There is a lot of stress that can weigh on the minds of professional athletes, especially those within professional wrestling. But it’s the physical kind of weight that really put a damper or elevate one’s status in the industry. Depending on the opinion of the promoter, a wrestler can be too big or too small to be considered a dependable person to book as a top guy or girl.
The reasons for gaining muscle mass or dropping fat can vary for various reasons. For some, it’s a matter of having a better appearance to receive a better standing in the promotion. Then there are veterans who have allowed themselves to go a little bit, or a lot. Some of them allowed their negative mass to gain as a side effect to drugs and alcohol abuse. Others just didn’t care to exercise that much.
But for every negative case of a wrestler’s body transforming, there are just as many stories of wrestlers who were able to turn things around. Maybe rehabilitation allowed for one wrestler to discover newfound health. Or maybe someone increasing in age was able to change their lifestyle to improve their health even more so.
The following is a list of 10 wrestlers who made transformations to their bodies for the best – whether for their careers or personal health. This list also features 10 wrestlers who did the complete opposite and saw their bodies take a major decline in overall health.
20 BETTER – Vince McMahon
As we get older, maintaining and achieving peak physical conditioning become harder and harder. That’s why for someone like Vince McMahon to look like a chiseled demi-god at the age of 71. It’s even more impressive when you consider that McMahon wasn’t necessarily a fit looking person at the commentary table during WWE’s Golden Era years in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
But through the Attitude Era, McMahon would reveal that he was certainly working out and training for marquee matches against the likes of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. It’s even more impressive considering that he looks just as good then as he does now. Then again, when you’re the boss of a $1.5 billion sports entertainment giant, you can set time aside to make massive gains at the gym.
19 WORSE - Lou Albano
Most wrestling fans might remember Captain Lou Albano as someone with a gut protruding from underneath his shirt and a beard and hairstyle that resembled that of a homeless man who just dug through a dumpster for lunch. Albano was considered a vile looking piece of humanity by the WWE announcers during the 1980s. But he didn’t always look that way. In fact, when he was an active wrestler from the 1950s to 1980s, he was in decent shape – considering the era.
But after his wrestling days were over and he became a manager, he let himself go. One would think he didn’t have to look so disgustingly overweight, but he apparently felt it was part of him portraying a heel manager in WWE. Regardless of how he was judged physically, Albano would go one to be one of the best managers until he passed away at age 76 in 2009.
18 BETTER– Jake Roberts
There was once a time when Jake “The Snake” Roberts looked closer to death’s door than achieving good health. He was considered by many of today’s wrestlers to be one of the best ring psychologists. But substance abuse during his career certainly put a cap on what could have been a bigger run. Things started to become worse in 1999 when he was shown in a negative light in the documentary “Beyond the Mat.”
During the 2000s, Roberts’ physical appearance worsened to a point where former WCW World Heavyweight Champion Diamond Dallas Page offered his home as a haven of recovery in 2012. Roberts would begin living a clean lifestyle. Within a year, Roberts lost about 70 pounds thanks to Page’s DDPYoga. Roberts is now enjoying a healthier life on the road doing comedy.
17 WORSE - Chris Harris
Chris Harris was once considered part of the best tag team in TNA Wrestling history. During the promotion’s earliest years, Harris teamed James Storm to form America’s Most Wanted. Together they won the NWA World Tag Team Championship on six separate occasions; Harris added a seventh reign with Elix Skipper for a short run. But in 2008, Harris would leave TNA and make the jump to WWE.
However, when he debuted on ECW as Braden Walker, he only lasted a month on television. Fans noticed that he had seemingly put on weight and did not look like he was in the best shape of his career. Harris also believes that he was presented terribly and didn’t necessarily seem to think his extra weight was a factor. Harris did return to TNA in 2011 a brief stint, but has spent most of the past decade on the independent circuit.
16 BETTER – Bubba Ray Dudley
Throughout his decades of wrestling with Extreme Championship Wrestling, WCW and WWE, Bubba Ray Dudley was certainly a rounder wrestler in the ring. That never stopped him from being one of the best tag team wrestlers of his era, arguably of all time. However, Dudley made quite the interesting transformation when he went to TNA Wrestling in 2005. But he split from D-Von in 2010 and started working as a heel.
Over time, Bully Ray would noticeably shed pounds from his frame as he was elevated to the status of main event heel and TNA World Heavyweight Champion. Some would argue he was championship material long before his stint in TNA. But he took advantage of his singles run and certainly put in the work to show he was a right choice.
15 WORSE - Snitsky
When Gene Snitsky had an interesting debut in 2004, he was certainly a larger gentlemen with plenty of hair on his head and on his face. During a matter of three years, he was never really able to elevate himself past a mid-card status; usually working as a large, intimidating monster who squashed smaller enhancement talents. But in 2007, Snitsky debuted a new, horrifying look for WWE’s ECW brand.
Snitsky not only had his head completely shaved clean, but his teeth were actually painted a dark yellow color. But much like his early catchphrase, he claims it wasn’t his fault. During a 2010 interview with the Right After Wrestling podcast, Snitsky said Vince McMahon had the idea of him painting his teeth yellow – which was a tedious process he hated. The new look didn’t help Snitsky, who would be released in late 2008.
