The top wrestlers in WWE may become world-wide recognized stars when they reach the top of the ladder in the company, but the WWE does its own share of work to turn them into stars and ensure their fame and fortune. These superstars have to go through a rigorous transformation in order to survive and prosper in the WWE, as many of them begin their wrestling careers in a less-than-ideal shape. As these pictures will prove, these stars have changed quite a bit since their younger days, and the results of these transformations will shock you, as it’s almost difficult to recognize the now-famous wrestlers from their younger selves.
So let’s have a look at some of these early pictures of WWE stars. If it weren’t for the fact that we tell you who they are, you might not even recognize some (or most) of them.
20. AJ Styles
AJ Styles has had quite the remarkable 2016, as his debut year in the WWE has been a fairy-tale journey for him so far as his amazing feud against John Cena and winning the WWE Championship in his first year goes onto show what an amazing athlete he is. Styles might be at the top of the WWE right now, but it took him a long time to get there as he is obviously known for his TNA heroics and gained his popularity there. This early picture of him as the X-Division Champion shows how much he’s changed physically over the years. He is almost unrecognizable and goes on to show how he turned from the talented kid to the Phenomenal One, as experience and maturity have made him better as the years roll by for him.
19. Bray Wyatt & Bo Dallas
Bray Wyatt is probably one of the most unique things about the WWE right now, as the Eater of Worlds is ruling over Smackdown with his new Family and looks to be destined for more greatness in the near future. Wyatt might be this terrorizing force in the WWE, but he’s actually from a prominent wrestling family as he’s the real life brother of Bo Dallas, the “positive” moniker in the WWE. This picture of both of them during their very early wrestling years shows the transformations the brothers have been through. The horrendous looking blonde Wyatt shines out in this picture, showing not only how much he’s transformed himself physically, but character-wise as well. These two brothers might be on different ends of the WWE ladder right now, but this astonishing early picture of them goes onto show how much they’ve worked to get to the company.
18. Xavier Woods
Xavier Woods has come a long way in his wrestling career, as the mouthpiece of “The New Day” might be struggling with life without the tag team championship belts but is still one of the most entertaining guys on the roster right now. Woods might now be in the top tier of the WWE, but he has had to struggle in his career in order to reach where he is as Woods was actually even a male cheerleader during high school. Woods looked quite astonishing in his high-school days, as this picture of him goes onto show how much he’s transformed from a geeky cheerleader to a WWE superstar and going by how much he’s improving and impressing, he has a long way to go in the WWE.
17. Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan is probably the reason why wrestling is so popular right now, as his heroics for the WWE in the 80s is what got wrestling the mainstream popularity it needed as Hulkamania was quite the gigantic thing back in the days. Hogan’s amazing work for the WWE where he was the top guy for almost a decade is what helped Vince McMahon’s empire get even bigger; Hogan was also one of the most popular guys in the 90s during his WCW days as well. Hogan might have looked like a top star with his amazing physique, but that wasn’t always the case for him as Hogan looks quite shocking in this yearbook picture of him. He looks nothing like his iconic self in this picture as it goes onto show how much he changed his looks for wrestling. He is truly unrecognizable as Hogan had to really work hard to transform himself into the prime wrestler and help wrestling attain mainstream popularity during his time.
16. Seth Rollins
“The Man” Seth Rollins is one of the most popular wrestlers in the WWE right now, as his amazing work in the ring and development over the years has helped him reach the top of the WWE and the future definitely looks bright for him. Rollins might be in the most perfect shape possible for a wrestler right now, but he didn’t always have the physique and perfect looks on him as he was quite the skinny, small-looking chap when he was young, as you can see in this surprising picture of his early wrestling days. He looks almost like someone else in it, as Rollins has worked tremendously hard in order to get to where he is right now and taking into consideration the fact that he still has his best years ahead of him, we can expect to see his amazing work in the next few years as he continues to be “The Man” in the WWE.
15. Randy Orton
Randy Orton brought out a different side of himself recently, as him joining the Wyatt Family has brought back the intrigue around his character as Orton looks to be in the best shape of his life and is providing amazing matches on a weekly against the current bunch of superstars. Orton might be one of the best looking guys in WWE right now, but that cannot be said for when he was young as this picture of Orton is shocking. He looks almost completely different from his current self, wearing braces and looking like a geeky kid, as he has really worked hard to get into the shape he is right now and has proven this year that he can still fight it out with the best and is in the company for the long run.
