An industry that has been largely based on the superficial throughout time, if you asked most wrestling fans with a grasp on the history of the business that has reached its zenith in the WWE. A company with one man whose opinion means by far the most, it is the tastes of Vince McMahon that makes a large impact on a performer’s career and he has a track record of liking a certain kind of look. That is why it is so interesting to see when a former WWE star undergoes a massive change in the way they look to the eye. In some cases that can mean transforming from their pre-WWE image and in others it is when someone changes visually after departing the company but it is of interest either way. Realizing that is what inspired us to put together this list of fifteen unrecognizable pictures of former wrestling stars that will shock you.
In order for someone to be up for consideration to be included on this list, they first and foremost need to have made a living under the WWE umbrella at one point or another. Considering that the company bought WCW we’ve opted to include their former roster members as possible entries for this list as well. For the purposes of this list, it doesn’t matter if they were a regular contributor in the ring, or if they’ve ever fought in the squared circle at all, as long as they were a part of the business. Obviously, it should go without saying that they need to have become well enough known at some point in their career that fans would recognize the way they looked at the height of the career. Finally, it doesn’t matter if their main claim to fame came as part of a different company.
First becoming a superstar while he was a standout of the Mexican wrestling scene, Vampiro would eventually be crowned the World Champion three times in his career. If that weren’t evidence enough of the strength of his career the fact that each reign featured a different company should be.Best known in North America for his run in WCW, which is the reason he qualifies for this list since the WWE bought that company out, he served as the friend and foe of Sting, among others. Most recently gaining attention in North America for his work with Lucha Underground, he has served as both a commentator and manager for that company. A very different looking person today than at the height of his career, he rarely wears makeup, has a shaved head, and has packed on a large amount of weight.
Inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011, during the run-up to that event the company consistently referred to Sunny as the first “Diva”. A term they no longer use these days as women wrestlers deserve to be called just that, it is safe to say that she deserved that distinction as she was the first of her kind in the history of the company. Also well remembered for managing three straight WWE tag team champion teams, she turned on her allies at a moment’s notice if it was to her advantage. Since leaving the business, however, things have not been rosy for her. Arrested over and over during the last decade, her personal life has transformed just like her looks have as her once fit body is now much larger.
13 Shane Douglas
A performer that worked for all three of the companies that people in North America associate with the zenith of the business, Shane Douglas made his mark during the Attitude Era. Interestingly enough he was the least successful during his WWE run as Dean Douglas but as an ECW wrestler, he was a part of that company’s watershed moment where they broke from the NWA. Also a memorable part of WCW during the final years of its existence, The Franchise feuded with the likes of Ric Flair, Billy Kidman, and many more. Eventually, he made the move to TNA where he spent years working as a manager as well as serving as an agent behind the scenes. No longer working in the ring like he once did, it seems that he saw the change as an opportunity to forget his diet and working out as he is now twice the size he once was.
12 Dawn Marie
A woman that was able to make a name for herself as part of ECW’s roster, that company never had a proper women’s division so Dawn Marie and her female cohorts had to make their mark in other ways. Serving as the manager of acts like The Impact Players as well as Simon and Swinger, she was good enough at what she did that the WWE ended up hiring her to work for them. Unfortunately, her time there is best remembered for her part in an atrocious storyline that saw her feuding with Torrie Wilson and romancing her father Al Wilson. Still, observers of her career know that she was far better than that feud ever was. Prone to wearing outfits that revealed much of her body during the entirety of her career, she was well known for her slender body but these days that has changed.
11 “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase
Remembered by many longtime wrestling fans as one of the best bad guys in the history of the WWE, “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase was a marvelous part of the Rock N’ Wrestling era. Cast as a wealthy man who bought whatever his heart desired, Ted’s character used his pocketbook to buy the loyalties of others that would do his bidding. Also a fantastic manager, he led The Million Dollar Corporation which was the most powerful faction in the company at one time. Inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2010, he absolutely deserved the accolade for his many accomplishments. Never known for having a chiseled physique during his career, it is still surprising to see him with a large stomach but it is the shabby way that he dresses during public events that gives us whiplash.
10 Ahmed Johnson
At one time seemingly tapped by Vince McMahon to be one of his biggest stars, during the early days of Ahmed Johnson’s WWE career he ran over a number of major stars. A massive man with arms that were as big as tree trunks, there is no doubt that he possessed a great deal of physical strength during his feuds with the likes of The Nation of Domination and others. Then he was released from the company in 1998 only to resurface the following year after he was given a contract from their major competitor at the time, WCW. Brought in to feud with Booker T under the name Big T, they may have expected their audience to have a huge reaction but the problem is it took many a long time to realize who he was. By then having undergone a dramatic weight gain, once people figured out who he was one by one it was safe to say the change left their mouths agape.
A wrestler that was perfectly cast for the time in which he rose to the top of the business, Raven’s dark and brooding character was inspired by the grunge look that was popular during the nineties. A two-time ECW World Heavyweight Champion who also won that company’s Tag Team championship four times with three different partners, his time with that company was fantastic. Also awesome during his WCW tenure, he led The Flock, a group of wrestlers that dressed similarly to him and were prone to attacking his enemies. Eventually hired by the WWE, longtime fans saw his time there as a big disappointment even though he won their Hardcore Championship a shocking twenty-seven times. Another person who has let himself go, he still wears eye makeup some of the time but otherwise has dropped his previous look in the fashion department too.
