Top Wrestlers With Exemplary Military Background

Jesse Ventura Signs Copies Of "American Conspiracies" - March 11, 2010
Jesse Ventura Signs Copies Of "American Conspiracies" - March 11, 2010 / Bobby Bank/GettyImages

The two-decade-old connection between the US Armed Forces and WWE is not limited to the latter’s annual event named “Tribute to the Troops.” Their bond goes beyond that and has existed far longer. Since there are too many commonalities between the professions, it isn’t surprising that most wrestlers are equipped with an exemplary military record.

Many wrestlers have served on the frontlines of epic wars before beginning their careers with WWE. If you spot a fierce warrior who fights inside the ring as if his life depended on it, chances are he really did during his tenure in the military. Let’s get to know some brave hearts who served their country.

Road Dogg

Coming from an illustrious lineage of wrestlers—the Armstrongs—Road Dogg followed his father “Bullet” Bob Armstrong’s footsteps to become a notable figure in the wrestling world. When his famous dad stepped away from the spotlight, he came into his own in the mid-’90s as a WWF Roadie. 

A few years before becoming a roadie, he joined the Marine Corps in 1987 and served overseas for six years. Dogg was notably a part of Operation Desert Storm during his service. His post-military life in wrestling saw him shine as a vital part of New Age Outlaws and D-Generation X. The six-time tag team champion has won numerous other championships during his three-decade career. 

Dutch Mantel 

Dutch Mantel’s military record is as solid as his wrestling career. He was just a year into college when he was drafted into the army as part of the infantry sent to the Vietnam War. He was there for less than a year, becoming a proud recipient of the Vietnam Service Medal for his time in the United States Army during the war. 

Born Wayne Maurice Keown, Mantel settled into a thriving wrestling career post his stint in the military. He wore numerous hats as a booker, a manager, and a creative consultant in his professional life. The former wrestler has helped shape the careers of famous wrestlers like Cesaro and Jack Swagger as their manager. 

Steve Cutler

Although Stephen Kupryk is with Impact Wrestling under the ring name Steve Maclin, he is widely known as Steve Cutler from his heydays at the WWE. Ever since he debuted in 2013, he’s had a stellar run as a professional wrestler. He was part of the trio that made The Forgotten Sons when the team defeated the Lucha House Party in the 2020 SmackDown. 

Just like his predecessors, Steve had a solid background in the military. In 2007, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. He primarily served as a machine gu$$er during his four-year tenure in Afghanistan. Steve also served in Iraq as part of his service as a U.S. Marine. 

Jesse Ventura

Jesse Ventura is a cut above the rest in so many ways. While most of his fellow wrestlers had served as part of the infantry in the Marines, he joined the elite ranks of the U.S. Military as a Navy Seal. He won two prestigious medals - the National Defense Service Medal and the honorable Vietnam Service Medal for his six years of service ending in 1975 in the Navy. 

Post-military years saw him embark on a successful wrestling career until he transitioned his expertise to become a color commentator, a role he held for many years. His unique commentary style was similar to his wrestling persona, dubbed a “heel,” taking the villains’ sides.