A great deal has been made over the years about Hollywood’s obsession with image and how you need to be good looking in order to make it there but if you ask us pro wrestling may be even worse. Sure, there are some acts that have gotten over by having different body types, like The Big Show or Erick Rowan, but the vast majority of people who succeed at the top level are handsome or gorgeous. Not only that but these men and women spend almost their entire life on the road and still must somehow be able to work on their bodies day and night. Then, a few years go by, their careers lose momentum and they don’t need to work so hard and in the case of some, their looks start to pay the price. The years of abuse their bodies have suffered also takes a big toll on the looks of these talented workers.
For this list, we’ll be looking at the people who made their living in the wrestling world and have had their looks go downhill in the subsequent years. Whether they suffered poorly performed plastic surgery or if years of cutting their forehead to illicit blood have left their face horribly scarred, the reason their looks have changed doesn’t matter. One notable exception that we won’t be including on this list, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, has had his body ravaged by cancer and it wouldn’t feel right to focus on that. We also won’t be looking at anyone who has passed away.
15 The Undertaker
The undisputed locker room leader for the majority of his time in the WWE, The Undertaker has always cast an imposing figure on television and in the industry. Arguably the best combination of an over the top gimmick and the performer chosen to play it in the history of the business, Taker has managed to hold a vaulted place in the WWE for twenty-six years. A first ballot Hall of Famer, it is safe to say that his legacy in the business is absolutely assured.
That said, the “Dead Man” sure seems to be aging a great deal for a man who supposedly has been beyond the grave for years. Sure, we all know that the man behind the character, Mark Calloway, is a human being but it is still entertaining to compare his look to the character he plays. For the last several years, as The Phenom takes long periods of time off in between his matches, photos seem to spring up on him in personal time looking like he’s aged years since we last saw him. All of the pomp and circumstance of his entrance and garments helps to hide his age on TV but photos show that he is closer to looking like a grandpa than an immortal ass kicker.
14 Mick Foley
One of the most beloved wrestlers of the Attitude Era, Mick seemed like he was never destined to headline a card but his sacrifices and lovable nature ensure he’d do just that. A hardcore legend who repeatedly sacrificed his own well-being for the entertainment of the fans, Mick’s body suffered greatly as a result.
In fact, if this list was put together even a year ago, Mrs. Foley’s baby boy may have found himself much higher on our ranking. Fortunately for him and us, his loving fans, Mick has become the latest wrestling convert to DDP Yoga. Shedding a lot of weight in the past several months, he is moving better than he has in years but we still wince every time we see him shuffle down a ramp or out of a room. Furthermore, the agony he has put himself through started to show on his face in the last several years. We just hope that he continues his hard work and his body rebounds further.
Tammy Sytch, the woman who is best remembered for her run in the WWE as Sunny, was one of the most sought after beauties in the entire internet at the height of her career. A manager of three successive tag team champions, she was also used as an announcer, model and spokesperson for the WWE at that time. Also hired by ECW and WCW, she even ended up working briefly for ROH and a bevy of other independent companies. Inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011, an accolade she clearly deserved her career had a huge impact on the way the industry used women even if some have argued it was for the worse.
A woman who has been open about her struggles with substance abuse, Sunny’s life seems to have fallen apart several times over the years and her body has also paid a steep price. A performer who once prided herself on her appearance, you certainly wouldn’t be able to tell that was once the case when you look at her now. Recently saying she has cleaned herself up, we really hope she lives a life that makes her as happy as possible going forward.
12 Marc Mero
A wrestler that was once known as Johnny B. Badd, Mero was signed by the WWE after a successful run in WCW and Vince McMahon had him earmarked for a run in main events. Once he actually made the transition, though, the bloom quickly fell off the rose and he was soon overshadowed by the huge responses his real-life wife, the woman known as Sable, would receive. After a mostly forgettable run, Marc left the company with little to no fanfare.
One of the many wrestlers who came out of the woodwork during the dark days that followed the Benoit family tragedy, Mero produced a list of thirty-one wrestlers he worked with who’d died. Criticized by many of his former peers for using the situation to gain attention, it seems that the common perception is that he wanted to have a few more days in the limelight. Judging by his obviously altered face, he may have decided that his aging face was the problem and surgery was the answer. We’re here to assure him that he made the wrong choice and aging gracefully is a far better choice than bad plastic surgery face.
