The Attitude Era defined the late 90s. Every wrestling fan looks back fondly at that point in time as the absolute best time to be alive, and for good reason. You had Superstars like Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Mankind, and The Undertaker, and each of them had that uncanny ability to keep your eyes glued to your television sets week in and week out. They defined the era... but that was close to two decades ago.
That begs the question: How have some of the most notable characters aged since that golden era of wrestling? Growing older is an inevitable part of life, but some wrestlers have had a much better time adjusting to one of nature's biggest dilemmas. This list is going to highlight 15 wrestlers who -- while, yes, have gotten almost 20 years older -- somehow still look better than ever.
Other wrestlers may have succumbed to the fate of the progression of time (and definitely a slower metabolism), but not these 40 to 50 year-olds. These wrestlers have aged like an expensive bottle of wine and we're here to celebrate their fountain of youth. Sure, they might have a few grey hairs here and there, but we're looking at the whole picture.
So without further ado, let's get to those late 90s wrestlers who make the rest of us want to hit the gym a little harder!
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15 Edge & Christian
Edge and Christian got their big break with the company at a moment when The Attitude Era was in full-swing. They were both very young and very green when they debuted as characters that were quickly aligned with Gangrel to form The Brood, but they were both able to make the most out of their Gothic gimmicks and became two of the most memorable stars of the era.
While Edge recently retired in 2011 stemming from his various neck injuries (he admitted that he was on "borrowed time" during his retirement speech), they each have spent their time well and WWE has kept them busy with their own show on the WWE Network aptly called The Edge and Christian Show That Totally Reeks of Awesomeness. They're not exactly old (they're both just in their early 40s), but they still look like they both could hop right back into the ring at any time.
14 Booker T
Booker T has looked practically the same throughout his entire career, give or take a different haircut or two. No kidding! Go to Google right now and search "Booker T" (also "wrestler," otherwise you'll get an unrelated Booker T. Washington results) and see if you can tell how recently the photo was taken. The guy simply does not age and it's hard to try to look at a picture and figure exactly how old he is in that given photo.
He's accomplished so many things over the course of his career that it's almost unfathomable to think that he's had the time to be able to maintain his appearance to the point where he looks like a million dollars every single day. He was recently hospitalized and we wish him the absolute best, but based on how well he has always looked, we know that Booker will be back to his usual self in no time.
13 Rob Van Dam
For any fan that grew up watching WCW and WWE during the Monday Night Wars, ECW had a legitimate reason to think that they could potentially put up a fight by trying to compete with the bigger two companies, and one of the major reasons why they felt that way was because of three simple words: "Mr. Monday Night."
Rob Van Dam had all of the criteria of a major Superstar: looks, charisma, athleticism; you name it, he had it. During his time in WWE, after both WCW and ECW folded, he became the WWE Superstar that everyone knew he could be, but just how well has he fared after riding off into the sunset? Well, simply put, he looks terrific. There are a lot of recent shoot interviews that you can find around the internet and every one of them has Rob looking like he hasn't aged one bit. On top of everything else the guy does, if he can also defy aging like the rest of the world, what can't the guy do?
12 Bob Holly
Flexin for food at the Japanese Steak House on my Bday!! :) pic.twitter.com/MYMACs6M2D— Bob Holly (@TheBobHolly) February 1, 2015
Remember when Bob Holly debuted in the WWE as Thurman "Sparky" Plugg in 1994 as a racecar driver turned professional wrestler? He was a little scrawny back then, but he became a legit force with the WWE during The Attitude Era, when he was known simply as Hardcore Holly, due to his successful run in their hardcore division.
What does he look like these days? Time has been very good to Holly, who more or less looks exactly like he did when he was at his professional peak in the early 2000s. Maybe he's lost some hair (he never really had all that much to begin with), but he made up for it by adding a giant arm tattoo that looks like something that belongs on Mike Tyson's face. All in all, we'd say that Holly looks great for a 53 year old grizzled veteran of the squared circle.
11 Billy Gunn
Superstars like Stone Cold Steve Austin have often mentioned that Billy Gunn was always one of those guys that you never really understood how big of a presence he actually was until you got close to him, because his looks were very deceiving. Standing at 6'4" and having one hell of a physique, he didn't exactly tower over everyone else, but he sure did look like he could take on the world. The "Bad Ass" moniker that he went under during The Attitude Era was very appropriate, to say the least.
