The appearance of a wrestler is very important to having a long career. Most performers have to leave WWE at some point. The task of continuing a career outside of WWE and still getting wrestling fans to want to see you is tough. Wrestlers have to convince a company like New Japan, Ring of Honor or TNA to sign them full time or fill a schedule on the independent circuit. A talent’s look after leaving WWE is important due to visibility. Average fans will see the star they remember. That can benefit the wrestler if it means fans care enough to see them. It can be a negative if the wrestler’s WWE moments are a negative memory.
We'll take a look at how wrestlers have changed or not changed since leaving WWE. Some performers look exactly the same as you remember from their glory years making you question if time affects everyone. Others are almost unrecognizable with changes of the aging process or their own decisions. There’s a mix of wrestlers to both benefit and suffer from the differences. All sides will be examined as we look at ten former WWE stars that look totally different today and five that look exactly the same.
15 Totally Different: Val Venis
Attitude Era star Val Venis found success by playing a ladies man with an adult star gimmick. Those days are long gone with Venis undergoing many changes through the years. Most wrestling fans would struggle to recognize him today with a completely different look. Venis goes back and forth between having a bald head or short grey hair to match his grey goatee.
The current life of Venis features social commentary on social media about politics as a libertarian. Venis also puts a lot of his time and effort into spreading awareness about the stats that he believes should make marijuana legal. He even uses the moniker “Kaptain Kannabis” to get his point across with an internet talk show. If you don’t pay close attention, you may not realize Kaptain and Val is the same person.
14 Totally Different: Adam Rose
A recently released former WWE star to completely change his look would be Adam Rose. WWE released Rose after controversial issues made him expendable. Rose also struggled to get over on the main roster, but that apparently inspired him to break out on the independent circuit. The claims of Rose were that he would show why WWE missed out on failing to use him well and for releasing him.
One of the biggest changes came when Rose cut all off his long hair for a brand new look. The short cut did not lead to any success and Rose has become a sad story on the independent circuit. None of the top promotions are booking him. Rose is claiming he'll retire at the end of the year if nothing changes proving a change in appearance isn’t always the answer.
13 Looks The Same: Booker T
Booker T has retired from the ring for a few years now but still appears to be in great shape. WWE employs Booker as a broadcaster and he's currently holding down the analyst duties on the Raw brand in the absence of David Otunga. The fact that Booker runs his own wrestling school and has to work in the ring to teach the young trainees likely helps keeps him in tip top shape.
Booker has also been blessed with a youthful look that doesn’t appear to age one bit. Most people would guess Booker is still in his late 30s or early 40s despite recently turning 52 years old. We can all hope to look anywhere near Booker does at his age. WWE could easily put him in the ring for a match or two and the Hall of Famer would not miss a beat.
12 Totally Different: Al Snow
Al Snow looks nothing like you remember him from the days of the Attitude Era. Most of the stories of a wrestler appearing different from their glory days are rather depressing due to the aging process hitting them, but it's the complete opposite for Snow. The physical stature of Snow has improved in recent years with his physique being significantly larger than in his prime.
Snow has made the gym a bigger priority as he's grown older. A shorter haircut and the grey beard also provide a new change that older fans of his will be surprised to see. Snow currently works for Impact Wrestling as a producer and runs a wrestling school. The lack of stability in both has led to him working more on the independent wrestling scene which likely has caused the change in improving his physique to make up for the aging.
11 Totally Different: Davey Boy Smith Jr.
WWE clearly never used Davey Boy Smith Jr. to his full potential. Under the name of DH Smith, the son of “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith teamed with Tyson Kidd for a short time period but did nothing of note after that. WWE eventually released him and it seems to be the best thing for his career. Smith has been wrestling all over the world and now makes his wrestling home in Japan.
NOAH is the main promotion Smith works in and he often teams with Lance Archer. A new look of short bleach blonde hair makes Smith look like a different man from his WWE days. All Slim Shady jokes aside, separating your look from a failed WWE tenure is always a good idea. The career of Smith is much better with the change so you have to respect it.
10 Looks The Same: Torrie Wilson
The post-wrestling life for Torrie Wilson has treated her well. Wilson stayed in the spotlight during her relationship with MLB star Alex Rodriguez and found a new career path in fitness. The social media pages of Wilson will show pictures of her in revealing outfits showing she looks essentially the same, except more ripped than her wrestling days.
Wilson’s fitness work clearly pays off as she has not been hit with the aging process at all. The hair, facial features and overall look of Torrie looks exactly the same as her WWE days. It's a bit surprising WWE and Wilson has not been in talks to return given how great she looks. Torrie was never the greatest wrestler but the fact that she looks the same can provide value as a manager.
9 Totally Different: Shane Douglas
Shane Douglas was in WWE over 20 years ago, it would make sense to realize that he looks different but the changes are still shocking. The years have not been kind to Douglas with most of the usual aging process pains all hitting him. Douglas still wrestles on the independent circuit most weekends on smaller shows but he looks nothing like "The Franchise" fans remember.
There is a bit of sadness attached to watching Douglas perform at his current age since it shows when you look at him. Douglas does not have any reason left to wrestle other than money and love of the sport. While both are likely valid, the decline in his look and the inability to keep up with the average wrestlers is not the best way to end such a respected career.