8 Lex Luger
Another wrestler that rose to prominence in the wrestling business during the exact right time, the thing that made Lex Luger a unique entity is that his body was massively muscled. Just right for his era because the business was dominated by big men at that time, during the previous decades wrestlers had much more average bodies and that seems to be the trend again these days. A lot has been made of the fact that he was planned to be WWE Champion before they pulled the plug on it but he does deserve credit considering he was a two-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion. As such, there are lots of people that followed his career and have very clear memories of it but they might be surprised to see how he looks today. Someone who suffered a spinal infarction in the past, Lex’s body was affected by his health issues as his once massive body is now a fraction of its former size.
7 The Dynamite Kid
One half of The British Bulldogs, The Dynamite Kid along with his partner Dave Boy Smith were one of the best tag teams in the history of the WWE, let alone the business in general. Remarkable for his high-flying ways inside the ring, the way he flew around the ring truly stood out during a time in which the business was dominated by slow-moving big men. Also, well-remembered for the series of matches his team had against The Hart Foundation, Bret Hart and others have referred to him as one of the most influential people in the history of the business. Eventually forced to retire from the business due to severe issues with his back, this once ripped performer’s physical limitations has caused him to drop the muscle mass he was once known for.
A character that would not fly if it was introduced today, the man known as Kamala played a “wild savage” in the ring that didn’t communicate for himself. A man with a high level of staying power, he would work for a long list of companies during his career including the WWE, WCCW, Mid-South Wrestling, WCW, TNA, and even ROH. For the most part someone that didn’t rely on holding a championship in order to get over with audiences, instead it is Kamala’s movements and memorable noises that made him a big deal. Always known for the makeup he wore on his face and body, it isn’t surprising he no longer wears that but the fact that he had both of his legs amputated due to diabetes and high blood pressure is.
5 Ed Ferrara
An interesting figure in the history of wrestling, Ed Ferrara’s most notable contribution to the business was serving as a writer for the WWE during the height of the Attitude Era. The partner of Vince Russo, one of the most controversial figures in the history of the business, Ed has managed to fall more in the shadows but one thing he did angered fans far and wide. Eventually hired by WCW, he was meant to serve as a writer for them but he would also go on to portray a character named Oklahoma which was a thinly veiled insult to Jim Ross, a beloved figure. Therefore a wrestler who also worked for the WWE for a number of years, he, therefore, qualifies for this list. Spending most of his adult life looking like an everyday Joe, he made the ridiculous choice to have long dreadlocks during his days working on screen for TNA and looked much more stupid than typical.
Someone that started out her time in the business as a performer for ECW, Jazz was inspired to become a wrestler by Jacqueline Moore and followed in her footsteps by becoming a total badass. Brought in by the WWE, she was compared to Chyna as she was immensely muscular and looked as though she could beat the crap out of her opponents. Unfortunately, she was never quite given the push by the company that she deserved as she only had two short runs as champion and was often relegated to feuds on the undercard. Still, if you watched their product at the time she was an unforgettable part of their roster. That is why we find it so surprising that her body that was once completely ripped is much more average these days and we can no longer make out any of her muscles.
3 Tank Abbott
One of the most memorable fighters during the early days of the UFC when it was a lot more freeform, Tank Abbott gained a lot of attention as he didn’t seem to care about the competition side of things. Instead, when he was interviewed prior to his bouts he boasted of how much he enjoys beating people up which is why some saw him as a perfect fit for the over the top wrestling business. Hired by WCW during the final years of the company, at one time he was even earmarked to win their World Championship by the man in charge of their creative. Well known for his bald head and goatee during his time in the business, recently he had longer hair that is shockingly luxurious and his beard brings to mind one worn by Santa Claus.
A different kind of entry since we are comparing the Batista we came to know while on the WWE roster to a previous version of him, Dave’s look improved greatly. Cast as a demonic character named Leviathan while he was a part of Ohio Valley Wrestling, that was a company the WWE used as a training ground for their would be stars that were under contract. At that time possessing a few of the tattoos that he has since come to be known for, by then he’d also amassed the body that we’ve come to know him for. Those details aside, however, his facial hair, eyebrows, colored contact lenses, and that awful chain around his neck make him look very different. We have to say, in this case, the change that he would undergo is a very positive one.
1 Perry Saturn
First coming to the attention of much of the wrestling audience when he was one-half of the ECW tag team The Eliminators, Perry Saturn’s career started on a high. Eventually signed away by Eric Bischoff and WCW, once there he entered the ranks of Raven’s Flock only to be the first to break free of his influence and not only challenge his leader but usurp authority. From there involved in feuds with many of the most respected members of that company’s roster, he and three of his peers would go on to make the leap to the WWE together and be christened The Radicalz. Sticking around as a part of the WWE’s roster for a couple of years, he would then work on the independents briefly before disappearing completely from the public eye. Presumed dead by many since there seemed to be no trace of him, when Perry resurfaced he had a tattoo on his face and these days he looks thin and sickly, especially in comparison to his former self.