Wrestlers come in all different shapes and sizes, but not many have possessed the same physique from the start. It’s not even solely about the physique; it’s about looks in general – many wrestlers change their appearances as the years progress and then move around different promotions, some looking unrecognizable from their former selves who stepped into the ring those many years ago.
It’s amazing looking at how some of these wrestlers have transformed, whether to fit a new character or just due to personal preferences and lifestyle choices. Some got older by the time they got into WWE and were at the peak of their powers and definitely looked so, while others piled on the pounds. Some packed on muscle weight and others got trimmer, leaner or covered their bodies with tattoos. Look at before and after pictures of some of these wrestlers and you’ll think you’re looking at different people.
On the other hand, there are a few wrestlers who go through their wrestling careers looking exactly the same, year after year, from promotion to promotion. But where’s the fun in that? Wrestlers are meant to be larger than life characters so they may as well experiment with being different characters and varying appearances in the process.
These are 15 wrestlers who look very different from the way they looked before their time in the WWE.
15 Scott Steiner
After the WWE Steroid Trial of 1994 which almost ruined Vince McMahon, it wouldn’t have been absurd to think that WWE may have subsequently chosen to avoid hiring guys who were obviously on the juice. But think of steroids in wrestling and you think of Scott Steiner, perhaps the freakiest muscle man of them all. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that Scott was on something, and that that something wasn’t multivitamins, although I have to say nothing regarding Steiner and steroid use was ever proven. But Scott Steiner’s transformation and muscle gain in the late '90s was just ridiculous.
13 CM Punk
CM Punk has always been rather lean with a slim build throughout his wrestling career. He’s never been a mass monster or a guy with rippling muscles, but that hasn’t stopped him from being a heavy hitter in the ring – due to his wrestling skills and his sharp tongue.
12 The Undertaker
When was The Undertaker at his peak? Well, pretty much throughout his WWE days. He’s been around for an entire generation, since 1984 when he debuted as Texas Red, but his name’s synonymous with WWE, a promotion for which he’s been a permanent fixture since 1990. He’s cultivated a legacy with the whole "Deadman" persona; he’s lived and breathed that character for decades and has consequently become a firm fan favorite and one of the greatest big men in wrestling history.
Mark Calaway looks totally different now compared to when he was in college. He had some size to his frame but was more athletically built and he was focused on pursuing a career in pro basketball. Rewind some more years, and he had ginger hair! It’s a far cry from his appearance today.
11 The Rock
From the iconic photo of Dwayne Johnson posing with his fanny pack to the lean, mean wrestling machine we saw in WWE, Dwayne Johnson’s changed a lot throughout the years. When he made the decision to embark on a wrestling career, his aim was to emulate his dad, Rocky Johnson, physique-wise and with his skills in the ring. It’s safe to say he surpassed his dad; Rocky was good, but The Rock was amazing; Rocky was built, The Rock was built like an Adonis.
10 Eddie Guerrero
The once-masked luchador spent a lot of time in the wrestling industry before signing the contract to take him to WWE. He spent the early part of his career wrestling in Mexico, and he also had stints in Japan, and with ECW and WCW.
During those first few years in Mexico, Eddie wasn’t the biggest, most muscular guy going around. He had long hair and was kind of tubby too. But over the years, he packed a considerable amount of size onto his physique, and consequently a few years into his time with WWE, Eddie was just massive. It would be naïve for anyone to think he achieved that look by taking vitamins, but it was still a mightily impressive physique.
9 Randy Savage
Savage is regarded to be one of the greatest wrestlers in history and he certainly had a colorful time of it during his time in the industry. He won titles wherever he went, and despite his strained relationship with Vince McMahon, he excelled in WWE and continued adding championship belts to his vast collection.
When thinking about Randy Savage, many of us think back to his days as "Macho Man" Randy Savage, a guy full of machismo and masculine to the core. The muscles, the long hair, the beard – Randy was wrestling’s rock star.
8 Wade Barrett
After transitioning from bare-knuckle boxing on the streets of Liverpool and traveling around Europe fighting for cash to the U.S. and the world of wrestling, Wade Barrett’s become King Barrett after winning the WWE Intercontinental Championship five times. He’s currently focusing on his acting career but hasn’t ruled out a return to the ring, something which we’d all like to see happen.
Barrett’s always been a hard man – not surprising with him being a bare-knuckle fighter and all. During that period, he wasn’t exactly built, although he was still tough as nails. Bare-knuckle boxing left him with some serious damage, hence he’s now got a massive scar on his back and a nose, which is somewhat disfigured.
7 Mick Foley
Mick Foley spent a decade in the industry before joining WWE, gaining experience which served him well in WWE. In all he won 12 championship titles in WWE and became a much-loved figure amongst the fans and his peers within the promotion too. A deserved Hall of Fame inductee, think of Foley at his peak and you think of that long mangy hair and the scraggly beard. That look began during his WCW days when he wrestled as Cactus Jack, although back then, he was a lot chunkier. But during his college days, Mick Foley looked totally different.
I’m not generalizing here, but Samoans are renowned for being big people, with American Samoans being the biggest. And when I say big, I mean carrying a lot of weight, and Rikishi’s the perfect example of that. In Japanese, Rikishi means Sumo, and he certainly spent his WWE days at sumo size.
4 Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio’s always been one of the smallest guys on the roster, but that hasn’t stopped him winning a ton of titles with WWE and gaining a huge fan following. His athletic prowess leaves fans and his fellow wrestlers mesmerized and he’s still able to come up with the goods – albeit away from the WWE – after almost three decades in the industry.
One obvious change about Rey Mysterio is his mask. The masked luchador has been seen wearing a number of different masks in the ring over the years and has worn quite a few during his title wins and accomplishments in WWE.
Another thing that’s changed about Rey Mysterio from before he joined the WWE is the amount of ink he has on his body. Rey Mysterio’s a tattoo lover and he’s gradually accumulated more body art onto his frame.
3 Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt’s a pretty scary-looking guy. He has that Mick Foley look about him combined with some of The Undertaker’s menacing personality traits. It’s certainly worked for him though as he’s been a consistent fixture of WWE .
Bray won a couple of Tag Team Championships with WWE’s developmental territories, but his greatest achievement by far would have to be his SmackDown Tag Team Championship triumph. At the time of this title win, Bray looked exactly as I just described.
2 Scott Hall
The young Scott Hall cut quite a dashing figure. Then he started wrestling and the muscle started to appear. He was a pretty big guy and that hair and mustache just enhanced his appearance and added to his persona.
1 The Iron Sheik
Think of The Iron Sheik and you think of that famous mustache and that bald head under that Arab headgear. You also think of that powerful physique – that’s something that hasn’t changed. As a youngster in Tehran, he was into Greco-Roman wrestling and was a keen powerlifter. That’s what gave him his stocky, muscular build – something which held him in good stead during his WWE days.
The young Sheik had hair, wasn’t as stocky as he later became and his face was minus the stache. But 11 years into his wrestling career, he debuted in WWE as The Iron Sheik with that now-iconic appearance. He quickly became the Heavyweight Champion and added another championship – a Tag Team Championship with Nikolai Volkoff – at a later date.
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