The CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released a report in November of 2015 that discussed the obesity epidemic that is growing out of control throughout the United States. In the report it outlines the prevalence of obesity in Americans between 2011-2014. The alarming report reveals that 36% of Americans older than 20 years of age are obese while the number of Americans 19 years old or younger that are considered obese is 17%.
In professional wrestling, the majority of the wrestlers are built like Greek Gods. Their physiques look as if they were chiseled from stone. In fact, a lot of wrestlers have gone on to have successful careers as bodybuilders thanks to their constant weightlifting, working out, and conditioning that is required to remain a pro wrestling superstar.
However, not every professional wrestler is built like a sculpture. Some of them are out of shape and overweight to the point that it's the only thing we notice when we see them on television.
Using the Body Mass Index, or BMI, calculation as a baseline for this article, we have found 15 wrestlers that battled with obesity throughout their entire careers.
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15 The Shockmaster (440 pounds, 49.6 BMI)
Say what you want about WCW, it was once a legitimate promotion that beat WWE, for several months, in the ratings during the late '90s. They stole wrestlers from the WWE and put wrestlers that had trouble getting over in the WWE on the main stage, helping them to become fan favorites.
But before all of the success which ended up becoming the companies downfall, there was an incident during Clash of the Champions XXIV that involved a wrestler named Fred Ottoman who was introduced as, "The Shockmaster."
The legend of The Shockmaster started the moment he tripped onto the scene. During a Ric Flair segment at Clash of the Champions, he was introduced and was supposed to explode through the wall of the room but when the explosion went off, he tripped through the wall and lost his helmet, which was a Star Wars stormtrooper helmet covered in glitter, and had to grab it and get it back on.
It was so terrible, it became legendary.
14 Bastion Booger (401 lbs, 50.1 BMI)
According to stories told by many wrestlers, Bastion Booger was the wrestling name allegedly given to Mike Shaw from Vince McMahon and the WWE as a punishment for his weight. The huge, 6'3" wrestler was a slob that had pale white skin and was disgusting to look at. He was so bad, it was almost too hard to watch because he just made viewers sick. But that was just a gimmick and he did it to perfection.
He was never a World Champion and his biggest win came against Owen Hart, which should immediately tell you the type of wrestler Bastion Booger was in the WWE. He was a jobber. He was one of those hardworking guys that grinds it out, day after day, making money the hard way while also helping all of the other wrestlers he fought, get over. A jobber in wrestling is the same as having good backups or practice players in basketball. They make others work hard and get better every time they get in the ring.
13 Viscera (487 lbs, 52.2 BMI)
For his size, Viscera, also known as Mabel, Big Daddy V, Nelson Knigh,t and King V, was one of the most agile competitors in the WWE. He was huge and he weighed a ton but he could make some great moments during matches including the time he almost became the WWE's top heel, back in 1995.
Viscera, he was being called King Mabel at this time, was already the most hated heel in the company and was starting to make a run at the WWE World Championship belt, which was then held by Diesel, until Vince McMahon decided to change directions and put Davey Boy Smith on top the WWE, as the biggest heel. It was shocking to see someone work that hard and that long to get near the top before having the carpet pulled from under them, leaving them wondering what just happened.
Until this day, no one really understands what happened, or even why. Kevin Nash has discussed it during interviews but when he says anything, you have to take it with a grain of salt, after all he was a member of The Kliq.
12 Earthquake (468 lbs, 52.7 BMI)
Before John Tenta became known as WWE wrestler Earthquake, he was wrestling and playing football at Louisiana State University in the early '80s. If he wanted to be a pro wrestler, it was not obvious yet. He actually headed to Japan after he left LSU and became a successful sumo wrestler. People in Japan were not used to seeing a Caucasian of Canadian decent join sumo wrestling and dominate like he did. He won all 24 of his matches before retiring and moving to All-Japan Pro Wrestling.
It was during this time that the larger-than-life Tenta started to learn how to become a true pro wrestler and after just a few years, he was already appearing in dark matches with the WWE.
When he worked his way up the ladder of the WWE, he eventually started to become a heel that battled some of the biggest stars of the late '80s and early '90s. He competed with The Ultimate Warrior, Jake "the Snake" Roberts, Greg Valentine, and, at the peak of his career, Hulk Hogan.
11 King Kong Bundy (446 lbs, 54.3 BMI)
Thanks to his size, King Kong Bundy worked his way into a chance at becoming the WWE World Heavyweight Champion when he started feuding with Hulk Hogan, leading up to WrestleMania II. Their match at the second WrestleMania was iconic because it was the first time we were introduced to a Steel Cage match on a pay-per-view.
