Prior to his recent retirement, the NFL had Brett Keisel. The NBA still has James Harden, while MLB has Jake Arrieta. And how about UFC’s Johny Hendricks and Roy Nelson? Many a top-flight athlete has been known to sport an epic beard, and that too applies to the wild and wacky world of sports entertainment. It may be a part of a gimmick or on account of the wrestler’s personal preference, but it’s not uncommon for wrestlers to shy away from the razor and grow that facial hair to the point where it’s almost synonymous to who they are.
Of course, every bearded wrestler has to have been clean-shaven at one point, and it’s often interesting to see how these grapplers look like with little-to-no hair on their chins. Join us as we see at how these five normally bearded wrestlers look like without their definitive facial hair.
5. Bray Wyatt
When one thinks beards in the WWE, Bray Wyatt and The Wyatt Family automatically come to mind. Facial hair is as synonymous to the Eater of Worlds as cryptic promos and losing badly when it matters the most. Even with many demanding that WWE freshen up his increasingly-stale character, we don’t see much chance of WWE’s creative team introducing Wyatt’s chin to a razor.
As you can see, it’s hard finding photos of Bray Wyatt, fka Husky Harris, aka Windham Rotunda in real life, without any kind of beard. The above photo is as close to clean-cut as you can get, as it shows Wyatt’s recruitment page as he prepared to embark on a college football career as a Troy University offensive lineman.
4. Bruiser Brody
The oldest example on the list, as well as the only one who is no longer with us, Bruiser Brody was a true legend of the sport. He was one of the preeminent big man heels of the time, as he stood out for his height and heft. But he was also well known for his wildman appearance, with his hair past his shoulders and his beard oftentimes well past his chin.
If you’re accustomed to the traditional image of Bruiser Brody raising hell in the ring, you might be surprised to find out that he was once a clean-cut young man named Frank Goodish. Actually, you might as well see them before and after, and marvel at the shocking contrast between yearbook photo and wrestling photo.
3. Braun Strowman
It was tempting to include everyone in The Wyatt Family in this list, but then again, we’d rather give a chance to others, and limit our Wyatts quota to just two members of the hairy stable. That brings us to Braun Strowman, who joined the main roster in 2015 as the Wyatts’ “black sheep,” and fit in well with some impressive-looking facial hair. The beard still remains, even with the change in hairdo, now that he’s one of Monday Night Raw‘s top singles stars.
Prior to joining the WWE, Strowman was a powerlifter and strongman competitor, and the above photo shows him in 2010 with short hair and no beard, aged about 27 but looking more like a college weightlifter than a Monster Among Men.
2. Mick Foley
Unlike most of the wrestlers in this list who started growing their beards in their mid-to-late 20s, Mick Foley appears to have favored the bearded look since college. Case in point – the “Dude Love” video he shot with his friends back when he was a student at SUNY Cortland. That gave him quite the mature appearance as he did jobs for the WWE in his early 20s, and first made his name as Cactus Jack in the indie scene.
As such, we’re going back to Foley’s high school days for his clean-cut photo, where he can be seen on the right in his high school wrestling uniform. The guy beside him? That’s actor and comedian Kevin James, who somehow put his schoolboy athletic background to good use in the 2012 MMA comedy, Here Comes the Boom.
1. Daniel Bryan
As Daniel Bryan‘s “Yes! Movement” gained momentum in 2014, the term “respect the beard” became synonymous with him, as his hirsute appearance somehow accentuated the fact that WWE was pushing him as the ultimate underdog. Not only did he not have the height and the build of a typical WWE Superstar, his “troll”-like mix of long, shaggy hair and similarly long beard made him look nothing like the classically handsome, muscular superheroes Vince McMahon tends to favor.
At that time, Bryan was just four years removed from his first full-time appearance in the WWE, where he debuted as one of the rookies in the first season of NXT‘s “game show” version. The above NXT press photo shows Bryan with a regular short hairdo and little facial hair, though he was known to occasionally rock a beard during his time in the indies under his real name, Bryan Danielson.
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