The life of a WWE wrestler isn’t easy. There are the bumps in the ring and the miles on the road that wrestlers endure. Due to the injuries that accumulate and the time spent away from their families, many WWE superstars turn to vices that help them deal with their problems. Unfortunately, many of these vices cause wrestlers to age very poorly, and mask injuries that soon lead them to leaving the business.
But there are other things that cause WWE wrestlers to not age well. The stress of working for the McMahon family is high, especially when they are more worried about getting themselves over rather than the talent. It can drive many superstars to do whatever they can to improve their chances of a push. Steroids and other PEDs can be one solution to improving a wrestler’s physical look. After years of taking substances, however, WWE superstars can look far older than they really are. Their health can also drop off significantly and once they are out of the spotlight it can be very tough to get a helping hand from fans who have forgotten you.
The 1980s and WWE’s national expansion really saw the use of drugs and alcohol sky-rocket in wrestling. Even those that stayed clean, which there doesn’t seem to be many, have aged due to the workload that resulted. These 20 WWE wrestlers didn’t age well once they were gone from the company’s spotlight.
20. Val Venis
For over 10 years, Val Venis was a wrestling star for the WWE. Venis is one of the most memorable wrestlers of the Attitude Era, and despite not working in a WWE ring for eight years, fans remember the “Big Valbowski“. Venis looks less like the star he previously portrayed and more like a regular guy today. He is balding with salt and pepper stubble on his head; and his goatee is tinted gray. In recent years, Venis has made wrestling headlines for becoming an advocate for a certain herbal substance. He has become a fan of smoking it due to medicinal qualities and its ability to help injuries heal. After years of using prescription pills to help him deal with neck, shoulder and back pain, Venis is now an avid proponent. A textbook example of a wrestler suffering chronic pain after their career.
19. Lex Luger
Lex Luger rubbed a lot of fellow wrestlers the wrong way during his career. Luger allegedly didn’t care about the business, and he only wanted to get himself over. The former Miami Hurricane football player was an avid weightlifter and spent a lot of his time in the gym. As Luger’s career progressed, his addiction did too. In 2003, Luger was arrested three times. That same year, his girlfriend, Miss Elizabeth, was found in his home from an overdose. Things seemed to be spiralling out of control, but they were still to get worse. In 2007, Luger suffered a spinal stroke that left him in a quadriplegic state. Although he has regained the use of his arms and legs, Luger has lost the muscular physique he once possessed. In addition, Luger has spent most if not all of the money he made during his career to fight various legal problems and pay his medical expenses.
Raven may have had two stints in the WWE, but his wrestling career spanned a little more than two decades. During Raven’s first ECW run, his substance abuse problems became known to many fellow wrestlers. In fact, Stevie Richards wasn’t just Raven’s tag team partner and flock member, but he was tasked with babysitting him as well in ECW and later in WCW. After his second stint in the WWE, Raven went on to work for TNA along with several indie companies. He was able to use a lot of his experience and knowledge to help young wrestlers. According to Raven, he has been offered jobs with the WWE’s creative department several times, but has turned them down as he doesn’t want to be “just a cog in the machine”. Raven now hosts his own podcast and regularly talks about his very rough past.
17. Perry Saturn
For some time, many wrestlers and fans believed Perry Saturn had passed away. At least that was the best explanation many could come up with as he had just disappeared from the face of the Earth. Turns out, Saturn’s substance abuse and financial problems had hit all-time high, and it forced him onto the streets to live. Saturn’s problem was a result of a gunshot he had received after saving a woman from an assault. The addiction led Saturn living on the street for nearly three years. He has appealed to wrestling fans for help since returning to the public light, and he has appeared on numerous wrestling podcasts talking about his problems. On an episode of Talk is Jericho, Saturn spoke about being offered a job by Triple H at the WWE Performance Center. Unfortunately, Saturn’s body is too beaten up to pass a physical. Saturn also stated he is suffering from traumatic brain injuries.
16. The Undertaker
The Undertaker has definitely not looked the same in his last couple of years. While that is understandable at 52 years old, more and more photos are emerging of the phenom looking much older than he should. While it seemed he wrestled his last match at last year’s WrestleMania against Roman Reigns, he has already been confirmed to appear at the 25th anniversary of Monday Night Raw. While we doubt he will wrestle, rumours have run rampant that he will still have one more match. Given the way he looks recently outside the ring, we can’t help but think this is a bad idea. He should just hang them up and enjoy being remembered as the greatest of all time.
15. Tommy Dreamer
Tommy Dreamer was never really a body guy. That is why he wrestled in a t-shirt for the majority of his career. Now 46, Dreamer’s body is broken down, despite his desire to continue working matches. Before ever joining the WWE, Dreamer put his body through punishment night in, night out with ECW. Chair shots, being thrown through tables and taking ridiculous bumps off stages have left Dreamer’s body badly beaten up. During an episode of Steve Austin’s podcast, Dreamer spoke about his brain being affected by the countless chair shots and falls he took in ECW. The former “King of Extreme” has his own wrestling promotion now called House of Hardcore. In November, the company partnered with Twitch as Dreamer tries to increase the awareness fans have of his product. Dreamer saved his money, but unfortunately he didn’t save his body and it is still taking a pounding part-time.