14 BETER – Goldust
The times that Dustin Rhodes has made the jump from WWE to the competitor at any given time has seen a number of changes. He’s mostly known for his portrayal as Goldust, who was once considered one of the best characters from the 1990s. However, there were times where he looked to be on the decline to an unfortunate end to his career. Back in 2010, he revealed that he was suffering from a major drug problem while working for TNA Wrestling from 2006 to 2007.
Back then, he looked as if he ballooned during his run as Black Reign. He made a return to WWE in 2008 before going back to the independent circuit. But during his recent WWE stint that started in 2013, Goldust has noticeably lost weight. At one point, he commented that he lost about 60 pounds during a no-carb diet. At 48, he looks to be in a condition he hasn’t been in for a long time.
13 WORSE - Ahmed Johnson
Ahmed Johnson was seemingly only pushed for having a desirable look when he debuted in the WWE, with Vince McMahon even making him the first ever African-American Intercontinental Champion. Unfortunately, Johnson kept suffering from injuries and he was eventually released by the company in 1998. Following a move to WCW, Ahmed changed his in-ring name to Big T and around that time, he started to get noticeably rounder. His weight issues have continued today and now, he is has become a lot bigger than what fans remember him being. At least he's using the most important muscle in the body; his brain, as Johnson has earned a degree in criminology since retiring from wrestling. He's also joined a class-action lawsuit against WWE for hiding the effects of concussions.
12 BETTER – Jinder Mahal
There has to be something said for someone who went from being released by the WWE in 2014, return in an enhancement talent role in 2016 and then become the WWE Champion in 2017. Jinder Mahal never amazed anyone during his time with the WWE – both on the main roster and in developmental – from 2010 to 2014. But his return saw him a lot more physically built than ever before.
Mahal said during an interview with GQ that he changed his diet, with habits of snacking on junk food and beer to a more structured diet, which included using a meal prep company that worked on what he was consuming. He also noted that it was around that time that he began putting in more dedication to the gym. While some have joked about his quick muscle gain, this kind of impressive transformation does happen when people dedicate themselves to a strict diet and training regimen.
11 WORSE - Kerwin White
This entry in the list is a little bit different in terms of someone transforming themselves. Chavo Guerrero, Jr., spent several years in WCW and WWE as one of the best cruiserweights. He also had a successful tag team run with his uncle Eddie to win championship gold. But in 2005, the WWE had Guerrero go in a completely different direction. One that required trading in his proud Mexican heritage for a golf cart that came with clubs and a caddy – who turned out to be the future Dolph Ziggler.
The Kerwin White character was racially insensitive with Guerrero saying “If it’s not white, it’s not right.” The gimmick died as soon as his uncle Eddie suddenly passed away in late 2005 from heart failure. It was probably a blessing in disguise, because the gimmick was certainly going to lead to career suicide if it stuck around long enough. At least he didn’t go the full Sammy Sosa route.
10 BETTER – Stephanie McMahon
The Billion Dollar Princess in the WWE has matured in front of the eyes of wrestling fans for years. She’s grown into the role of authority figure over time and that alone has been impressive. But what deserves a lot of credit is how she has been able to not only maintain her figure, but improve with age. It’s hard for any mother to stay in top physical shape. But Stephanie has been able to keep a strict training schedule despite the demands of being a working mom.
Her efforts haven’t gone unnoticed as she has graced the cover of Muscle and Fitness magazine with her husband, Triple H, who has also maintained a respectable physique despite his aging. This kind of transformation is especially noteworthy; just ask any woman who has delivered multiple children. Baby weight is the hardest to get rid of for many.
9 WORSE - Tammy “Sunny” Sytch
Long before female stars like Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair got the wrestling bug, and well before fans knew who Trish Stratus and Lita were, Sunny was one of the WWE’s first divas in the 1990s. She was the most watched woman in wrestling from 1995 to 1998. But through the years, Tammy Sytch has developed quite a negative reputation. Her name became synonymous with drugs and lewd acts to gain them.
Her physical appearance certainly fell a few notches as she would be seen adding a few pounds. The number of mug shots that can be found online certainly have not helped her image either. It doesn’t seem like she has gotten any better as she had to be admitted to an emergency room twice in a one-week period last month. It is a shame to see someone who was one of the most beautiful women in wrestling having fallen so far from grace.
8 BETTER – Brian Cage
Fans who saw Brian Cage compete in WWE’s developmental territory from 2006 to 2008, and even in a second stint as Kris Logan from 2008 to 2009, noticed that he’s quite a lot larger than before. Through the past decade, Cage has swelled up to an impressive 250 pounds. Some might think his sudden transformation could have come from unnatural sources. But it turns out that his transformation really started after he finished high school in 2002.
In an interview with ShreddyBrek.com, Cage revealed that he weighed only 154 pounds out of high school. Now the pro wrestling and bodybuilder has become one of the more popular names in professional wrestling through Lucha Underground and Pro Wrestling Guerilla. Not a lot of big men move with the agility that Cage does. There’s a reason he’s been nicknamed the Machine.
