The perception had by a plethora of wrestling fans and also by some who work within the wrestling business is that World Wrestling Entertainment is only interested in acquiring talent who possess what is often referred to as a “cookie-cutter” physical appearance. Unless a wrestler looks like Superstars such as John Cena, Roman Reigns or Randy Orton, that person likely will linger in the midcard minus the occasional appearance in a main event against a top babyface, a program that more often than not will end with the individual who is “chubby” doing the job at the end of the feud.
That was not always the case in North American professional wrestling. Wrestlers such as Harley Race, Big Van Vader, King Kong Bundy, Bam Bam Bigelow and many others before and after them were seen as some of the most-feared performers in wrestling, and none of those men ever had superhero physiques nor did they look like athletes who spent hours lifting weights at a gym on a daily basis. They got over with fans because of their stellar work inside of the ring and also because of the way that they were booked by promoters and by storyline writers.
In all fairness to the current WWE product, there are still some wrestlers who have been given opportunities to make connections with fans despite the fact that they are carrying what some would refer to as a little extra weight in their midsections. A popular movement in the WWE Universe this spring has been the “Give Divas a Chance” mantra that has made the rounds on social media websites such as Twitter and Instagram. While that is a fine statement that wrestling fans should get behind, those who follow the brand of entertainment should also hope that the company also does not shy away from pushing performers who have unique looks.
Rusev is the first of several performers spotlighted in this piece who is not burdened in matches and during television broadcasts because of the extra weight that he carries. In fact, Rusev's physique helps make the character an intimidating foe for WWE heroes like John Cena, with whom the “Bulgarian Brute” has been feuding for months. That feud will not, if recent WWE programming is offering any hints on the matter, be ending anytime soon, and some have suggested that it could run all the way up through to the Summerslam event before either Cena or Rusev is the undisputed victor.
The Undertaker is a living legend of the industry, and that he only makes an appearance at one pay-per-view per year means that the veteran is able to let himself go for several months before he has to get into in-ring shape. Fans could not care less if Undertaker is slightly chubby when he makes his way to the ring for his annual match, as his gear allows him to cover his body up. It also does not hurt that Undertaker is as revered as is any wrestler in the industry despite the fact that his famous WrestleMania undefeated streak was put to rest for good in 2014.
8 Kevin Owens
The artist known as Kevin Steen during his days in independent promotions did well to drop some weight before signing with the WWE and being sent to developmental federation NXT, but nobody would mistake Owens for a cruiserweight upon seeing him on the street or inside of a wrestling ring. That benefits Owens, however, as it is his look, his extra weight and his power that has helped him evolve into a top heel in multiple organizations. Owens has been pushed to the top of NXT in his early days there, and it could now be a matter of when and not if he is called up to the main WWE roster.
Sting is similar to Undertaker in that both are in the twilight of their careers and both are legends of the wrestling industry. Gone are the days of the bleached-blond Sting looking like a bodybuilder and a surfer who hit the beach seven times a week, and the 56-year-old has more than earned the right to carry a few extra pounds even when making appearances for the WWE. There remain questions about if the WWE will choose to use Sting for any storyline past WrestleMania 31. Those who used to watch World Championship Wrestling on a weekly basis would like to see Sting get a chance to earn at least one win while with the WWE.
6 Awesome Kong
The truth of the matter is that the character would lose some of its luster and its mystique if Awesome Kong were to drop an excess amount of weight in an attempt to make a return to the WWE. She and the company did not part ways because of her size, after all, and it is the fact that she looks so unique as a member of any women's wrestling division that makes Kong such an interesting figure in the industry. The WWE is the place to be as it pertains to North American pro wrestling, and fans should hope that she and the company can repair their relationship.
5 Triple H
While Triple H, originally a bodybuilder by trade before he found the world of professional wrestling, has done well to keep himself in great shape for the majority of his WWE career, the current storyline head of the company as part of “The Authority” faction has gone through times of his active career when he was, to put it in a term often used by the WWE, “unwell.” He nevertheless had memorable and even classic matches when he was not in the best shape of his life, and Triple H will still be recognized as a top heel or a top babyface even if he lets himself go and gets slightly chubby.
4 Damien Sandow
Whether or not you would actually classify Sandow as being “chubby” is a matter of opinion, but he has not always, during his WWE career, been as cut as have some of his piers. Sandow has nevertheless gotten himself over among pockets of fans despite the fact that he has been saddled with some lackluster gimmicks, including one that had him playing as the stunt double for former world champion The Miz. Now that Sandow and Miz have finally ended their relationship – the breakup having occurred at WrestleMania 31 – Sandow will once again be tasked with getting past hurdles and remaining popular among viewers.
3 Bray Wyatt
The Husky Harris character, one who was a chubby guy who surprised many with his speed and agility during matches, never had a chance to get over with the majority of audiences, due in part to his unflattering name. As Bray Wyatt, however, the performer has evolved into somewhat of a supernatural character who could, if he is booked properly, be the company's next Undertaker. Wyatt's run on the main WWE roster has been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, and it has included multiple defeats at WrestleMania events. His next feud could be instrumental in Wyatt making a return to the tops of cards.
2 The Big Show
There was a time when The Big Show let his weight get so out of hand that he was unkindly referred to as “The Big Slow” by some within the industry. The World Wrestling Federation got so frustrated with the giant of a man that Show was sent down to one of the company's developmental territories so that he could relocate the form that he enjoyed while working for World Championship Wrestling. Show has since gotten the matter under control, and that Show is, as these stages of his career and of his life, a bit rounder than are others who work for the WWE does not affect his standing with the company.
1 Brock Lesnar
Part of the allure of what Brock Lesnar brings to matches is that he is a massive human being who also possesses world class athleticism. That he has sometimes had a little extra weight in his midsection did not at all negatively affect his work inside of rings nor did it keep fans from taking “The Beast” as a serious and legitimate athlete. Lesnar may not always be as cut as are in-ring rivals such as John Cena and recently Seth Rollins, but the former Ultimate Fighting Championship World Heavyweight Championship will never have to worry about such things so long as he can still send opponents to “Suplex City.”