A body is one of the most important assets for anyone in the business of professional wrestling. Whether a wrestler is a muscle bound body-builder, a physical giant, a high-flying cruiserweight, or a guy who looks like he drinks a twelve pack every night, it’s no doubt that what you see today may not be what you see tomorrow.
The rough, rugged life of a pro wrestler leads to a lot of injuries which often have long term effects on a wrestlers’ physique. Also, the desire to get a good position on the card has caused several wrestlers to hit the weights and whatever other means they need for success. Some guys are just genetic freaks and seem to have a knack for waking up in the morning ripped to shreds. Then, some lose weight and others find it, the case for many aging or injured wrestlers.
We are not here to call light to any methods or training aids that wrestlers may employee. We’re simply here to look at 15 of the most extraordinary body transformations in wrestling history, whether they be for better or worse. Blame it on age, blame it on injury, accredit to hard work and diet, bodies are ever changing in wrestling, some of course far more noticeable and drastic than others.
What changes come to mind, wrestling fans? I’m sure that a few of the names just imagined are contained within our list. Perhaps a few were left out that could just have easily made a longer list. However, we’re here to talk about the top 15. Whether you agree or disagree, I hope you enjoy the list, the photos, and the article. Also keep in mind, that these guys have done a lot to their bodies and taken a lot of abuse for the sake of our entertainment, some of these are a result of this fact. Disclaimer aside, let’s begin.
15. Big Show
Big Show edges in a number 15, not because of any one single transformation. The fact of the matter is, Big Show has undergone a few drastic transformations throughout his career. Of course, as we are all aware, he suffered from the same ailment as Andre The Giant, acromegaly. However, Big Show had his endocrine system repaired to cure the disease that made him the giant that he is. After his surgery, Big Show admits that his once rapid metabolism slowed down a great deal, making his weight management a daunting task. We’ve seen Show’s weight fluctuate on several occasions. In early 2014 and around the time of his feud with Floyd “Money” Mayweather, we saw Big Show looking the leanest we’ve ever seen him. Only months following these times, pending injuries, we saw Big Show put weight right back on. Who knows what kind of shape The Giant will be next time we see him?
14. Hardcore Holly
Many of us may not remember Bob Holly during his early 90s run as “Spark Plug.” Rightfully so, as we rarely saw Spark Plug Holly on Monday Night Raw and it was even more rare that we saw him win a match on any program. He spent the majority of his television time jobbing to guys like Crush on WWE Sunday Superstars. It was sometime around 1997-1998 that we noticed a big difference in Holly’s physique. Gone was the skinny, long-haired Holly wearing a long singlet, resembling a Matchbox car. The new Holly had his hair chopped and dyed blonde. He switched from the singlet to trunks. However, the most outstanding difference we saw in Holly was his incredible muscle gain. Last being billed at over 240 pounds, Holly had become on of the most impressive physical specimen on the roster. Credit should be given as Holly suffered may injuries including a broken arm and broken neck, yet he maintained his incredible new image.
13. John Morrison
John Morrison crept into the WWE developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling, in 2002. He came into his Tough Enough tryouts and developmental run in pretty decent shape. However, Morrison showed a tremendous work ethic in OVW and his constant improvement in the ring was noticeable. As he became better in the ring between 2002 and 2004, his body also greatly improved. He had gone from good shape by a high school athlete standard to a full blown fitness model, eventually appearing on the cover of Muscle & Fitness by 2010. Morrison’s body enhancement would not be limited to aesthetics, as he clearly became a better athlete. Outside of wrestling, Morrison began training in parkour, a “free running” style that requires peak physical fitness. Morrison went from skinny aspiring wrestler with decent muscle tone to one of the most impressive bodies in WWE history. No, it’s not too outlandish to think he could hold his own in a pose down with Ravishing Rick Rude.
Test was a physical specimen upon his arrival in WWE in the late 90s. However, after an exodus from the company, a brief run on various independent circuits, and a WWE return, Test came back looking more jacked than ever. His already large frame and thick musculature were now accented with a more ripped, vascular look. He was undoubtedly in the best shape of his career at this point. Perhaps it was his new ravaged appearance that earned him a spot in an Elimination Chamber for the ECW Championship at Survivor Series. It’s no surprise, however, that Test would soon find himself in violation of the wellness policy leading to a mutual end of term between he and WWE. We’ll let you draw your own conclusions on the alleged substances used. Sadly, in 2009, Test was found dead after a believed overdose on oxycodone, proving that sometimes the quest for success in wrestling, and the desire to evolve physically, has dire consequences. Rest in peace, big man.