11 Lex Luger
One of the best examples of wrestlers whose career was defined by his highly chiseled physique, Lex was even once known as The Narcissist and spent time preening in front of mirrors. A former member of the Four Horseman, he looked like he was born to be employed by Vince McMahon, a man who is widely believed to adore big muscled dudes on his TV, and joined the WWE in 1993. Turned into a flag bearing hero, he was clearly intended to carry the company on his back, even co-winning the Royal Rumble aside Bret Hart, but a lack of fan support put an end to his ascent. Ultimately returning to the roster of WCW, he played a major part in the feud with the nWo, before ultimately joining their ranks.
After WCW closed its doors, Lex’s life underwent a lot of changes. Losing his live-in girlfriend, Miss Elizabeth, to a toxic mix of drugs and alcohol, he would go on to have a stroke. Suffering from paralysis for a time, his once huge frame is long gone even though he has regained the ability to walk and even drive. Often seen moving with the aid of a wheelchair, cane or walker, Lex’s issues have made him look a lot older than his fifty-eight years of life should.
A huge star in Mexico during the majority of the nineties, Vampiro is best remembered by North American fans for his time in WCW. Joining the company in 1998, he would remain under contract to Turner right up until the time of WCW’s demise. Thrust into a long-running feud with Sting, one of the company’s most popular and long-lasting performers, Vampiro seem poised to be given a main event run but it was not to be. Never brought in by the WWE, he has spent years bouncing around several companies before recently landing on the announce team for Lucha Underground.
Of course, we’d forgive you if you didn’t recognize him without his tattoos or the icon at the bottom of the screen when he first appears on television, as he looks little like he once did. He has put on a fair amount of weight since his prime and his decision to shave his head has only further rendered him difficult to identify. Looking like someone whose life has been hard on him, Vampiro oftentimes appears worn out.
9 The Sandman
Let’s be honest, in the hands of anyone other than Paul Heyman, The Sandman never would have had a chance at success in the wrestling industry. A former five-time ECW World Heavyweight Champion, The Sandman’s entrance, and attitude made him a star in one of the most rebellious wrestling promotions in history. Somehow managing to eke out runs in companies as varied as the aforementioned ECW, XPW, TNA, WCW, and even WWE despite underwhelming in-ring skills, Sandman made the most of his career.
It’s a good thing too, as he looks like he isn’t far from spending his days in a retirement home. Sure, he’d have to find the most permissive old folks home in the world but as long as he had cigarettes and beer by his side, we’re guessing he’d be fine. Who knew that living your life at a breakneck speed would take a toll on your body?
8 Jesse Ventura
One of the most colorful wrestlers of his generation, Jesse clearly took his cue from the career of Billy Graham by combining an outrageous outfit with extreme promo ability. Despite that, his in-ring career was actually fairly unremarkable but after a transition to the announcing booth, he ensured that he would forever be a wrestling legend. Also remembered for an acting career that included work in Predator and The Running Man, he further proved he was a crossover success when he became the governor of Minnesota.
Principally known today for his off the wall conspiracy theories, Jesse has claimed that he has gone off the grid “so the drones can’t find me”, and he certainly looks like someone who would think like that. Completely bald on the top of his head, Jesse has made the bad decision to let the remainder of his hair grow long and the look has made him look pretty nuts. If he returned to acting and was cast to appear in an asylum, Jesse would look like a perfect fit. If that doesn’t say everything, we don’t know what does.
7 Shawn Michaels
The Show Stopper, Mr. WrestleMania, The Heartbreak Kid, and The Icon are all nicknames Shawn Michaels is known for but should his newest moniker be Old Timer? Almost always included in conversations of the best wrestlers of all time, HBK has taken part in some of wrestling’s best moments. Quite possibly the most complete package in the history of wrestling, especially after he left his diva attitude behind, Shawn’s career earned the respect of nearly all observers. Winning the company’s most prestigious title on four separate occasions, he was also the first person to ever hold four different WWE championships, making him an unofficial Grand Slam Champ.
Opting to retire of his own volition in 2010, after losing one of the best matches of all time, against The Undertaker at WrestleMania, Shawn was still working at the pinnacle of his game. Starting to show his age to a certain degree at the time, his shifting appearance, specifically his balding head and wonky eye earned in a 2002 match against Kane, began to be used for comedy fodder onscreen. Little did we know that his choice to step away would age him even further, perhaps in large part to his always awful choices in clothes.
6 Brian Knobbs
The Nasty Boys were never attractive men but their look had a lot to do with their long careers in the industry. A disgusting duo that went out of their way to look unappealing, they had long lasting runs in WCW and the WWE as a feared tag team that worked against the likes of The Hart Foundation and Legion of Doom to name just two. Winning tag team gold in both companies, a feat they pulled off three times in WCW, the Nasties as they were sometimes known even made appearances in TNA in 2010, at the behest of Hulk Hogan.
