It seems like for some of these superstars, they were just born to be pro wrestlers. In some instances it took them a while to figure this out. Take Charlotte for example; you look at her in ring skills and know she’s an absolute natural, evidently she has wrestling running through her veins. Despite these factors, wrestling wasn’t always on the horizon for the daughter of The Nature Boy. Charlotte was very athletic growing up. She would go on to graduate with a University degree, and she later became a personal trainer. After a couple of years, Charlotte gave wrestling a try and well, it seemed like she’d been doing this her entire life. Not surprisingly, today, she is already on the main roster holding the Divas Championship.
You’ll see similar stories to Charlotte’s on this list with high profile wrestlers like Roman Reigns and John Cena (to name a few). You’ll also get in a good laugh when you see how some of these wrestlers looked like during their teens. So without further ado, let’s get started; here are 15 hilarious pictures of wrestlers before they were stars. Enjoy!
15) Vince McMahon
Yes, that ruggedly handsome football player is in fact, Vincent Kennedy McMahon. This was a picture taken from high school when McMahon played on the school’s football team. Vince attended Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro, Virginia. McMahon graduated in 1964, and this was a big accomplishment because of the fact that the CEO of the WWE overcame dyslexia. At the age of 12, Vince met his father Vincent J. McMahon. After meeting his dad, Vince fell in love with the wrestling business instantly. In 1969, McMahon would make his on-screen debut as a ring announcer for WWWF’s All-Star Wrestling.
14) Stephanie McMahon
Like her father, Stephanie immediately connected with the business of pro wrestling. At a young age she was already accompanying her father to shows, where she created bonds with many wrestlers, including the late great Andre the Giant (as you see in this picture). After graduating from high school Stephanie was encouraged by her family to get a University degree. In 1998, Stephanie graduated with a bachelor’s in Communications from Boston University. After earning her degree, Stephanie began working with the WWE on a full-time basis.
13) Dolph Ziggler
For some reason he still looked like a showoff, even back then. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Ziggler attended St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio. Dolph was a tremendous amateur wrestler in his high school days, he went on to set a record for most pins in a career with 82, pretty impressive. His high school would go onto win the National Championship on two different occasions. Dolph’s amateur wrestling success would eventually continue as a collegiate wrestler with Kent State University. Ziggler helped set a school record for most career wins in the team’s history. Dolph would go onto win three consecutive championships (he is the last amateur wrestler from Kent State University to set this record). A year later, Dolph would sign a deal with the WWE’s developmental system, Ohio Valley Wrestling.
12) Chris Jericho
Wrestling fans tend to forget that Jericho was born in Manhasset, New York, and not Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Jericho moved to Winnipeg after his father, a professional hockey player for the NHL Chris Irvine, moved back to Winnipeg after retiring as a New York Ranger. Jericho’s passion for pro wrestling began at a very young age watching footage of Stampede Wrestling and the local American Wrestling Association shows which took place in his town of Winnipeg. His love for the business intensified once he discovered the likes of Ricky Steamboat and Shawn Michaels. Before deciding to wrestle full time, Chris took a course in Communications at Red River Community College. After graduating with top honors Jericho began to train for a career in pro wrestling at the age of 19. Truly remarkable to see how much Chris still loves the business after working in it for 26 years!
I don’t even know where to begin here, as Goldberg’s transformation is like night and day. Goldberg’s objectives as a youngster were quite simple: make the NFL. His dreams came true when Bill was drafted in the 11th round of the NFL draft to the Los Angeles Rams. After bouncing around a couple of teams, Goldberg was forced to retire due to a tear in the lower abdomen of his pelvis. Everything changed for Goldberg when he was approached by WCW stars Sting and Lex Luger during his rehab. The two wrestlers convinced Goldberg to give WCW’s Power Plant a shot. This would go on to change Goldberg’s life, becoming the most dominant wrestler in WCW history.
10) Hulk Hogan
Like Goldberg, Hulk went through a massive transformation from his days as a teen. Hulk looks unrecognizable in his high school graduation picture. Hogan spent most of his time playing baseball and practicing his guitar. Eventually his passion for music grew, and this caused Hogan to drop out of the University of South Florida before even receiving his degree. Hogan would later form a band called Ruckus, and his group would become a sensation in the Tampa Bay region.
9) Macho Man Randy Savage
The late great Macho Man looks unrecognizable in his high school photo. His transformation is absolutely remarkable to look at. Randy graduated from Downers Grove North High School, a suburb near Chicago, Illinois. Savage had a passion for baseball at a young age, he would actually end up being signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as a catcher following high school. Savage had a decent career playing with 4 different minor league teams. While baseball was off in the winter, Savage broke into the wrestling business. After signing with the WWE in June of 1985 as a “top free agent in pro wrestling”, Savage left his baseball days behind him.