Sable was one of the reasons why the Women’s Division got so much attention during the Attitude Era, as the erotic, sensual woman was one of the sexiest things about the era and wasn’t shy about flaunting her amazing figure. While she might be the hottest diva of the time, she wasn’t really the same kind of “hot in her early days as this shocking picture of Sable shows her as a brunette as a young woman who doesn’t seem to have the sexiness which she would have in her WWE days. Sable’s transformation from this kid to a sexy WWE Diva is remarkable, demonstrating how one can transform themselves if they are determined enough and Sable’s transformation did pay off in the end.
13. Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens might be the trash-talking heel who loves to flaunt about the place where he is right now, but he has deserved that right to trash-talk as he’s come a long way in his wrestling career, having to work hard for almost a decade before he could make it to the WWE. Owens was quite the notable wrestler in the independent scene before making his way into the WWE, as he worked for promotions like Ring of Honor and PWG amongst others as he made his name in ROH with some legendary feuds. This picture of him is almost unrecognizable at first, showing how much he’s developed himself to become a top WWE star as he has really worked on his figure and wrestling style to get to the top of the WWE, and it looks like he’s there to stay because of his awesome skills.
Rikishi was quite the entertaining wrestler for the fans and a terrifying one for his opponents, as the hard-hitting Samoan brought quite the cool style with him and won over the love of the fans with his entertaining factor. Rikishi was also one of the heaviest wrestlers on the roster during his time, as the big Samoan wasn’t always that big and “cool” looking in his life as he also played football during his youth as this picture of him shows. You can’t really make out that this is Rikishi going by his figure and looks, as the Afro hair and toned figure makes for quite the astonishing looks in his early days as it goes onto show how much he transformed himself to turn himself into “Rikishi” and become a fan-favorite with his moves and groove.
11. CM Punk
CM Punk might have left wrestling a few years ago, but he’s still remembered by much of his followers who are hopeful that he’ll return sometime soon to the ring and continue with his edgy, honest personality. Punk obviously rose to glory in the WWE after his “pipebomb” and would be pushed to win and keep the WWE Title for 434 days, as Punk would attain a lot of popularity after that. Punk might have been this amazingly talented, able looking wrestler during his time but he had to really scratch and claw his way into stardom as he didn’t even look wrestler material in his youth as this picture of a young Punk demonstrates. He looks horrible with that red hair and looks to be very skinny for a wrestler, as Punk’s transformation from that to a WWE champion is astonishing. This unrecognizable picture of the Straight Edge superstar shows the remarkable transformation he has had in order to achieve his dreams.
10. The Miz
The Miz might be the trash-talking, egoistic heel who’s probably having the best run of his career right now, but the “A-Lister” didn’t always have his “movie-star” looks as his transformation over the years is something amazing. The Miz of course rose to relevance in the WWE as part of their “Tough Enough” program, but before that he looked like quite the geeky kid as this picture of him during his high-school days goes onto show how weird and peculiar he looked during his early years. He has gone through quite the makeover ever since, as the current Intercontinental Champion has the looks of a star right now and has transformed himself from a foolish geek to a prominent WWE superstar who is reaping the rewards of his hard-work right now.
Paige might be in a bit of a pickle right now in her career, but there’s no doubt that she was one of the women who brought upon the “Women’s Revolution” in the WWE as she shone in her early years in the company. From becoming the first ever NXT Women’s Champion to winning the Divas Championship on her debut night on the main roster, Paige was on a roll in her early years in the company but seemed to buckle under pressure after the likes of Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch stepped up to the plate. But there’s no doubting her skills and beauty, as the sexy diva wasn’t that much of a stunner in her young years as the daughter of a wrestling family looked like a gothic girl in her young years. As shown in this picture, she looks so astonishingly different in her early years which goes to show how much work she had to put in order to look like a sexy WWE “diva” as one can hope she can get back on track and return more determined than ever in the WWE.
8. Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns is probably the most polarizing wrestler in whole of wrestling right now, as the hard-hitting former member of the Shield has been on a roll ever since the Hounds of Justice parted ways. Reigns has been the victim of some incredible hate from the fans, who hate how he’s getting pushed to the moon as Roman is still quite highly booked and looks to be the next face of the WWE. Though Reigns has the intimidating looks and hard-hitting style, that was hardly the case in his youth as this unrecognizable picture of his young self shows how he looked so weird and nerdy during his pre-wrestling years. Roman has since worked on his physique and looks and has made himself become what he is right now, as the hate-fest on him won’t deter him from claiming more glory and making his family name proud.
7. Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy has remained as quite the enigma throughout his wrestling career, as Hardy got very popular in the WWE because of his daredevil like personality and constantly entertaining fans with his amazing skill-set. The former WWE Champion also had quite a successful career in TNA, winning its World Championship and recently becoming the talk of the town with his transformation to “Brother Nero” and alliance with Broken Matt Hardy. Though he might now look quite weird as Nero, Hardy looked almost unrecognizable in his early days as this picture of him during his high-school days shows the young Hardy with this blonde hair as he looks like a kid rather than a wrestler. His transformation since has been pretty amazing, as he kept improving and growing in his wrestling career and is now one of the most beloved superstars in wrestling.
The Big Red Monster Kane is one of the most terrifying figures in WWE history, as he still manages to terrorize wrestlers when his entrance music hits and has earned a massive amount of respect for his service in the WWE for almost two decades. But Kane wouldn’t become the Big Red Machine that he is without some hiccups; this early picture of him as his”Isaac Yankem DDS” gimmick who was a dentist goes onto show how unrecognizable and creepy he used to look in his early days. Though he’d find the Kane gimmick soon after this character wore off, he looked so different in his young days as we’re thankful that this creepy form of him wasn’t promoted much int he WWE.
5. Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho is constantly displaying his greatness even at this day and age, as Raw Is Jericho in 2016 which has been the year where Y2J went all out in order to show us the full potential of his entertaining self. While he made a list to be the most over thing on Raw, his “Gift of Jericho” gimmick has been the single most entertaining thing about WWE in 2016 as he still manages to shine out amongst his peers with his amazing self. Jericho might look a bit meany with his beard and all, but this early picture of him graduating shows how unrecognizable he was back then as Jericho as a kid looks to be a really gullible child, something which he definitely isn’t right now. His transformation since has been marvelous, as we hope that the Gift of Jericho keeps on giving for as long as possible and Jericho keeps being this amazing throughout his wrestling career.
4. AJ Lee
AJ Lee might have taken early retirement from wrestling last year, but she’s still remember for whatever she provided to the WWE during her years in the company, as she was initially the longest reigning Divas Champion before Nikki Bella took her over. AJ might have been short but was quite the vicious, conniving diva as she looked quite hot because of her gimmick and had to work both on her personality and wrestling to get to the WWE. This shocking early picture of her shows AJ as a little girl, as she is getting an autograph from her idol Lita and looks to be in tears with happiness. Her transformation from this aspiring little girl to a renowned WWE diva was something quite incredible, as she followed her dream and made sure that the little, crying girl would become a top Diva who ruled over the Division for a long time.
3. John Cena
John Cena looks to be very close to the record breaking 16th World Championship as “The Face” of the WWE has been quite the amazing worker for them in the past decade and has made his share of lovers and haters in the path as well. Cena is one of the best physiques in the WWE and can lift almost about anyone on the roster easily, as that is a part on why WWE has trusted him to become their face. But before he’d become the big thing in WWE, Cena was still trying to make it in wrestling during his high-school days as this shocking picture of a bald John Cena proves how different he used to look back then. If anyone was to tell anyone that the Bald Cena would become the next top guy of the WWE, they’d be laughed on as Cena’s transformation from this bald, gullible looking guy to the Face of the WWE is absolutely remarkable and is another example of how his hard-work has helped him his entire life.
2. The Rock
The Rock might be the highest paid actor in the world and one of the top celebrities in Hollywood right now, but he will always remain as the most electrifying man in all of entertainment as his WWE success is what has made him into what he is right now. The Rock was one of WWE’s crucial parts of the Attitude Era and won over the WWE universe with his entertaining skills, as he also had the looks of a superstar and got into Hollywood because of it. The Rock looks amazing now with that figure, but he wasn’t always this fit as this picture of him as a teenager shows The Rock looking like a completely different person. The transformation his body has gone through over the years is astonishing, as the sheer hard work has made him into what he is right now: one of the most popular men on the planet.
1. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Stone Cold Steve Austin was the reason why the WWE won the Monday Night Wars against WCW, as the Rattlesnake’s defiance of authority and legendary feud with Mr. McMahon is what made the Attitude Era so great and one of the best times in wrestling. Austin had to retire early but still has a lot of fans, as the Rattlesnake also had quite the defiant looks with him which made him into a star. But before he was Stone Cold Steve Austin, he really struggled to gain popularity in wrestling as this early picture of him shows him in an almost unrecognizable state as Austin has a bunch of hair here and is wearing those awful pants as well. He doesn’t have the “star” look in this picture as it goes onto prove how big him going bald was for him, as his transformation from this foolish look to the iconic one he’d don in the WWE was amazing and Austin’s case proves how big a change in looks can do in pro wrestling.
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