A lot can happen in five years for a professional wrestler. They can have a gimmick change, they can retire, or they can find themselves working elsewhere. Whatever the case may be, a professional wrestler always seems to find his or her look being altered or tweaked or changed entirely. A wrestler is constantly altering their appearance, gimmick or style to stay fresh with the fickle WWE crowd. As a result of a plethora of tiny little tweaks or one big drastic alteration, wrestlers can look completely different from just five years earlier.
Something as subtle as a beard, or hair style, or makeup can make a wrestler look like a new person. When these changes are gradual, most fans don’t even notice the change at all. However, these changes add up over time, and before long a superstar’s look has absolutely changed. Because of the difficulty in keeping from becoming stale, most of the time these changes in appearance are well received, but not all wrestlers look better over time.
In some very rare cases, the change to a wrestler’s look didn’t end well and, while that change isn’t always noticeable, it becomes a real shock when going through old photos of those wrestlers. Whether it’s a weight loss, or gain, different hair cut or new tattoo, not all changes can be good ones. Still, it’s the change we are exploring in this article. Whether good or bad, almost every superstar goes through a change, however, some changes are far more drastic than others. This article is about these WWE superstars that have changed drastically over the years. Here are 15 pictures of WWE superstars who look completely different from five years ago.
Before he was the “Bulgarian Brute,” “Alexander” Rusev wrestled for WWE’s development territory, Florida Championship Wrestling. Rusev hit some bad luck, getting injured early in his time in FCW, and then, suffered a broken neck shortly after returning from his first injury. Remarkably, Rusev recovered from his neck injury and joined the newly christened NXT.
While down in WWE’s developmental territory, Alexander Rusev looked nothing like the former two-time United States Champion does now. Rusev’s hair was much shorter with a short, strangely manscaped beard. Thankfully, the Bulgarian Brute let his hair grow out giving him the more rugged look we’ve come accustomed to seeing. Let’s hope he never cuts his long locks or “Handsome” Rusev will be looking for a new nickname.
14 Enzo Amore
Despite having no prior wrestling experience, Enzo Amore was already a “certified G and a bona fide stud” having been awarded a tryout with WWE due to his outstanding mic skills. Enzo joined NXT, and his Jersey loudmouth character took off from there. Enzo would then team up with Big Cass to form one of the most popular tag teams in NXT.
Although he was killing it on the mic, Enzo was looking a little “SAWFT.” In photos from 2013, Enzo looks nothing at all like the Enzo we know today, missing his trademark hair and goatee. He just looks like an average WWE jobber. Although his jobber status is virtually intact, Enzo finally has his appearance down and is at least looking more like “The Realest Guy In The Room.”
13 Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt won the WWE Title in 2017, and yet, this may be Wyatt’s worst year in WWE. He lost the title to Randy Orton at WrestleMania because why not, then moved to Raw and lost in every major feud. To top it all off, Wyatt recently acquired a viral infection. As bad as 2017 has been for Wyatt, I’ll still take Bray Wyatt over his alter ego, "Husky Harris" any day.
The pic above is Husky Harris before he became the cult leader known as Bray Wyatt. Husky had no personality and was a nobody lackey for the Nexus. His iconic Bray Wyatt beard was in its infancy leaving only a small chin strap to cover Harris’ baby face. As bad as Bray Wyatt may be having it right now, his look is still way better than that man baby look of Husky Harris.
12 Corey Graves
Before there was Corey Graves, the commentator, there was Corey Graves, the wrestler. Graves actually has a long career in wrestling, having debuted all the way back in 2000. He wrestled all over the Indies before signing with WWE and wrestling in NXT. Sadly, two concussions later, Graves announced his retirement from wrestling. However, Graves association with WWE didn’t end there, and Graves joined the announce booth, eventually joining the Raw announce team.
Maybe it’s the lack of muscle currently, the addition of a grotesque neck tattoo or the ridiculous hipster hair cut, but Corey Graves, the announcer, and Corey Graves, the wrestler could pass as two totally different people. Graves’ appearance may have changed, but his charisma and mic skills haven’t left. Despite his in-ring retirement, many are happy he still has a place in WWE.
