The day to day life of a professional wrestler has to be one of the toughest in all of the entertainment industry. When you’re a part of WWE you are effectively a member of a traveling circus. In a different city every night and a lot of the time performing in one part of the world over the weekend only to rush back to the United States for Raw and SmackDown Live on Monday and Tuesday night. What makes it even harder than your average traveling circus is the punishment the Superstars put their bodies through. It must build up over time and really take its toll.
Truth be told pro wrestling nowadays is probably not as hard going as it was 20-30 years ago. While the majority of the time today’s WWE Superstars work four or five nights a week, there were times in the past when wrestlers would work every single night and twice on Sundays. The question we’re attempting to answer with this article is which company was harder to work for during pro wrestling’s biggest ever boom period, the Monday Night War. Yes WCW famously required many of its bigger stars to work less dates, that’s how they lured a lot of them in, but did being there help their well being? Here are 20 wrestlers from the past. Some worked for WWE, others WCW, and a fair few competed for both. Judging by these 20 stars which company contributed to its alumni aging the worst?
20. WWE: Marty Jannetty
When WWE decide to break up a tag team and the respective members venture out into the world of singles competition there’s almost always one half of the team who ends up outshining the other. That has never been truer than it was with Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty. Both men made names for themselves as The Rockers during the late 1980s, then HBK turned on his long time partner. While Michaels went on to become one of the best wrestlers of all time, Jannetty did not fair so well. Although he remained with WWE for a number of years he was never at the same level as he was while alongside Shawn. Nowadays Jannetty is not in great shape at all as he reportedly drinks a fair bit and posts odd and sometimes disturbing things on social media.
19. WCW: Diamond Dallas Page
While we’re on the topic of Diamond Dallas Page and we’re discussing how well Superstars have aged, we would be remiss not to discuss the former WCW Champion in more detail. Since retiring from in ring competition DDP has dedicated his life to yoga, and not just any old yoga, it’s DDP Yoga. DDP has poured his life and soul into his newest venture and if you take one look at the 61 year old you can see that clearly he is doing something right. For a man of his age who wrestled for a living Page looks incredible. Obviously he is a very healthy man and even aside from his yoga he makes sure to live a lifestyle that keeps him fit and looking well year after year.
18. WWE: The Undertaker
The Undertaker has been in the business for an awfully long time. He made his debut as The Deadman all the way back in November of 1990 and even that wasn’t his first foray into a wrestling ring. Here we are almost 30 years later and it’s still unclear as to whether The Phenom is done with the business or not. Roman Reigns may have retired Taker at WrestleMania 33 but there is still talk that the sure fire Hall of Famer is not yet finished with in ring competition. Judging by his match in Orlando he probably should be. The bout was less than stellar and although we all love The Undertaker, we want to remember him at his best as opposed to seeing WWE try to squeeze every drop of life out of him that they possibly can.
17. WCW: Ric Flair
Ric Flair has had a pretty tough time of it over the past few months. Over the summer The Nature Boy’s health took a turn for the worst and he wound up in hospital. For a while it looked as if Flair was going to be taken from us and apparently was given just a 20% chance of pulling through. Thankfully he did and the 16 time World Champion is still with us today. If you’ve seen Naitch since his health scare though you will know that time has very much started to catch up with him. Right up until recently Flair lived his entire adult life hard and fast. Stories of his nights out as a pro wrestler are the stuff of legend. A life like Ric’s doesn’t come without a price though, and he is paying for that life in his later years.
16. WWE: Triple H
When Vince McMahon finally reaches a point where he can no longer run WWE day to day, there is really only one person in contention to take his place. That person is The Game, Triple H. You would think that considering the amount of work The King Of Kings already does behind the scenes at WWE would mean he has let himself go a little bit. Not the case. A couple of times a year The Game steps back between the ropes and if anything he looks in better shape now than he did during the Attitude Era. For a 47 year old man to be in the shape that Triple H is in is nothing short of remarkable. Where on earth does he manage to find the time?
15. WCW: Scott Hall
A return to ex-wrestlers who have battled back from the brink against substance abuse now as we move on to Scott Hall. Hall brought to life Razor Ramon while he was in WWE, one of the greatest gimmicks in pro wrestling history. Then later in his career formed the nWo along with Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan. Those days likely feel as if they were a lifetime ago to Scott now. Hall has been through the ringer since then, having issues with alcoholism and divorcing from the same woman not just once, but twice. The former Intercontinental Champion is yet another star who has been helped by DDP, and also features prominently during the aforementioned documentary. Scott is back on the right track now but similarly to his friend Jake, the years of abuse have taken their toll.
