For so many years, wrestlers had to protect their identity as much as possible by maintaining a low profile in order to keep kayfabe alive. That has clearly become much more difficult with time, especially with the rise of social media and various online platforms. Since then, we have come to learn plenty about our favorite Superstars that we previously didn’t know.
Being in the spotlight, it’s only natural for fans to wonder what wrestlers looked like in their younger days as we are all curious to see how they have aged since then. Thanks to the internet, that has become much easier to find out as we can nearly find plenty of information about different Superstars.
While we only know them through their appearances on WWE shows – unless you follow them on social media – that is the image engrained in our minds and it’s hard to picture them differently. For most fans, Mark Calaway will always be The Undertaker regardless of how old he gets and we just can’t picture him as a child.
But just like all of us, these Superstars went through different periods of their lives and they also had albums of their childhood. In many of these photos, you will notice that some were already huge wrestling fans who probably dreamed of making it to the WWE one day. And you will certainly be shocked at some transformations as some have significantly changed and look much different today than they did at that age. With today’s list, we will be looking at 15 must see pictures of wrestlers as children.
20. Braun Strowman
Well, it’s pretty easy to see where Braun Strowman got his looks from. Strowman has posted several pictures of his sister visiting him backstage at WWE events and here’s the Monster Among Men, resting on his dad’s left arm, while his father holds his daughter in his right hand. As we alluded to, this picture doesn’t cast much doubt on who Strowman’s father is. Strowman still bonds with his dad to this day, as he’s adopted a similar look and he posts various photos on his Instagram page of him and his dad fishing and doing other father/son activities. Looking at this picture, you would think Strowman’s dad may have been the actual founder of the Wyatt Family, rather than the founder coming from the Rotunda household.
19. Finn Balor
You can tell this is Finn Balor right away due to that unmistakeable smile. When you look at pics of Finn Balor today when he’s hanging out with friends he has that same wide grin and outside of his demon persona, he really seems like a happy go-lucky guy. There was a time when Balor was a happy go lucky kid back in Ireland named Fergal Devitt. Seeing him in a soccer jersey here with his teammates isn’t all that surprising. In doing some research of Balor, you’ll find that he played association football and Gaelic football in Ireland before deciding to become a pro wrestler. These were obviously his early days of manning a pitch and you have to wonder if his coaches told him he didn’t look mean enough to scare opposing players.
18. Shane & Stephanie McMahon
During Stephanie and Shane’s early childhood, their father was struggling to make ends meet. Vince McMahon hadn’t quite amassed his fortune yet and he was still trying to accumulate enough of a fortune to buy the WWF from his father Vince Sr. This meant he had to work many different jobs, leaving his kids at home with Linda. With his father mostly out of the house, Shane had to take on a lot of responsibilities as an older brother. Stephanie has said that Shane practically raised her while her parents were out working and we can clearly see in this picture that Shane had his sister’s back. Who would’ve thought that all these years later, they’d be in a power struggle for their dad’s company?
17. Bray Wyatt And Bo Dallas
One family relation that WWE seems to avoid bringing up is that of Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas, who are both sons of Mike Rotunda, known to WWE fans as I.R.S. But here’s a rare family photo of the two, along with their sister Mika. If you look at Mika today, you can see that she definitely grew up to be the looker in family. As for Bray and Bo, they’ve had varying degrees of success in the WWE. While Bo Dallas was once one of NXT’s brightest stars and even had a reign as NXT Champion, Bray cultivated a unique persona that’s made him a star on the main roster. While he’s held the WWE Championship, many still wonder why in the world WWE seems to have him lose so many big matches.
16. Charlotte Flair
Charlotte Flair opened up a little about her childhood in ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary about Ric Flair. As was suspected, given Ric Flair’s ridiculous party lifestyle, he wasn’t present for much of his children’s lives, including his youngest daughter Ashley, known to WWE fans as Charlotte. Ironically, Charlotte never had any intention of being a wrestler, as she saw how little time her dad spent at home. What really changed her outlook was her brother Reid, who had begun training her shortly before his untimely death. Once her brother passed, Charlotte made it a goal to see a wrestling career through in honor of her late brother, and to carry on the Flair legacy.
15. John Cena
While many Superstars dreamed of growing up to be WWE Superstars, that’s not always the case. For John Cena, it has always been his goal to make it to the company after having grown up a huge wrestling fan.
There are videos and photos of young Cena performing wrestling moves on his childhood friends, but not many would have predicted that he would turn out to be one of wrestling’s biggest stars. In the photo above, Cena is holding a customized title which a sight that fans have gotten used to with his 16 World title reigns.
Since his rise to the top, opinions have been mixed regarding Cena with some not being very keen on his push but he has also maintained a loyal fanbase that made him the biggest draw in recent years. Love him or hate him, Cena has always been passionate about the industry and that’s certainly admirable about him.
