In almost every case, WWE Superstars transform quite drastically throughout the years. Looking at pictures of certain WWE stars before their time with the big company, you find it hard to believe they’re the same person today.
A transformation can occur because of a variety of reasons. In most instances, transformations occur because wrestlers simply grow into their bodies while training day in and day out. In other cases, a much needed transformation can save or completely alter the trajectory of a career. Take a veteran like A.J. Styles who held a generic look with TNA for years. Once he left the company, he grew his hair our and changed his demeanor. This caught the eye of the WWE and before you knew it, he was ‘the champ that runs the camp’.
In the following article, we’ll take a look at both sides of the fence with some of the more dramatic changes among the current WWE Superstars. Some grew into their bodies over time, while others were forced to completely resurface their identities. Whatever they did, it seemed to have worked as they are all current members of the WWE roster. Enjoy this list of 15 shocking transformation pictures of current WWE Superstars. Let us know which transformation shocked you the most!
15. Enzo Amore
Enzo Amore has gone through a drastic transformation since his debut in the WWE signing with NXT in 2012. Along with his physical transformation, Enzo’s personal life changed drastically as well. Before joining the company, Amore was living the life of a DJ and piano mover residing in New Jersey. He was even a manager at Hooters at one point in time.
Amore would end up getting the break of a lifetime because of his friendship with Joe DeFranco, Triple H’s trainer. The two were close friends and Amore requested DeFranco show the WWE a video package of his promo work. Enzo would end up getting a tryout and he was signed to a deal in November of 2012. From that point on, Enzo became a huge hit forming a Tag Team alongside his current partner Big Cass. A couple of years later, Enzo is one of the hottest acts on the entire Raw roster. He’s come a long way since his days working at the local Hooters establishment!
14. Sasha Banks
Still only 24 years of age, it’s truly remarkable to see exactly how much Sasha’s changed from her days prior to the WWE, to her current days as the face of the women’s division.
Like many of the new era women, Sasha started wrestling at a very young age joining the Indie scene at the age of 18. She began to train for her dream job at the age of 16. Under the alias of Mercedes KV, it was evident at a young age that Sasha was going to be a star. She dominated Chaotic Wrestling and worked the Indie scene in the Massachusetts area, the place where she currently resides.
After a successful tryout with the WWE in the summer of 2012, the company inked the future star to a deal. After an under-the-radar start, Sasha grew into her own under the character of The Boss. Soon after, she really found her footing as a heel and dominated the developmental division. Fast forward to now and she’s already a three-time Champion and regarded as one of the most popular faces of the Raw brand. Not too shabby.
13. Baron Corbin
The initial purpose of NXT was to take top-of-the-line athletes and turn them into pro wrestlers via a state of the art Performance Center that featured everything from film class, to promo class, to even a stunt ring. Although it would later get congested with Indie talent, Baron Corbin was exactly what the WWE initially attended. He truly is a blue print for what the WWE was looking for.
As you can see, his transformation is pretty remarkable. He played in the NFL briefly and was even a boxing Golden Gloves regional Champion at one point in time. The WWE would come calling in August of 2012 and he later changed his name to Baron Corbin. After a lengthy stint with NXT, Baron was called up to the main roster and he is now thriving with SmackDown competing in Several main event matches on the show thus far. Looking at his potential, Corbin has future Champion written all over him and his transformed look has only helped to propel him to the top.
12. Nikki Bella
From eye candy to getting praised by Bret Hart for her in-ring work, Nikki Bella has transformed in more ways than one since her WWE main roster debut in 2008.
Initially, it seemed like the WWE hired the twins strictly based on entertainment value. Though, once Nikki began to date Cena, and Brie hooked up Daniel Bryan, things suddenly changed and both twins began to improve.
Nikki would end up thriving as the longest Divas Champion in WWE history. Even the likes of Pro Wrestling Illustrated took note of her fantastic improvements and labelled the Diva number one on the list for the top 50 females of 2015. Following her injury return, Nikki looks like she hasn’t missed a beat and continues to perform at an excellent rate. Along with her altered in-ring work, Nikki noticeably altered something else (as you can in her transformation picture)…
For the common WWE fan, Cesaro is relatively new as he made his main roster debut in 2012. But to hardcore fans, Cesaro has been around for a heck of a long time which spans back to his days wrestling with Chikara back in 2003.
