People who don’t know wrestling (or do depending on how you look at it!) perceive the sport to be inundated with steroid-infused wrestlers – rough, tough, rowdy guys with hard, intimidating personalities and the bodies to match. To many people, wrestlers look more like bodybuilders and that’s part of the draw, part of what attracts fans to the sport. Who wouldn’t want to see guys such as Triple H in his heyday - over 250 pounds of muscle - jumping off the top rope, flying through the air like a bird? It’s these guys with their bodies and athletic capabilities that cause people to marvel.
But wrestlers come in all shapes and sizes. It’s amazing to see the big guys, the mass monsters of the sport, do what they do best in the ring, but it’s equally impressive to see the smaller guys, the so-called cruiserweights, with their flexibility and skills, perform some awe-inspiring athletic feats.
You’ve got to stay physically fit to have a successful career in professional wrestling; that’s a given. Many wrestlers do and it becomes a way of life that just continues when they step away from the sport. But others can’t wait to be done with the endless hours in the gym, and once it’s over, prefer to indulge and let themselves go.
Below are 8 wrestlers who still look great and 8 wrestlers who have let themselves go.
16 Great: Triple H
Nobody can deny that Triple H is an utter legend in the business of pro wrestling. He’s been around since 1992, has won a stack load of championships, and is now an authority figure, preferring to step into the ring donning a suit and tie instead of getting pummeled week after week. Why has he been so successful? Well, an essay could be written on the topic, but the bottom line is that Triple H has it all: charm, charisma, skills and the looks to match – everything to make it big in the sport of wrestling, and boy has he done just that.
15 Go: Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt has never been one of those muscular bodybuilder-like wrestlers, but over the years WWE fans have seen him get bigger and bigger, so that today his body resembles more of a hefty biker rather than a professional wrestler with the world’s biggest wrestling promotion. I suppose his size and body shape add to his persona – it goes well with the wild mangy hair and scraggly beard, an appearance that’s synonymous with the Wyatt Family. Bray’s weight and physical appearance haven’t diminished his credibility at all, or his wrestling ability for that matter. It’s still commonplace to tune in to an event featuring Bray Wyatt and see him perform his signature "spider walk," so despite the very obvious weight gain, he hasn’t lost any of his flexibility or skills.
14 Great: Brock Lesnar
Lesnar is an utter beast of a man, a mass monster that because of his size and looks, brings instant star appeal to whatever sport he tries his hand at, be it wrestling or MMA. Since his professional wrestling debut back in 2000, Lesnar has continued to grow and is recognized as one of the sport’s true heavyweights – a heavyweight in every sense of the word.
Lesnar’s been in the business since the age of 23, so it’s remarkable how he’s never taken his foot off the gas in terms of his diet and training and looking after his body. Being a sport nut does help though; he’s tried to make it in the NFL, is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has managed the remarkable feat of balancing careers in two physically demanding sports: MMA and wrestling.
13 Go: Ahmed Johnson
After playing in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys, Johnson already had a considerable amount of size and strength when he switched his attentions to wrestling and the WWE in 1995. He entered the ring on a house show, a beast of a man, a massive guy who was evidently strong and powerful but still needed to shed a few pounds – kind of like a Big Show character that wasn’t ripped but still had awesome physical presence. Judging by Johnson’s initial foray into the ring, you’d have expected him to have achieved far more success and more titles than the paltry few he gained.
His last days with WWE were plagued by injuries, perhaps contributing to his ballooning weight gain. He then entered WCW as a character aptly named "Big T," totally unrecognizable from his WWE days.
12 Great: The Rock
Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, is undoubtedly one of the biggest superstars in the business. He is one of the top box office draws in wrestling and has also established himself as a box office star in Hollywood. With the movies keeping him busy, his in-ring appearances have been sporadic over recent years, not that his body would show that his wrestling has taken a back seat. If anything, Johnson has amped up his training now that he is in front of the big screen, but that is solely because he loves to train – he has sculpted his body into a masterpiece since he made his debut in 1996.
11 Go: Luke Gallows
Now in his second stint with the WWE, Gallows has returned to the company, bigger, fatter and more out of shape than ever before.
Look at the Festus character that Drew Hankinson portrayed, teaming up with Ray Gordy, and you’ll know that he’s never been known for his rock-hard physique. Perhaps it’s because he’s spent much of his career as part of a tag team, meaning he can rely on others – usually the more physically fit athlete – to get the job done.
10 Great: John Cena
John Cena is still a mainstay in wrestling with the company – he’s been with the WWE since the turn of the century and even though he’s 39 years old, he’s still a tremendous athlete, is in awesome shape and doesn’t look like he’ll be stepping away from the ring any time soon.
He’s a mouthy guy in the ring and his catchphrases, such as “you can’t see me,” have been used by millions of wrestling fans worldwide. There is no doubting the fact that Cena has the personality, but he’s a complete wrestler and has the body too – a body that hasn’t regressed or diminished in terms of looks or sheer rock-star appeal (or rapping appeal in Cena’s case).
