The 1990s might not sound like they were that long ago, but we're closer to 2030 than we are to 1999. And when you consider the questionable route WWE has taken since the turn of the millennium, we’ll excuse you for being just a little bit worried about where the company will be in 13 years time. Although if they carry on their current methods, you can bet Triple H, Goldberg and probably even Kevin Nash will be main eventers.
They’ll probably still look the same by then, but as with all humans, people's appearances can change a lot. From haircuts that strip away any sort of resemblance they might have had to the gaining of a few extra pounds, it’s the little things that make all the difference. This list is comprised of not only those who have undergone radical changes in their looks, but there are also a few stars who you probably just wouldn’t recognize. And that’s not because they’ve changed their look, it’s because you probably just don’t remember what they looked like. From the lower mid-card WCW guys to the one you might not recognize with his clothes on. And speaking of WCW, number 20 is…
Debuting originally in WWE, Crowbar is probably best known for his time in WCW from 1999 to 2001. And even though his success was limited, he did get to team with Flair… David Flair. With Daffney as the third member of the group, Flair and Crowbar picked up the Tag Titles but the WWE weren’t interested in picking up his contract, leaving him to the independent circuit and the early days of TNA.
His maniacal look and crowbar (what else?) made him pretty recognizable. But you won’t find either of those on his person nowadays though, with the hair shortening and the crowbar going back into the toolbox. He now works in physical therapy, having picked up a degree in it, choosing to fix people rather than break them.
19 Bart Gunn
Let’s face it, you probably wouldn’t recognize Bart Gunn even if he looked exactly the same as he did back in the Brawl For All days. Best known for winning the real, actual fighting tournament in 1998, Gunn previously partnered Billy Gunn as a pair of cowboys with relative success in the mid-90s. It was in the Brawl For All that he is best remembered for ultimately.
Beating JBL, Godfather, Hardcore Holly and Dr. Death, Gunn won the tournament and subsequently faced Butterbean at WrestleMania XV. A wrestler taking on a Super Heavyweight boxer, not the best of ideas. He was KO’d in the first round, hardly a surprise. And for Gunn, that was as good as it got unfortunately. After a stint in Japan, Gunn went into a more conventional life of becoming an electrician.
18 Dennis Knight
Whether a part of The Undertaker’s Ministry or *shudder* walking round almost naked, Dennis Knight wasn’t a big part player in the Attitude Era. In fact, even putting him into Naked Mideon mode didn’t do much for him – who knew that wouldn’t get him over?
But away from the ring, Knight has ditched the long, greased hair from the height of his wrestling days. And now, the bald Knight is completely unrecognizable from his Mideon time – as long as he’s wearing long sleeves. Still sporting his tattoos, Knight is now a very successful chef, offering a different kind of Sunday Night Heat… With his own catering company in Florida, the former European Champion is proving that there is no end to the potential paths a wrestler can follow.
17 Evan Karagias
A member of 3 Count along with Shannon Moore and Gregory Helms, Evan Karagias and his squad were basically WCW’s attempt to cash in on the popularity of Backstreet Boys during that time. And in fairness, at least they were something a bit different. But for Karagias, that was as good as the wrestling industry got.
A fight with Goldberg hindered any progress, as did Kronik refusing to put them over. And when it came to WWE taking control of the company, his contract was kept on until a severe concussion saw him released months later. Today, the hair and dance moves are gone, as is Karagias. No longer involved in wrestling, Karagias is now a franchise partner in a tax firm – and he has short hair.
16 Scotty 2 Hotty
Scott Taylor was perhaps one of the most over stars of the Attitude Era, and he was probably the most unlikely of the lot. Small in stature, Taylor became Scotty 2 Hotty and went on to huge things with Grandmaster Sexay and Rikishi. Master of The Worm (which drew the same excitement as a People’s Elbow), Scotty’s look was helped by his flash of gelled blonde hair.
But that’s not there anymore, as seen in his most recent WWE appearances. Now sporting a bald head, Scotty is working as a trainer for the WWE at the Performance Center. When it comes to the rest of Too Cool, Rikishi is still identical and Sexay has barely changed. But then again, Hotty was always the most over of the trio.
15 The Kat
The former Mrs. Jerry Lawler (no, really), The Kat was probably best known for being Chyna’s understudy during her run in WWE. That was until her release from the company in 2001, which led to Lawler himself departing in anger. Needless to say, he returned as soon as the two split up… later that year.
During her time with the company, Kat was best remembered for having dark hair, although that was a wig to hide her true blonde locks. Today, Stacy Carter looks different – mainly due to her hair. Dark has become light and unlike in her Armageddon 1999 appearance, she tends to keep her clothes on a little more regularly now. It’s difficult to know what WWE’s stance is on The Kat, considering her Lawler divorce and partnership with the hidden figure that is Chyna.