The cage was big, bulky, and heavy but it was a steel cage and it was perfect, at the time. However, due to his size, King Kong Bundy was not going to be climbing the steel cage and going over the top, that just was not going to happen unless he grew a pair of wings or someone tied him to a rope. So during the match, he opened the cage door and that is how he planned on getting out, through the door that both wrestlers entered the cage.
Although he was listed at 446 pounds, it was rumored that he was clearly over that number, easily. Gorilla Monsoon even suggested that he was over 500 pounds at times but that could have also been to help promote his upcoming matches.
10 Rikishi (425 lbs, 56.1 BMI)
Rikishi's 425 pounds is not the heaviest of weights for a professional wrestler, compared to the others on this list, but because he was only 6'1", that 425 pounds pushed him into a scary BMI measurement of 56.1. The large Solofa Fatu Jr. is from the famous professional wrestling Anoa'i family that has given us the likes of Yokozuna, The Rock, Roman Reigns, and The Uso's, who are also Solofa Fatu's nephews.
After he joined the WWE as a member of the tag team named The Headshrinkers, he would eventually branch off and become his own wrestler, and that was when he really became a star in the business.
Once he started doing his own thing, Rikishi would eventually win the WWE Intercontinental Championship which would later lead to his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, in 2015.
9 Akebono (550 lbs, 60.4 BMI)
Just like some of the other heavy pro wrestlers in recent memory, Akebono began his career in sumo wrestling and at 6'8" tall, he was one of the tallest sumo wrestlers in the history of the sport. His size was a big disadvantage for him but he made up for it with his power and the ability to thrust an opponent anywhere he wanted to send them.
After retiring from sumo wrestling, in 2000, he moved onto MMA, mixed martial arts, where he finished 0-4 in his only four MMA fights, which included a match against the legend of MMA, Royce Gracie.
Somewhere along the way, he made his way to professional wrestling after being challenged by the Big Show to a sumo fight. The idea sounded like something worth watching until the Big Show showed us his sumo thong. That was about the moment the audience was done with this rivalry. No one needs to be seeing that anymore.
8 Crusher Blackwell (474 lbs, 70 BMI)
Crusher Blackwell is the shortest man on this list, by a long shot. He was barely 5'9" but he weighed in at a crazy 474 pounds. That much weight at that height can cause all kinds of issues for the human body so imagine what it is like to wrestle with all that weight.
After debuting in 1974, Crusher Blackwell, whose first name was Jerry, started to get a reputation for being a solid worker, even with his size. He was considered very nimble and easy on his feet. He could do moves that other wrestlers his size would only dream about trying. He did things, many years before them, that wrestlers like Vader and Bam Bam Bigelow would later do regularly and be praised for it.
He got started in the AWA and by 1984, he became the newest member of the WWE where he became known as one of the easiest wrestlers to work with because of his ability to sell the moves and make the matches much smoother than some of the other big names.
7 Giant Haystacks (690 lbs, 70.4 BMI)
The biggest understatement of the day is that Giant Haystacks was a big guy. He was not big, he was the only true giant on this list. Not only was he almost seven feet tall, Giant Haystacks, who was born as Martin Ruane, weighed in around 700 pounds.
Although he started wrestling in 1967, many people today do not know about Martin or his career before he showed up in 1996 feuding with Hulk Hogan in WCW as a member of The Dungeon of Doom under the name of Loch Ness.
During his time with the WCW, he was accompanied to the ring by the legendary manager, Jimmy Hart, and was put up against wrestlers like Alex Wright, Jim Duggan, and the Big Show. He debuted with the WCW at 49 years old and died just two years later.
6 Yokozuna (621 lbs, 75.6 BMI)
Yokozuna was great at being a bad guy. He was one of the greatest heels in professional wrestling during his career. He could turn any crowd against him simply by feeding into the gimmick of being a Japanese sumo wrestler that hated Americans. But he was so successful because he was more than just a character on television, he was a legitimate good person, according to a lot of the guys that wrestled with him back in the day.
He was most famously involved in the real-life tag team partnership with The Undertaker backstage, also called The Bone Street Krew. The two of them came up with the name and the idea before adding a few more wrestlers to the group. Besides them, they had The Godfather, Savio Vega, Krush, Paul Bearer, and Rikishi. If there was ever a backstage problem, these were the men that would help police the event and bring the peace. It was a group of men that you could trust to protect the WWE brand, and that they did.
