Wrestling has based itself on amazing looks since the beginning. A great worker is tops, of course, but really, it’s looks that have pushed so many stars along and it’s unlikely to change. Sometimes a great build is what sells a guy far more than his in-ring ability while some promising talents are held back because they don’t have “the right look” as promoters determine. There have been a lot of guys in wrestling that didn’t have the special something and didn’t get that far but others who are able to overcome those problems.
A list like this will naturally include guy who were massive to the point of barely being mobile but sometimes, a guy can carry it. Yokozuna was amazingly fast for someone 500 pounds and the Big Show has proven himself capable as well. Some guys, however, aren’t just too fat, they’re also too skinny and just not capable of handling things. Her are 20 wrestlers whose bodies just weren’t bad, they were terrible and while some could overcome that to be stars, others couldn’t.
20. One Man Gang
The best thing about the Gang was that he was smart enough to know that he was much better off wearing a full body suit. At 450-550 pounds, he was a huge guy and much of it fat that strained his outfit to the fullest, making him look slovenly and disgusting. The Mohawk and beard didn’t help much either and the belly just got bigger as he moved from UWF to WWE where he took on the wild persona of Akeem. While he spared us all a look at his skin, OMG’s very body was enough to make you want to get away as fast as you could.
19. The Mulkeys
Possibly the worst tag team ever, they had only one televised victory and even most jobbers laughed at them. Randy had a paunchy stomach, Bill flat as a rail and both skinny as hell with no discernable muscle between them. Their blonde hair just added to their stupid appeal as they would get crushed on a weekly basis with “punches” that wouldn’t have knocked down a child. When they did get a fluke win, it was celebrated as an epic achievement and this somehow helped continue their legacy as loveable losers. That one family could produce two guys with such terrible physiques is truly a marvel of modern genetics.
He’s lower on the list than you expect because of how amazingly well he carried his weight. While not actually a sumo wrestler, he was billed as one, debuting in 1992 in WWE at over 530 pounds, a huge belly over his sumo trunks and looked rough when he came out with all that fat jiggling. However, for a man his size, Yoko was incredibly fast, able to run well across the ring, pull off quick moves and kicks and his finisher of dropping off the ropes was far trickier than it may have looked.
It was no wonder he held the WWE title for most of 1993 and remained a top star for a bit afterward, the man was the rare case of a big guy who moved better than a lot of workers half his size, making him a truly dangerous foe.
17. The Nasty Boys
If ever two guys lived up to their name, it was Jerry Saggs and Brian Knobbs. Their bodies looked more like coach potatoes than wrestlers and thankfully, they wore shirts all the time to cover their hideously pale and paunchy torsos. Both had obvious missing teeth and bad hair and stories abound of how they really were as unhygienic outside the ring as they were in it. They were a good team, even if their match style was more pure brawling but hardly what you’d call prime athletes. Their “return” in 2010 just highlighted how bad they were, literally blown up just doing a promo and looked worse than ever before. Nasty indeed.
16. Scott Steiner
Steiner was already pretty muscular when he started out and balanced it with fantastic in-ring abilities, including hurricanranas, which you didn’t see guys doing in the early ‘90s. But when he turned heel in 1998, he totally remade himself, bulking up massively and taking on the chain-mesh head coverings and white hair. There’s a muscular build and then there’s a sight of a guy you seriously worry is going to explode a muscle at any moment.
Instead of being a truly effective heel, Steiner was just a freak and even embraced that mentality as he continued his mad work on the mic. Once a stellar athlete, he got blown up in no time and in later years was slowed to zero effectiveness, no matter how much push TNA would give him. A sad case of a once-great body turned into a freak show.
15. Bertha Faye
Rhonda Ann Singh trained under the legendary Mildred Burke and from the start, established herself as one of the best female workers around, including runs in Japan. When WWE hired her, it was meant to push the Women’s Title up more. Sadly, they decided to give her the character of Bertha Faye, a trailer park resident and an outfit that just made fun of Singh’s weight, a multicolored suit with boots and a skirt that highlighted her thick thighs.
