This Former WWE Star Quietly Works An Incredibly Normal Job Today

At the peak of his career, WWE announcer Tony Chimel stood in the center of the wrestling ring, hanging with Hall of Fame greats like Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. These days you're more likely to find the legendary ringside commentator in the supermarket aisle stocking up freezers with taquitos and crispy rice salmon bites. And that's just how he likes it.

Tony Chimel grew up a wrestling fan, according to his WWE bio. His big break in the industry came as the host of "Friday Night Smackdown," where he remained for 38 years. "Chimel became the original SmackDown ring announcer in 1999 after defeating WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel in a Tuxedo Match for the spot," his WWE bio reads. "From there, Chimel announced the greats, tangled with The Boogeyman, and enjoyed the thrill of turning a weekend job into an amazing career."

The former WWE fixture's passion for wrestling stretched back to his New Jersey youth.  He was childhood pals with the iconic wrestler Gorilla Monsoon's son. Along with a group of friends, they used to help erect the wrestling rings whenever bouts occurred in the tri-state area. Chimel eventually turned his love of the ring into a money-earner. He began doing what he loved when he landed a gig as a WWE technician. Over time he worked his way up to becoming a full-time ring announcer, where his thundering voice was heard by millions of fans. So after almost four decades, why does this former WWE star quietly work an incredibly normal job today?

Former WWE star goes from wrestling ring to grocery aisle

You can blame the COVID-19 pandemic for this major change. These days, wrestling announcer Tony Chimel works an incredibly normal job after so many years with WWE. Fans may remember when, in 2004, the host was down on his knees begging for his job as Kurt Angle "fired" him. That was just classic showbiz razzle-dazzle, known in the pro-wrestling industry as "kayfabe." Years later, the pandemic would sweep the globe and according to Wrestling-Edge, this led to Chimel losing his beloved gig for real. He was let go from his hosting role by the WWE due to budget restraints.

He may have been beaten down by his bump, but Chimel refused to lose face. He was soon back on his feet and back at it again, albeit in a decidedly different kind of business: the grocery business, working for Trader Joe's. The veteran announcer sat down for an interview with TV and audio personality Chris Van Vliet to talk about life post-wrestling and how his new job mirrors his old one in many ways, without the grappling.

"I found out that there is life after WWE," he said. "I found a job at Trader Joe's, which I never really knew about. I'd heard of Trader Joe's, but I didn't know what it was. I thought it was like an antique store or like a Pier One import store or something like that," Chimel admitted. He explained that there were a lot of "similarities" between the WWE and the grocery chain because both organizations strive to make people happy.

Former WWE star Tony Chimel is loving his new life

The former WWE announcer may work a normal job today, but Tony Chimel hasn't forgotten his former glory days. "That's a picture of Andre and Hulk at Wrestlemania, with Joey Marella," he told Chris Van Vliet during their interview, pointing to photos. "Wow, and this is a wall of just all kinds of just amazing memories," Chimel reminisced.

However, he's really enjoying his new lease on life. Chimel explained it's all down to his wife, who works close to Trader Joe's. She noticed a "for hire" sign one day and suggested Chimel apply. He did, and he's loving his new career. "The people are great, the bosses are great, the manager's great," he raved. "Everybody's great there; they're real good, you know?" Chimel said. One thing he's not so crazy about, though? Trader Joe's infamous two-buck chuck, the affordable store-brand wine. "I don't drink that, but it's a lot for two bucks. No, it's four bucks now, I think," Chimel mused. "But it's really good, and a lot of people love it."

Meanwhile, he still keeps in contact with his old wrestling pals. Chimel posted a pic of himself and WWE promoter and wrestler, Jeff Jarrett on his Twitter feed. And, he's still putting himself out there, offering his distinctive voice for hire, courtesy of his Cameo account. "Former WWE employee and ring announcer for 38 years. Happy to be of service. Let me do a 'Chimeo' just for you," his bio reads.