Before his death, Yokozuna gained a ton of weight and ended up dying way too young. He was only 34 years old when he passed away of a pulmonary edema.
5 Haystacks Calhoun (663 lbs, 80.7 BMI)
A lot of these guys you are reading about had more in common than you think. They were not only huge, obese tubs of goo, but they were actually very talented wrestlers. They were more than just a big guy in a wrestling suit. It takes more than a gimmick to become a successful professional wrestler.
Haystacks Calhoun was wrestling long before many of these other guys were around. He was getting his start in the '50s and '60s which eventually led to his clash with Happy Humphrey, the heaviest wrestler in pro wrestling history. That feud just increased his already rising fame into full-on celebrity status and he got to wrestle the biggest names in the business. He even got to face-off against Buddy Rogers, a wrestling icon.
Of all the names that wrestled at Madison Square Garden, Haystacks Calhoun is easily one of the most popular ever. He was selling out MSG long before Vince McMahon even came around.
4 Maximum Capacity (650 lbs, 85.7 BMI)
Although he faced many legendary WWE stars during his days with the promotion Future of Wrestling, Maximum Capacity was never someone that was going to make it at WWE or WCW. He was created for the mid-range, independent, and smaller promotions. He did face off against Jerry Lawler, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, and Barry Horowitz. He was the companies biggest heel and he was great at it.
After winning the FOW Hardcore Championship, he lost it to Barry Horowitz in 2002 and then moved on to wrestle with the EWA, where he would go on to win their World Heavyweight Championship, in Austria, in late 2003.
3 The Hornswagglin' Hillbilly (680 lbs, 87.3 BMI)
Many of our most obese wrestlers are less popular and so much older that many of the current wrestling fans probably have no clue who any of these people are. But, as for The Hornswagglin' Hillbilly, he is still an active wrestler and has grown in popularity over the years.
John Sims, who also wrestled under the name of Haystacks Calhoun Jr., is now 50 years old but has been in the wrestling business since 1988 when he was trained by Boris Malenko at the Malenko School of Wrestling. He would then graduate from there and continue on to wrestle for several promotions over the next 20 years. He worked for the UWF, Florida Wrestling Alliance, International Professional Wrestling, Suncoast Pro Wrestling, Sunshine Wrestling Alliance, UWP, Peach State Wrestling, FMW Frontier, IPW-Hardcore, and the biggest company he has ever worked with, the JCW, Juggalo Championship Wrestling.
Besides being a success in the hardcore wrestling community, he was also named the 2000 IPW-Hardcore Wrestler of the Year.
2 The McGuire Twins (Benny, 723 lbs, 98 BMI; Billy, 743 lbs, 100.8 BMI)
Have you ever seen the famous photo of two gigantic twin brothers riding two smaller motorcycles, side-by-side? You know the photo, right?
That was the McGuire Twins and their massive bodies, doing the thing they loved, riding motorcycles. They were actually spokesman for Honda automotive and have since been portrayed in various online television shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy as the two gigantic twin brothers on tiny motorcycles. It might be a bit of an exaggeration but the Guinness Book of World Records dubbed them the "World's Heaviest Twins" back in 1978 and they have since remained.
They were more of an attraction than a legit wrestling act, although they did appreciate the industry and loved to wrestle. However, they were used to help sell tickets, like a side-show attraction, by wrestling promoters. Sadly, and also ironically, Billy died in a motorcycle accident in 1979 and Benny passed away in 2001.
1 Happy Humphrey (800 lbs, 105.5 BMI)
At 800 pounds, it is hard to believe Happy Humphrey was able to move let alone wrestle. This is a man that could not get on a regular scale to be weighed, he had to be taken to a meat factory where he would get on the meat scales to get his accurate weight. He was so large that his promoters and managers had to build him a special car to get from venue to venue. The car was built without any extra seats, beyond two, and extra shocks installed to help absorb the constant pressure on the vehicle that his weight caused.
There are many stories of embarrassing moments that occurred when Happy Humphrey, whose real name was William Cobb, was traveling around the country including this one time when he had to be cut out of a seat by police officers in a New Orleans movie theater. There was even a time he got stuck inside a phone booth in Alabama and had to have almost eight cops get him out of it.
Eventually, he could not wrestle, or even leave his bed, so he decided to get help from the Medical College of Georgia who helped him lose around 600 pounds. He got down to 230 pounds but decided to never wrestle again, even knowing he was at a weight now that would allow him the ability to become a true star.
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