14. Sasha Banks
We are all familiar with Sasha Banks’ story by now as she has repeatedly told the WWE Universe about her childhood and path to the company. When it comes to Divas, the majority of them had previous careers before joining WWE or at least dreamed of being in a different industry, such wasn’t the case for Banks who has always wanted to be a wrestler.
Having been inspired by Eddie Guerrero, she wanted to grow up to be like him but the road to WWE proved to much more difficult than she had expected. Fast forward to 2018, she has become one of the most successful Superstars in the past few years and contributed to making history on several occasions. As the cousin of Snoop Dogg, she always had the connections through him and was able to meet several stars before she became one. The above photo is a rare one of Banks during her quest to become the Boss we have all come to known her as today.
13. Alexa Bliss
It’s not hard to guess which Superstar is seen in this photo as Alexa Bliss has retained most of her features to basically just look like a grown up version of her younger self. During those times, she had been going through some tough times as she battled an eating disorder for some time before she eventually managed to conquer it.
During an interview, she indicated that she once lost 30 pounds in six weeks so it had gotten very serious at one point. Today, Bliss is running the women’s division as the current Raw Women’s Champion and has been the face of the division for the past year.
Thanks to a mix of all-around talent and looks, Bliss quickly rose to the top of the company at a relatively young age. In her short stint with the company, she has already managed to rack up four championships to her name and she will surely be adding a couple more in the future.
12. Brock Lesnar
It appears that Brock Lesnar has always been an athlete throughout his life long before he made it to the WWE. In this photo, a teenager Lesnar is seen at the gym and you can already tell that he had been putting in the work by looking at his body.
While everyone has seen the nerdy Lesnar photo by now, this gem isn’t nearly as popular for some reason. Not many could have imagined that he would grow up to become arguably the most dominant force in WWE history, boasting one of the most impressive resume of all-time.
Lesnar has undoubtedly put in the time in the industry, but he has also found success in the UFC where he won the Heavyweight Championship, so it’s safe to say that his hard work paid off after all. He is currently reigning as the Universal Champion and has been since defeating Goldberg during their rematch at WrestleMania 33.
11. Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns’ look has significantly changed his younger days as seen in the photo above. It’s probably a good thing when you consider how important appearance is in the wrestling industry as Reigns has become the face of the company since John Cena switched to a part-timer.
Since his younger days, he has always had an interest in sports and pursued a football career before switching to wrestling. Coming from a wrestling family, it was only a matter of time before he attempted to break into the industry. But it wasn’t an easy road for Reigns who had to put in plenty of work to meet WWE’s ideal shape prior to getting signed, as he was heavier at the time than he is today.
Fans have been slightly warming up Reigns in recent times after having been booed out of the building for so long, but that may not last too long since he is likely going to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, which will surely upset fans once again.
10. The Bella Twins
If the photo above is any indication, then The Bella Twins have always been the centre of attention even going back to their younger days. From adorable twins to WWE Superstars, Nikki and Brie didn’t exactly have it easy prior to their fame.
They had attempted to pursue various careers that were derailed, including that of a soccer player and then later on as models. Wrestling wasn’t exactly on the top of their list but that nearly didn’t happen either as they were rejected for the 2006 WWE Diva Search before they caught the attention of WWE officials.
The Bella Twins may both be done with wrestling as they have several other ventures keeping them busy these days, including their show Total Bellas. Although Brie has expressed an interest in a return to the ring, that seems highly unlikely at this point so you probably shouldn’t get your hopes up if you happen to be a fan.
Long before Sheamus went the Mohawk route, he looked like a regular kid as seen above. It doesn’t exactly stand out as Sheamus unless you look closely at the features as he has grown out of his former innocent looking self. The photo looks like a meme reaction that people would use for various occasions, but it’s really Sheamus when he was still dreaming about making it to the top league.
Following years of work on the independent scene, Sheamus was offered a development contract to the WWE and put on enough impressive performances to be moved up to the ECW roster in 2009. Since then, he has been one of the most accomplished Superstars with four World Championships to his name, as well as King of the Ring and the 2012 Royal Rumble. Despite having been stuck in the tag division for the past few years, Sheamus hasn’t exactly faded away although his main event days are likely over.
8. The Undertaker
There are many Superstars which we can’t imagine outside of their wrestling character, so it’s always shocking to learn more about their personal life. Perhaps no other name applies as much as The Undertaker does who has portrayed the most unique gimmick while maintaining a relatively low profile for the most part.
While you can clearly see a young Taker in the photo – especially resembling himself during his first couple years with the WWE – it is still strange to see him as a kid. Judging by photos of his younger self, he doesn’t exactly give us a vibe that he would go on to take on the identity of The Deadman.