14. Billy Gunn
Billy Gunn loves wrestling and the lifestyle it has afforded him. Perhaps that is why it seems so hard for him to give it up today. The 54-year-old is still climbing into the ring despite his big run with the New Age Outlaws being well behind him. In fact, the New Age Outlaws and Gunn’s rise to the top of the WWE as a member of Degeneration X started 20 years ago while the wrestler was in his mid-30s. Gunn’s facial features still look the same today as they did back then. However, the bleach blond hair has receded and the muscle definition isn’t quite as evident. In 2015, Gunn made headlines when he was fired by the WWE for testing positive for elevated testosterone during a power lifting competition. It seems “Mr. @$$” never gained muscle the natural way.
13. Lance Storm
Lance Storm has trained numerous professional wrestlers at his Storm Wrestling Academy since hanging up his boots. The former “Impact Player” has helped groom Dolph Ziggler, Mickie James, Rachael Ellering and Tyler Breeze to name just a few. Although he stays in good condition, Storm no longer has the same physique he did while working in the WWE. Unlike some wrestlers, Storm retired from full-time action before his injuries could completely ravage his body. In the past, Storm has stated living right, training and eating well helped him gain his look. However, others have alleged Storm to have used substances to improve his appearance, especially while in ECW. regardless, it is clear that he definitely has transformed over the years and now looks like an average Joe.
12. Charlie Haas
Charlie Haas wrestled in the WWE from 2000 to 2010. During that time, he developed a reputation as a solid worker. After winning tag team gold with Shelton Benjamin, Haas left the company after nearly a decade. He popped up in Ring of Honor and worked as one of the company’s top heels until his departure. During a ROH show in April 2013, Haas reportedly went to the ring intoxicated after punching comedy wrestler Grizzly Redwood in the locker room. Haas told fans it would be his last match before proceeding to stumble through a terrible bout. Now four years on, Haas has put wrestling behind him. He and his wife, Jackie Gayda have four children. According to reports, Haas has landed on his feet post-wrestling and works as a spine specialist for a medical supply company in Texas. Haas is another positive story of a former WWE wrestler getting their lives together after leaving the business.
11. Ahmed Johnson
During Bill Watts’ brief time working for the WWE in 1995, he had plans to use Ahmed Johnson as an African American hero, much he had done with Junkyard Dog and Ron Simmons previously. Watts didn’t stay with the company for long, and in the end, Johnson’s time in the WWE was relatively short, too. Johnson spent a lot of time injured during his WWE career, and when he wasn’t hurt, he was injuring other wrestlers. Johnson left the company in 1998 after becoming the first ever African American to win the Intercontinental belt. He retired from wrestling five years later. Today, Johnson has lost the muscle tone he once had. It appears his appetite for training has been replaced with a hungry for food.
10. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Jake “The Snake” Roberts was one of the most gifted wrestlers to ever lace up a pair of boots. He may not have had the body, but Roberts had the mic skills and in-ring ability to be a star. He was such a great performer that he didn’t need to be a champion. Away from the ring, however, Roberts’ life was a mix of problems. Vince McMahon has famously stated he never knew if he was talking to Roberts the wrestler or Roberts the man. Many of Roberts’ substance abuse problems have been well documented, but many fans didn’t know just how bad off he was until Diamond Dallas Page began to help him. Gone are his dark hair and moustache. They have been replaced by gray hair. Although he is still much heavier looking than in his prime, Roberts has greatly improved his life since joining up with DDP just a few years ago. Unfortunately, Roberts’ finances have been hurt by his substance addiction.
9. The Warlord
In 2016, Terry Szopinski, aka the Warlord, along with 24 other former WWE wrestlers, was named in a lawsuit against the company. The group of former employees sought compensation over brain injuries that were sustained while working with the WWE. Like many of his former colleagues listed in the lawsuit, Warlord has had his fair share of health problems since leaving the company in the in 1990s. He does still do appearances on the indie circuit, but the 55-year-old definitely lost it. At one time, the Warlord was a monster of a man who looked like he was quite familiar with visiting pharmacies to obtain muscle growing medications. In fact, there is a famous story, told by Kevin Nash, that Warlord asked Shawn Michaels to push down on the plunger of a syringe that was sticking out of his rear. When Michaels was unable to get the plunger to move, he told the Warlord, “looks like you’re already full!”
8. Harley Race
Harley Race is arguably the greatest NWA World Heavyweight Champion of all-time. In 1986, Race joined the WWE and quickly won the King of the Ring tournament. As the company’s first ever king, Race was given a title that suited him in his advanced years. The gimmick afforded him a run with Hulk Hogan for the WWE title until he was injured through a ringside table during one of their matches. It cost Race his career for the most part, although he did work up until 1991 before moving into managing and promoting. Now 74, Race has been in poor health for some time. In the summer of 2017, the former champion fell and broke his leg, leaving him wheelchair bound. Add in the smoking and drinking the Missouri-native has done, and it is easy to see why many wrestlers take better care of themselves nowadays.
