be told, calling Fozzy Jericho’s “hobby” might actually be a disservice to the band’s accomplishments at this point. Already a veteran of the festival circuit — Fozzy rocked Download last year and Soundwave this year — he’s become every bit a legitimate rock star as he is a WWE Superstar, and that’s the way he always wanted it.
“Anyone who knows me knows I had two dreams as a kid: to be in a rock band and to be a wrestler,” said Jericho. “I always took the basic concepts of rock ‘n’ roll into wrestling. And then, when I started Fozzy, I took the same concepts that I already was using as Y2J and had taken from guys like Paul Stanley, Bruce Dickinson, James Hetfield and David Lee Roth, so it’s always been a part of who I am.”
The labor of love has certainly been a fruitful one for Jericho, and nothing has made him happier than seeing Fozzy’s street cred grow over the years. “I always have Chris Jericho fans who love everything I do, which is awesome, but it’s also really cool to have Fozzy fans,” said Y2J. “There’s five guys in our band; it’s never been Jericho’s vanity project or Jericho’s side thing. We’ve got five rock stars.”
At the end of the day, of course, the goal is always the same: Entertaining the crowd, even if there’s a slip-up or two in the process. “Rock ‘n’ roll is rock ‘n’ roll, man — there’s always gonna be little mistakes,” said Jericho. “But if the people have a great time, that’s all that matters, and it’s the same with wrestling.”
Some people collect action figures, some amass stamps, and some can only be satisfied gathering antique dolls. But mere knickknacks won’t do for a man such as The Funkasaurus, because Brodus Clay? Well, Brodus Clay collects tropical fish.
The Funky One’s fishy collection seems appropriately opulent for a man who struts to the ring wearing a Kangol cap, flanked by a pair of bodacious beauties and who recently reformed Tensai into his swaggy second-in-command Sweet T, but Clay’s collection actually stems from the most endearing of origins.
"My grandmother used to take me to the aquarium when I was little,” Brodus told WWE.com, “and when she passed, [I started the collection] to honor her because she was always teaching me about biology and animals."
Lest fellow aquarists assume the big man is a fair-weather fish enthusiast, Brodus — who purchased his first tank at 9 years old with money he earned working for a local biker — boasts an impressive array of aquariums, with an exotic array of inhabitants to boot. The crown jewel of Brodus’ collection is an 18-inch African Frontosa he christened, “Pimp Juice,” but the ideal addition to his hoard isn’t so much a decoration as an underwater home away from home.
“2,000 gallons complete with snorkel, sand bottom and about 500-1,000 different species of cichlids,” Brodus said, when asked to describe his pie-in-the-sky fish tank. “Big enough for The Funkasaurus to swim in.”
As the WWE Universe well knows from his freewheeling theme song, “What’s Up?” (not to mention its feistier variation with an assist from DJ Miz), R-Truth can spit a mean rhyme. But the former U.S. Champion’s dabbling in the hip-hop arts is hardly just a passing interest: “The Suntan Superman” drops science on the regular, and even released a rap album under an old moniker back in 2003.
Though Truth’s first dream was always to get in the ring, he harbors a longstanding love of the rap game, and drew inspiration from several titans of the genre. “My influences, going back through the history of rap, talk about Doug E. Fresh, Kool Moe D, Eric B. & Rakim, Public Enemy … then you come up to date, huge Tupac fan,” said Truth. “Right now it’s a lot of T.I., a lot of Lil Wayne, Lil’ Bootsie, the list goes on and on.”
And despite the rigorous travel schedule WWE keeps him on, Truth still stays up to date on the latest trends in the game. “Gotta keep your ear to the streets,” said the former Tag Team Champion, who’s been known to mentally prepare for his bouts with a nice listening session during his stretches. “That’s Rule No. 1.”
As for a potential trip back to the studio for a full-length record? Truth says the WWE Universe can count on it. “Definitely,” he said. “I’m working on a record for WWE.”
Antonio Cesaro earned his nickname of The Swiss Superman due to his Kal-Eli’an strength, but if members of the WWE Universe had to pick one Superstar who reminds them most of a superhero, chances are that Kofi Kingston, the high-flying U.S. Champion who seems to disregard gravity at will, would sit atop the list. Appropriately enough, “The Dreadlocked Dynamo’s” particular hobby concerns characters just like him, because he collects comic books.
While Kingston’s collection does include some classic material — he cites a three-installment “Venom” miniseries as the jumping-off point for his hoard — he tends to veer away from the “mainstream” hero stories in favor of edgier fare such as “Y: The Last Man.” But at the end of the day, he can’t say no to a good yarn. “To be honest, there’s just so many different genres out there and, to me, it’s just all about a good story,” said Kingston. “It could be a crime graphic novel or a mainstream, ‘Superman,’ ‘Spider-Man’ kind of thing.”
The centerpiece of his gallery is a bit of a combo of the two: A Turkish-language copy of Marvel’s celebrated "Civil War" series. “I bought it in the Turkish airport, and I just thought it was really cool, because obviously I will never be able to read it or anything like that, but comic books spread across all different cultures and all different languages,” said Kofi. “So I think it’s a cool little deal that I have.”
The one caveat to being a comic-book fan? He doesn’t have a lot of time to catch up on the film adaptations, which came back to bite him when Brodus Clay and Cody Rhodes accidentally ruined the ending of "The Avengers" for him last year. It’s a mistake he’s trying to avoid with the just-released "Iron Man 3."
“My wife is making me wait for her to see it,” he laughed, “[So] I have to do everything I can to avoid all contact with Brodus and Cody Rhodes at Raw and SmackDown this week, so they don’t ruin it for me.”
When Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and JBL refer to Daniel Bryan as a submissions expert, they aren’t just blowing smoke: The former World Heavyweight Champion was a bona-fide grappler on the side for a long, long time, training under some of the best competitors in the country and helping him build his extensive array of submission holds.
“I’d been training randomly for a while in different places,” said Bryan, who began his self-described “hobby” in 2002. “And when I moved to Las Vegas, I started training at Xtreme Couture, which is [UFC Hall of Famer] Randy Couture’s gym.”
While he initially picked that gym because of its convenient class schedule, what kept him going back was working with his coach, celebrated jiujitsu practitioner Neil Melanson. The work the two did together — Bryan calls him “one of the best grappling coaches in the country” — did more than bolster his repertoire. It also gave him a finishing move.
“Melanson actually taught me the ‘No!’ Lock, which was the ‘Yes!’ Lock, which was the LeBell Lock,” recalled Bryan, who inherited the maneuver as something of a high-profile heirloom from a celebrated tree of fighters. “[Neil] trained under Gene LeBell, and Gene LeBell is the one who did that move a lot. He taught it to Neil and Neil taught it to me, so that was a cool little sequence of events.”
But while Bryan’s definitely made a name for himself as a submission specialist with the help of his training — his favorite maneuver is the heel hook because “you can pretty much hit them from anywhere and most people don’t protect their lower bodies very well” — he doesn’t consider the training to be a must for aspiring Superstars.
“It’s probably not essential [for newcomers]. I’d say most WWE Superstars haven’t done much grappling in their lives and especially not a lot of submission grappling,” said Bryan. “But I think it can definitely help; it’s just another skill to have in your repertoire. It definitely helped me throughout my career.”