14 David Flair
Like the previously mentioned Crowbar, David Flair achieved relative success in the late 90s WCW. The son and spitting image of The Nature Boy, Flair didn’t last long in WWE, decimated by The Undertaker and departing very quickly. But even though he’s a part of one of the most successful wrestling families in history, DF didn’t consider staying around the industry.
Instead, he now works for the Seal Wire Company having previously been involved in medical supply. And it’s fair to say that even Ric might not recognize his own son nowadays, so how do us normal folk stand a chance at grabbing an autograph?! Gone is the blonde hair and gone is the standard size frame. In is the dark hair, big build and beard!
13 Mikey Whipwreck
The master of the stunner and one of the key players in the heyday of ECW, Mikey Whipwreck was massive in the company. A former ECW champion (in the days where being ECW Champion meant something), he picked up multiple tag belts along the way as well as TV Titles. But after WWE took on ECW, Whipwreck didn’t see his contract picked up and he retired.
That’s sort of way that wrestlers retire, because they really don’t, as Whipwreck wrestled until 2015 – 14 years later. Whether with his dyed red hair or his dragon inspired shirts, Whipwreck was a recognizable guy. He’s not really identical today though. The hair has deserted him and he’s put a few pounds from his post-wrestling days, but he’s perfectly entitled after entertaining crowds for two decades.
12 Bull Buchanan
Don’t be alarmed, he’s not grown any hair or anything crazy like that. But let’s face it, you probably wouldn’t recognize him whether he looked identical to his 90s-00s run or not. Debuting as a part of The Truth Commission, Bull went onto become Big Bossman’s sidekick, a member of Right To Censor and, subsequently, John Cena’s rap partner.
Today, Bull has put on a few pounds but still has the same look. For any other star from around the time, this wouldn’t trouble any chance of recognizing them. But sadly for Bull, performances in groups and factions mean he’s not the most memorable face in WWE history. Now retired, B-Squared is quite entitled to enjoy the life he had to neglect during his wrestling days.
11 The Barbarian
From The Powers of Pain to wearing fur and antlers, that’s the way life went for Sione Havea Vailahi. Having left WWE and made the move to WCW, he did the exact same move later in the 90s as he spent five years with WCW in his second spell. His second spell in the soon to be McMahon’s company saw him make the transition back to his earlier character, but visions and memories of his antler wearing days remain.
In truth, neither company knew exactly how to make the most of his talents and since then, he continues to play his trade on the independent circuit. Chances are you wouldn’t recognize him today because he was given so many masks and face paints, and now he looks relatively bland without them.
My dog and I having a stare down over who gets the pillows this morning. It went broadway - wrestler lingo for a draw. pic.twitter.com/1NoI7qiX3R— Raven (@theraveneffect) March 8, 2017
Remember the long-haired outsider who had fans of WWE, WCW, and ECW encapsulated in the 90s and early 2000s? He looks a little different nowadays. One of the most intriguing stars during his time and holding feuds with Kane and Big Show to name only two, Raven also went on to become one of the major players in the early days of TNA. He didn’t switch gimmicks or character either, it was just a natural success and he achieved considerable success.
Raven hasn’t changed a massive amount, but his lack of hair would certainly influence whether he’d be recognized or not. Facially, he's still exactly the same. But with his hair one of the main features, he’d certainly make you ask “don’t I know you from somewhere?”
9 Ahmed Johnson
When Ahmed Johnson was a WWE Superstar, he was a little confusing to say the least. His rants for promos didn’t exactly make him the most understandable on the mic, even if he had the best physique in the company. A true brute, Johnson left WWE and joined rivals WCW, where he put on a few pounds. Now named Big T, Johnson was on the bigger side, but not by much.
When you compare that to modern day Ahmed Johnson, they look like completely different people. Now weighing far more than he did, with the muscles hidden by an extra layer, Johnson hasn’t exactly kept himself in ring ready condition. Not that WWE will be calling on him any time soon, as he was a part of the long list of mid-carders who are in legal action over brain injuries and misled information from the 90s.
8 Perry Saturn
The tale of Perry Saturn is incredibly sad, with homelessness and illness affecting his post-WWE life. Following success in WCW and ECW, Saturn was always stuck as the fourth most successful member of The Radicalz. And having been stuck with the Moppy angle after issuing a beating against a jobber in a dark match, Saturn left the company and went onto new ventures. Touring with WWA and having a stint in TNA, it all went downhill from then.
Saturn went off the radar for some time with nobody seemingly knowing where he had gone to – even his family. Homeless for two and a half years, even his own family didn’t know where he was, eventually reemerging far bigger than in his wrestling days and with a face tattoo. Perry’s woes have continued with brain injuries affecting his day to day life.