9 Go: Jake Roberts
Jake "The Snake" Roberts has been praised for the psychology he used in the ring, but in the end it, was his own mental state – due to drugs and alcohol– that contributed to his health problems and the way he looks today. His fall from grace was gradual and happened over decades, all of which was candidly explained in his documentary, Beyond the Mat.
Despite his issues, Roberts made an impact wherever he went, and as I’m sure many would agree, he’s a deserved Hall of Famer. But there’s no doubt that his personal demons definitely caught up with him and are certainly some of the reasons he let himself go. At one point, he had no problem slithering gracefully around the ring like one of his snakes, but during the 1990s and a period which coincided with his return to WWE, Roberts packed on so much weight and was truly unrecognizable from his former self.
8 Great: Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner doesn’t resemble your average 54-year-old. Despite his age, he is still ripped beyond belief and wrestling on the independent circuit for various promotions. Many of you will probably remember Scott Steiner in his heyday wrestling with the WWE, but the "Big Poppa Pump" is still fighting strong – currently with Global Force Wrestling.
7 Go: Scott Hall
Scott Hall doesn’t really step into the ring anymore – at the age of 57, his wrestling days are long behind him – but he still makes appearances here and there, which gives fans a chance to see how he’s been taking care of himself. It's better now it has to be said, but still not nearly as great as when he was in his prime.
He had skills in the ring, which made him a multiple title winner with various wrestling promotions, but in the 1990s, as a member of the New World Order, things began to go downhill – in terms of his health and body – pretty quickly.
With legal issues hanging over his head, drug problems, possible PTSD, pneumonia and epilepsy, it’s no wonder that body image wasn’t at the forefront of his mind; just hanging in there, taking each day at it came was probably the way Hall was living life at one stage – a charmed existence to say the least.
6 Great: Kurt Angle
If you take your eye off the ball, wrestling will pound the life out of you and you’ll soon be a forgotten entity and fade away into the wilderness. But after almost two decades in the sport, Kurt Angle is still going strong. He might no longer be contracted with the world’s major wrestling promotion – WWE – but he’s still hungry to achieve more in the business.
5 Go: Sandman
Remarkably, Sandman – portrayed by James "Jim" Fullington – is still around on the wrestling scene, making sporadic appearance on the independent circuit. I use the term "remarkably" because of what Fullington has gone through over the course of his wrestling career, the punishment to which he subjected his body, most of which was done while fighting with ECW. Those days were crazy and dangerous, but also extremely entertaining. In the name of entertainment, those ECW wrestlers put their bodies on the line week after week, all of which made for tremendous viewing. Fullington’s body had to be made out of steel to come out of those days still standing, but it definitely took a beating and was not helped by the Sandman gimmick, which involved chugging beers in the ring like it was water.
4 Great: Sting
Sting just announced his retirement from the wrestling business this year when he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He made his WWE debut at Survivor Series 2014, having finally made his way to the biggest company after multiple decades in the business.
Being that he wrestled well into his 50s, Sting always looked great for his age and never let himself go. Like many other old wrestling stars, Sting had a background in bodybuilding, after growing up near Venice Beach. Sting brought that mindset with him when he stumbled into pro wrestling, and as a result, kept himself in great shape. This is what allowed him to be WCW's top star and then remain one of TNA's mainstays for several years. It's a shame he didn't go to WWE sooner, as he likely would have enjoyed a long, fruitful run there.
3 Go: Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe has skills in the ring; he’s won numerous titles and championships across many different promotions – although surprisingly he’s never managed to get a place on the main WWE roster – and has certainly got a fan-following, mainly due to his accomplishments with TNA.
2 Great: Goldberg
Goldberg is an utter legend and an inspiration to many wrestlers who followed him in the sport. A two-time world champion, Goldberg’s accomplishments and popularity have put him on par with many of the greats: Hulk Hogan, The Rock, The Undertaker, etc. Former WWE superstar Arn Anderson certainly thinks so and has said that Goldberg at his peak "was as hot as anybody has ever been in the history of this business" – high praise indeed coming from a man like Anderson.
Part of the reason for Goldberg’s popularity and the love he gained from the fans is because he gave the sport the respect that it deserved. He was a total professional, and that meant turning up at events in top shape, which he did time and time again.
1 Go: Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens embarked on his wrestling career with Combat Zone Wrestling in 2004 as a pretty lean and sprightly twenty-year-old. But over the years, the wrestling public has seen Owens get bigger and bigger and balloon to two times the size of his former self.
From the early days, it was evident that Owens had something about him, some form of talent that would no doubt get him a gig with the one company everyone wants to be join – WWE. This eventually happened in 2014 when he got signed to NXT, and then made his debut on the main WWE roster in 2015. He certainly made an impact in his initial months with the company, but has continued to pile on the pounds.
Why he has let himself go is anybody’s guess. There doesn’t seem to be any underlying issues – that the public knows about anyway – so perhaps he’s just not strict enough when it comes to his diet, a self-control thing.
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