The age range in different sports varies due to the competitive nature. Wrestling can feature a variety of different-aged performers by having the power of the predetermined world. Athleticism is needed to perform at a capable level, but older stars can stick around if they keep themselves in good shape. The same applies to younger stars making a name in the industry. A young talent can make their way up the ladder faster than their peers, due to having a special ability to get over with the fan base. These factors can make it nearly impossible to predict the ages of the talents we watch perform in the squared circle.
Many of the stars today are older in age, but have a workout regimen that keeps them in peak shape. This helps them have great matches and simply appear to be physically younger than they actually are. The younger talents that progress at a faster level get on television quicker than most of the other stars, but they appear as equals to the older members of the roster. Age is hard to figure out, because everyone is presented on the same platform, unless the promotion wants you to care about their age. We’ll look at both sides of the age shocks with eight wrestlers older than you think and eight wrestlers younger than you think.
16 Older: John Cena (39)
WWE has entered a new youth movement experiment trying to establish new stars. Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Kevin Owens and Finn Balor have all been given big opportunities as world champion in the past year. The company is desperately hoping to set up the future with John Cena reaching the end of the road. Cena will likely continue to work for a while, but the days of him carrying the company on his back are over.
The look and in-ring work of Cena have not aged at all, leading to fans forgetting just how old he truly is. Cena is 39 years old and almost one of the rare roster members to hit his 40s. The problem is Cena is still the most popular star in the company. WWE has used him to help make new stars look legitimate, such as A.J. Styles. Perception says Cena is still in his prime due to outstanding work ethic, but the legend is older than you think.
15 Younger: Bray Wyatt (29)
One of the new stars of WWE is the mysterious Bray Wyatt. Following a flopped run as Husky Harris, the talented second generation star revamped his career by introducing the new character. Wyatt has one of the most unique presentations in the industry with the firefly entrance featuring fans holding their phones in the air and his promos turning into tirades against society. At his best, Wyatt can captivate an audience before even stepping foot inside the ring.
The beard and old soul would suggest Wyatt is at least in the same age range as most of his peers, but he is actually one of the youngest upper-card performers on the roster. Wyatt is only 29 years old and has a long career ahead of him. Many wonder why WWE has yet to go all-in on making Bray a world champion or the focal point of a show. The age likely gives them reason to wait it out and make sure he’s truly ready for a run on top. Wyatt’s shocking young age works to his advantage going forward.
14 Older: Sheamus (38)
It feels like just a couple of years ago that Sheamus pushed John Cena through a table to shock the world and win the WWE Championship. WWE viewed Sheamus as a top star of the future but he has underachieved when given the opportunities to thrive. Sheamus has great talent and a strong work ethic. The positives led to multiple world title reigns. Sadly, the fans just never connected with him and now he’s one of the older stars on the roster at 38 years old.
Sheamus appears much younger due to him never having hit his ceiling. The perception of one’s age can be skewed if they didn’t live up to expectations and still hold a relevant spot in the company. His overall look doesn’t show the age but it definitely has to catch up to him sooner or later. Sheamus had one of the highlights of his career by playing Rocksteady in the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Hopefully acting works out for him as he may be out of wrestling sooner than later looking at his age.
13 Younger: Alexa Bliss (25)
The main roster debut of Alexa Bliss this year, following the brand split draft, made her one of the youngest success stories in WWE. Bliss thrived in the NXT system with improvement coming at a rapid pace. WWE coveted her athleticism and marketability, with both proving to be true already. The in-ring work of Bliss is already very good, with the chance to become great as she progresses as a star. Bliss recently landed the cover spot of Muscle & Fitness magazine.
All of these accomplishments have come early in the life of Bliss as she is only 25 years old. The young woman proves age is just a number and continues to move up the pecking order on SmackDown. Everyone can see something special when she walks to the ring and the experience on the main roster can only benefit her. Bliss has all the tools to become one of the best female wrestlers in the world within the next few years.
12 Older: Shinsuke Nakamura (36)
The majority of WWE fans are still relatively new to witnessing the magic of Shinsuke Nakamura. New Japan’s rise in the last year or two added to his momentum, but most North American fans didn’t get the chance to watch him regularly until he signed to the NXT brand with WWE. Nakamura being new means the perception is he’s younger than he actually is. The King of Strong Style has been around for a long time and already 36 years old.