Throughout his run outside of the company, Cesaro wasn’t always known as ‘The Swiss Superman’. He held several in-ring names including Claudio Castagnoli (his real name), Double D and even Very Mysterious Ice Cream. Yup, from a wannabe Italian to a mysterious ice cream…
Cesaro toured the world wrestling with the likes of Combat Zone Wrestling, Ring Of Honor, Pro Wrestling Guerilla, Pro Wrestling Noah and countless other promotions. He officially inked a deal with the WWE in 2011 reporting to FCW; he would later crack the main roster in 2012. Aside from his crazy wrestling journey, his transition physically is truly remarkable looking sculpted from head to toe nowadays.
10. Luke Gallows
You know you’ve transformed pretty dramatically when your own boss doesn’t even remember hiring you. The story goes that Vince McMahon himself didn’t even realize that Gallows was with the WWE prior to his signing, playing the role of Festus back in 2007. Luke pleaded with his fellow employees not reminding Vince considering how bad the gimmick did during its time in the company.
It would take years for Gallows to resurface his integrity as a performer but he did so far beyond what many expected of him. Luke became a dominant figure of the Bullet Club over in New Japan. The WWE took notice of his character work and they signed the former WWE employee to a new deal this past year in 2016.
The duo has yet to make their mark despite being a dominant Tag Team overseas. With the New Day finally dethroned, it remains to be seen if the WWE will finally elect to push the two stars as the faces of the Tag Team Division.
9. Big Cass
Hate to knock on Big Cass but he used to look like a mixture of Kid Rock and Joe Dirt. He’s truly come a long way since signing his first deal back 2011 joining the WWE’s developmental branch of FCW.
Early on in his WWE career, Cass struggled to find a character that stuck. He first appeared under the alias of Colin Cassady with FCW and success seemed few and far between. Once the show was rebranded to NXT, he finally found something working in the tag division alongside a newcomer by the name of Enzo Amore. The two worked perfectly together, and slowly, Cass also started to fill out his big frame. As documented on WWE’s Breaking Ground, Cass was following a huge caloric diet which entailed he eat a steak for breakfast every morning. It seemed like as the duo grew in popularity, so did Cass.
8. Tye Dillinger
The story of Tye Dillinger is truly an inspirational one that proves you should never give up your dream. Tye initially joined the WWE in 2006 reporting to OVW. After a couple of years in the training facilities, the WWE finally called the prospect up to the ECW brand. The results were poor, Dillinger looked like a generic wrestler that truly had nothing to offer. He was quickly labelled as a pushover and before you knew it, he was out the door. Many believed that was the last time he’d step foot in a WWE ring.
After gaining some experience on the Indie circuit, Dillinger was welcomed back in 2013 to NXT. The results however were exactly the same as Tye was yet again a pushover losing match after match. Finally, a lightbulb would go off and Dillinger would completely alter his look and launch the gimmick of the Perfect 10. The change was huge and all of a sudden, Dillinger is one of the most liked NXT wrestlers on the entire roster. In this case, a transformation saved a career.
7. Alexa Bliss
Like Tye Dillinger, a transformation completely changed the career trajectory of the current SmackDown Live Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss.
Prior to the WWE, Bliss pursued a career as a bodybuilder. Oddly enough, she applied to become a WWE wrestler online only to get a call back from the company. After a tryout, she was inked to a WWE deal.
Early on, the company booked her as a shy babyface dawning a cheerleader outfit. She was a pushover with the gimmick and she seemed to be losing steam as the weeks went on. This would all change when the NXT creative decided to book Alexa as a heel working alongside Blake and Murphy. She ended up thriving with the two and became a huge star for the developmental brand.
Now, with a new look, she’s taken her work to new heights on the SmackDown Live brand competing as the show’s Champion. If not for her dramatic makeover, you struggle to find a place for Bliss in the WWE’s competitive women’s division.
6. Heath Slater
A part of the WWE family for over a decade now, you have to praise Heath Slater for the 2016 he managed to pull off. Before his turn around year, Slater was struggling to remain relevant.
He joined the WWE back in 2006 and worked the territories for over four years. He finally got the call-up as a member of the Nexus and enjoyed a brief push with the group in 2010. Once the idea fell through, Slater was once again forced to resurface his character into something new and fresh. He would end up failing time and time again with silly characters like Slater-Gator and as a member of the Social Outcasts.