8 Totally Different: Dean Malenko
Another wrestler hit with the aging process is Dean Malenko. The legendary cruiserweight in WCW did some underrated work in WWE following the move before retiring. Malenko was regarded as one of the greatest technical wrestlers of all time. The potential of Malenko with anything left against today’s stars could provide many dream matches.
Sadly, Malenko is in no shape to compete in the ring. The visibly older Malenko has lost most of his hair, keeps it grey and has put on some weight like most of us would in our 50s. Malenko did find a way to contribute by becoming one of the top producers in WWE. We get to see his wrestling genius on display with his ideas taking place in today’s matches. You may recognize his wrestling in others’ work more than you would see looking at him these days.
7 Looks The Same: Virgil
Virgil’s existence in the wrestling world today is a story itself but the most surprising aspect may be that he looks exactly the same. The aging process has not hit Virgil as much as it has his peers. Considering Virgil barely did much work in the ring, that likely contributed to his youth remaining with him. Virgil always had a shaved head as well meaning he didn’t have any hair to lose like others.
You can find Virgil looking exactly as he did in the 90s wearing old wrestling shirts trying to pressure you into buying merchandise at conventions. Virgil is known for doing anything possible to squeeze extra money out of fans. The sad part is you can’t even pretend to not remember him since his appearance hasn’t changed much.
6 Totally Different: Ahmed Johnson
A sad change for a wrestler has seen Ahmed Johnson lose just about everything that made him stand out in WWE. Vince McMahon once believed Johnson would be a top star and potential WWE Champion in the 90s due to his incredible physique. Johnson was often paired with Shawn Michaels and other top tier faces in hopes of it making fans believe he was on that level.
The lack of actual wrestling talent saw Johnson’s push end. His career would follow suit after leaving WWE. Aside from an irrelevant WCW run, Johnson did nothing of note and we can see why he doesn’t try to wrestle anymore. Johnson has gained a lot of weight and looks nothing like the physical beast he once was. Ahmed claims to be happier than ever outside of wrestling so we can at least see some joy in that.
5 Totally Different: Lex Luger
Another 90s star that Vince McMahon loved due to his physique was Lex Luger. At one point, McMahon wanted Luger to replace Hulk Hogan as the new face of the company. Luger couldn’t thrive at that level and was sent down to the mid-card before moving back to WCW. Every wrestling fan to watch Luger knows his look was the main reason both companies invested a lot of money and time into the wrestling star.
That makes it even sadder to watch today as Luger looks like a shell of his bodybuilding days. Various health issues have hurt the body of Luger along with getting off the drugs he used to get such a look from in the 90s. Luger looks quite old with shorter hair and visibly just looks like a different man with his facial features. The physical health of Luger has actually improved from the days of his quadriplegic issues allowing him to walk again so there are some positives to the story.
4 Looks The Same: Lita
The look of Lita has not suffered one bit since retiring from the ring almost a decade ago. Lita was a trendsetter and one of the greatest female wrestlers in WWE history. The end of her career saw her miserable due to the drama associated with the whole Edge and Matt Hardy love triangle. Lita has stated that retiring and leaving the business for a few years was her best decision.
Anyone can clearly see she’s still in tremendous shape and has found a way to get her health back up after the battle with depression. WWE hired Lita for a few years as a broadcaster and she looked very similar to her wrestling days. Lita could have easily returned for a couple of matches against the top stars of the women’s revolution but decided to leave the spotlight to the full-time performers.
3 Totally Different: Raven
Raven had one of the cooler looks in wrestling during 90s. During his WWE time, he stood out as one of the few male wrestlers with red hair and often experimented with different looks that no one else had. It's sad today to see the aging process hit Raven in a major way, especially since he's still attempting to wrestle occasionally on the independent wrestling scene.
A weight gain and the loss of hair have made Raven look like a different person from the 90s wrestling star that traveled from WWE to WCW to ECW. Raven struggles to perform in the ring and appears to be looking to become a full-time podcaster on the Talk is Jericho Network. That would be a better fit since his voice is much more similar to his prime years than his appearance.
2 Totally Different: Melina
One of the more surprising and drastic changes from a wrestler in recent years would be the case of Melina. The athleticism of Melina is still there as she remains in good shape. All changes were Melina’s decision to completely change her look to differentiate her look from her time in WWE. Short blonde hair has made Melina almost unrecognizable to the average WWE fan unless doing a double take.
Melina attended college for a few years and wanted to change her look so no fans from her old days would easily spot her. A recent return to the wrestling scene sees her keep the look as she seems to enjoy it. Melina was on a rumored WWE list of former stars they’d consider bringing back and she seems okay to returning, so we may very well see her new look on the big stage one day.
1 Looks The Same: John Morrison
John Morrison was the partner of Melina on and off screen for many years. The talent of Morrison made him a good bet on becoming a future WWE main eventer and World Champion. It just never happened for him with WWE not going all the way. Morrison made the decision to leave the company and start an acting career.
Lucha Underground made a great offer to make Morrison one of the faces of their promotion as they looked to grow. Morrison is still in incredible shape and has not made any changes to his look. There have been almost no changes to his appearance. Morrison appears identical in Lucha Underground and movies to how he did during his final WWE years. The impressive look and talent of Morrison will likely land him back in WWE again one day.