Sometimes it is so easy to become accustomed to the characters that we see on WWE programming from week-to-week, that we forget there was ever a time they weren’t in the biggest wrestling promotion in the world. For example, who can even think of a time when the former members of The Shield weren’t prominent members of the main event scene? As time goes on, and these men and women become more permanent fixtures on our television screens, we forget more and more of their past; which is a shame considering that it leaves out so much of their own rich personal history.
Today we have scoured the internet, and found some pictures of current WWE Superstars that we hope you have never seen before. Admittedly some are more shocking than others, but in any case, these pictures provide insight into life before WWE. In many cases, you will be able to tell just how much of a physical transformation many had to make in order to make it to the big leagues. And hey, if you think a picture from this list is entertaining enough, spam the star’s Twitter with it, and tell them TheSportster sent you!
As always let us know your thoughts and opinions on this and all of our content in the comments section.
16. Braun Strowman
Do you recognize this silly looking fella? Well if you just slap an imaginary beard, and an old gardening outfit, you may realize that you are looking at Braun Strowman. Although his height came to him naturally, those muscles were gains made in a gym. Strowman was actually so into lifting weights, that he competed in many strongman competitions before entering the world of the WWE. The former Wyatt member excelled in the sport of being a strongman, winning the Arnold Amateur Strongman World Championship. There are a ton of photos floating around of Strowman from before his stint in wrestling, and this one takes the cake.
In the photo above we see the complete opposite of the character he plays on WWE programming, and instead see a big kid, acting goofy in front of a camera. In fact this is kind of his thing, as the 32-year-old has always hammed it up in front of the camera when given the chance.
Being the daughter of two professional wrestlers sort of carves out the path that you will most likely take in life. In the case of WWE’s Paige, an argument can be made that her debut was late in life, as her first match took place at the grizzled old age of 13. Since then it’s been full steam ahead for the former WWE Diva’s Champion, and despite a little hiccup here or there, Paige has done pretty well for herself in the WWE.
There are tons of pictures and videos of Paige’s youth floating around the internet, as she was featured in a reality television show, and was tag teaming with her mother on a regular basis. The picture you see above is a very familiar, yet different picture of Paige. It’s different in the fact that the NXT alumnus is noticeably younger than we have come to known her, but familiar when noticing the attitude that shoots through the picture.
14. Dana Brooke
Dana Brooke has one of the best physiques in all of the WWE today. Despite being muscular, she balances it with femininity that she exudes in the ring. Ironically she has bulked up since joining the WWE, evident by her photo above. Before joining the WWE, Brooke was a fitness competitor and frequented bodybuilding competition. In fact, Brooke finished in 12th place at the 2013 European Arnold Classic.
It’s hard to put a pin on why she looks so different in the photo above, but it’s safe to say that if we didn’t have her name above it, you probably wouldn’t have guessed it. Brooke’s more recent photo shoots show how she has embraced some of the curvier elements of her body, which is a complete 180 from what we have seen from her on the body building stage. If for some reason you can’t take our word for it, check it out for you self over at her Instagram, just make sure you come back.
13. Xavier Woods
Xavier Woods should be the president of geek culture, evident by his constant references to things from 90s, and YouTube channel that is dedicated to video gaming. With that being said, the man he looks like he knows how to have a good time, if you don’t believe it, just take a look above. Now admittedly, we have no idea what the heck is going on in this picture. We don’t know if this is after his run in TNA, or if he managed to slip away from his long days at WWE, but either way this picture deserves to be seen by the masses.
It looks as if Mr. Woods may have been at some sort of comic convention to take this picture, but it’s hard to confirm that fact. What we can confirm is that he is rocking one heck of a European style bikini bottom, with a dash of ‘Murica headband for good measures.
Who in the world is this scrawny guy sitting in the corner? That is the man who gravity forgot, Neville. Now, Neville is obviously missing some muscle in this picture, especially when compared to his most recent stint on television. While on the indies Neville, then wrestling as PAC, made a name for himself in Europe, wrestling in nearly every minor promotion from 2004-2012. During that time, PAC was able to hone his craft, and work on the aerial maneuvers that would eventually make him famous around the world.
