He was a British wrestler who was quickly signed by WWE after only three years as a professional. He would spend the next five years with the company until tragedy made him rethink his career path. Today we ask, ‘Whatever Happened To‘ Paul Burchill?
Paul Burchill graduated college in England with a degree in Sports Science and English. He was on his way onto becoming a professional rugby player when he saw the TLC match between The Dudleys, Hardy Boyz and Edge and Christian at Wrestlemania X-Seven. Burchill who was an average wrestling fan at the time…fell in love with the business with that match and soon began training to become a wrestler himself. He started his training at the Frontier Wrestling Alliance Academy in Portsmouth, England with wrestler/trainer Mark Sloan.
Burchill became a natural and quickly became a star student of the FWA academy. After just a year into his training…Burchill was wrestling all over Europe and Japan. He soon caught the eye of WWE talent scouts and received a tryout when the WWE was in Manchester. He did so well in his tryout, Burchill was signed to a WWE developmental deal and assigned to Ohio Valley Wrestling in Louisville, Kentucky.
Paul ‘The Ripper’ Burchill won the OVW heavyweight title on four different occasions and won the OVW tag team titles with the future Wade Barrett. Burchill was brought up to the main roster where he was aligned with William Regal. The duo briefly formed a tag team…but Vince McMahon had other plans for him. According to Burchill, McMahon walked up to him one night during a television taping and said, ‘You’re going to be a pirate, like from ‘Pirates of the Caribbean.’” Just like that, Burchill received his first true WWE gimmick as a modern day, swashbuckling pirate.
Burchill was first paired up with Shelly Martinez as his “wench,” but she was eventually dropped and Burchill went solo. He use to make his entrances to the ring by swinging on a rope. One time, however, he botched his landing and blew out his knee. He would be out of action for several months. Once he returned, Burchill would be repackaged under a new gimmick…that was a sort of play on the movie ‘Cruel Intentions.’ Paul was aligned with another former FWA student Katarina Waters aka Katie Lea Burchill. The pair would play an incestuous brother and sister.
Eventually the incest angle was dropped after receiving some complaints and just remained brother and sister. They started a feud with Hurricane Helms where Burchill claimed that Gregory Helms was in fact the masked super hero The Hurricane. The two battled for a couple of months that ultimately culminated with Hurricane putting up his mask in a match against Burchill’s career. Burchill would lose the match and he and Katie Lea returned to WWE under masks as The Ripper and The Beautiful Nightmare.
Around this time, Burchill discovered that his real life brother Sean…a Major in the British army was killed in Afghanistan. His brother’s death made Paul start re-evaluating his own life and pro wrestling started to become more of an afterthought. In 2010, Burchill requested and was granted his release from the WWE. So whatever happened to Paul Burchill?
Paul Burchill returned to school and became a fire fighter and a paramedic. He also returned to school and received a Bachelors degree in Nursing Science and also became a registered nurse. He currently lives in Kentucky and is married with a wife and three children. He still occasionally wrestles on his off days.
You can read all previous ‘Whatever Happened to’ pieces here.