WWE Superstars often come off to us common folk as larger than life superheroes. Their grand personalities and movie star good looks almost serve the purpose of making any a man or woman who steps in between the ropes of a WWE ring something more than just human, and rightfully so. A ton of work goes into maintaining the spectacular physiques and flawless skin of someone worthy of being labeled a “Superstar,” but somehow they manage to make it look so easy.
Easy it is not, however, and you can ask anyone who has ever had the pleasure (or misfortune) of working under Vince McMahon and feeling the pressure to keep their appearance on par with his outrageous expectations. Between their jobs in front of the camera, promotional material, and travel time, nearly every spare minute for a WWE Superstar is spent on keeping up appearances, so it’s natural that sometimes things will slip, especially for those who part ways with the company and are no longer feeling the pressure to keep up the façade. Here are 15 current and former WWE Superstars who have been unfortunate enough to fall victim to this and have let themselves go.
Whether you remember him best as the 1-2-3 Kid from the early 90’s World Wrestling Federation, as Syxx from the earliest days of the New World Order in World Championship Wrestling, or as perhaps his most famous moniker, X-Pac, Seat Waltman will no doubt be incredibly familiar to wrestling fans of almost any era over the past thirty years. As X-Pac, Waltman helped define an era in WWE as one of the most instantly recognizable members of the famed D-Generation X and had an incredibly successful career as a Tag Team, European and Intercontinental Champion.
14. Shawn Michaels
As one of the most iconic WWE Superstars of the 1990s, Shawn Michaels built a name for himself as perhaps the best big match performer in the history of the wrestling industry. There is a reason he has been dubbed “Mr. WrestleMania” and that reason is because no one could ever go into a main event match on the biggest stage of the year and outwrestle Shawn Michaels. He is and will always be one of the biggest legends in the sport, and he was also a big hit with the female audience, frequently incorporating sex appeal into his character.
13. Val Venis
We can talk about Sable and Sunny all day long as it pertains to sex appeal in the Attitude-era, but the idea of selling sex from the confines of a wrestling ring was not an idea exclusive to the women under Vince McMahon’s employ. Vince knew he also had a female audience (and perhaps a portion of the male audience as well) that would have been unsatisfied if he didn’t make similar use of some of his male talent, and that’s where a man like Val Venis comes in.
Val Venis’ character was that of a former adult film star and everything about him was filled with innuendo, from the spelling of his name to the imagery in his entrance video. The ladies went wild over him then, but now he has aged into something that isn’t selling sex anytime soon.
When Glenn Jacobs first put on the serial killer mask and introduced the WWE Universe to Kane in the late ‘90s, he was absolutely the most terrifying thing fans have ever seen step through the ropes. He was ripping the door off the Hell in a Cell cage and walking through fire just to rip his older brother to shreds. He looked like something that came straight out of a horror movie, but over the years the Big Red Machine became less and less intimidating.
Glenn Jacobs has slowly been balding over the years and his once spectacularly muscled physique has aged into a shell of what it used to be. Luckily Kane is near the end of his career because that dog just won’t hunt in the year 2017.
11. Dawn Marie
Dawn Marie was a staple in the original iteration of Extreme Championship Wrestling when it was still run by the wrestling genius known as Paul Heyman. Long before Heyman was the advocate for the beast known as Brock Lesnar, he was using ECW as the perfect vehicle to provide fans of the genre a way to fulfill their lust for blood and sex appeal in wrestling, and the latter is where the likes of Dawn Marie come in.
After ECW folded, Vince McMahon would recognize Dawn Marie’s charismatic nature and bring her on board for a famous storyline with Torrie Wilson, during which Dawn “married” Wilson’s fictional father, Al. Dawn has been gone from WWE for many years now and has put on quite a bit of weight, looking not much like we remember.
10. Matt Hardy
Today we are lucky enough to have experienced something that looked as if it would never happen again, which is the Hardy Boyz wrestling for WWE. Both of the Hardy brothers have had spectacular runs over the past couple of decades, both together as a tag team and apart as singles competitors. Between Matt and Jeff, there are numerous championship reigns in WWE, but they each have their own checkered past with the company and it looked for a very long time like burned bridges might never be mended between WWE and either of them.
That’s in the past now and both Matt and Jeff Hardy are experiencing new levels of success with the biggest wrestling organization in the world, but if you remember the Hardy Boyz from the Attitude era you might be wondering just what has happened to Matt Hardy over the years, who has aged into an unrecognizable version of his former self.
Much as Kane was once the scariest WWE Superstar of all time, the Undertaker was at one time the most physically dominant man to ever set foot in the ring. From the time he debuted in 1990 as a zombie mortician, he was booked as an unstoppable force and would go on to have the most impressive winning streak any Superstar will ever have at WrestleMania. Almost three decades and several world championships later, he is guaranteed a Hall of Fame induction, perhaps in a wing all to himself.
The Undertaker is undoubtedly the most respected man in all of professional wrestling, which makes his appearance these days all the more sad. The Undertaker no longer looks like a threat to anyone and instead appears to be a broken old man.
