TITO Santana has progressed from teaching his opponents in the ring to teaching Spanish in high school.
Santana had a career in the Hall of Fame WWE where he was a two-time Intercontinental Champion and a two-time World Tag Team Champion.
After leaving WWE in 1993, Santana transitioned into education and, under his real name Merced Solis, went on to a long career teaching Spanish at Eisenhower Middle School in Roxbury Township, New Jersey.
At the age of 70, Santana retired from the classroom earlier this month after teaching almost as long as she has in the ring.
Originally, Santana’s goal was to become an NFL star.
After playing tight end at West Texas State University, he tried out for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1975.
However, he suffered an injury during training camp as he underperformed in the 40-yard dash after twisting his Achilles tendon two weeks before training camp.
“I think I ran like a 5.1 because I taped my ankles because I didn’t want to show that I was injured.” Santana told ESPN in 2017.
“But my catching and blocking skills were good enough and I started practically every preseason game.”
“But then when they released me, they said, ‘You’re a great athlete, but you’re too slow.'”
Santana then played for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League for a year and a half, but after his football career faltered he turned to professional wrestling.
After impressing at matches in the South, Santana got his big break when Andre the Giant brought a tape of his matches to show WWE Promoter Vince McMahon Sr.
In a solid 17-year career, Santana appeared in the first nine WrestleMania events and was king of the ring in 1989.
However, he never reached a top status.
When a rebuild as El Matador failed to revive his career in 1991, he realized it was time to end it.
In 1997, Santana became a substitute teacher while competing in independent competitions before securing a position as a full-time Spanish teacher in New Jersey.
The vast majority of Santana’s students knew about his wrestling past.
“Your parents were wrestling fans, so I can’t tell you how many times kids come up to you and say, ‘My mom used to have a crush on you. She was about 5, 6, 7 years old,'” he said.
“When I have a break, I have them put a match on the smartboard or computer and we look at it.”
“To them my last name is Solis, they call me Señor Solis. I don’t talk about wrestling that much.”