This year, the WWE Hall of Fame inducted Sting, the Godfather, the Fabulous Freebirds, Jacqueline, Stan Hansen, and the Big Boss Man. Although the criteria to get into the Hall of Fame seems to have loosened, WWE has some of the most impressive alumni in sports. Part of the fun of watching the Hall of Fame ceremony is seeing the current Superstars dress up, as the event is wrestling’s Grammys or Oscars. The real treat though is the speeches, giving you the chance to see how your favorite wrestlers of yesteryear have aged.
Of course, the results aren’t always pretty. Sometimes you watch something old on the WWE Network, get curious what that ex-wrestler looks like today, Google them, and you’re pleased with what you see. This article is for those wrestlers, the alumni who have somehow found a way to pause time, to drink the fountain of youth, to turn back the hands of the clock, whatever it is they do to stay youthful. These 20 alumni transcend the ages, and we’re so glad they do.
20. AJ Lee
AJ Lee is the quintessential girl next door. While the majority of women in WWE are focused on glitz and glam, AJ (real name April Brooks) is down to earth, likes comic books and video games, and wore street gear in the ring. Of course, towards the end of her career she was treated unfairly because of who her husband is, but that’s neither here nor there.
So why is AJ at the top of this list? She’s gorgeous for sure, but her lithe frame began to whittle down more and more to nothing before she disappeared from WWE. Fit and toned is nice, but poor AJ’s ribs were protruding, which is a little alarming.
19. Terri Runnels
Whether you remember her as Goldust’s real-life wife, the one who helped destroy Perry Saturn’s mop Moppy, as half of PMS, or for that time she was affiliated with the Hardy Boyz, Terri Runnels has had quite a career. Although WWE has phased out non-wrestling managers (maybe with the exception of Lana), that’s what Runnels was. Sure, she’d get in the ring sometimes, but she was a manager through and through, and she was good at distracting Superstars with her looks.
Whether she’s aged naturally or not, as of 2014, Runnels looks almost better than she did towards the end of her time in WWE. Considering that she’ll be 50 this year, that’s a pretty high compliment.
18. Daniel Bryan
Yes, it’s time to start thinking of Daniel Bryan as an alumnus. Arguably one of the best wrestlers in the history of the sport, Bryan (real name Brian Danielson) was an indie star as American Dragon, helping establish ROH as the prominent promotion that it is today. During his stay in WWE, he memorably teamed with Kane and held nearly every WWE title. Unfortunately, concussions, neck damage, seizures, and possibly even more undisclosed injuries led to his early retirement.
It’s also time to start thinking of Daniel Bryan as attractive. Okay, so yes, his long-haired, scraggly-bearded hobo chic look was none too desirable (except to Brie Bella), but when he’s clean-shaven, he’s actually not a bad looking guy.
17. Brie Bella
Speaking of Brie, she’s the newest alumna to join WWE’s storied roster of retired pros. Luckily, at 32 years old, she has her health and was able to quit injury-free. She dodged the potentially career-ending neck and back injuries that have taken out her sister Nikki and is in much better shape than her husband. Brie (real name Brianna Garcia-Colace) retired to become a mother and to care for Daniel Bryan.
Although they’re twins, Brie and Nikki have distinctive features, and no, we’re not talking about Nikki’s fake boobs. Brie’s an earth goddess who lives simply. Her low-maintenance, easygoing personality coupled with her stunning good looks make her a total package. No wonder Daniel Bryan quickly snatched her up.
16. John Morrison
The glistening abs, the wild hair, the sunglasses with the studded crosses, the slow motion entrance: John Morrison (real name John Hennigan) seemed poised to become a big star in WWE when he debuted in 2005. A former Tough Enough winner, Morrison was a Tag Team Champion with Joey Mercury and the Miz respectively, a former Intercontinental Champion, and he even held the ECW World Championship.
At 36 years old, you can still catch Morrison wrestling for Lucha Underground and Asistencia Asesoria y Administracion. He still thankfully looks pretty much the same, and he even still wears those sunglasses.
15. Billy Gunn
Billy Gunn was a respected coach and an employee behind the scenes before getting entangled in steroid allegations, but the man born Monty Sopp is best-known to older WWE fans as Mr. Ass. As one half of the New Age Outlaws with Road Dogg, Gunn was obsessed with flaunting his derriere. However, it wasn’t all fun and games. This DX member collected tons of championships, 14 in all, including the WWF Hardcore Championship, the WWF Intercontinental Championship, and endless WWF Tag Team Championships.
This November, Gunn will turn 53. Seriously, 53. Looking at him, he hasn’t aged a day since the Attitude Era. He’s still a little too tan, he’s still in shape, and he still has that bleached blonde hair. He’s obviously an inspiration to Dolph Ziggler, who started doing the Fame-Ass-er and made Michael Cole and the rest of the commentary team say “ass” in a PG-era WWE.