That’s right. Nakamura is closer to 40 than 30. The youthful excitement shown by Nakamura during his theatrics can make you believe otherwise, but he’s reaching the end of his prime. NXT’s use of Nakamura has been wonderful and fans are just wondering when he’ll take the next step. The main roster is in need of depth with the two brands competing. Nakmaura is arguably the best wrestler in the world right now and his age means the company can’t continue to wait on pushing him on Raw or SmackDown.
11 Younger: Tyler Breeze (28)
Tyler Breeze has been in the WWE system so long that it is easy to assume he is in his mid-30s. The long stint in NXT made him one of the top talents in developmental before making his main roster debut in 2015. Breeze is actually among the youngest stars on WWE television at the age of 28. Fans fears his career will never thrive again as he’s been relegated into lower tier tag team work with Fandango.
The young age of Breeze will allow him more opportunities in the future and SmackDown will need to develop new stars in the future. Breeze being a rare main roster star under 30 years old means he’ll remain employed and be repackaged a couple of times. The shortsightedness of the business makes it seem like someone is destined to remain doomed, but things can change at the drop of the hat. Breeze’s age allows him to have a better chance to excel going forward.
10 Older: Jerry Lawler (66)
The legendary in-ring career of Jerry Lawler may be over in WWE, but he wrestles occasionally on the independent wrestling scene. Lawler looks smooth in the ring and hasn’t been hit with the aging process as badly as most in his age range. Most of us are stunned to discover that Lawler is actually 66 years old. It is the main reason WWE has moved him away from the commentary table and into a pre-show broadcasting analyst position.
The company prefers to have younger talents in the commentator spots. Lawler is the odd man out, but has had a tremendous career as both a commentator and a wrestler. At the age of 66, King is one of the oldest guys to have matches and still manages to pull them off effectively. Lawler can read a crowd and work around his limitations. You can’t fault a guy for wanting to live his dream, even if he’s getting really old.
9 Younger: Drew Galloway (31)
One of the more surprising observations in scouting the ages of various wrestlers is to realize Drew Galloway is younger than Roman Reigns. WWE employed Galloway for many years under the name of Drew McIntyre and managed to do nothing with him. The talented star was released and it felt like his career was all but over. Galloway, however, was shockingly young and managed to resurrect his career. You can find him as one of the most compelling stars in TNA, EVOLVE, PWG and other promotions.
The age of Galloway is currently still a young 31 years old and he remains younger than the majority of the WWE roster. A talent being deceptively young is usually a great thing. It often means the wrestler has achieved a lot and still has more time left to add more accomplishments. WWE should realize they dropped the ball with Galloway and aggressively pursue him to spend the remainder of his long career back in the industry’s lead promotion.
8 Older: R-Truth (44)
God bless the genetics of R-Truth. The veteran has been around since the late 90s and everyone should assume he’s up there in age. Luckily for R-Truth, his looks appear to be far younger and he still moves around the ring like he’s in his 30s. WWE has employed him for many years with no intentions of getting rid of him. The popular belief is he adds a veteran presence to the locker room as one of the more beloved guys.
With such a long career, R-Truth has racked up many title wins. At the shocking age of 44, the time for retirement has to be approaching. R-Truth has stated he is looking to progress in his rap career to set up a future after WWE. If he continues to defy the aging process, R-Truth could stick around in WWE for many more years. Many of us would purchase a book with his secrets to appearing youthful that late in life.
7 Younger: Sasha Banks (24)
The WWE career of Sasha Banks has already seen her change history with outstanding performances. All of the women in NXT deserve credit for making fans demand to see women’s wrestling taken seriously, but Banks was at the top of the food chain. Between her classic matches with Bayley and Becky Lynch, Banks led the movement and it culminated with her becoming the most popular woman on the main roster. The most surprising fact is that she accomplished this all before turning her current age of 24.
If you want to feel depressed, think about where you were in life at 24 and look at Banks. One thing that negatively stands out about her young age is the amount of injuries to hit her already. Banks may have to start changing her style to extend her career. Regardless, she is one of the most entertaining all-around performers in the industry today and has accomplished a lifetime worth of memories before her 25th birthday.
6 Older: Cesaro (35)
Wrestling fans still hold out hope for WWE giving Cesaro a chance to enter the main event picture. No one can match the in-ring excellence of Cesaro when he is at his absolute best. WWE has wasted a lot of time putting him in irrelevant positions, despite the live crowds treating him like a king. The appearance and hope associated with Cesaro makes him appear younger - in the same age range as many of his peers like Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.
