Before becoming pro wrestlers, these athletes often spend their entire lives preparing, training and working hard to attain the necessary skillset to compete. Oftentimes, this dream of becoming a pro wrestler comes from idolizing past wrestlers and wanting to be that “hero” for someone else. Despite all these positives about becoming a professional wrestler, there are also some negatives that tend to arise when this career choice is made.
Professional wrestling is without a doubt one of the most physically demanding careers that anyone can choose. From broken bones, concussions and much more, these athletes put their bodies on the line for the fans. Oftentimes, their love of the performance and putting on a great show for the fans can lead to some lasting negative effects.
In terms of one of those effects, it goes without saying that putting your body through that type of torture can definitely speed up the aging process. You can regularly see past wrestling greats that have often aged the same amount in 10 years that a regular person might in 20. That is one of the risks you take when you dedicate your life and body to professional wrestling. This aging can come from anything such as nagging injuries, mental factors or the constant travel and partying that often goes along with being a professional superstar. Some wrestlers are lucky enough to get off scot-free after living this crazy lifestyle, but some aren’t as lucky.
Of course, not all wrestlers age terribly, but this list will look at 15 wrestlers who have not aged well since they stepped away from the spotlight. Whether it be injury, drug abuse, legal troubles or more, these 15 wrestlers have aged poorly.
15. Tully Blanchard
Blanchard is perhaps best known as an original member of the world famous stable “The Four Horsemen” in the NWA and WCW. The group was founded in 1986, and Blanchard was a member until 1988. Blanchard has been around wrestling all his life as his father was a promoter, but Tully didn’t start wrestling until 1975. His career ran well into the 2000’s, which meant he put over 30 years of wear and tear on his body. And that has started to show as Blanchard looks more older than he is. By looking at his photo, you’d expect him to be in his 70s, but he’s only 61 years old.
14. Brutus Beefcake
Brutus Beefcake began his wrestling career in 1977 alongside real life best friend, Hulk Hogan and Beefcake became a bigtime superstar throughout the 1980s and 1990s with the WWE and WCW. He was one of the most popular and flashy stars of his generation with his nickname, “The Barber.” Despite retiring in the mid 2000s, he caught the wrestling bug again and has wrestled a couple more times in the late 2000s. By this point, his age had really caught up to him and he was nothing but a shell of his former self.
Raven was known as a journeyman throughout his wrestling career as he wrestled for numerous different promotions and for numerous different titles. In fact, he is one of the most decorated superstars in history with 32 separate title reigns. Raven was perhaps best known for his grunge/punk inspired gimmick and his tactics as a heel. As for many people who put their bodies on the line for over 20 years, he has aged quicker than normal. In fact, Raven was part of an attempt to sue the WWE for cheating him and other superstars out of healthcare and other benefits, which lets you know he’s not in the best shape and could’ve used that healthcare.
12. Rob Van Dam
Rob Van Dam is one of the more recent entries on this list. RVD is a high flying superstar who was one of the greatest and most popular stars of the late 90s-early 2000s. His kicks and highly flying acrobatic maneuvers made him a hit in both the ECW and the WWE. After some time away from the WWE, Van Dam returned to the WWE in 2013. However, despite only being out of the spotlight for a few years, Van Dam returned a much doughier and out of shape version than we had seen before. He still has a lot of talent, but his age is without a doubt starting to catch up with him.
11. Dan Spivey
Spivey is a former wrestler who worked for numerous big promotions such as the WCW and WWE. He was one of the most physically imposing stars of the 80s and 90s as he measured up at 6’8 and over 300 pounds. Despite only debuting in 1984, Spivey retired in 1995. Later on, it was announced by Spivey that he cited a buildup of major injuries throughout his career as the reason for his retirement. His rapid aging is perhaps best shown in his mugshot picture taken in 2007, that shows a man who looks much more frail and diminished than he used to.