11 Baron Corbin
Another superstar who, in five years, looks like he aged twenty is Baron Corbin. Corbin is on Smackdown winning mid-card titles, but just a short time ago, the “Lone Wolf” looked more like a young pup. In NXT, Corbin, looking fresh out of high school, had the same height and hideous tattoos as he does now, however, the beard and the more prominent bald spot came shortly after.
Good on Corbin for at least improving his look. He grew his hair out and looks a lot less like a moody EMO kid and more like a legitimate WWE superstar. Clearly, it’s paying off, as Corbin has been a big player on Smackdown since his debut. The picture above is surely one he’d like to forget.
10 Becky Lynch
We all know the goggle wearing, firey haired, Lass Kicking, Becky Lynch, but just five years ago, Becky was sporting a much different look to say the least. I’m not sure if the goggles and orange hair really changed her that much, but the Irish red head looks like an entirely different person. The woman we see in the pic above looks beautiful as well, but Becky looks a lot more like a woman worthy of a Women’s Revolution than that diva in the pic above. The woman in the pic above looks like your generic jobber for Nia Jax, instead of a former Women’s Champion. A little orange hair dye, some goggles and a change of attire later, and Becky Lynch looks a lot more like the member of the Four Horsewomen.
"Hello, I am Elias…" But you wouldn’t know that from this picture. Before the drifter joined WWE, Elias donned much shorter hair, a trimmed goatee and was sans guitar. Elias wrestled for the IWC (International Wrestling Cartel), and showed off his awesome mic skills before eventually joining NXT. Once in NXT, Elias nailed down his character and is now one of the best parts of Monday Night Raw.
Elias put on more muscle mass, grew out the beard and his hair and now tells everyone to shut their mouths, silence their phones and hold their applause until after he’s finished playing an insulting song to the hometown crowd. With the drifter look and arrogant heel persona, Elias looks like a future WWE Champion. It’s hard to believe just a short time ago, no one wanted to walk with Elias, at least not with that mundane look he had going for him.
8 Charlotte Flair
Before she was the “The Queen,” Charlotte Flair was just Ashley who wanted to follow in her daddy’s footsteps. She trained in NXT, became known as Charlotte and succeeded in a highly competitive WWE Women’s Division. Despite the WWE shying away from the models, Charlotte is an absolute knockout. When you’re known as The Queen, that can put on a lot of pressure to maintain a certain regal look, but Charlotte answers the call and kills it. Maintaining that look of royalty, however, certainly requires some time in the makeup chair.
Ashley is a gorgeous young woman, but there is a significant difference between Ashley without makeup and Charlotte who is caked in it. Charlotte definitely brings her “A” game in the makeup department and totally transforms from Ashley to The Queen.
7 Drew McIntyre
Drew McIntyre is no stranger to WWE. He came to WWE’s SmackDown brand in 2009, as the “Chosen One” and was given a pretty significant push. Then, the push vanished, and his next big break was nothing more than a member of the jobber stable 3MB. To McIntyre’s credit, he went to the Indies and TNA and rejuvenated his career. Now, McIntyre is back in WWE’s NXT, showing more life to his character and showing off a much better look.
I’m not sure if McIntyre just hit puberty after his time in WWE, but thankfully, Drew McIntyre grew out the beard and chest hair and now looks more like an adult. The clean shaven surfer look he had going years prior just wasn’t cutting it. Now, he can forget about the past (and his past look) and reclaim his rightful place as “The Chosen One” of WWE.
6 Alexa Bliss
It’s hard to picture the Women’s Division without Alexa Bliss, but just a few years prior, WWE wasn’t even on her radar. However, the “Five Feet of Fury” personality may have started well before WWE. Alexa Bliss was determined to succeed at every sport she tried out for whether it was softball, gymnastics or cheerleading, and professional wrestling was no different.