7 Lex Luger
The tale of Lex Luger is the saddest on this list, because his unrecognizable muscular physique and long blonde locks have deserted him. Now wheelchair bound, Lex picked up a spinal infection in 2007 that has severely impacted his day-to-day life. He does do some work with WWE though, working on their Wellness Policy. But when it comes to a return to the ring, that one is simply impossible.
During his heyday with both WWE & WCW, Lex had probably the most well sculpted body of all, with Vince McMahon pushing him towards being the next Hulk Hogan. Though that never materialized, he was still a strong worker in both companies. But to see how he's turned out while still relatively young (58), it really is a sad sight.
6 Rock n Roll Express
Instead of putting these in separately, it’s probably best to just put them in as the tag team that they were. Just to make it clear, this entry is about Robert Gibson and Ricky Morton. Well they’ve both aged, quite a bit. Now with both approaching 60 (Morton’s already there), it’s not much of a surprise that they look a little different than their heyday.
The fresh faced pair might still have that 80s hair, but the years mean that you’d be hard pressed to recognize them in a police line-up. Most successful in NWA and WCW, the duo dropped their titles to The Headbangers during the NWA/WWE mash up, with a run in TNA following later on. One of the most recognized tag-teams in history, they still appear occasionally on the circuit.
5 Shawn Stasiak
Whether you remember him better as Meat or Stasiak, the ex-WCW tag champ didn’t really get the best treatment by creative in the two biggest companies at the time. Do we all remember his return as part of the Invasion, where Vince turned him into a complete (stupid) idiot?
Never really being given any form of a proper push, Stasiak was used more as a comedy figure and, despite his decent moveset, he didn’t progress as many thought he would. But away from the ring, he’s certainly done that. Having left wrestling in 2002 after WWE took full control of their rival company, Stasiak dyed his hair and went after new business ventures. Now a fully trained and successful chiropractor, Stasiak balances this with a bit of motivational speaking.
4 Essa Rios
It’s not much of a surprise that Essa Rios looks a bit different to his 1997 debut, because he’s aged. Joining WWE at just 18, Rios was incredibly athletic and held the Light Heavyweight Championship on his debut as the Rios character, but his time in the company was relatively short. Going into no storylines in mid 2000, Rios was kept off television before eventually leaving the company in 2001.
Nowadays, Rios looks like a different man to the one who was a part of Vince McMahon’s company. With a huge mohawk, half painted face and opting for trunks instead of trousers, it’s fair to say that the Essa Rios has gone, with Mr. Aguila firmly taking over. Compared to the rest of the Attitude Era roster though, he’s still the perfect age for a run.
3 Juventud Guerrera
Originally a WCW star, Guerrera took a full decade from his debut in that company to making the transition across to WWE as part of The Mexicools. Alongside Super Crazy and Psicosis, the three rode to the ring on lawnmowers and had the typical Mexican stereotype that WWE loves to play on.
Feuding with Psicosis and Rey Mysterio in his earlier days, Guerrera was a pivotal part of the Cruiserweight Title scene that provided a nice alternative to the nWo heavy shows in WCW. Joining The Filthy Animals, he was known for his high flying nature – but he doesn’t look like doing that nowadays. Having returned to AAA, Guerrera isn’t in the same shape he was during his earlier years. Super Crazy has gone the same way too, but only one of them can make the list.
Having spent a decade fighting in Mexico, Vampiro made the transition into the major leagues in 1998 when he joined forces with Ted Turner’s WCW. Most noted for his face paint, it was no surprise when he ended up teaming with and subsequently taking on Sting at the turn of 2000. But the face paint and long hair has deserted Vampiro nowadays, with the 49 year old opting against it.
Now a part of Lucha Underground, the color commentator doesn’t exactly look too much like the spooky character he was at the turn of the millennium. Having put on a bit of weight (compared to his slender frame in WCW), Ian Hodgkinson is a very different man today. Needless to say, you wouldn’t know him if he passed you on the street unless you were a LU fan.
1 Marty Jannetty
The man who was superkicked and thrown through a barber shop window by long-time partner Shawn Michaels, Marty Jannetty had his fair share of struggles since his heyday in wrestling. Leaving WWE in 1996, Jannetty has made appearances across the indie scene and was last season in Vince McMahon’s company back in 2009 – and he probably won’t be back any time soon. Part of a lawsuit against the company, he’s not quite held in the same regard as Michaels.
And for Jannetty, he’s not in stellar shape compared to when he was at his prime. Drug abuse played big problems during Jannetty’s earlier years in wrestling and the WWE recognized this, releasing him as he failed to get himself sorted.
Today, the Rocker is still competing but he’s almost unrecognizable to the man who is widely regarded as one of the best tag-team wrestlers of all-time. The long locks have long gone and the svelte figure is a thing of the past unfortunately.