7. Sam Houston
Sam Houston joined the WWE in 1987 after his half-brother, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, found success with the company. However, Houston lacked the big, muscular body that other WWE superstars possessed. Despite his build, Houston could work his socks off and was a great in-ring performer. He left the WWE in 1991 and bounced around the indies along with WCW. Like his half-brother, Houston had his demons, and according to former wife Nickla “Baby Doll” Roberts, he wanted to be the life of the party. Roberts divorced Houston in 1994 citing substance abuse as the reason. In 2005, Houston was sentenced to 10 years in prison for repetitive DUI infractions. According to Roberts, her ex-husband averaged two DUIs a year between their divorce and his sentencing nearly a decade later. Today, Houston (54) still works the indie circuit and most notably wrestles on shows for Louisiana promotion WildKat Sports as a way to make extra money.
6. Iron Sheik
The Iron Sheik has become a parody of himself. The former WWE Champion has had a myriad of substance abuse problems. Addiction and injuries cost the Iron Sheik much, if not all, of his career earnings. It is a real shame, because he was a big part of HulkaMania’s initial WWE push. He was also an important part of the mid-1980s WWE as United States and Iran relations made the Iron Sheik a target for heat. Today, Sheiky Baby has lost the physique that made him look so impressive up against Hulk Hogan. He does still have his signature moustache, but he has also grown a large belly that was most likely acquired from staying out of the gym and in the kitchen, Bubba!
In 1996, WWE was at the tail end of a downturn in business. The Attitude Era was about to kickoff, but before it did, the WWE unleashed Brakkus into the company’s universe. A German bodybuilder discovered by Shane McMahon, Brakkus was everything Vince McMahon dreams of at night. Brakkus was massive and was most likely juiced to the gills. He looked amazing, and a bit sickening all at the time due to the muscles protruding from every inch of his body. Trained by Dr. Tom Prichard, Brakkus was limited in the ring due to his mass. In addition, wrestling and taking bumps was far more difficult than simply lifting weights and posing. Brakkus lasted just three years in wrestling, and retired in 1999 due to an abundance of injuries he had already endured. Today, Brakkus, real name Achim Albrecht, lives in California and trains bodybuilders. The mountains of muscle are gone.
4. Rick Steiner
So, what do you do after your wrestling career ends? You start a successful real estate career and become a member of your local school board. That is exactly what Rick Steiner did in the mid-2000s after the closure of WCW. Steiner, who worked in the WWE with brother Scott from 1992 to 1994, was one of the most aggressive, legitimate in-ring workers of his time. Now 56, Steiner has lost much of the muscle he had during his wrestling prime. Of course, the cauliflower ears and signature goatee are still there, but Steiner can now be seen daily in suits rather than a wrestling singlet. He still dons the tights occasionally, but closing a big real estate deal is far more important than headlining a wrestling card these days. He has moved on well as the injuries from his days in the ring accumulated and helped force him into a real job.
3. Sean Waltman
Sean Waltman burst into the WWE in 1993 after impressing many fans in the Global Wrestling Federation. Waltman quickly made friends with Scott Hall and it helped get the light heavyweight over in the eyes of fans. He was the ultimate underdog at the time, and Waltman was roundly cheered by fans when he defeated the “Bad Guy” on Monday Night RAW. Years of injuries took their toll on the wrestler’s body, however. Not long after his WWE debut, Waltman had gained a reputation for using pills and being difficult to work with. He attempted to take his own life on the roof of his apartment building in Mexico City after an altercation with then-girlfriend Alicia Webb. Now 45, Waltman’s appearance looks less like the young, handsome babyface he portrayed in 1993, and more like a man that takes his kids to watch the WWE when they come to town.
2. Scott Hall
Look at former WWE Intercontinental Champion Scott Hall today, and it would be difficult to recognize the former Razor Ramon. At one time, Hall oozed machismo, but now he is just grateful to be alive. Hall’s substance abuse took its toll on him. Even before his wrestling career ended, Hall’s body was beginning to show the signs of someone on a downward spiral. No one knew just how bad Hall was until ESPN released an E60 documentary on him. According to friend Kevin Nash, Hall’s abuse problems may have a lot to do with post-traumatic stress syndrome. Hall was attacked in a parking lot and took his attacker’s life. Hall has admitted never being able to forget the incident. In recent years, Hall has gotten help thanks to friend Diamond Dallas Page. But the effects of drugs and alcohol can be seen on the former IC champion’s body.
1. Ric Flair
Ric Flair’s ESPN 30 for 30 documentary shed a lot of light on the 16-time world heavyweight champion’s career. More than in the ring, fans got to see what life was like for Flair outside of it and on the road. Flair’s heavy partying and nightlife may have helped his gimmick, but it did nothing for his health. According to Flair, he drank 10 beers and five mixed drinks a day for 20 years. He also stated he was with more than 10,000 women, which seems a stretch. All of his hard living, stress from marriages and working 300 days a year took its toll on Flair. In August 2017, the former world champion was hospitalized after complications with surgery. Flair has stated his hard living had much to do with his near-death experience.
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