The history of wrestling sees fans remember the wrestlers from every era. '90s wrestlers are still popular today. Guys like The Undertaker, Triple H, and Big Show find ways to be part of the current WWE product in part-time spurts. Various podcasts with personalities like Bruce Prichard, Tony Schiavone, and Eric Bischoff are doing well due to fans still wanting to hear stories about the wrestling industry in the '90s. There is also a lot of love for the wrestlers of the '80s. Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair are still celebrated in WWE and beyond. Others find interest in podcasts, shoot interviews, and a few even still attempt to wrestle on the independent circuit.
Time has been kinder to some wrestlers more than others. There are quite a few wrestlers that have become difficult to spot in recent years. These past stars of the prior eras no longer look like how fans remembered them during their performances on the big stage. The aging process and general changes to their overall look have made them quite unrecognizable. It takes a while before you start to realize they are the wrestler you remember enjoying watching 20 or 30 years ago. Find out just how different some of your favorite wrestlers look today after the years have gone by. These are fifteen wrestlers from the '90s and five wrestlers from the '80s that fans wouldn’t recognize today.
20 '90s: Sabu
The ECW icon Sabu is one of the main reasons the promotion did so well despite having a smaller budget than WWE and WCW. Sabu personified what ECW represented with the groundbreaking style unlike anyone else in the industry at the time.
Sabu's body would get decimated throughout the years after going through tables, getting hit with chairs and getting wrapped in barbed wire. Sabu’s only WWE run took place in the 2000s past his prime and ended shortly. The hardcore wrestler is still performing on the independent circuit but looks different due to his age and his battered body making him move slowly in the ring.
19 '90s: Marty Jannetty
The Rockers are one of the greatest tag teams in WWE history to never win the tag titles. Shawn Michaels ending the tag team by throwing Marty Jannetty through a barbershop window led to Michaels becoming a massive superstar for WWE and all-time great.
Jannetty received a few opportunities to break out, but his talent level was not equal to Michaels. There were also more personal demons to end Marty’s time in WWE faster than he would have liked. Jannetty is still wrestling on small indie shows and looks nothing like what fans remember. The wear and tear of the aging process and other decisions show his age and fans barely recognize the former Rocker today.
18 '90s: Dawn Marie
The presence of Dawn Marie made her one of the top ladies in ECW at the end of the '90s. Dawn joined and became an instant star for the brand. Francine was the only other woman to last long in ECW and was the top female performer until Dawn came around and started managing wrestlers to success.
Dawn's success made her a hot commodity as she moved on to a bigger run in WWE. It took place in the 2000s, but she still would add more great moments to her career. The current life of Dawn is different from what fans remember. She now dedicates her time to becoming a nurse and mother away from wrestling. Dawn also looks quite different from what fans remember in the '90s due to the aging process.
17 '80s: Jake Roberts
The legendary Jake Roberts is arguably the most underrated wrestler of the 80s. WWE had Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage dominate the WWE Championship picture as faces, but Roberts was more than deserving of a world title reign. Future eras which featured more heel champs would have seen Roberts win the gold and add more legendary moments to his career.
The past few years have been kind to Roberts after he cleaned his life up thanks to DDP Yoga. Roberts is happy, healthy and a WWE Hall of Famer. However, he does look a bit different with the shorter hair and his body in the best shape it’s been in a long time.
16 '90s: Vampiro
Vampiro is one of the most underrated wrestlers of the '90s. The run in Mexico made him a huge star away from his home country of Canada. Vampiro was popular enough to get crossover appeal in Mexico by getting acting gigs on the beloved soap operas there. His success led to WCW reaching out and giving him a chance.
Vampiro became a popular mid-carder towards the end of the '90s thanks to his unique persona and face paint. The new century started with him getting a chance to feud with top names like Sting. Vampiro is still a fixture in wrestling today for Lucha Underground and AAA. He has lost the long hair and put on some pounds to look drastically different than what '90s fans remember.