During the brand extension, he’d finally find gold and enjoy the greatest run of his entire ten year career becoming a free agent and working on both shows. This would get the crowd behind him and it would result in an unlikely Tag Team Title run alongside Rhyno.
At the age of 49, Kane is still going with the WWE in the final years of his career surely. The Demon has been a part of the company since 1995, and you can bet he’s gone through a couple of transformations since then.
Back in the early to mid 90s, the WWE had a knack for corny and cheesy characters. One of them, was Dr. Isaac Yankem, a dentist, portrayed by none other than Kane. Things would only get worse for the long-time WWE employee who would proceed to play the role of fake Diesel. Once again, that was short-lived.
Finally, the company would strike gold with Kane turning him into The Undertaker’s evil brother. The persona lasted years till he finally unmasked in June of 2003. Following the unmasking, Kane proceeded to play the role of a disturbed individual. He would take things off course at one point turning into Corporate Kane. Thankfully, he’s ending his career under the alias we loved him for, the Big Red Machine.
4. Randy Orton
Following his stint with Ohio Valley Wrestling, it was apparent that Orton was going to be something special. However, initially, he wasn’t booked that way. Before he joined forces with Evolution, Orton was playing the role of a comedic narcissistic heel. He stayed relevant by updating the WWE fans on his conditions during weekly segments on both Raw and PPVs.
After his injury, Orton finally started to find his footing as a major Superstar joining Evolution. His contributions were noteworthy but he really put his foot on the pedal when he completely altered his look into the Apex Predator or The Viper. All of a sudden, the WWE’s former pretty boy turned into a tattoo filled, intimidating looking wrestler. His transformation was truly something to behold and he managed to stay in the upper card scene because of it. Years later, Orton is still going strong with a reign as a 12-time WWE Champion to his name.
3. A.J. Styles
From a straight shooting, clean cut TNA World Champion, to an arrogant, self-proclaimed face that runs the place and WWE World Champion, this is the story of the transformation A.J. Styles has underwent since his TNA days.
According to Vince, his only regret was not signing Styles years prior. To be fair, it was after Styles left TNA that his work truly began to blossom. After a decade of work with TNA, Styles chose to try his hand elsewhere joining New Japan Pro Wrestling overseas. Along with the changed promotion, Styles also completely resurfaced his look growing his hair long and becoming a cocky performer under his heel stable, the Bullet Club.
He caught the eye of the WWE and he’s now regarded as the most popular and skilled Superstar on the entire roster. His skill is truly unquestionable, but you do question if Styles would have made it in the WWE had he not transformed his entire look.
2. Roman Reigns
From a failed NFL career to becoming the face of a billion dollar company, the transition Roman Reigns has undergone is truly remarkable.
Playing as a defensive tackle for Georgia Tech, Reigns was a heavier dude before his WWE days. He was a promising prospect but his hopes of playing in the NFL went the way side after the future Superstar went undrafted in the NFL Draft. He would tryout for multiple teams but nothing would come from it.
He retired from football in 2008 and would join the WWE’s developmental branch in 2010. When he joined the company, Reigns significantly altered his look growing the long hair and leaning out quite a bit. After a brief stint in development, the WWE was sold on Roman and the monster push began once he was called up to the main roster in November of 2012 alongside his Shield brothers Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. Years later, Reigns would become the second face of the WWE just in the back of John Cena. Speaking of Cena…
1. John Cena
He started off as a bodybuilder, limo driver and nightclub bouncer. Perhaps not even John Cena himself could have predicted being the host of Saturday Night Live one day, along with earning a salary of $9.5 million per year. In terms of recognizable WWE faces, there truly isn’t anyone bigger or more popular than John Cena.
His initial upbringing however proved otherwise. Cena was signed to the OVW development back in 2000 looking generic as hell. He was a jacked dude sporting a blonde Mohawk; surely, even he thought he wouldn’t make it at that point. Throughout the years however, Cena would alter his look and eventually his popularity would follow him. By 2005, he was the established face of the WWE and some would argue, he’s held that title for more than a decade now. It remains to be seen when John is going to decide to hang them up, but for now, we can only appreciate his contributions to the business.