True, Faye was already 260 pounds but this costume just made her look fatter and unattractive, fans not liking it at all and Singh was vocal behind the scenes of hating it. A body already rough just made to look even worse, yet another testament to how badly WWE can make people look bad.
14. Junkyard Dog
Despite the fact he was a fantastic star, the truth was that Sylvester Ritter was a damn bad worker who’d get blown up fast. Thus, Bill Watts made sure to give him quick squash matches and let the Dog’s terrific charisma and mic skills carry him along. For a time he was an okay build but when he joined WWE, his love of drugs and junk food soon led to major weight gain, even pushing 400 pounds at times and hurt his in-ring abilities.
He was even worse when making a comeback in 1992, belly hanging over his trunks and arms ugly. He looked a bit better before he had his fatal car crash in 1998 but it was sad to see a star as big as JYD falter under his own appetites.
13. The Big Show
The Big Show’s look has varied over the years, with him looking more defined and athletic at times, while sometimes looking slow and missing some steps. Big Show looked incredibly athletic as a rookie in WCW and his look didn’t really alter much until a little into his WWE run. The Undertaker said in a 2002 interview that he felt sometimes Big Show lacked motivation, which could explain why his athleticism sometimes slipped away from him.
12. Mick Foley
Foley himself is the first to admit he has one of the worst bodies out there (cracking that he spent more time at fast-food places than a gym). He wasn’t bad when he started but it got bigger as he went along, soon pushing 300 pounds as Cactus Jack and again as Mankind. That’s without counting the horrific number of injuries he suffered through his career with losing teeth and an ear and multiple scars that roughed him up. It’s amazing he took off so well looking the opposite of any big-time star and a body more suitable for couch surfing than a wrestling ring.
11. Hulk Hogan (1994)
In his WWE heyday, Hogan was well known for his physique, showing off in poses for the crowds, a body clearly influenced by steroids. When Hogan left in 1993 and moved to TV acting, he ended that use, especially when he was called to testify in Vince McMahon’s federal hearings. So when WCW hired him, Hogan didn’t have time to bulk up and thus when he appeared in the “ticker tape parade,” it was a much thinner Hogan. His “24-inch pythons” looked half their size, his neck stretched, it just seemed so off from the classic image.
He would bulk up later, soon back to his old size by the time he turned heel but it’s little surprise WCW fans didn’t take quickly to Hogan when the one-time wrestling superhero looked like any other guy.
10. George Steele
When he started out, Steele was “The Animal” due to his vicious style of attacks and a true monster heel. As things went on, he began to take on the persona of the dim-witted goofball eating turnbuckles. What didn’t change was how terrible he looked with a torso that had hair all over it, a bald head and making his tongue green didn’t help much either. He was a fun act for his time but not that pleasant to look at, living the “Animal” gimmick a bit too much for many fans’ tastes.
9. Erik Watts
Arguably the greatest case of nepotism in wrestling history, Erik was only a month into his training when he was sent into the upper mid-card of WCW and pushed fast with big wins over much better talent. Why? Because his father, Bill Watts, happened to be running the place and convinced Erik was their future star. He was totally alone in that regard as Erik was skinny and lacked any real ability, completely raw and fans didn’t buy him for a second.
The guy may have been a decent worker given time but throwing someone so obviously looking a kid into a setting like WCW did him no favors and just ended up ruining any chance he had.
8. Andre the Giant
Yes, the Eighth Wonder of the World was one of the greatest stars of all time. But his body was never exactly the best as guys so tall were often rough in the ring, trying to navigate himself and slow chopping. As he got older, he put on more weight and it took its price on his back with surgeries and his “prime” of the late ‘80s had him forced to wear a brace under his trunks and barely able to walk.
It was sad to see him in that later run and his final WWE appearances selling a leg injury, his crutches clearly not part of the act. His size was his selling point but also helped cut Andre’s life tragically short.
7. Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens is a great example that fans today care a lot more about in-ring talent than a guy’s look. Owens has made a name for himself around the world for simply being one of the best in the world at what he does. He has struggled keeping his weight down, but it’s never affected his in-ring work and his charisma is also one of the strongest in the WWE today. Bret Hart was a little more complimentary in K.O’s look I’ve heard some people say they don’t like that he’s kind of heavy, he’s a big, solid looking guy. I wouldn’t say that he’s a fat guy at all. When I think of fat, I think of fat fat. He doesn’t look like… he looks like a brickhouse, like he looks solid as a rock, and he moves like a 100-pounder.”
The Hitman may be right, but you can’t say it’s a pretty one.
6. Dusty Rhodes
It’s to his immense credit Dusty managed to last so long in the ring given how bad his body was. Ric Flair was always the first to say Dusty never got proper credit as a worker (“you think I carried 300 60 minutes matches by myself?”) and he had a very long in-ring run. Yet you can’t deny just how bad much of it was with a stomach that hung over his waistline and that bizarre spot on his side. He carried it well and was truly talented but it got worse (especially when you threw in the polka dot outfits in WWF) and while he was a great performer, Dusty’s body is what fans remember and not in a good way.
5. Bastion Booger
Mike Shaw had looked promising in WCW as Norman the Lunatic but of course, they had to ruin that. By the time he reached WWE, he was pushing 400 pounds with a large belly, at least able to hide it under robes as Friar Ferguson. Leave it to Vince to highlight his “physique” with a gray singlet and straps across his chest to show off his man boobs. Bastion Booger was made to be as disgusting as possible, sometimes bits of food stuck on him and his finishing move was dropping his butt onto a guy’s face. Even for the time, it was a truly horrible character and made little impact before leaving in 1994. Shaw himself died in 2010 and a shame he’s best remembered for this horrible look.
4. Mike Von Erich
By most accounts, Mike never wanted to be an actual wrestler and would have been happier with a behind the scenes role. But Fritz insisted to keep the big Von Erich dynasty going and pushed Mike to the ring. The problem was that unlike Kerry, Kevin and David, Mike didn’t have a wrestler’s physique, was too small and skinny and looked it in the ring taking on bigger guys. It was obvious how Fritz and the brothers covered for him so much and he lacked the mic work and passion to really take off.
It got worse with his bout of toxic shock syndrome that left him a shell of himself yet Fritz was soon pushing him as “a Living Miracle,” poor Mike never recovering and killed himself in 1987. Maybe the saddest of all the Von Erich tragedies of how a father’s desire to “provide” just led to death.
3. The Dynamite Kid
Tom Billington is one of the greatest workers of all time, revered for his amazing high-flying style. He’s also hated for his massive ego and brutality on fellow workers and it’s remarkable how he became a star considering he weighed about 150 pounds when he first started with Stampede. Skinny as a rail, he looked nothing like a good wrestler and while he’d bulk up a bit, it was still his skill far more than his look that got him massively over.
He’d majorly beef up with steroids when he joined WWE which seemed rather off for his small frame and would take their toll with his terrible back injury. Today, the man is in a wheelchair, paying the price for all those moves and how trying to push your body to major limits is never a good idea.
2. Greg Gagne
He was a good worker, as he and Jim Brunzell were fantastic as the AWA tag team champions, the High Flyers. The issue was that Greg’s father, Verne, was obviously grooming him as the successor for the AWA championship but Greg (220 at the most) looked far smaller than that, skinny and lacked his father’s charisma to hide his flaws. It got worse when they tried to turn him into a “Rambo” type trained by Sgt. Slaughter, the fans just not buying into it. While Greg was talented, he sadly lacked the physique to be a major main eventer no matter how much his dad tried.
1. Abdullah the Butcher
Long before ECW, Abdullah was putting on some of the most bloody and brutal matches ever seen, his feud with Carlos Colon stretching decades and spilling enough blood to fill a Sea World tank. He was actually rather fit when he started but as time went on, just got bigger and fatter, pushing 400 pounds and looking worse as he went around in just trunks.
What really makes it nastier however is the massive damage to his body from all those hardcore battles: Open burn wounds on his arms and stomach, too many scar marks to count and a forehead that was cut open so often that he needed to constantly put Vaseline on it to stop it from bleeding non-stop and looked like the Grand Canyon. He’s retired now but all those beatings over the years showcased how a body already rough could get even worse.
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