8) The Bella Twins
From a very young age there wasn’t very much that separated these two. The twins were quite the sports enthusiasts at a young age, both played professional soccer with their high school team. After graduating from Chaparral High School in 2002, the duo moved to California in search of an agent for a potential modelling or acting career. The Bellas made their first television debut during the Fox reality show Meet My Folks. They would later branch out into the world of Sports Entertainment. Despite failing to make the cut in the 2006 WWE Diva Search the two were signed to a developmental deal with FCW. They would go on to make their debut as ‘The Bella Twins’.
7) Randy Orton
Contrary to what wrestling fans may believe, Randy Orton himself admitted that he was a victim of bullying throughout his teen years. Randy was strongly discouraged by his family to follow in the footsteps of his father, Bob Orton. After doing some amateur wrestling with Hazelwood Central High School, Orton was shipped off to the United States Marine Corps. Randy had a miserable experience spending 38 days in military prison for disobeying a commanding officer. Once Orton left military school after months and months of thinking about it, Randy decided to pursue a career in pro wrestling despite his dad’s displeasure with the idea. The master of the RKO would go on to capture the WWE Championship at the age of 24. I think his choice was quite wise.
6) The Undertaker
You can’t picture this guy doing anything else but pro wrestling. Growing up, The Undertaker was actually quite the basketball player, playing for Waltrip High School in 1983. He later continued his basketball career playing with the University of Texas Wesleyan. Taker would end up pursuing wrestling full time after signing a deal with World Championship Wrestling in 1989.The Deadman would make his debut under the ring name of Mean Mark Callous.
Despite wrestling being in her blood, the WWE wasn’t always on Charlotte’s agenda (as discussed in the intro). At a young age Charlotte focused her attention on sports and fitness. During her high school days at Providence High School Charlotte won two NCHSAA 4 A-State championships in volleyball. She furthered her education by earning a Bachelor’s of Science in public relations from North Carolina State University. After earning her degree, Charlotte developed a passion for fitness, and she ended up becoming a certified personal trainer. In 2012, the daughter of Ric Flair would finally make the jump to pro wrestling. She would go on to win the honors of Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s “Rookie of the Year”.
4) Mick Foley
Took me a while to figure this one out but yes, that baby faced human you see in the photo above is actually the hardcore legend himself, Mick Foley. This picture was taken from Foley’s days at Ward Melville High School. Foley played Lacrosse and joined the wrestling team. Fun fact: Mick was actually close friends with actor Kevin James. The two were classmates in high school. Later on, Foley attended State University of New York at Cortland, Foley was distracted by his passion for pro wrestling. Foley’s love for the business reached new heights after he hitchhiked to Madison Square Garden. It was there when he witnessed Jimmy Snuka deliver a thunderous Cross Body off the top of the cage. This moment caused Foley to change career paths immediately.
3) Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins had an obsession with pro wrestling from a young age. He knew early on there was nothing else that he wanted to do. During his high school days, Seth began backyard wrestling with some of his friends. This passion of his only grew over time. Rollins would go on to make his pro wrestling debut at the age of 19 for Scott County Wrestling (SCW). After paying his dues independently, Rollins was signed to a deal with the WWE in 2010. Five years later, Seth would capture the WWE championship on the biggest stage of them all, WrestleMania, by cashing in his “Money in the Bank” contract.
2) John Cena
Living with four other brothers you can just imagine how active Cena was as a child. John and his brothers spent the majority of their time outside playing various sports including baseball and football. During his time with Springfield College, John was an NCAA Division III All-American Center on his college team. He ended up graduating with a degree in exercise physiology. If you notice carefully, Cena still uses that number 54 on his merchandise today.
1) Roman Reigns
This is a picture of a young promising football player Roman Reigns. The picture shows Reigns taking a look at all of his scholarship opportunities that were sent by various schools across the US. Roman had a tremendous career with Georgia Tech crushing several records. He would end up going undrafted in the 2007 NFL draft. He was later signed by the Minnesota Vikings. After failing to make The Vikings and the Jaguars, Reigns continued his career in the CFL. When Reigns was released by the Edmonton Eskimos, he finally decided to retire from football and pursue a career in sports and entertainment. In only 3 years as a part of the main roster, Reigns found himself in the main event of WrestleMania taking on Brock Lesnar.