11. Eddie Guererro
Eddie Guererro started off as an average looking guy who also happened to be one of the best wrestlers in the world. After being sidelined by a car accident for several months, Eddie returned to WCW Monday Nitro looking to have added a few pounds of pure muscle. Eddie looked to be in the best shape of his career, looking like a million bucks in his return match against Juventud Guererra. This upward trend of increased physical stature for Eddie reached an exponential period of growth during his career in WWE. Eddie’s chest, biceps, triceps, traps, and neck were all significantly larger than before. If you were watching Eddie Guererro at WCW World War 3 1996, you might not recognize the guy celebrating in the ring at WrestleMania XX. Eddie took on quite the metamorphosis, from Cruiserweight to Heavyweight.
10. Rey Mysterio
Not to be outdone by one of his greatest influences, Eddie Guererro, Rey underwent drastic changes in his appearance as well. We all remember the high-flying, fly-weight Rey Mysterio Jr duing his early run in WCW. He was flying through the air, showing us moves we hadn’t seen before and, at 160 pounds, he was one of the smallest competitors to capture the collective imagination of wrestling fans that we had ever seen.
After WCW came to a close, we would see a much heftier Rey Mysterio, boasting more muscle mass after debuting on SmackDown. Rey went from tights to loose fitting pants, and at times during his WWE run we would also see him in a vest, covering his midsection after an obvious weight gain. We’ve seen a very young thin Mysterio, a bulkier more chiseled Mysterio, and a slightly chunky Mysterio. In any event, no matter what he looks like, he can still put on an entertaining show with the best of ’em.
9. Scott Hall
When Razor Ramon hit the scene in the early 90s, he was one of the most impressive looking athletes in all of wrestling. Here was a guy who stood around 6’5″ and was built like a brick wall, weighing over 240 pounds. It was after his long, storied career faded that Hall’s addiction problems seemed to be causing him more trouble than ever. Scott had turned into a heftier, gray haired old-man who didn’t appear to get around well. This version of Scott Hall was a far cry from his days of gold chains and hair grease. He looked like he had rock bottom. The good news is that Hall seems to be on board with the DDP Yoga program along with Jake The Snake Roberts. Hall has already dropped several pounds and is beginning to look a lot healthier and we can only hope that progression continues.
Alright, we don’t want to throw wild claims around about who did what to look a certain way, but Chyna definitely underwent a few “augmentative procedures” shortly after becoming a member of D-Generation X. Chyna’s under-bite appeared to have been surgically corrected, to go along with her obvious breast augmentation. It should also be noticed that Chyna had achieved a leaner, more defined look around the time of her first Playboy photo shoot. There’s also much less fun versions of Chyna that I don’t really want to get into, so I’ll let you draw your own inferences. There’s Surreal Life Chyna, video by which name we will not mention Chyna, and other video by which name we will not mention Chyna starring X-Pac. Sorry to have brought that up. Point being, Chyna’s appearance has seemingly continuously evolved over the years.
7. Bubba Ray Dudley
Bubba Dudley has always been a larger guy who is physically imposing. However, he was also once a more portly guy. Now, Bubba Dudley was. and still is. one of the last people in this world I’d want to anger, but modern day Bubba is way more intimidating than Bubba of old. It was during his TNA career than we saw Bubba cut some body fat and pack on muscle, especially in his arms and especially even more so in his calf muscles. He was definitely in the best physical condition of his career and his hard work was paying off, both physically and with his character work. Bubba had found a whole new attitude with a look to match that carried him to the top of TNA, as he became a main event talent with a few World Championship reigns. Bubba also earned the nickname of Calfzilla during this time, considering the guys’ calves are bigger than a lot of average peoples thighs.
