The professional wrestling industry can be a very tough business to maintain one’s high moral standards. With the constant travel that spans typically over 300 days a year, the physical and emotional wear and tear on one’s body can create a stronger vulnerability to engage in things that would not be family approved.
Unfortunately, with the temptation of women, drugs, and alcohol, many marriages dissolve within the pro wrestling enterprise. While a wrestler could be experiencing the pinnacle of his career based on earning a world heavyweight championship and receiving a sizable push, the life outside the ring can be miserable.
For Lex Luger, the “Total Package” nickname was a very easy one to tag on him. With a physique that looked to be chiseled out of stone, it was very easy for Luger to insert himself in the pro wrestling business. After spending some time in professional football, including a season for the Green Bay Packers, Luger started his career for the Championship Wrestling from Florida promotion, winning the NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship three times.
This momentum would give him an opportunity to work for the National Wrestling Alliance/Jim Crockett Promotions, which would later become World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Here is where he would spend the majority of his successful career. In WCW, Luger would win every major championship for the company expect for the Hardcore Championship. He became the WCW World Heavyweight and Television Champion on two occasions, respectively, and the United States Champion five times. To this day, he holds the longest single reign as U.S. Champion, totaling 523 days in his third reign.
Although appearing for a very brief period time, he would still leave an indelible mark in WWE. Debuting as The Narcissist in 1993 as a heel, it would not be long before Luger would become the top babyface for the company. In an attempt to replace Hulk Hogan, Luger walked into the U.S.S. Intrepid and was the sole person to slam the seemingly-unstoppable Yokozuna.
He would then commence the Lex Express in his quest to become WWE Champion. Although Luger would fail to win the title against Yokozuna at SummerSlam, he would become the co-winner of the Royal Rumble in 1994. His WWE career peaked around this time, before Luger engaged in a tag team with the British Bulldog as the Allied Powers, winning the opening match at WrestleMania 11.
Luger would surprisingly appear inside the Mall of America during the first episode of Monday Nitro, solidifying his return to WCW. Luger would resume the success he had before leaving the company, winning the World Heavyweight Championship once again. When WCW was purchased by WWE in 2001, Luger did not appear at all from the merge onward.
With the success that Luger experienced came crashing moments. Along with struggles of infidelity in his marriage, as well as domestic problems former WWE valet Miss Elizabeth, Luger was arrested in 2006 after violating parole for a previous felony possession offense. It was this time where he commenced his journey of being a born-again Christian.
In a recent interview, Luger explained how he never imagined that he would live his life as a Christian. In fact, he believed that all of his past transgressions were so mountainous, God would not possibly forgive him for what he has done.
“There was an emptiness that I was trying to fill outside of the ring, and there was never enough money or women. There was never enough partying. And, as a result, I went down some real dark paths for a while… I met a wonderful guy in there, he’s a great friend of mine, Pastor Steve, who for me really led to what turned my life around.”
“Initially I had never sat down with a Pastor in my adult life, and also, I didn’t want to see him. But we started visiting a little bit, [he] kept on knocking on my cell block and wanted to talk to me. We started to talk a little bit, and he hunted me down after I got out of jail, thankfully for the last time, in early ’06.”
“We started working out together at the gym, he said he was a great high school athlete and wanted me to help him get back in shape. And he had a great ulterior motive, which was to share the gospel with me, the good news. We started to have a friendship… and he finally invited me to a church service… I surrendered my heart to Jesus, and that was the big turnaround for me in my life.”
Now, not only is Luger acting as an ambassador in the pro wrestling business but most importantly, he is sharing the gospel to others. Just as his pastor did to him, which completely turned his life around. Obviously, it is only a matter of time before Luger receives an induction into the WWE Hall of Fame.
[Featured Image by WWE]