FISHERS, Ind. — Being a WWE Superstar can be a launching point for wrestlers to become household names in Hollywood and sports entertainment.
But what happens when being hit by tables, ladders, and chairs becomes too much to take? How does a Superstar transition to “real life”?
A former WWE star-turned Hoosier is carving out his own answer to that question.
Kevin Fertig began wrestling before he was 21-years-old, and at 28 he debuted for WWE in front of more than 18,000 screaming fans.
Over his career, his in-ring names and personas were the supernatural priest “Mordecai,” and a vampire named “Kevin Thorn.” Both characters were stints on WWE.
“There’s nothing like being underneath those lights,” Fertig said, “That’s L.A.! That’s as close to Hollywood as you can get.”
Fertig reached the pinnacle of his business, and showcased his talents at WWE’s yearly marquee event Wrestlemania 23. While there, he ran into President Donald Trump who was headlining the tournament.
“He’s like, ‘Man that’s a good looking jacket’,” said Fertig, pointing out a huge metal spike on his ring jacket.
“[President Trump] slams it right into his hand. You can tell he’s really not selling the fact that he just stabbed himself.”
Fertig came up through the early ranks of WWE training with some of the sport’s biggest names. He trained with John Cena and Dave Bautista who are now huge names in Hollywood.
“You could see that these guys were going to be stars,” Fertig said.
Through his journey, he met his wife and settled down in Fishers.
“I knew if i was going to have a family, this is where I wanted to be,” Fertig said.
Once he left the wrestling business, it became hard to find employment. Being able to slam someone through a table doesn’t exactly translate to the open job market.
“Human Resources were calling me going, ‘What are you going to do for us? What is wrestling going to do?’” Fertig recounted.
He eventually settled into being a real estate agent, and employing himself. Still, at 6’4, 285 lbs., he says it can be intimidating for people to work with him.
“You’re looking at me going, ‘I don’t know if I want to talk to this meathead!’” Fertig laughed.
He began using his skills as a WWE superstar to sell houses.
Fertig creates entertaining video promos at every one of his clients homes, and puts them on social media. Each one is different, and generally outlandish.
The videos may feel like he’s in character, but he says it’s just himself. It’s a way for the gentle giant to break the ice.
“It’s my way of taking wrestling and putting it into the reality of owning a home,” Fertig said.
Examples of his videos show him as a mermaid in a kiddie pool talking about the large pool at the home, or jumping into another pool in a full suit. Fertig says the home buying process should be fun, but for most people it’s extremely stressful.
“Random people are going, ‘You’re that guy!’,” said Fertig, noting people see him more for the videos than his WWE past.
He carries around a “Home Champ” wrestling belt with him, and lets his clients wear it in pictures after they sell or buy a home.
He is no longer trying to be champ, he is turning others into one.
“That’s not what I want them to think Dad was,” Fertig said of his family.