After finally coming to the United States, Neville began the act of beefing up his body into the powerhouse it has become. You can notice the subtle transformation he made when tracking his career from ROH to Dragon Gate up until 2012. Even if you compare the photos of Neville’s debut compared to now, you can see the difference. So when comparing the photo above with the former NXT Champion’s current appearance, the results are almost unbelievable.
While he is still rocking the Bulgarian flag in this photo on both his trunks and arm, the current United States Champion certainly looks extremely different than he does now. Besides switching from a singlet to trunks, Rusev looks… well… less hairy then he does now. Usually a simple haircut isn’t enough to warrant a double take, but for the Bulgarian Brute, it does. Even the fact that he is smiling is enough to make you question that you are looking at the same guy who condemns Americans on a weekly basis.
Physically there isn’t much Rusev could do to change his build, as years of power lifting has left him with a lifter’s frame. But someone must have gotten him to change his look before joining RAW, as it’s starting to look like a trend for former NXT roster members to change their appearance before coming up to the main roster.
10. Kofi Kingston
The Jamaican gimmick had deep roots for Kofi Kingston, as his introduction of the character came well before his stint in the WWE. Kofi initially debuted his false Jamaican accent in the ring at Chaotic Wrestling in 2006, which carried over into his gimmick in Deep South Wrestling (a developmental territory of WWE). There are a few great videos on YouTube of Kofi playing this character to the fullest, which we encourage you to check out.
So surprisingly Kofi was playing a heel in most of his promos when this photo was taken, which is evident by his lack of a smile. Another thing that is evident, is that Kofi’s trademark dreadlocks are missing in this picture, making it one of the few public photos of the former Intercontinental Champion without his current hairstyle. Some things never change however, with Kingston wearing the same color scheme that he debuted in WWE with in 2007.
From Chikara, to Ring of Honor, to even WWE, The Swiss Superman has been heralded as one of the best pure wrestlers in the world, having wrestled for the better part of two decades around the world. During that time, his appearance has made many drastic changes. In fact you could track his entire career based on his wrestling attire alone. The former Intercontinental Champion has wrestled in jeans, with long hair, and trunks as a baldy, but nothing takes the cake more than this ensemble that he is wearing above.
It looks like someone gave Cesaro the big swing in a closet full of old clothes, and he randomly selected one of every type of garment in the room. Sure maybe it’s excusable because he is wearing a title belt in the picture, but the scarf, the yellow blazer, there are things that are inexcusable for the RAW star.
8. Baron Corbin
It’s a bit hard to tell in this picture, but during his run in the NFL, Baron Corbin was well over 320 pounds. Sure he wore it well during that time, but it’s a far cry from his loss of nearly 50 pounds since then. In fact, since getting cut from the Arizona Cardinals in 2011, the 2016 Andre the Giant Battle Royal winner has steadily been dropping weight.
Along with the reduction of weight, Corbin has let his hair grow out since his playing days, which have made him nearly unrecognizable since donning a Cardinals uniform. Ironically enough during his transformation, Corbin has received a lot of criticism on social media about his looks. Most people have called him out for not having the physique that a WWE wrestler should have, but if he continues on the path that he is on now, who knows how he will look in a few years.
7. The Anoaʻi family
This is a three for one special, as this photo features not only The Usos, but also their main event bound cousin Roman Reigns. The Bloodline, as they were known while teaming up in WWE, are all part of the Anoaʻi family tree, which also hosts notable members like Riskish, The Wild Samoans, and of course The Rock. Being in such a tight knit family has ensured that generations of the Anoa’i family have grown up together, which is evident in the photo above.
Wearing matching jerseys, all three of these decorated WWE Superstars played for the Escambia High School football team during their youth. The only one to actually pursue football after their high school days was Roman, who played for the Canadian Football League before jumping into wrestling full time. From this picture alone, no one can ever deny the family ties that this group of guys have.