Cesaro is actually a few years older at the age of 35. The time is running out for the talented superstar and he only has a few years left to perform at such a high level. WWE will likely continue to use him as a lower mid-carder for the remainder of his time there, however. Rumors suggest his contract is expiring soon and you have to wonder if he will choose to leave in the hope of creating more success elsewhere to end his career.
5 Younger: Bo Dallas (26)
WWE has started to invest in Bo Dallas once again out of nowhere. Following years of irrelevance as a glorified enhancement talent, Dallas won a squash match on Raw recently against a local talent. It suggested a push was coming for Bo, with a more aggressive in-ring style being exhibited by the formerly silly comedy act. The young age of Dallas is likely the reason for WWE tapping into a new persona for the second generation star.
Dallas is extremely young at just 26 years old. WWE signed him to a developmental contract at the age of 18. The long stint in developmental saw him get called up to the main roster with the Bolieve gimmick. Fun wordplay aside, no one bought into Bo and he flopped badly. A new chance with the brand split was desperately needed. The opportunity should be met with optimism, as the young age of Dallas gives him a long career ahead of him.
4 Older: Bobby Roode (39)
Bobby Roode has become the hottest new star in NXT, with his "Glorious" theme song making him a must-see act. The former TNA star had a long career of success making a living in wrestling business before coming to the WWE. NXT is usually home of the up and coming talents now entering their prime. The original goal was meant to be finding the future of WWE through the NXT product. Roode’s shocking age of 39 years old makes him one of the oldest guys on the roster.
WWE will have to fast track him to the main roster as soon as possible if they want him to have a run on Raw or SmackDown. Roode turns 40 on New Year’s Day in 2017 and has very few years of his best work left in him. The decision to sign Roode may be to have him be a top heel in NXT for the rest of his WWE career, as the brand is growing and needs top talent. Kudos to Roode for performing at such a high level and making us forget just how old he is.
3 Younger: Cody Rhodes (31)
The departure of Cody Rhodes from WWE is one of the most shocking wrestling stories of the year. Rhodes was in the WWE system since the age of 21, but has been on television for quite some time. The long tenure on the main roster without any breaks made him appear older than you would have assumed. Rhodes is actually younger than the majority of stars coming from NXT who are being dubbed "the future."
One of the main reasons for Rhodes wanting to leave WWE was the knowledge that he is still quite young. The time to strike is now in order to show just how great of a performer he is. Rhodes wants to wrestle without the WWE restrictions that limited him for the last few years as Stardust. With another decade of work left in him, Rhodes walked out before he got too old to change his career trajectory. WWE may have dropped the ball with Cody and he has a lot of time left to prove that.
2 Older: Finn Balor (35)
Finn Balor was the face of NXT for the last few years and debuted on the main roster in August to win the Universal Championship. An unfortunate injury forced Balor to relinquish the title just one night after winning it and he’s now on the injured list. The shocking aspect of this all is realizing Balor is 35 years old. Fans’ perception of NXT is that the stars are up and comers with youth behind them, due to the developmental aspect.
The age of Balor indicates he would only have another five years or so to thrive on the main roster. That makes the six months he’ll miss due to injury even more depressing. WWE tried to make Balor the face of Raw instantly in his first month on the roster and his age likely played a role in that. Hopefully he is able to get the same push when he returns, as Balor is among the most talented wrestlers on the planet and has a lot to offer before he gets too old.
1 Younger: Paige (24)
The most surprising age of anyone in the wrestling business right now is Paige who is just 24. With a long career of ups and downs in WWE, it is almost impossible to believe she’s less than 25 years old. Paige had a tremendous NXT run, won the WWE Divas Championship multiple times, became a fixture on Total Divas and lost it all within a couple of years. The time in WWE skews her actual age as things look bleak right now.
Rumors suggest Paige is considering leaving WWE and has been dealing with serious injuries. Things can easily turn around and likely will for the talented young woman. With many years left in her career, Paige has all the time in the world to turn her career around and get back on track. Paige has a strong fan base and the connectivity to succeed in any promotion. It remains to be seen what her WWE future holds. The only thing certain is Paige has youth on her side and is shockingly just 24 years old.