6. Buff Bagwell
Marcus Alexander Bagwell was always a guy who was in pretty good shape as a member of the ever-cheesy American Males tag team in WCW. However, late 90s Buff Bagwell was a guy who was more impressive looking than anyone on the roster. Some may even say he was more impressive than his partner at the time, Scott Steiner. Buff was rocking a more defined look without having sacrificed any body mass to get this look. He had muscles on top of muscles. Buff achieved some success as a singles competitor in WCW and was poised to have a singles push in WWE, before allegedly missing tour dates and having his mother call in sick for him. That’s neither here nor there. Bagwell’s transition from Marcus Alexander to Buff The Stuff was a very drastic and noticeable transition.
Not all extraordinary body transitions are directly related to muscle or fat, gained or lost. Sting was once the body builder surfer guy with a blonde flat top and loud face paint. After Hulk Hogan turned his back on WCW, creating the nWo, we would see a new Stinger over the course of the coming weeks. Sting had dropped the surfer look and adopted a look that was almost identical to Brandon Lee’s Crow character in the 90s film. Sting also appeared to have shed some muscle mass taking on a thinner more toned look. With the subtle body composition changes behind the drastic aesthetic changes, Sting’s transformation was one of the most extraordinary in wrestling. The man reinvented himself on just about every potential avenue. One thing remained constant: Sting being one of the greatest in the wrestling business, regardless of what he looks like.
4. Mick Foley
Mick Foley has as many faces as Big Show has had heel turns. We remember when he was Cactus Jack in early WCW days, but we all more than likely remember him as the deranged Mankind who debuted in WWE in 1996. Foley was much thinner than presently and had “ripped out” several patches oh his long, brown hair. A good year or two into his WWE run, Foley started packing on the pounds as he ventured back and forth as Mankind, Dude Love, and Cactus Jack. Of course, the changes in ring attire were drastic, but modern day Foley looks like a mall Santa. He also resembles Hagrid from Harry Potter. Low blow, I apologize. We all love Mick Foley, but in dim light he might be a guy we stray away from. The long hair and beard, along with the significant weight gain, is about as drastic of a transformation I’ve seen any wrestler undergo.
3. Vince McMahon
Vince was always a well built guy who obviously spent time in the gym. To help sell the legendary feud that McMahon was having with Stone Cold Steve Austin, McMahon started spending a lot more time in the gym. It was during the Rocky 4-esque training montages, involving Shane and Vince, that you caught a glimpse of the great shape McMahon had gotten himself in. Vince was jacked and almost the same size as Austin, who wasn’t exactly a bean pole. Years after the feud, McMahon found himself on the cover of Muscle & Fitness looking like a professional bodybuilder. Maybe McMahon had a little help, other than just choking down raw eggs before trying desperately to catch a chicken running in the snow.
In all seriousness, though, McMahon spent a better part of the 1980s with Hulk Hogan. I’m sure he learned a few tricks in the gym over the years.
2. Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner was never an average looking human being. He was a stouter, taller version of his brother Ric, who was no average human himself. Steiner was seemingly one of the strongest guys in wrestling, suplexing people with ease. Even during the Steiners early 90s matches against The Road Warriors, Scott almost rivaled Animal in size, which was no easy task. Then, Big Poppa Pump was born. Gone was the wrestling singlet and Big Poppa Pump became a more jacked version of regular Scott Steiner. His biceps became noticeably larger and his personality noticeable more intense. Steiner actually didn’t gain much overall size before cutting weight as Big Poppa Pump, it’s just that you didn’t see him flaunting it as much before. Steiner’s efforts to enhance his physique and the fact that he was now showing it off, made Steiner’s metamorphosis into Big Poppa Pumpa much more drastic.
1. The Rock
And by far the most staggering body transition in the history of wrestling goes to The Rock. When Rock left WWE in 2004, he was in great shape, but no one could have ever imagined the hulking figure that returned to Monday Night Raw when he re-appeared in 2011. Of course, being one of the biggest action movie stars in Hollywood creates the urgency for a certain look, but The Rock took it and ran with it. The Rock was on a high-protein diet and was hitting the gym harder than ever. Think about how crazy that is for a second, as he was once a Division 1 defensive lineman at the University of Miami. The Rock exceeded the size and shape of the Immortal Hulk Hogan, who was once the gold standard by which a wrestler’s body was judged.
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