The relationship between professional wrestling and steroids isn’t exactly a secret one. Even if it wasn’t for the infamous steroid trials, anyone who watched pro wrestling in the ‘80s and ‘90s would know beyond any doubt that many wrestlers were on the juice. The controversy surrounding steroids and professional wrestling was less about how they affected the “integrity” of the sport and more about the danger they posed. Steroid usage in wrestling was rampant enough to threaten the short-term and long-term health of performers everywhere. That’s why so many wrestlers eventually chose to get off the juice at some point in their life.
While that is almost always the smart decision in terms of a wrestler’s health, abandoning the juice can result in some unfortunate consequences. Many wrestlers who abandoned steroids soon found themselves looking at a much worse body that resembled the one they were trying to avoid in the first place. Oddly enough, getting off steroids doesn’t always force someone to suffer a drastic change in their physique. Actually, you could argue that some wrestlers look even better when they got off of it.
15 Worse - Hulk Hogan
Granted, age probably has something to do with this, but there is no denying that Hulk Hogan fell off the juice pretty hard. If Hogan had never used steroids, he probably would have still been a physically imposing wrestler. He may have even become a huge star. However, there’s no denying that steroids helped Hogan gain a physique that was simply otherworldly. When the steroid trials hit WWE, Hogan mysteriously lost quite a bit of muscle. He then mysteriously gained some of it back when jumping to WCW. Hogan didn’t look great in his later WWE years when he was off the juice, but he looks especially bad now. Hogan may not have aged that gracefully in the first place, but he certainly hasn’t aged well with help from an epic steroid comedown.
14 Better - The Rock
Yes, The Rock used steroids. Some of you may not be too surprised given that The Rock is a huge, huge guy. However, it turns out that The Rock’s steroid use only occurred a couple of times when he was younger. In other words, it happened before he gained quite a few pounds of muscle and overall better form. Now, we’re taking The Rock’s word when he says that he doesn’t use steroids anymore, but it would actually kind of make sense. After all, The Rock’s massive physique came around the same time that he started to up his workout routine in preparation for movie roles. Before then, he just didn’t have much reason to be a huge guy. The Rock has also stated that those substances contributed to his battles with depression.
13 Worse - Randy Orton
Randy Orton isn’t exactly out of shape these days. The guy still has one of the better overall physiques in WWE. However, you can draw a clear line between how Randy Orton looked before he was caught using PEDs and after Randy Orton was caught using PEDs. Before that incident, Orton was basically chiseled from stone. He had the kind of physique that a promoter would give a wrestler if they were able to build one from scratch. He was also incredibly athletic. In the years since Orton’s bust, he’s certainly lost a bit of that definition. Again, it wasn’t the most drastic transition in the world, but it was clear to WWE fans exactly when Randy Orton got off the juice.
12 Better - John Morrison
“Better” in this instance is kind of another way of saying “exactly the same.” See, you’re probably not too surprised to hear that John Morrison used to be on the juice. Half of the guy’s gimmick was based on his physique. However, it may surprise you to learn that Morrison supposedly only used PEDs from 2006-2007. While he received quite a few drugs during that time, he has supposedly gotten off the drugs since then. Now, you might be able to say that Morrison doesn’t look quite as good as he used to, but we’d sooner chalk that up to a few more years of age. Actually, Morrison has arguably looked better than ever in recent indie matches. He’s certainly more athletic than he was before.
11 Worse - British Bulldog
Do us a favor. Go back and watch tapes of The British Bulldog from mid-to-late ‘80s WWE. You may notice that the Bulldog of that era happens to have one of the most impressive physiques in the history of professional wrestling. If you didn’t notice that back in the day, it’s probably because Bulldog came up during the age of steroids when most wrestlers had inhuman builds. It might also be because you remember what Bulldog looked like in his later days. While Bulldog didn’t completely fall apart, he lost a great deal of muscle when he got off the juice. That, combined with his history of abusing various substances, contributed to him looking a bit flabby and broken down. Then again, he might have only looked slightly better on the steroids by that point.
10 Better - Ryback
Ryback has been labeled a steroid guy by quite a few people over the years. CM Punk even called Ryback out for steroid use and claimed that Ryback’s lack of actual talent probably took years off Punk’s life. Ryback has admitted to using steroids in the past. However, he claims to have used them in the years leading up to his debut in WWE’s developmental territories. If you look at the footage from that time, Ryback was certainly a big dude, but he wasn’t quite a clean and cut as he would become towards the end of his WWE run. This is one of those cases of the lack of PEDs probably contributing to the overall health - and eventual physical fitness - of a wrestler in a positive way over a long enough time period.
9 Worse - Sting
This is a bit of an odd one. Sting has admitted to using steroids throughout the ‘80s during the early part of his career. This probably doesn’t come as too much of a shock to anyone given that Sting was in pretty incredible shape during his prime. Thing get a bit complicated, though, when you consider Sting’s claim that he stopped using steroids in the early ‘90s. That’s certainly possible - you can see a slight drop-off in his physique during that time - but the lack of steroids really became noticeable when Sting returned with his Crow gimmick. While he was still in good shape, it was clear that Sting had undergone a significant physical transformation. At the time, that was chalked up to his time away from the ring.