One of the wrestlers who became a loyal member of The Hulkster’s entourage, the world got its first view of how out of shape Brian had become as a part of “reality TV”. Appearing in several episodes of Hogan Knows Best and its spinoff Brooke Knows Best, he also served as an on-screen trainer for Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling. Very out of shape today, Brian has also made the dubious decision to keep the Mohawk he sported during his wrestling career, perhaps because he still makes some wrestling appearances.
5 Abdullah the Butcher
Abdullah the Butcher made his wrestling debut way back in 1958 and over his decades long career he cut a unique path through the industry that seems impossible to follow. Taking part in some of the most violent and brutal matches around; he was renowned for traveling the world and jabbing his trusty fork into the bodies of his foes. Working in as many territories as possible, he plied his trade for companies like WCW and ECW but worked a lot in Japan and lots of small companies most haven’t heard of. Despite that, he was chosen in 2011 to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, even though he never previously worked for Vince McMahon.
Known today for his awe-inspiring image, Abdullah gets shocked looks wherever he goes for his massive frame and the distinctive top of his head. After years of cutting his forehead with razor blades to add blood to the mix in his matches, there are scars so deep that he is reportedly known to put gambling chips in them.
A wrestler whose goth persona was a huge part of his attraction, Raven was actually a pretty good looking dude during his tenures in ECW and WCW. Draping himself in leather and attitude, he created one of the most memorable Attitude Era characters, as a cult leader of sorts. The leader of a number of factions, including The Flock, The Dead Pool, Serotonin and The Gathering, he is widely considered one of the best promo men of his era, respect he definitely deserves. A highly decorated wrestler, he won the ECW Heavyweight championship twice , the WCW United States Championship and the WWE Hardcore title an amazing twenty-seven times, on top of reigns with other belts.
Mostly seen at wrestling conventions today, Raven looks very little like he once did. Much heavier than ever before, his short, dyed blonde hair is pretty much the opposite of his best-remembered look and frankly looks odd. The dude looks like a haggard old man from a horror film, which is a far cry from the marketable look he had at his height.
3 Bret Hart
The Excellence of Execution, Bret Hart put together one hell of an awesome career that earned him the love of legions of fans. A former seven-time World Heavyweight Champion, two of which came in WCW and the rest in the WWE, Bret was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame despite a contentious relationship with Vince McMahon at the time. In fact, we would be hard pressed to call you a true wrestling fan if you aren’t aware of his many accolades.
Forced to retire after suffering several concussions in a match against Goldberg, Bret’s health issues hit a new plateau when he suffered a stroke. Hitting his head after he flew off of his bicycle, he initially suffered paralysis on the left side of his body, something he thankfully recovered from. Despite his fantastic return to nearly full movement, we’d be lying if we didn’t admit he looks several decades older than he did at the time of his retirement. The silver lining to that cloud though is that he seems to be at peace with his legacy and image, something we hugely support.
A wrestler who played a stereotypical wild savage gimmick, Kamala would appear topless with his face painted and stars and a moon painted on his belly and chest. Consistently seen smacking his large belly, he was accompanied by a masked man who would serve as his handler, named Kim Chee, and would have others speak for him while he made strange sounds. A unique looking entity at a younger age, it was his persona that made companies like the WWE, WCW, TNA, Mid-South, and ROH work with him.
Another wrestler who has suffered some severe health issues, Kamala’s high blood pressure and diabetes have made it necessary for large portions of his body to be amputated. First losing his left leg beneath the knee in 2011, his right leg would suffer a similar fate the following year. After a campaign was launched to get fans and fellow wrestlers to donate to a fund to cover his bills, Kamala spoke publicly about his struggles but miraculously seemed to have a smile on his face.
1 Dynamite Kid
At one time one of the most capable high flying wrestlers in the industry, Tom Billington was otherwise known as the Dynamite Kid, was good enough in the ring that it made him a star. Standing at a relatively short five foot eight during the Rock n Wrestling era that was dominated by giants, he was still able to win tag team gold in the WWE as part of The British Bulldogs. Once a ripped man who was considered one of the most influential wrestlers of all time by men like Bret Hart and Dave Meltzer, his life became a tragic one after his body betrayed him.
Renowned for his horrible temper, this angry man is now forced to live his life in a wheelchair due to spinal problems and looks nothing like many would remember him. Described as looking like “practically skin and bones”, he blamed his issues on steroids and the lifestyle of being a wrestler while speaking with CNN.
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