15 '90s: Jerry Lynn
Jerry Lynn deserves credit for being one of the more underrated wrestlers of the '90s. WCW used him poorly with the ridiculous masked character known as Mr. JL. Lynn luckily found a new home towards the end of the '90s when ECW brought him in with a chance to showcase his in-ring skills.
The great matches from Lynn are remembered by diehard fans, but he should get more love for his incredible body of work. Lynn has retired from in-ring competition and is sporting a new look. The long blonde hair has been replaced with short grey hair. ROH currently employs him behind the scenes to help with his knowledge of the sport.
14 '90s: The Great Muta
The Great Muta was the biggest Japanese star to find great success in the United States during his time in WCW. Sting and Muta had some great matches and feuds throughout his run in WCW. Muta won over fans with his cool face paint look and the unique nature of his green mist attack.
The career of Muta has remained strong throughout the years in Japan. Muta still does the green mist trick, but everything else appears different. He has gone from wrestling with face paint to a mask or even without any cosmetics at all. The bald look also has him looking drastically different from the WCW days when he had the black hair.
13 '80s: Tito Santana
Tito Santana was an underrated wrestler from the '80s that did a great job in WWE’s mid-card picture. The skills of Santana made him one of the more exciting in-ring performers of the time since there weren’t many like him. Santana often excited the crowd to deliver great reactions for his matches.
The years have seen the aging process change the appearance of Santana to become unrecognizable to the average fan. Santana has an older look, shorter hair, and is always spotted wearing glasses at his appearances. The current look matches the current life of Santana as a middle school teacher.
12 '90s: Tazz
Tazz was a massive star for ECW in the 90s. The rise of ECW coincided with Tazz being the most heavily pushed wrestler in the company. Paul Heyman didn’t care about the height factor in wrestling as Tazz was often the shortest wrestler in the company, but was an unbeatable force.
Tazz's look would change in WWE when he started working as a commentator due to his in-ring injuries. Tazz has continued to change his appearance to become drastically different physically from the ECW days. He has put on a little weight and has the grey beard going today as he hosts a national sports radio show for CBS Sports.
11 '90s: Ahmed Johnson
Most fans forget just how heavily pushed Ahmed Johnson was in the '90s. Vince McMahon loved his look and wanted him to become a top star for the company. Johnson became an on-screen friend of Shawn Michaels to get the rub from the top face at the time. Injuries and the lack of improvement each prevented Johnson from having a great run before WWE quit on him.
Johnson stepped away from wrestling relatively soon after the Monday Night War ended. Despite not wrestling anymore, he does make the rare appearance at wrestling conventions to take pictures and sign autographs. Johnson has gained some weight and just looks like a different person from the WWE days.
10 '90s: Al Snow
One wrestler that looks different for the opposite reason of most of his peers is Al Snow. Instead of falling out of shape, Snow has become more jacked than ever before. The runs of Snow in ECW and WWE each helped him become a memorable player from the '90s.
Snow received great ovations and huge chants thanks to the gimmick of his mannequin head inspiring him. The current day look of Snow sees him with shorter hair, a grey beard, and an incredible physique. Snow looks more in shape today for his indie wrestling matches than he did during his peak run in the '90s for WWE and ECW.
9 '80s: Cowboy Bob Orton
Randy Orton received a great opportunity in WWE right away partially thanks to his father, "Cowboy" Bob Orton. The third-generation star had a connection with WWE due to his dad Bob having a solid run with the company during the '80s. Orton’s alignment with Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff had him involved in important angles.
The years have seen Bob look completely different from his days in WWE. It is easy to see the aging process has changed his appearance quite a bit to the point where old-school fans struggle to recognize him. Bob looked quite a bit older in the 2000s when appearing with Randy, and that’s only continued to happen over the years.
8 '90s: Mideon
Dennis Knight had a few different names and gimmicks during the '90s in WWE. Some fans know him most for playing Phineas Godwinn as one-half of the Godwinn Brothers. Others think of the run as Mideon during his time in Undertaker’s Corporate Ministry faction. A few even remember Mideon's post-Corporate Ministry gimmick with fewer fond memories!