8 Better - Shawn Michaels
This is another one that depends on who you believe. What we know for a fact is that Shawn Michaels was suspended for PED use back in 1993. Now, Michaels claims that he stopped using steroids shortly thereafter. He did a lot of cocaine, but no steroids. Others state that Michaels never really stopped using. However, we’re going to side with Michaels on this one. For one thing, he was definitely a little “bigger” before ‘93 in terms of his overall frame. Secondly, McMahon infamously cracked down on roid use following the steroid trials, and Michaels was chosen as one of the company’s poster boys because it was clear he didn’t use steroids. Regardless, Michaels was in his physical and athletic prime after ‘93.
7 Worse - The Ultimate Warrior
To be fair, the answer to this question does require you to consider when The Ultimate Warrior stopped using steroids. There's a possibility that he used them for most of his life. However, we can say with confidence that The Ultimate Warrior was at least asked by WWE to lay off the steroids during the Vince McMahon steroid trials. During this time, he and Hulk Hogan (among others) lost a tremendous amount of muscle. Even later in his life, though, shots of the Warrior without his shirt on reveal that the years of steroid abuse - and possible lack of steroids - had certainly taken their toll. His skin hung loose off what used to be his bulging frame. Of course, it was probably the steroid abuse that contributed to his untimely death.
6 Better - Batista
Here’s one that almost swung the other way. In the early days of his career, Batista definitely used steroids. He was caught in 2007, but the evolution of his physique suggests that he was using them well before then. Now, for a brief period of time after he was caught, Batista did lose a bit of muscle and general definition. However, it was never quite that dramatic of a transformation. Actually, recent shots of Batista training for movies - and a potential in-ring return - suggest that he is in better physical shape than ever. As for those who doubt whether or not Batista ever actually got off the juice...well, one look at the guy’s intense diet and workout will probably give you an idea of how a human can look like that.
5 Worse - Scott Steiner
It’s actually somewhat up for debate regarding when Scott Steiner really started using steroids. The popular narrative suggests that Steiner was a clean-cut wrestler who only started to use PEDs around the time that he ballooned into a muscle-ridden comic book villain. However, there are others who suggest that Steiner was using steroids well before that. Whichever version of the story you believe, it feels fair to say that Steiner’s muscle mass has decreased significantly since the ‘99/2000 WCW days. In fact, you really only need to look at Steiner’s brief WWE return to really appreciate just how much muscle the guy lost as a result of him getting off the juice. Steiner hasn’t completely fallen apart yet, but his body must be a warzone by now.
4 Better - Edge
Edge doesn’t immediately strike you as a PED guy. Yeah, the guy was in great shape, but he wasn’t exactly bragging about the size of his biceps during promos. However, Edge admitted to using steroids during the early days of his career. Well...technically he was caught and admitted it, but you get the point. While Edge supposedly used steroids as late as 2007, it’s believed that he eventually got off them. Sure, you can see a bit of a difference between on-the-juice Edge and off-the-juice Edge, but the drop-off didn’t really span more than a few months. Eventually, Edge regained his figure and found new ways to stay in shape. Actually, Edge looks healthier than ever these days even in retirement. Maybe he wasn’t that big of a user in the first place.
3 Worse - Lex Luger
Just to be clear, we’re not talking about the spinal infraction that Luger suffered in 2007 that left him partially paralyzed. Needless to say, that kind of incident will leave anyone looking bad regardless of whether or not they ever used steroids. Instead, we’re talking about what happened to Luger after his time in WCW. It seems that Luger got off the roids around the time of the Miss Elizabeth overdose incident. Shortly thereafter, Luger quite literally became a shell of his former self. He lost a tremendous amount of muscle and looked nearly unrecognizable. While it was probably the best move for Luger in the long run - before the paralysis, that is - the shock to his body as he slowly got off the juice must have been tremendous.
2 Better - Vince McMahon
Again, this particular entry partially depends on whether or not you believe that Vince McMahon really stopped using steroids. What we can tell you for sure is that Vince was a regular steroid user throughout the ‘80s and into the ‘90s. Now, he claims to have stopped using steroids around that time but...we’ll you’ve seen footage of Vince McMahon from the Attitude Era. However, we feel confident when we say that Vince is probably no longer on the juice. For one thing, there’s no way that he would be nearly as healthy as he seems to be if he used steroids all this time. We’d also argue that Vince looks better than ever partially because his body type now matches his age a bit more appropriately.
1 Worse - Ahmed Johnson
Steroids affect everybody a little bit differently. Some guys are able to use them for years and years and avoid long-term consequences. Others look horrible the very moment that they put the steroids away. Generally speaking, though, a prolonged period of steroid use followed by going cold turkey is going to dramatically impact the human body. There’s no better example of this affect than Ahmed Johnson. Johnson used to boast one of the best physiques in WWE. Granted, that’s because he was juicing at a time when most stars were forbidden from doing such things, but the guy still looked like a million bucks. Now...well, now Johnson looks like a completely different human being. In fact, it must be impossible for him to convince most people that he’s actually Ahmed Johnson.