You may know Kaitlyn better as Celeste Bonin these days, but that wasn’t always the case. The bodybuilder-turned-wrestler and AJ Lee’s BFF came up to the company the same way that AJ did, in the days when NXT was a reality-ish competition ala Tough Enough. Unlike AJ, Kaitlyn never seemed to get the same career opportunities. She was the Divas Champion once in 2013, but by the following year, she decided she was done with wrestling.
Bonin has worked hard to build fitness brand Celestial Bodiez. She’s just as ripped and buff (if not more so) than during her WWE days. Her muscular frame looks like it’s been chiseled out of marble, and that’s seriously impressive.
Speaking of athletes with a body seemingly chiseled out of marble, there’s also Dave Batista (whose real name is spelled Bautista but is otherwise the same). Although his most recent runs with WWE ended embarrassingly, Bautista knew when he wasn’t wanted and quit. In his glory days, he was a two-time WWE Champion and a six-time World Heavyweight Champion. He’s also making a go out of acting, having had a major role in Guardians of the Galaxy.
So perhaps Bautista’s scruffy, middle-aged dad look isn’t as hot as his bare-faced, rock hard bod days, but if he just shaved, we’re sure he could confuse people and make them think he was about 15 years younger than his actual 47 years.
Ivory (born Lisa Moretti) may have been an acquired taste for some since she was a…erm…bit of a loudmouth, but you absolutely could not deny her talent. Moretti wrestled in an era of WWE when women’s in-ring skill was discarded for bikini contests and pudding matches. Still, she was lucky enough to come in at the tail-end of the Attitude Era and stick around until 2005 when the women’s division turned around, wrestling the likes of Jazz, Trish Stratus, and more.
Moretti is going to be 55 this November, but, as seen when she appeared on Table for 3 on WWE Network with Molly Holly and Alundra Blayze, she still looks pretty good. Yes, she’s aged, but she’s recognizable and hasn’t succumbed to getting mountains of plastic surgery unlike some of her peers.
11. CM Punk
What can you even say about Phil Brooks, aka CM Punk? He tore up the wrestling world with his outspoken views, endless tattoos, and indie wrestling know-how. Against all odds, he ascended to the top of a company that seemingly would have been happy to hold him down, and, as of this writing, has still held the WWE Championship longer than anyone in today’s era of wrestling. He and WWE came to a crossroads in early 2014 and Punk exited. He’s going to become a UFC fighter but has yet to compete.
Brooks was always what some people call “skinny fat,” which fit his aesthetic to a T. Sure, Punk worked his ass off in the gym, but could you picture him exercising? Not if there was a punk-rock show nearby. Now he’s in better shape than he’s ever been ahead of his UFC debut. Lucky AJ.
If Brock Lesnar and Sable (real name Rena Greek) seem like some sort of weird fan fiction pairing, you wouldn’t be the only one to think so. However, somehow it’s real. Sable was arguably the hottest woman of the Attitude Era and one of the first Divas. She didn’t really wrestle, but that wasn’t a requirement back then. She did appear in Playboy, regularly wore very little clothing, and helped WWE win the Monday Night Wars in some way.
She did resurface in the company in 2006, where most remember her getting hot and steamy with Torrie Wilson. However, that was 10 long years ago. She and Lesnar keep their private lives private, but the few pictures of them together that have surfaced prove that Mrs. Lesnar is still a stunner, albeit one who’s a bit older.
9. The Rock
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is better-known today as a film and television actor than he is perhaps for even his wrestling career, but he can still bring a WWE audience to its feet in seconds. He’s probably the most popular wrestler of all time, he’s part of a long lineage of Samoan athletes, he’s an eight-time WWE Champion, and he’s the biggest and most successful wrestler-turned-actor.
Rock has certainly bulked up for his roles. He’s a fan of eating mountains of food, treating his fans like gold, showing pictures of his dog on Instagram, and just being a really overall good guy who hasn’t let fame go to his head. There’s really nothing hotter than that.
Lita is one of the most impactful wrestlers in the history of the sport. Forget the Divas Revolution; what she and Trish Stratus, Jaqueline, Victoria, and others did for women’s wrestling allowed the Divas Revolution to even happen. Lita, real name Amy Dumas, had fiery red hair, a visible thong, and a high-flying style. What’s not to love? Although she ducked out of WWE after her real life cheating scandal broke, she was welcomed back with open arms, inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014 and often appearing on WWE pre-shows.
Dumas is only 40, although you’d think she’s younger. If you close your eyes and think of her for a second, she looks about as you remember, minus the thong of course. It’s not really known what she’s doing outside of WWE TV engagements, but whatever it is, it’s working for her.
7. Eve Torres
Eve Torres arrived in WWE in 2007 as part of that torrent of women who were pretty faces and little else. Torres had experience dancing and modeling. However, she gradually improved, really hitting her stride in 2009. She’s a three-time WWE Divas Champion. By 2013, she decided to depart from WWE and wrestling in general, choosing to lead the Gracie Women Empowered Self-Defense program with her husband Rener Gracie.