How's he looking these days? He was seen berating the poor souls who choose to endure the Tough Enough television series and Billy Gunn looks like he could still go toe to toe with anyone currently in the company. He was recently fired from the WWE as an NXT coach for using PEDs, so he's had some help to keep his good looks.
Dustin Runnels never had a terrific physique, but he still looks practically the same as he did when he debuted the Goldust character in the late '90s. Goldust always was an interesting gimmick and one that has been credited with kick-starting the shift from the family friendly product that the WWE had been offering all throughout the Hulkamania craze of the late '80s to the more risqué product that defined the new era of professional wrestling.
Sure, it's pretty easy to look practically the same after 20 years when you wear black and gold face paint, but the idea remains the same: He's been able to maintain the same look and ability for the last 20 years, which is saying something. It's never easy walking in the footsteps of a legend like Dusty Rhodes, but we're giving credit to Dustin for establishing himself as a legend of the industry in his own right.
9 Ken Shamrock
Ken Shamrock was one of UFC's first ever champions and had a hugely successful career with the organization, which is undoubtedly why Vince McMahon figured that Shamrock would be a perfect fit for his company. Vince was right, as Shamrock enjoyed a very accomplished tenure during The Attitude Era by winning several championships throughout his time in WWE and, even though that was a long time ago, Shamrock still looks like his old self.
Aside from natural blemishes that come with the territory of aging, Shamrock is still more ripped than most people could ever dream of becoming and it still looks like he could give another go at wrestling if it hadn't have suffered a career-ending neck injury that forced him out of the ring. However, if there's one thing to point out that makes him look pretty ridiculous, it's gotta be those Wolverine sideburns. Not the greatest look, Shamrock.
8 Molly Holly
One of the better female wrestlers to ever grace the squared circle, Molly Holly (Nora Greenwald) is best remembered for doing something that not too many women would be brave enough to do. When she learned that WWE had no plans on having the Women's Championship match even make the show (WM XX), Molly decided to take matters into her own hands and forced them to let her have her "WrestleMania moment."
She went to the writers and asked that if she did something absolutely crazy, would she be able to get herself onto the show of shows? Her idea was simple: she'd shave her head bald. The writers thought that it was a terrific idea and she went through with the plan without thinking twice. These days she still looks just as good as she ever did before and it's also nice to hear that after her retirement from wrestling, she now spends the majority of her time working with a charity that assists troubled teenagers in need.
7 The Rock
Perhaps the single most famous wrestler to ever convert from the squared circle to mainstream success in Hollywood, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson continues to shine as the most electrifying man not only in sports entertainment, but blockbuster entertainment of all kinds. As for him aging, well, he's done his absolute best to continue to get extraordinarily jacked almost beyond recognition compared to his earlier days when he was simply known as Rocky Maivia.
Aside from his choice to go completely bald, there would be no other way to tell that The Rock isn't still in his mid-twenties, occasionally stepping into the ring from time to time in order to bury the current WWE talent (see: WrestleMania 32). He's achieved more success than anyone else in the business and he looks as if he could lift a bus above his head and throw it over a highway at any moment, if he so pleased.
6 Triple H
Here's an example of a guy who never wanted to say goodbye to the industry, so he decided to marry the boss' daughter and become a behind-the-scenes executive for the WWE. We're only kidding, but it's kind of the truth…
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (Paul Levesque) was one of the major players during The Attitude Era alongside his best friend and D-Generation X member Shawn Michaels, and together they defined the word "attitude." They certainly helped deliver WWE into the era that everyone remembers so well and since those days are well behind him, he managed to develop into more of a corporate role within the company, but not without putting himself inside the ring as one of the better heels of the last decade or so.
How does he look now? Since he's still a prominent figure on television on a weekly basis, it's surely no surprise that he looks nearly the same as he did a decade and a half ago, aside from him shaving his head and growing a slight beard. The Game has been through it all, but he still comes off as a guy who loves the business and wants to be in the spotlight at some capacity.