In the late 1990s, Vince McMahon decided WWE needed to step up its game if it wanted to compete with World Championship Wrestling. This is when the Attitude era was born and the World Wrestling Federation started trying to appeal to a grown-up audience with a much more adult themed style of programming. The idea obviously turned out to be wildly popular as one of the company’s most financially successful eras ever, and while the more violent and faster-paced style of wrestling is somewhat to thank, the sex appeal might deserve more of the credit.
When it comes to Attitude-era sex appeal, there might be no one more iconic than Sable, a woman who surely has a spot in the Hall of Fame awaiting her for being one of wrestling’s most notorious sex symbols. Today, though, she has aged beyond recognition.
7. Randy Orton
Randy Orton is the rare type of athlete whom you can never truly say when his prime came about because he has been so good for so long that he has sort of always been in the middle of his prime. Part of that is likely the fact that he started so young in the business, becoming one of the youngest world champions in WWE history, but his family history in the ring cannot be discounted, either. Orton, whose father and grandfather were both legends in the sport of pro wrestling, is truly one of the all-time greats and he might have only just gotten started.
When he was younger, though, Randy certainly had a more impressive physique. His boyish good looks were a hit with the female audience, too, but it all went away over the years as his hair vanished and so did his muscles, though that is rumored to have been the result of WWE’s wellness policy, if you can read between those lines.
Sable was certainly an icon for her sex appeal during the World Wrestling Federation’s Attitude-era, but if there is one woman who could give her competition as the most notorious sex symbol in WWE history, it would be Tammy “Sunny” Sytch. Sunny was America Online’s most downloaded woman at the time, an accomplishment akin to being the most followed woman on Twitter in 2017. Her charisma knew no limits and the popularity of the Superstars she managed throughout her career always paled in comparison to her own.
Since retiring from the business many years ago, however, Sunny has put on a lot of weight and doesn’t seem to put much effort into her looks anymore, though considering her life has been a bit of a mess over the past few years perhaps she can be forgiven.
5. Billy Gunn
Billy Gunn will go down in history as one of the most prolific tag team performers in all of professional wrestling. His most famous role was as Badd Ass Billy Gunn, or “Mr. Ass”, tagging alongside the Road Dogg Jesse James as the tandem known as the New Age Outlaws. Together the Outlaws won numerous tag team titles, often as members of D-Generation X, and Gunn would later go on to team with others such as Chuck Palumbo.
Often Billy Gunn was portrayed as a bit of a ladies’ man and he would parade himself in front of the cameras with little (and sometimes nothing) covering his posterior. Women loved Gunn in his younger years, but in 2017 he’s old, wrinkled, and has only a fraction of his signature blonde hair left.
4. Jeff Hardy
Having already spoken of the Hardy Boyz earlier, we’ve covered how both Matt and Jeff had built careers worthy of the WWE Hall of Fame for themselves long before their most recent run came to happen. That doesn’t mean two exciting veterans of the ring such as these two don’t have much more to accomplish, though, as each of them still has a lot to provide to a wrestling program made for a huge audience that still adores them.
While Matt has certainly made news in the past for his own rough history with WWE, Jeff’s situation probably takes the cake considering how many times he has run into trouble with the company’s wellness policy. Jeff Hardy has a long history of substance abuse and it shows on his once handsome face, which is now wrinkled, leathery, and almost unrecognizable.
3. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Jake “The Snake” Roberts was one of the most talented pro wrestlers of the late 1980s and early 90’s. Often, the young Bray Wyatt is compared to Roberts for his fantastically eerie promos, high praise considering Roberts would go on to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame based entirely on his raw talent as he never won a single championship during his tenure with the company.
Unfortunately, Jake Roberts will also go down as one of the most famous cases of wasted talent in the history of the industry. With such an incredibly bright future ahead of him, Roberts lost his entire career to substance abuse. While he has apparently gotten his life back together today, this ring legend looks absolutely nothing like his former self, having aged so drastically due not just to time but to years of drug and alcohol abuse.
2. Big Show
Paul Wight first became known to wrestling fans in the mid-1990s, with World Championship Wrestling where he performed as The Giant. He was one of the few talents that WCW created for themselves versus poaching from Vince McMahon, although Wight later jumped ship to the World Wrestling Federation and eventually became known as the Big Show, a name under which he would achieve the bulk of his pro wrestling accomplishments.
He has been a world champion multiple times and won a slew of other championships throughout his career, but the “world’s largest athlete” is a shell of his former self today. Though he recently got himself into some great shape, he can barely pull off a small fraction of the moves he could in his youth.
1. Ahmed Johnson
The fact that so many professional wrestlers only competed for the World Wrestling Federation for such a brief time during the Attitude-era, but still managed to go on to become a fondly remembered part of the business is a testament to just how massively successful wrestling was as a form of entertainment in the late 1990s. One such performer was Ahmed Johnson, a massive brick wall of an athlete who was, for a short time, one of the WWF’s most easily identifiable stars. He had a bright future ahead of him, but it wasn’t long before he left the company and the wrestling industry as a whole behind him.
Though he had one of the best physiques in all of wrestling, today Ahmed Johnson has put on a truckload of weight and looks nothing like his old self.
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