These days, she’s a mother and seems more focused on acting, appearing in movies like The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power and TV shows like Supergirl. Torres is incredibly young at nearly 32 years old, and although we doubt we’ll see her in the ring again, we can still admire her beauty on the silver screen.
Captain Charisma, one of the Los Conquistadors, the other half of Edge and Christian. Just don’t call him Christian Cage. Jason Reso certainly had a good career in WWE, but it always could have been just a bit better. He and Edge are still one of the most beloved tag teams in pro wrestling history, but once the lifelong BFFs became singles wrestlers, Christian never ascended to the same levels of fame as Edge. Perhaps it was his stint in TNA, but the brass ring was always pulled from Reso at the wrong times.
Still, Reso has held nearly 30 championships in his time as a wrestler, including a stint as a two-time World Heavyweight Champion. Although he never officially hung up the boots, WWE considers him done, and since he still works with the company, he no longer wrestlers. Seeing him weekly on The Edge & Christian Show That Totally Reeks of Awesomeness makes us remember that Christian was always pretty dreamy.
5. Shawn Michaels
One of the biggest wrestlers of the 1990s and one of the most beloved Superstars of all time, Shawn Michaels (real name Michael Shawn Hickenbottom) is remembered for a lot. Perhaps you fondly recall his days as one half of The Rockers, a tag team with Marty Jannetty that most modern tag teams aspire to. Maybe you remember him as one of the founding members of D-Generation X with Triple H and Chyna. You probably can’t ever forget the Montreal Screwjob or his days as the official Raw Commissioner.
Michaels had a career that was cut shorter than necessary due to back problems, but he still appears on WWE programing as needed. Hell, we just saw him a few weeks ago at WrestleMania 32 with Stone Cold and Mick Foley. Although all three men were dressed to rumble, Hickenbottom was shirtless in his ring gear. We’re not the least bit ashamed to admit that he looked absolutely fantastic. One more match?
4. Stacy Keibler
The leggy Stacy Keibler isn’t necessarily beloved so much for her in-ring prowess, but she was a pretty good manager in a day when managers were hit-or-miss. As Miss Hancock, she could always tantalize with her short skirt and dance moves. When she transitioned to WWE, she worked with The Hurricane, Scott Steiner, The Dudley Boyz, and Test. She’d also sometimes tussle in the ring.
Now a married woman with a child, she’s has managed to make a lofty career for herself with small TV roles. Keibler is pretty young, only 36 (to turn 37 later this year). If you’ve caught her on Psych, How I Met Your Mother, George Lopez, Dancing with the Stars, or hosting Supermarket Superstar, you’ll agree that she’s still quite a looker.
3. Torrie Wilson
Stacy Keibler’s real-life bestie Torrie Wilson began her career in a similar fashion. The blonde beauty wasn’t much of a wrestler, but due to her physique, she ended up in WCW. She would sometimes get in the ring, just like Keibler. She too stuck around through WWE’s purchase of WCW, but unlike Keibler, Wilson became a huge star in the Divas Division, appearing in Playboy two times, trying to seduce a returning Sable, and forming a group called Vince’s Devils.
However, her career in the squared circle didn’t last forever. First made like some celebrities and started a clothing line. These days, she’s a fitness icon. She’s still in amazing shape, as her social media accounts will tell you, and you wouldn’t believe that she’s going to be 41 soon.
The Rated-R Superstar Edge had humble beginnings, starting his WWE career in the late 1990s in the vampiric and silent stable The Brood with Gangrel and Christian. He and Christian had a huge tag team career once they dropped all vestiges of their old gimmick and let their true selves shine. After that team naturally ended, Edge went on to be ridiculously successful, earning 31 total titles during his WWE career, including becoming a seven-time World Heavyweight Champion and a four-time WWE Champion.
Sadly, a neck injury led to the early retirement of the man known as Adam Copeland. He’s since graced our TV screens on Haven, and he’ll even have a stint on The Flash. He also stars on The Edge and Christian Show That Totally Reeks of Awesomeness, where he proves that lumberjack chic is still totally attractive.
1. Trish Stratus
It takes a lot to be considered the greatest women’s wrestler in WWE, but it’s a distinction that Trish Stratus (real name: Trish Stratigeas) still holds to this day. The Canadian goddess started off her career in fitness modeling before WWE came a-calling. She was very green in the ring, but she trained hard to learn how to wrestle, and it more than paid off. Stratigeas won the WWE Hardcore Championship once and held the WWE Women’s Championship a record-breaking seven times before retiring.
Trish has since returned to her fitness roots, selling DVDs and fitness equipment. She’s ditched the blonde hair and implants that made her so popular in the ’90s, but she’s still insanely beautiful.