7 WORSE - Scott Steiner
You could definitely argue that Scott Steiner in fact changed his body for the better, as he developed bulging biceps and his new look may have helped him get a bigger push in the singles division once he and his brother Rick split as a tag team. However, in terms of his in-ring work, it definitely limited what he could do in the ring. Steiner used to be able to pull off ridiculous moves for a man his size including the Frankensteiner, but by the time he got to WWE in 2002, he would routinely get gassed in the middle of matches and his offense was very limited.
Steiner has lasted to today as an active wrestler, but it's debated whether Steiner was better before or after gaining all that extra muscle mass.
6 BETTER – Matt Morgan
Matt Morgan was billed as the Blueprint during his time in TNA Wrestling. He had the look of a physical specimen. But he wasn’t always well built during his athletic career. During a 2013 interview with WrestlingInc.com, Morgan commented weighing about 380 pounds before he was able to try out for the second season of Tough Enough. He actually did everything he could to run into Vince McMahon, since he lived and worked near the WWE headquarters.
Through the years since he began working for WWE developmental in 2004, into the main roster and now working elsewhere, Morgan trimmed his body down to under 320 pounds. Even when he was at his heaviest, Morgan was a well scouted athlete with basketball and football backgrounds – even having a tryout with the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League. But Morgan was able to transform his body during the prime years of his in-ring career.
5 WORSE – Kassius Ohno
This might not seem complete fair, because it’s not necessarily a matter of the wrestler not taking good care of his body. However, seeing the change from when Kassius Ohno was last seen in WWE’s NXT in 2013 to his recent years on the independent circuit as Chris Hero. Hero has always been known for being a big guy in the world of wrestling, but he was down to a good amount of weight during his time in NXT – claiming he was weighed at about 197 a month before being let go in 2013.
But in the years that followed, Hero’s weight ballooned up to about 260 pounds. Hero said his doctors found that he had a mild thyroid issue actually began affecting him in 2011. It was one thing to lose weight with the strict workouts at the WWE Performance Center. His current stint in NXT after a return earlier this year still shows an Ohno quite larger than before.
4 BETTER - Mick Foley
It’s safe to say that most wrestling fans have never considered Mick Foley to be one of the best looking wrestlers of all time. Whether he took the ring as Mankind, Cactus Jack or Dude Love, Foley was a little bit larger than most, but not morbidly obese like a super heavyweight. But during the late 2000s and into the current decade, fans have seen Foley’s hair and/or beard grow more wooly. His posture was not necessarily one with a lot of grace. And his size increased gradually. Now a lot of this can be credited to a body that has given everything possible – including countless gallons of blood and a few body parts – to the industry.
However around a year and a half ago, Foley took on DDP Yoga and made massive changes to his diet. After about a year, Foley had lost 100 pounds and today, he's even lighter than he was during his career. Way to go Mick!
3 WORSE - Yokozuna
Professional wrestling has a number of titans who were promoted based on their size – i.e. Andre the Giant, King Kong Bundy and several others. But even when the WWE brings you in for your sheer size, there is a limit to how big you can be. Yokozuna was a perfect example of someone who let themselves go too far, costing them their job and eventually, their life. Yokozuna was billed at weighing more than 550 pounds during his early 1990s WWE run.
But by 1996, he swelled even more with the announcers saying he was nearly 700 pounds. He certainly looked it. Not just because he was bigger. But he moved slower and looked exhausted easier. The WWE tried to get him to lose weight, but he didn’t lose enough before being released in 1998. He would eventually pass away in 2000 from pulmonary edema. He weighed 558 pounds at the time of his death.
2 BETTER – Big Show
For the longest time, Paul Wight (a.k.a. The Big Show) tipped the scales well above the 500-pound mark. There were times where he dropped some weight, but quickly gained it back. It wasn’t too long ago where fans joked that his name should be changed to “The Big Slow.” Obviously, the combination of a larger weight at his increasing age was becoming a factor in the second half of his wrestling career.
But in early 2017, Big Show began posting pictures of his impressive weight loss. During a time he was trying to push for a match with basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal for WrestleMania 33, Big Show showed off something fans had never seen from the seven-time world champion – six-pack abs. Now with his weight below 400 pounds, Big Show’s current WWE run shows him in the best physical shape of his life.
1 WORSE - Eddie Guerrero
Eddie Guerrero will be known as one of the best cruiserweights who led the division during its early years in World Championship Wresting in the 1990s. And while Latino Heat had plenty of charisma to be a star in WWE, very few would have ever expected Guerrero to become a main event star in his later years. In 2004, Guerrero earned an upset win over Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship. He would go on for a few months with memorable title matches before losing it to JBL.
But Guerrero’s transformation continued as he became more noticeably built. Despite being a smaller guy, he looked more suited for the heavyweight division. Unfortunately, his past drug abuse actually damaged his blood vessels, which couldn’t keep up with the increased exercise he did to prepare for what seemed like another championship push. Unfortunately, Guerrero would die in the previously mentioned heart attack.
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