14. WWE: Kane
Kane has recently made something of a triumphant return to Monday night Raw. In fact The Big Red Machine will be taking on Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman in a Universal Championship triple threat match at Royal Rumble in January. Those of you who have been WWE fans since the inception of Kane will know that The Devil’s Favorite Demon is far from the formidable force that he once was. It’s almost as if there is a different man behind that red and black mask. In reality though age has simply caught up with Kane. On top of that most of his time is now dedicated to being a politician. The former WWE Champion simply doesn’t have the time to look the way that he did 15 years ago.
13. WCW: Raven
Raven is another wrestler on this list who spent time with both WWE and WCW. In that case he can attempt to blame both companies for them having a helping hand in him not aging as gracefully as others he once shared a ring with. In defense of Raven his gimmick was never that of a pretty boy. The leader of Raven’s Flock brought grunge to the pro wrestling world and that was very much reflected in the way that he dressed and his overall look. In the present day Raven doesn’t look any different to other people who grew up during the grunge scene and embraced it as a part of their identity. They all just look very different now than they did 25 years ago.
12. WWE: Lita
Let’s not restrict this list to males alone. Former female wrestlers often get a bad wrap online when it comes to not aging well. That cannot be said for Lita. When Lita arrived in WWE at the turn of the century she grabbed the attention of male fans watching around the world. The woman that would become the third member of Team Extreme was not your typical WWE Diva. She had tattoos and wore different clothes yet she was still incredibly attractive. Lita also went about proving that women didn’t merely have to act as eye candy in WWE. In 2017 she is just as attractive as she ever was and could likely still go inside the ring too. Maybe she will make a comeback for the women’s Royal Rumble.
11. WCW/ECW: The Sandman
Now this may be a WWE versus WCW list, but in an article where we’re breaking down how certain pro wrestlers from the past have aged it’s hard not to include The Sandman. Plus even though Sandman made a name for himself competing in ECW he has also worked for both WCW and WWE. If you’re unsure as to how poorly Sandman has aged, take a look at the photo above. The ECW legend is not looking well. Sandman’s gimmick was basically that he was a violence loving, chain smoking alcoholic. Nothing will age you faster than smoking and drinking heavily as well as having the tar beaten out of you with various weapons every night.
10. WWE: The Rock
The Rock has come an awful long way since he made his debut for WWE dressed in what looks like something that Bayley might wear to the ring as a part of her outfit nowadays. The former WWE Champion and sure fire Hall of Famer is basically the biggest movie star on the planet right now. The life he leads in 2017 and the way he looks could fool a person into believing that present day Rock and late ’90s Rock aren’t even the same person. It’s strange to think that Rock’s physique as an actor is a lot more impressive than when he was a full time wrestler. Ironically not only did The Rock not have the time to get as buff as he is now back when he was on the road, but it probably would have hindered his ability in the ring.
9. WCW: Booker T
Booker T may have been with WWE on and off as both a wrestler and an announcer since 2001, but make no bones about it the six time World Champion will always be a WCW guy deep down. For eight years before that Booker made a name for himself in WCW, first as a tag team wrestler alongside his brother Stevie Ray and then as a top singles guy. When the company eventually folded Booker was probably the biggest name to forgo his guaranteed contract and begin his life as a WWE Superstar. 16 years later and he is not only still a part of the team but also a WWE Hall of Famer. Looking at Booker in 2017 you would not believe that the man is 52 years old and began his pro wrestling career during the 1980s. The former World Champ looks fantastic!
8. WWE: Jake Roberts
Another man who has certainly had his issues with substance abuse is Jake Roberts. Roberts’ problems are a lot more well known and likely a lot more serious than Marty Jannetty’s however. There was a time in Roberts’ life where it truly seemed as if we were about to lose the WWE Hall of Famer. He even admitted that if it wasn’t for Diamond Dallas Page he would definitely be dead by now. As documented in the documentary The Resurrection of Jake the Snake, DDP helped Roberts get his life back on track. Nowadays Jake is looking better than ever. However there’s no running away from the fact that for a number of years he mistreated his body to the extreme, and all of that abuse still shows today.