The life of Mideon has changed dramatically since leaving WWE. He went on to become a chef and left the wrestling industry in the past. Mideon has a bald head and tries to portray a more professional look. It makes sense since most people wouldn’t want to order dinner cooked from the guy that did some unusual things in WWE matches as Mideon.
7 '90s: Kane/Isaac Yankem
Any wrestling fan who sees the mid-'90s product and spots Isaac Yankem, DDS would struggle to realize this is the same person that is Kane today. The opportunity to play Kane changed Glenn Jacobs' career after the multiple prior failures as Yankem and as the fake Diesel.
Kane is a part-time wrestler these days, with his focus shifting elsewhere. The look of Kane today compared to the days of Isaac Yankem shows two people that fans would never be able to match unless they knew of it already. It’s a good thing for Kane he doesn’t look like the failed wrestling dentist with rotten teeth.
6 '90s: The Jackal
The Jackal was an underrated character for WWE in the '90s. His heel promos leading the Truth Commission and the Oddities at different points each showed the charisma he possessed. WWE used him in various roles like commentary and behind the scenes that led to Jackal never hitting his potential on-screen.
Most fans would remember his time playing Cyrus as a tremendous heel authority figure in ECW. A long absence from wrestling featured Don Callis returning to the wrestling industry in multiple ways. He hosts a podcast, does commentary for New Japan and received the job to book Impact. The look of Callis today is drastically different with the short hair replacing the long hair from The Jackyl days.
5 '80s: Jesse Ventura
Jesse Ventura is known for many different things by many different people. Wrestling fans remember him for either his larger-than-life personality in the ring or the hilarious commentary calling the matches. Ventura left an impact in the wrestling industry before moving into the world of politics.
The look of Ventura has changed through the years and he currently looks nothing like his wrestling days. He has traded the long hair and beard for a clean-shaven look and long grey hair at the back. Unless you’ve kept up with Ventura through the years, it’s unlikely you’d be able to recognize him from his wrestling days.
4 '90s: Val Venis
Val Venis achieved a lot of success during the Attitude Era in the mid-card picture. His edgy gimmick gave him a humorous character that worked during the era of more mature-oriented characters. Venis even had some in-ring skills that led to decent matches involving the Intercontinental Championship.
The years have seen Val changing his look from the days of the Attitude Era. Venis currently sports the bald look and grey beard as the aging process settled in. WWE likely opts to not bring Val back for any comedic appearances like other '90s stars due to how different he looks today compared to what fans remember.
3 '90s: Lex Luger
Lex Luger was one of the top stars of the '90s when looking at his runs in both WWE and WCW. The WWE run may not have been as impressive since he flopped with the chance to become a main eventer, but WCW welcomed him back and made him a top star right away.
Luger truly played a huge role in the WCW main event picture having star power from top to bottom. The years have seen Luger’s look change dramatically due to health issues. Lex now sports short hair instead of the long blonde locks. He also has seen his body get smaller after his biceps started to shrink.
2 '90s: Raven
Raven is one of the most beloved wrestlers from the '90s that fans barely recognize today. The incredible work in ECW and WCW each showed how impressive Raven could be on the microphone thanks to his own creativity and wrestling intelligence.
The years have seen Raven’s look change in a way that makes him tough to spot these days. Raven started rocking short blonde hair, which looks significantly different from the glory days. He also has put on some weight, which has his overall look appearing hard to figure out. Raven recently appeared on Impact Wrestling, but not all fans may have spotted him easily.
1 '80s: Tully Blanchard
The run of Tully Blanchard in the Four Horsemen made him a legend in the wrestling industry. Blanchard often teamed with Arn Anderson to deliver incredible matches in the '80s. The impact of Blanchard still inspires fans that watch his work back today.
Tully does still appear in certain places via conventions or just showing up to support his incredibly talented daughter, top female wrestling star Tessa Blanchard. The look of Tully has changed through the years as he now has a bald head and shows his age. It makes it hard for fans to recognize him easily, but the love is still there for all he accomplished in the industry.