While it’s never been a requirement, there’s no secret that Vince McMahon has always preferred his wrestlers to look like body builders. It’s a mindset that was at its peak during the 1980s when being big was a sure fire way to get into the WWE. Guys could barely have any talent on the microphone or in the ring, but if they were 6’2” and over 250 pounds, they were still given a chance to be in the company.
Being muscular is great for presentation, but doesn’t always necessarily help the wrestler as it requires more energy and oxygen to keep the body going at a high rate. Without a balance of cardio, these types of guys tend to gas out quick, which can ruin a match in a hurry. Over the years, there have been plenty of jacked wrestlers to come and go, including Chris Masters, who was ridiculously jacked for his size, but after failing WWE’s Talent and Wellness Program on two occasions, he was let go, eventually returning, but noticeably smaller.
A couple other honorable mentions are for guys who may not be as “big”, but still pack on a lot of muscle on their respective frames. In the world of wrestling, John Morrison, Rick Rude, and Seth Rollins are all considered to be on the smaller stature, but each were in amazingly good shape. Also, just missing the cut was Vince McMahon himself; he has notoriously been known as a “gym rat”, staying in great shape his entire life.
Billed at 5’10” (most likely shorter) and 194 lbs, Neville is the smallest competitor on the list, but make no mistake, this guy deserves to be here. As you can see, he’s absolutely shredded, and it’s almost impossible to think he can put any more muscle on his frame.
Signed by the WWE in 2012, he had great success in NXT as their champion, having great matches against Sami Zayn, Tyson Kidd, and Bo Dallas. Earlier in 2015, he was moved up to the main roster where fans have enjoyed his incredible in-ring skills, in particular, his finisher, the Red Arrow.
14. Jimmy Snuka
Snuka was another wrestler who first found a career in bodybuilding, eventually learning the ropes of pro wrestling, and developing a new career for himself. At only 5’10”, Snuka was another wrestler who was in incredibly good shape during the prime of his career. In the mid-80s, he was one of WWE’s biggest faces and best high-flyers, most notably jumping off the top of a cage during a match against Bob Backlund at Madison Square Garden.
Presently, things have not gone so well for the WWE Hall of Famer, due to new evidence for the death of Nancy Argentino (a former girlfriend that passed away in 1983); charges of third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter have been brought back at the 72 year old. After going through surgery for stomach cancer, Snuka’s attorney has said he also has dementia, and may be unfit for his pending trial.
13. Brock Lesnar
It’s “The Beast”, does there really need to be any further explanation here? Okay, site policy requires words to be here, so at 6’3” and 286 pounds, Brock has dominated not only pro wrestling, but amateur wrestling (2-time NCCA All-American) and Mixed Martial Arts (UFC Champion) as well.
Debuting on the main roster as the “Next Big Thing”, Brock has frequently showed off his strength, and has always looked incredibly intimidating doing so. Not so much “ripped”, Brock has that crazy farm-boy strength which was shown off not long ago when he destroyed a car, ripping the door off, and throwing it towards the crowd. Brock is off for the rest of 2015, but will surely return in 2016 to cause some more wonderfully majestic mayhem.
12. “Superstar” Billy Graham
Before his days in wrestling, Graham was heavily involved in the bodybuilding world, which helped immensely in developing his wrestling career. Trained by Stu Hart, this 6’4”, 275 lbs. monster began his career way back in 1970; keep in mind most wrestlers were not this big, so he really stood out among his peers. Graham wasn’t just a muscle-head though; he was fantastic on the mic, and was a huge inspiration for many including Hulk Hogan and Jesse “The Body” Ventura.
Joining the WWE (then known as the World Wide Wrestling Federation) in 1977, Graham had multiple runs with the company, winning the WWWF title once, and joining their Hall of Fame in 2004. More recently, Graham has set aside his multiple complaints about Vince McMahon to sign a “Legends Deal” with the company, which will allow him to make multiple non-wrestling appearances for them in the future.
11. Bobby Lashley
Don’t let Lashley’s soft-spoken ways fool you; this 6’3”, 275 lbs. wrecking ball did serious damage while in the WWE. Initially, he was a 3-time national college amateur wrestling champion, and wrestled while enlisted in the Army; Lashley eventually found his way to the WWE.
In a company with plenty of large competitors, Lashley stood out, not only because of his size, but his incredible agility that allowed him to perform high flying moves that most people that size wouldn’t be able to do. A dominant force in WWE’s recreation of ECW, he was able to capture the ECW title twice.
10. Nathan Jones
A collective “who” was just let out after reading this name, which is understandable, since he was with the WWE for only about a year. Before the WWE, he won the 1996 “World Strong Man” competition and engaged in Mixed Martial Arts one time, losing in the first round.
Jones stood at a mammoth 6’10”, 320 pounds, which is the biggest on this list. His time with the WWE was fairly uneventful, as Jones needed a lot of training in the ring. Jones eventually quit the WWE in 2003, due to the constant travel demands, heading back to Australia where he’s been able to carve out some acting gigs.
Compared to many of the people on this list, Cesaro might not looked jacked in the traditional sense, but is easily pound-for-pound the strongest guy in the WWE, right up there with John Cena and Brock Lesnar.