7. WCW: Lex Luger
Lex Luger was one of Vince McMahon’s original pet projects. For years and years Hulk Hogan had been the figure head of WWE, then in the mid-90s WCW managed to get their hands on The Hulkster. That meant McMahon had to begin grooming someone else, and that someone else was Lex Luger. Unfortunately for Vince though Luger decided to do the exact same thing as Hogan and jumped ship to WCW. In fact he’s probably more well known for his time there than with WWE. Back then Luger was a specimen of a human being. Nowadays, not so much. Lex has had issues with drugs as well as some severe health problems. Tie all that up with the simple fact that he has aged and in 2017 The Lex Express isn’t looking so good.
6. WWE: Trish Stratus
Time for another woman on this list now, and another of WWE’s ex Divas that has aged incredibly well. In fact when it comes to Trish Stratus then we have to question whether the Hall of Famer has access to a time machine. Stratus looked fantastic during her heyday in the mid 2000s but somehow a full 15 years late she looks even better. Nowadays Trish dedicates a large part of her life to fitness and that certainly shows. The seven time Women’s Champion is also still best friends with previous entry on this list and fellow WWE Hall of Famer, Lita. With the announcement of an all female Royal Rumble next month we’ll be hoping that Stratus is one of the women that makes a return for the marquee match. She has already hinted at such on Twitter.
5. WCW (Since He Now Works For The Enemy): Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho may very well be the smartest man in pro wrestling today. He has also wrestled just about everywhere that there is to wrestle. Mexico, ECW, WCW, WWE, and now well into his forties he’s about to return to New Japan Pro Wrestling to take on Kenny Omega. A career that has spanned over 25 years during which The Ayotollah Of RocknRolla has barely stopped to take a breath, yet the man still looks amazing. Not only does Jericho still look good, but he is still more than capable of putting on some fantastic matches. Between wrestling, playing with Fozzy, and his podcast it feels like Y2J never stops. Chris credits DDP Yoga with why he is in such good shape, if he’s telling the truth then we should all have to do it by law.
4. WWE: Bret Hart
The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. Words that will live on forever in professional wrestling thanks to Bret Hart. The Hitman very much signaled a new era when he truly became the guy in WWE. An era that didn’t require wrestlers to be giants in order to make it in the big time. Yes he moved on to WCW later in his career but by that point he was a shell of a man compared to what he once was. Hart had an infamous falling out with Vince McMahon which led to his WWE departure, and it took an awful long time for him to forgive them and come back home. When he did Bret actually had a match with Vince. Big mistake. From the moment he first walked back through the curtain you could tell that time had taken its toll on the Hall of Famer. Age and health issues have caught up with Bret and he should never have stepped foot in a ring again, not to wrestle anyway.
3. WCW: Goldberg
Moving swiftly on to a man who you could argue played a part in the reason previous entry Bret Hart hasn’t exactly aged gracefully, Goldberg. While the two of them were in WCW Goldberg performed a super kick on The Hitman which began injured Hart and started him on the slippery slope to where he finds himself today. Goldberg on the other hand looks pretty incredible in the present day, especially for a man who didn’t get into the business until later than most. A little over a year ago the former WCW icon returned to WWE and for his first few promos wouldn’t remove his coat. Some speculated it was because his body wasn’t the same as it used to be. When finally revealed what was underneath the coat those speculators were proven wrong. Goldberg worked hard to get back in ring shape and he looked as good as he ever did during his WCW run 20 years prior.
2. WWE: Sunny
WWE were really up against it at one point during the Monday Night War versus WCW. They needed things that were going to pull in viewers. It was decided that one of those things was going to be sex appeal, and the woman who ushered that into the company was Sunny. Every man watching WWE at the time had a crush on Sunny. The former Superstar effectively started the use of Divas in wrestling. Life after wrestling hasn’t treated Sunny so well though. She is often amid controversy, often in trouble with the law, and has even spent some time in jail. Life has taken its toll on Sunny and she is no longer the woman we remember watching during the Attitude Era.
1. WCW: Perry Saturn
The case of Perry Saturn is actually a very sad one. The former Radical made a name for himself across ECW, WCW and WWE during his prime. He may have never been a top guy but he was a good hand and a terrific in ring performer. A while after he departed WWE Saturn disappeared off of the face of the earth. No one seemed to know where he had gone. It’s only recently that Perry resurfaced and he has had an extremely rough few years. Saturn became heavily addicted to drugs and wound up homeless for a period of time. At one point he was even working for drug dealers in order to get his fix since he had no money. That hard and horrible period in his life, plus the tattoo across his face and head, has led to him looking extremely worse for wear in the present day.
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