However, before she became the “Goddess” of the WWE, a two time RAW and Smackdown Women’s Champion and had all the curves in all the right places, Alexa Bliss competed in multiple fitness competitions. However, the extreme dieting almost took the Goddess from us when Bliss’ weight dropped to an alarming 83 pounds. Before the pink highlights and curves, Alexa looked dangerously skinny as seen in the pic above. Thankfully, Alexa Bliss got her eating disorder under control and looks better, sexier and healthier than ever.
5 Xavier Woods
New Day may rock, but that pic above does not. Xavier Woods was absolutely nothing special when he first arrived on the scene of Monday Night Raw. Sure, he had charisma and decent ring skills, but there still wasn’t a whole lot that made him stand out. Then, along with Kofi Kingston and Big E, Woods formed the stable New Day, and he was able to find his niche.
Before New Day, Xavier Woods was clearly still searching for his look. In the pic above, he looks more like an 80s pornstar than host of his YouTube channel, UpUpDownDown. Even before New Day, I knew Woods had the talent, despite the generic look, but I feared he’d still get lost in the shuffle. Who knew ditching stash and afro for unicorn horns was the answer? Who? Who? Who?
4 Curt Hawkins
Curt Hawkins has a long history of jobbing, whether it’s as a tag team with Zack Ryder jobbing, or with Tyler Reks jobbing. Now, Hawkins can finally job on his own on Raw. To be fair, Hawkins’ perpetual jobber status is a bit of a shame since he is talented, but he just can’t find that one thing to put him over the edge. One of the things that might actually help him would be to change up his look.
Hawkins is one of the few wrestlers who actually looks worse after five years. At one point his hair was longer and beard slightly more trimmed, giving him a much better look than he has now, in my opinion. I’m not saying it’s going to elevate him to main event status, but his look right now reminds me of a pirate. We’ve already had a pirate gimmick in WWE before, and we saw how that worked out. Maybe going back to that better looking, long haired look could be a first step to moving past his jobber past and achieving a modest push.
Asuka had a long and decorated career prior to her WWE arrival. At this time five years ago, Asuka was still known as Kana and was wrestling all around the world, including her native Japan. Her persona was a lot darker and she has unsurprisingly been tweaked since her WWE arrival. It remains to be seen if WWE ever brings up some old aspects of the Kana character now that Asuka is on the main roster and should be challenging for the Women's Championship soon. Asuka is playing a babyface now, but if she were to turn heel, don't be surprised if we see more of the Kana character come to light.
Whether she returns to aspects of the Kana character will likely depend on how Vince feels about a wrestler reverting back to their pre-WWE persona.
2 Jinder Mahal
Say what you will about Jinder Mahal, I’m sure he deserves it, but the guy at least has the look of a champion. Clearly, that’s the most important factor in WWE. Mahal got himself ripped during his WWE hiatus, and if you didn’t know his past, he looks like a legit threat. If he didn’t have a career of jobbing, he could have been built up as a credible contender before being handed the WWE Title.
The picture above is Jinder Mahal during his first run in WWE, and he looks far different from the “Modern Day Maharaja.” In 2011, when he debuted, Mahal didn’t have the rock solid body or perfect beard. Before his veins were popping out, Mahal had a very tall, albeit average, body. I’m not quite sure how Mahal got so ripped, though I have a few guesses, but Mahal, the jobber turned champion, at least looks far superior than Mahal, his jobber turned jobber counterpart of 2011.
Carmella is only 30 years old, but she still has a long history of cheerleading prior to WWE. Just a short time ago, Carmella was a member of the New England Patriots cheerleading squad and a member of the L.A. Lakers dance team. Maybe it’s the darker hair color or the missing ball cap or head scarf, but Carmella looks totally different in her cheerleading days compared to her Ms. Money in the Bank days.
The cheerleader Carmella still looked as hot as she does now, but cheerleader Carmella could pass as a totally different person. The smile is still the same, but, like Becky Lynch, it’s amazing how a little hair color can change a WWE superstar’s look. Thankfully, that cheerleader look and athleticism is something that has carrying over well into the company as she continues to progress in WWE.