At 6’5”, he’s one of the taller wrestlers on the list with a moveset that requires a ridiculous amount of strength on his part. Some of his moves include the Neutralizer, Cesaro Swing, and Dead-Plex (basically dead-lifting his opponent from the apron, over the ropes, and to the mat). He’s an elite ring talent that for whatever reason, the WWE has left muddling around in the mid-card for entirely too long.
8. David Otunga
As Lloyd Christmas from Dumb and Dumb once said: “He must work out”. Yeah, Otunga is in ridiculously good condition, which paired with his relationship with singer Jennifer Hudson, and having a law degree from Harvard, made for an easy hire by the WWE.
Not over thinking things, WWE gave him a lawyer gimmick, which unfortunately didn’t last that long as Otunga’s days in the ring seem far and few between these days. Presently, he co-hosts Raw’s Pre-Show on the WWE Network. Otunga was the runner-up to the first season of NXT, and was involved in one of WWE’s better Raw segments, when the Nexus debuted, destroying literally everything in and outside of the ring.
You may be noticing a trend here, but Batista first got into bodybuilding, and decided to try out for wrestling, initially for WCW (which he was told he would never make it), and then for the WWE, where he made it.
At 6’6” and 278 lbs. the picture above doesn’t even show Batista at his peak size; when he was in development for the WWE, he was known as Leviathan, which was a perfect name for Batista’s menacing look. After winning 6 world titles with the WWE, Batista has taken his talents to the big screen (Spectre and Guardians of the Galaxy), which to no big surprise, he’s succeeded at.
6. The Ultimate Warrior
One of WWE’s most popular and widely known talents, the Warrior had an impressive physique that rivaled basically everyone during his era. Warrior joined up with the WWE in 1987, instantly becoming a favorite thanks to his incredibly high energy, which involved running to the ring and shaking the ropes like a mad man.
Warrior’s biggest match was a “champion vs. champion” match at WrestleMania VI against Hulk Hogan, which he won, and is still a match talked about today. Warrior was finally inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014, but only days later passed away due to a heart attack; he was 54.
Ryback is in fantastic shape, and is definitely one of the more jacked wrestlers currently on WWE’s roster. Initially, he tried out for Tough Enough back in 2004, but didn’t win the competition. WWE felt there was something in Ryback worth looking at, and gave him a second chance by bringing him to Ohio Valley Wrestling to develop as a WWE wrestler.
Ryback was finally brought up to the main roster as a member of The Nexus in 2010, eventually moving toward his “Feed Me More!” gimmick that we see today. Most recently, he won the Intercontinental title, and had a pretty average run, before losing it to Kevin Owens, someone who is not considered to be jacked, but is definitely more talented.
4. John Cena
Cena has been known to show off his strength on multiple occasions, giving his finisher, the Attitude Adjustment, to giants like Big Show and Great Khali; heck, he’s even done it with two guys stacked on his shoulders! If you follow Cena on social media, he regularly posts videos of himself lifting insane amounts of weights, so it’s fair to say, this guy is jacked.
Starting with the WWE back in 2001, Cena has become the face of the company, a 16-time world champion; he has become one of their biggest crossover stars, constantly doing media appearances for just about everything. At 38, 2015 has been one of Cena’s finest years in the ring as the U.S. Champion; Cena has put on a string of high quality matches worth checking out.
3. Scott Steiner
“Holla, if you hear me!” That’s right ladies and gentleman, “The Big, Bad, Booty Daddy” comes in at #3, for being not only jacked, but kind of weird looking. Aptly nicknamed “The Genetic Freak”, Steiner has always been in great shape thanks to his amateur wrestling background, it was in more recent years where his time in the gym really seemed to go up.
Just look at his arms, it’s like his muscles, have muscles! Some may argue his look it too mutant-like, and shouldn’t be on this list, but it’s tough to deny that “Big Poppa Pump” wasn’t one of the bigger competitors in the WWE.
2. The Rock
Breaking into the WWE as Rocky Maivia, Dwayne Johnson was a smiley babyface that crowds absolutely hated, with their “Die! Rocky! Die!” chants at every appearance. A heel turn was inevitable, which unleashed The Rock, a cocky loud-mouth that was ridiculously talented on the mic and extremely underrated in the ring.
Rock has always been in good shape, but it wasn’t until more recent years where he really got going in the gym, getting crazy huge at times (sometimes for movies). If you follow The Rock on social media, he usually shows a bunch of weight training photos with motivational quotes; the guy is nonstop and makes everyone else look so lazy!
1. Triple H
Topping off the list is a guy who went absolutely nuts in the gym after he had a terrible injury tearing his left quadriceps muscle that kept him out of action for eight months. Triple H has always been in good wrestling shape, so when he needed eight months to recover, all of that time went towards rehabilitation and working-out.
When he finally returned, the guy was huge! Fans still today talk about how insanely jacked he looked during that time period. Although he is semi-retired today, Triple H still constantly hits the gym, just in case he even needs to jump back in the ring. That non-stop commitment is a big reason why he lands at number one!