6. Seth Rollins
Before becoming one of the men responsible for the New Era of the WWE, Seth Rollins was just a normal guy. Granted he was a normal guy who loved professional wrestling, but a normal guy none the less. Maybe that is why in this photo shown above, The Architect is seen wearing just a normal pair of jeans for a wrestling match. Aside from his fashion choices, Rollins is also noticeably smaller than he is in the WWE. This picture was no doubt taken before his in Ring of Honor, which was before the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion discovered his love of Crossfit.
If Rollins was able to pack on so much muscle over the past decade, there is truly no telling how he may look a few more years now that his body has fully matured. Maybe with a little more bulk, he will finally look convincing when performing the Pedigree on his opponents.
It would impossible to be born as huge (and pale) as Sheamus currently is in the WWE, which is why this photo gives us so much hope for our own future. Before becoming the WWE Champion, Sheamus was trained at Larry Sharpe’s Monster Factory, and in doing so started to build up his physique as well. We can see from the picture above that despite having some noticeable muscles early on, Sheamus was nowhere near the mammoth of a man he is today.
It could be the lighting, but doesn’t he look darker in this picture too? I’m sure that early on in his career, the Irish born star was told that he had to tan in order to make it to the WWE, which had to have been brutal for someone with such pale skin. In the end he didn’t take the advice, bulked up, and spiked his hair, and the only relic of his youth we have is this picture.
4. Summer Rae
Ironically during her stint with the WWE, Summer Rae has been booked as a weak valet character, despite being an All-Star cornerback for the Chicago Bliss in 2011. In fact Rae was a member of the Bliss from 2008-2011, being one of the longest reigning players in the Lingerie Football League (now the Legends Football League). For those of you who are uninitiated, the LFL is a full contact football league featuring female athletes from around the world. So after playing in the LFL for three years, what did WWE decide to do? Well make her a dancer, who was less physical than any other woman on the roster at the time.
WWE frustrations aside, Summer Rae was a pretty decent cornerback while playing football. If you look hard enough for them, there are several pictures and video showing her knock other players off of their feet. We would have featured them here today, but figured it would be better to show her face, then her in beast mode.
3. Enzo Amore
Before becoming one of the realest guys in the room, Eric Arndt was just your normal over the top guy from New Jersey. It just so happens that his past as an NCAA Division III linebacker, and his time as a DJ for the New York Jets, made him a perfect candidate for WWE’s NXT program. He was signed to WWE despite having no in-ring experience, but impressed officials with several homemade promos. The videos featured a character we would come to know as Enzo Amore, training like an absolute freak, and running his mouth like an absolute mad man.
In the photo above, Enzo is seen without any of the funky attire he normally sports, and his beard is noticeably tame. Here is a video on YouTube which features Enzo training with Class Act Sports shortly after being signed by WWE, which is funny because they use his real name during the intro, instead of his ring name at the time.
2. Eva Marie
Eva Marie gets a lot of hate on the internet from wrestling fans, which is understandable given her lack of in-ring ability. Since being signed in 2013, it seemed if WWE was more concerned with the fiery red head being featured on Total Divas then on normal WWE programming. Marie has heard the criticism of fans, and has actually worked hard on winning their respect in the ring, releasing training videos of her in NXT to show her improvements over the past few years.
It’s a wonder how Marie isn’t better in the ring, as she played college soccer for Call State University during the early 2000s. Full disclosure, the picture that was going to be posted here is one of Eva doing a striptease, but the quality was too poor to feature in this article. I would suggest that you go out and find it for yourself.
1. Kevin Owens
It’s hard to believe that there was ever a time that Kevin Owens wasn’t in the WWE. His natural charisma, and heel ability lends itself to the show that he is currently the champion of. A long standing rumor for WWE’s reluctance to sign the Canadian born wrestler, was that they were concerned with his weight. Jim Cornette has gone on record many times about how he thought Owens (then Steen) needed to lose weight to in order to succeed in the wrestling business. Owens seemed to take Cornette’s advice, then proceed to do the exact opposite, by gaining more and more weight since staring in the wrestling business.
There was a time that Kevin Owens was actually pretty thin, and with his singlet on, he could pass for a wrestler. Obviously those days of skinny Owens have passed, but there are still plenty of pictures of the heavyweight before entering Ring of Honor, which show off his trim build.