5 Chris Jericho
Japanese @wwenxt sensation @shinsukenakamura is on #TalkIsJericho NOW...and he speaks good English! He talks being roommates w @bryanldanielson, why he left @njpw1972 for @wwe, his love for #Mexico, how @michaeljackson influenced his wrestling style, changing his attitude on life after the tsunamis of 2011, learning to speak English, why his heroes are #BruceLee, #jackiechan #FreddyMercury, how surfing relaxes his mind and body, his first meeting w #VinceMcMahon, stealing the show w @samizayn.wwe in #Dallas, his goals for @wwe, his favorite #MichaelJackson & @queenwillrockyou songs and more NOW on @podcastone & @itunes!
Wrestlers often feel like they're rock stars, but very few of them can actually claim to be both. Chris Jericho spent a lot of time building his own brand by wrestling in various federations across the world: Mexico, Germany, Japan, Canada, and, of course, the United States, but he's also spent a considerable amount of time touring the world with his band Fozzy. Going from being one kind of rock star to another isn't the easiest of tasks and can take its toll on even the best people in each respective business, but Jericho has seemingly been able to bridge the gap with little to no problems at all.
How does he look? Given that he has to constantly maintain a public image, he unsurprisingly looks like he's fit to still be both a wrestler and a lead singer of a metal band. Shorter hair, yes, but everything else remains quite the same.
4 Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle was a huge part of what made The Attitude Era so successful and Vince McMahon is lucky that he landed a talent of his nature. Angle was already a legit gold medal Olympian, so when he made the transition from real wrestling to sports entertainment, there was little question about his in-ring ability, but there was a lot of uncertainty about how well he'd adjust to "the business." Needless to say, Angle was able to make a name for himself quite easily and is remembered as one of the key components of The Attitude Era.
How does he look today? Well, when he came into the WWE, he had a full head of hair but quickly went with the bald look and ever since that change, he has maintained relatively the same look for the last 15 years. He's rumored to be returning to the WWE sometime in the future and, at 47 years old, it certainly won't be as easy as it was back then, however, he certainly still looks the part and should be able to return to his old self in no time.
3 Stone Cold Steve Austin
No other man personified the entire Attitude Era as much as one wrestler: Stone Cold Steve Austin. His character was everything that the fans were clamoring for and his look was minimal and perfect: black boots, black trunks, black knee pads, black wrist tape, a shaved head, and a goatee. His style was essential for the time and he became the industry's biggest star by a landslide. Although he was forced to ride off into the sunset earlier than he would have liked, he has kept himself in the spotlight.
By doing a rather successful bi-weekly podcast and hosting his show Broken Skull Challenge, he clearly keeps himself in shape for whatever appearances he may have in the public sector. While he is now in his early 50s, he doesn't look a day older than he did in the late '90s, aside from the typical muscle loss that comes with the territory of no longer being an active wrestler. He looks great, but surprisingly not as great as the next person on our list.
2 Al Snow
We know it's pretty unbelievable, but Al Snow looks like he's ready to audition to become the new Hulk in whatever Marvel reboot that Hollywood decides to put out next. No joke! Hulk Hogan used to brag about his 24 inch pythons that he had for arms, but if you were to say that someone else is challenging him for that title, Al Snow would have been awfully far down on that list. However, that's not the case anymore.
He looks absolutely amazing and that's especially crazy considering that Al Snow was never really regarded as having a tremendous physique when he was at his professional peak almost 20 years ago in the late '90s/early 2000s. But recent photos and interviews with Al Snow show quite a stark contrast of how we used to remember him from The Attitude Era when he would write "HELP ME!" backwards across his forehead and come down to the ring with a mannequin head named "Head." He looks better than great, he looks like he hasn't aged a day in his life.
It's often said that men age better than women do and that point is always up for debate, but if anyone can be proof that the opposite is true it's former WWE "Diva" Ivory. In an episode of WWE's Table for 3, Alundra Blayze (Debrah Miceli), Molly Holly (Nora Greenwald), and Ivory (Lisa Moretti) all sat down and reminisced about their respective careers with WWE, and each of them looked like a million bucks.
We already addressed Molly Holly (and would have also mentioned Alundra had she been a prominent part of late '90s wrestling), but Ivory takes the cake for former wrestlers who look absolutely stunning after taking so many bumps in a wrestling ring. She's maintained every bit of her great looks and muscular figure, despite the fact that she claims to not work out. Whether or not that's true is also debatable, but nonetheless it goes without saying that her outward appearance speaks for itself.
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