Atlanta Magazine :: November 2009 :: Rick Steiner
November 2009

Where Are They Now: Powerslam!

Former pro wrestler Rick Steiner schools Cherokee County
By David P. Lindsay

With his “if you don’t like me, bite me” attitude, Rick “The Dog-Faced Gremlin” Steiner was a popular pro wrestler when he came to Atlanta in the late eighties courtesy of Jim Crockett Promotions, which was purchased by Ted Turner and transformed into World Championship Wrestling in 1988. Steiner—who began wrestling professionally after gaining an education degree from the University of Michigan—flourished in the WCW, eventually winning the United States Championship. With his brother, Scott, he took home multiple tag team titles as the Steiner Brothers.

When the WCW folded during the AOL–Time Warner merger in 2001, Steiner, already forty, began to slow down his career. By 2003, the Woodstock resident and married father of three boys was working in real estate for RE/MAX. Two years later, Steiner decided to follow a suggestion made by two friends who were teachers: finish out the term of a Cherokee County school board member who was moving.

Getting the seat was a bit of a personal challenge—talking trash, after all, isn’t quite Toastmasters. At a board meeting, Steiner had to defend why he wanted to join as well as answer questions about the school system, and he almost didn’t show. “When I was wrestling, I was portraying a character,” says Steiner. “Doing it was easy. For this, I had to speak from the heart and be factual. It was a little different.”

Unusual or not, the board liked Steiner’s pitch and gave him the seat, which he has held since officially running for the position later in 2006. He plans to run for reelection next year, but due to election laws, it’ll be under his birth name, Robert Rechsteiner. Wrestling fans probably wouldn’t recognize the way Steiner handles his work with the schools, though—he’s a relatively subdued consensus-builder on the seven-member, award-winning board.

Photograph by Chad Hess