7. Randy Orton
One has to say that it’s hard to tell whether that is John Cena or Randy Orton as they looked like identical twins at a young age. The similar haircuts probably don’t help either, but the joyful kid above turned out to be one of the most successful wrestlers in history.
Despite looking like a precious angel as a kid, that didn’t stop Orton from growing up to be a controversial name as he has been known to cause trouble. Not only has he gone too far with pranking WWE Superstars – including a time when he shot fireworks from one car to another – but he has also been in trouble with the fans.
For many years, there have been many who came forward to accuse him of having done something horrific, but that never affected his WWE status where he remains one of the top names today after 15 years with the company.
As one of the Four Horsewomen, Bayley has played an essential role in the Women’s Revolution to become one of the top faces of the company. With a gimmick that is unique in today’s era, she quickly got over with the fans who supported her as she reigned as the NXT Women’s Champion before moving on to the main roster.
Since then, Bayley has been apart of some major feuds and storylines, capturing the Raw Women’s Champion to her resume. Since her younger days, Bayley dreamed of being a WWE Superstar as evident by the shirt she is wearing that features The Hardy Boyz and Lita. Just as her friend Sasha Banks did, Bayley never changed her vision and eventually fulfilled it by joining the WWE roster. In the photo above, Bayley strikes a similar pose during two vastly different periods of her life and although we are all familiar with the WWE Superstar, not many have seen her as a kid.
5. The Hardy Boyz
Legend has it that this photo dates back to the earliest sign of the Broken/Woken Hardy Boyz. The siblings are proudly displaying fishes which we can guess they probably caught on a trip, and you probably can already tell them apart but for the sake of avoiding any confusion: Matt is spotted on the left with Jeff by his side.
There are plenty of photos available of the siblings during their younger years but this rare gem is simply too great and should be seen by all wrestling fans. One of the most decorated tag teams in wrestling history, The Hardy Boyz have been a force for nearly 20 years now.
More recently, they returned to the WWE as a tag team following a stint with Impact Wrestling but since Jeff was sidelined with an injury for a couple months, the company began a solo push for the newly woken Matt. With a rivalry brewing against Bray Wyatt, it is currently one of the most exciting things in the company.
4. The Miz
If you put the photo above in one of those sites that show you an image of yourself as an adult, you would get The Miz today. Aside from having Maryse by his side now, you can’t spot much difference about him as he certainly looks like himself.
Like so many other Superstars, The Miz was enrolled in various sports and grew up a wrestling fan but his dream was put on hold for years to come before impressing on the 2004 WWE Tough Enough. He had all the tools to make it in the business since he had already developed a character and has always boasted impressive mic skills, even going back to his reality show days.
The Miz has drastically improved since then to be taken much more seriously than he was early on, and he has been one of the best heels from the past few years. More recently, The Miz has been off TV for some time although he recently made his return to Monday Night Raw.
3. CM Punk
CM Punk wasn’t always as charming and charismatic as he was during his WWE run as evident by this photo. He certainly didn’t look like a future WWE Superstars for whom fans chant his name years after he left. The vibe he does give is that of someone who camps out at airports to meet WWE Superstars and get their autograph to sell on eBay.
All jokes aside, the photo was reportedly taken at a party with his then girlfriend but that has obviously long ended considering his impressive dating history in WWE. From Lita, Maria to AJ Lee, there aren’t many names who got around as much as he did in the locker room, earning him quite the reputation among fans as well as his peers.
But this photo shows that Punk has always had game even at a young age, so it’s safe to say that his fame had very little to do with his success in jumping from one fine partner to another over a short period of time.
2. Triple H
Some readers may have a different point of views but the photo doesn’t exactly scream Triple H – perhaps it’s due to the fact that we have come to know him as one of the most hated heels ever. With a short haircut in this photo, that wouldn’t be the case for too long as he started growing it shortly after and never looked back until recent times.
Fast forward to today, Triple H is now a father with kids that resemble his younger self. There is no doubt that he has come a long way to become one of wrestling’s biggest names, Not only was he a major part of the Attitude Era, but he also ran the Raw brand for many of the following years.
1. Daniel Bryan
In case anyone is confused about the photo, Daniel Bryan is pictured on the right with his older sister. You can certainly see some features that are still apparent today but one thing is for certain: he was an adorable baby. Today, he has one of his own with Brie Bella and we can confidently say that their daughter looks like him by the few photos that have been released.
Currently, he is involved in the biggest storyline on SmackDown regarding the WWE Championship and rumors have it that he may be turning heel. Not only that, but there is also a slight chance that he gets back into ring action as WWE will soon decide whether they will overturn their previous decision. Fans will surely hope that is the case since there are plenty of names which Bryan hasn’t wrestled before, which would make for some exciting matches in the upcoming years.
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