10. Sean Waltman
X-Pac is somehow not considered retired, even though he began his career back in 1989. As a member of DX in the late 1990’s, X-Pac was one of the biggest stars in the wrestling business. He quickly let this superstardom get to his head and began to dabble in drugs and alcohol. He quickly spun out of control and sadly even attempted suicide. He’s since got his life back together, but this destructive behavior has led him to age must faster than normal and he currently looks like one of the oldest 42 year old men we’ve ever seen.
9. Scott Hall
Scott Hall was a founding member of the New World Order and was a star in both the WCW and WWE during the 1990s. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014, joining the ranks of the best wrestlers of all time. Sadly, Hall suffered through a number of horrible events throughout his life from a killing a man in self-defense in 1983 to numerous bouts with drugs and alcohol. All of these events have culminated in Scott Hall looking much more like an old man, than the tall, dark and handsome wrestler of the 90s.
8. The Sandman
The Sandman was never a big start in the WWE or WCW, but he is legendary for his time with ECW. He is without a doubt one of the most “extreme” wrestlers ever and developed into a Hardcore icon over his career. Out of all the superstars on this list, The Sandman may have taken more punishment throughout his career than anyone else, and this has definitely had negative effects on him.
7. Jimmy Snuka
Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka is the original highflyer and is credited with introducing a high flying style to modern wrestling. He had been a wrestler since 1969 and didn’t officially retire until 2010, which means he has had a wrestling career that has spanned five decades. That is five decades worth of damage to a body, which can never be a good thing. Recently, we have seen the horrific toll that wrestling for that long has taken on Snuka’s body.
6. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Jake “The Snake” Roberts was superstar with a number of successful promotions throughout the 80s and 90s, but he’s most known for his impressive run with the WWE. His years of mental and physical injuries through wrestling have led to some devastating consequences later in life. From alcohol and drug abuse to brain abnormalities, he’s had a very rough life after wrestling. He’s since moved in with DDP to turn his life around and we hope he continues on this path.
5. Lex Luger
Lex Luger was an extremely popular and polarizing figure in the WCW and WWE throughout the 90s. He was one of the most physically impressive wrestlers of his time, but many felt that he wasn’t a skilled enough wrestler. However, his true problems started occurring well after he retired in 1995, as he issues with substance abuse and injuries. His worst injury occurred in 2007 when he suffered a spinal stroke that left him a quadriplegic state for over a month, likely caused by damaged sustained over time. Recent photos and videos show Luger looking much older and frailer than 56 years old.
4. Hulk Hogan
Next up on the list is one of the most popular and well known wrestlers of all time, Hulk Hogan. Hogan debuted in 1977 and is still not official retired, and still appears at events at the age of 61. Incredibly, as you can see here, The Hulkster would actually like to have one final match in the WWE. However, in recent years, he has begun to show the years of wear and tear. After years of battle, and likely a tanning bed, Hogan’s skin is beginning to look like fine leather.
3. Balls Mahoney
An ECW show in the late 90s and early 2000s wasn’t complete without an appearance by Balls Mahoney. Mahoney began competing in 1987 and is still an active wrestler on the independent circuit. We haven’t heard much about Balls Mahoney for a while, but when photos from an interview Mahoney did in 2012 were found, they showed a frail and slender man, a far cry from the large and powerful superstar from the 90s. He might just be one of the oldest looking 43 year old men on the planet.
2. The Undertaker
The Undertaker was, and still is, one of the most frightening and popular WWE superstars in history. The towering 6’10 star has been with the WWE since 1990 and is its longest tenured superstar. He is perhaps best known for his unprecedented 21 match winning Streak at WrestleMania. Despite still being a part of WWE programming on a yearly basis (he only appears at WrestleMania), The Undertaker is not the same man he once was. Recent photos of him have surfaced that portray him as a frail and old looking man, much older than most 50 year old men we know.
1. Bret Hart
Coming in at number one on the list is Bret Hart. The pride of Calgary, Alberta, Canada has been one of the biggest and most successful stars in wrestling history. In fact, he has held championships in five separate decades, from the 1970s to the 201’s. Recently, however, Brett Hart’s signature jet black hair has been rendered grey and his face has begun to show the wear and tear of almost 40 years in the business. The amount he has aged, even in the past decade or so, is staggering.
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