Professional wrestling is one of the most grueling jobs one can put their bodies through. Not only is it physically demanding, it is also very mentally taxing. Wrestlers put their bodies through years of constant punishment, night in and night out, and they are in the ring despite the nagging injuries they might have. With this hard lifestyle being part of the job, the aging process is unfortunately sped up for wrestlers.
This rapid aging is contributed by injuries and mental distress. Another major factor is the constant travel and partying lifestyle that goes along with being a professional wrestler. It’s unfortunate, but substance abuse is also very common in the world of wrestling. Several stars battle addiction problems throughout their careers and in most cases, it's the cause for their rapid aging. For many wrestlers on this list, rapid aging can be attributed to their years of service in the ring, and by not getting the proper time to rest their numerous injuries, which they are now feeling the effects of years later. For others, it was in their post wrestling life that they developed depression from being away from the ring. So, here are 17 WWE stars who lost their looks.
17 Lex Luger
Lex Luger has struggled in his post wrestling life. He was charged with domestic abuse against his former girlfriend, the late Mrs. Elizabeth. A month later, Elizabeth would pass away because of an accidental overdose. After searching their home, police found a number of substances including anabolic steroids, OxyContin, synthetic growth hormones, and testosterone. This led to Luger being charged with 13 accounts of felony and would leave him financially broke. After a spinal infraction, Luger was left paralyzed and frail. The once perfect specimen is now a shell of what he used to look like. Though, to Luger’s credit, he has turned his life around and his health has significantly gotten better over the years.
Waltman was tremendously skilled in the ring, which is the main reason as to why he was a significant part of the WWE and WCW. Though, even with all his success, Waltman’s life had spun out of control and if not for his good friend Kevin Nash, he most likely would not be alive today. Pac was a heavy user of crystal meth, and his addiction was so out of control that he injected meth in the bathroom minutes before his high profile X-Division Championship match against AJ Styles, in 2002. Waltman was reportedly so incoherent that he forgot the finish to the match. TNA fired him after the incident. From there, his drug addiction would continue and he would develop an alcohol problem as well.
The lowest point in Waltman’s life happened when he woke up in a hospital bed after taking 40 Valium pills with a bottle of rum, wrote a suicide note and hung himself with a hose before blacking out. Kevin Nash would come to the aid of his friend and pay for a high end psychiatric rehabilitation facility. All the years of drug abuse have severely aged Waltman; he is 43 years old, but resembles a man over 50.
Jazz was a breed of female wrestler who had brute strength and was dominant in the ring. She started her wresting career in ECW, but it was short lived as the WWE purchased the company a year later. Because of her unique skill set, the WWE expressed interest in her and she signed a two year contract with the company. Jazz had success in the WWE, becoming a 2-time Women’s Champion. She would then leave the WWE due to the creative department’s lack of ideas for her character. After a year on the independent circuit, she would return to the WWE and compete under the new version of ECW. She is now currently wrestling for Women’s Superstars Uncensored. Jazz was never one to have the model looks and wasn’t considered a “Diva”, though she still has some appeal. However, that has all changed.
14 Brutus Beefcake
Brutus got into wrestling alongside his real life best friend, Hulk Hogan. The two wrestlers became big stars during the 80s and early 90s with the WWE and WCW. He was one of the most popular and flashy stars of his generation with his nickname, “The Barber”. In 1990 a serious parasailing accident kept Beefcake out of action for nearly two years. His facial skeleton was damaged and over 100 metal plates were needed to repair it. Despite retiring in the mid-2000s, he once again caught the wrestling bug and wrestled for a couple more years. By this point, his age had really caught up to him and he was nothing but a shell of his former self.
13 Ahmed Johnson
Johnson had brief stints with the WWE and WCW. Although his time was short, he was a fan favorite and had some success. Johnson was the first African American to win a Singles championship in the WWE.
However, there are a couple of explanations as to why Johnson’s career was short-lived in these major promotions. The first: Johnson was one of the worst talkers in the history of pro wrestling. The second: Johnson had issues with his weight which would affect his in-ring ability, making him very sluggish at times. Unfortunately, Johnson continues his battle with his weight issues in his post wrestling life, as he has gained a considerable amount of weight and lost the great physique he once had.
12 Jake "The Snake" Roberts
Roberts has had a roller-coaster type of life filled with ups and downs. He’s been broke, battled alcohol and drug addiction, and at times, seemed to be near death. Roberts was doing whatever he could to make some money, but because of his addictions, he would waste it all on drugs and alcohol. This led to Roberts finding himself in a financial hole which he couldn’t climb out of. Diamond Dallas Paige, a very good friend of Roberts, came to his aid, offering to take him into his home and clean up his life. With the help of the DDP Yoga program, Roberts got healthy losing over 50 pounds and became clean from his vices. Months leading up to his WWE Hall of Fame induction, it was discovered that Roberts had cancer in his knee, but it was found quickly and was promptly removed. Roberts stated: “if the devil couldn’t beat me, the cancer doesn’t have a chance in hell”.
11 Dynamite Kid
The Dynamite Kid had a short lived WWE career because of backstage problems with other wrestlers, and having a reputation of being a bully in the locker room. He then went on to have a successful career with Stampede Wrestling. Kid was an exceptional talent, however, his drug abuse problem limited him to wrestling in only Japan, as no major promotion at that time wanted him on their roster. In addition, Kid spent most of his money supporting his addiction and saved up nearly nothing of his career earnings. He is now paralyzed in his left leg and uses a wheelchair. Unfortunately, he was told by doctors that he would never walk again.
10 Jimmy Snuka
Snuka is considered a legend in the wrestling industry, and is considered a pioneer for high risk maneuvers. Despite his success, his career has now been tainted. With recent reports revealing Snuka did indeed murder his then girlfriend Nancy Argentino, the cold case is finally close to being resolved. With this legal issue lingering for most of his life and his two divorces, Snuka has barely any money left from his wrestling days and could face the rest of his life in a prison cell. Snuka’s story is possibly one of the worst fall from graces in wrestling history.
Considered the first ever “Diva”, Sunny was one of the industry's most popular female wrestlers. She had that girl next door appeal that male wrestling fans adored. Sunny started doing Skype peep shows in the nude. However, Sunny doesn’t look close to how she did in the past, as she has gained a considerable amount of weight. Just recently, it was announced that Sunny is on the verge of signing a six figure deal with Vivid Entertainment to become an adult entertainment star. Though, she does not have the same body as she did in her prime, which makes for less of an appeal to see Sunny nowadays.
8 Ric Flair
Ric Flair is arguably one of the best wrestlers in history and in his younger years, was considered one of the best looking male wrestlers of his time. Flair’s high octane lifestyle and his 40 years of in-ring work have put a strain on his body. Flair loves alcohol and he has been known for buying rounds of drinks for fans, and renting out entire bars for parties, so these habits have plagued Flair throughout his career.
Nonetheless, since Flair has stepped out of the limelight and is helping his daughter Charlotte, make a name for herself in the business, he has become more personally stable.
Considered to be the face of the WCW, Sting was the cornerstone for much of the success of the promotion. He transitioned from being a California golden boy to a dark mysterious character. Sting is one of the main reasons as to why the WCW were winning the Monday Night Wars at one point in time (he has even been dubbed “The Franchise of WCW”). In addition, after the purchase of WCW by the WWE, Sting went on to wrestle for TNA, once again becoming a dominant star for a company. Nearly wrestling for 30 years and becoming a mainstay in the business, Sting finally entered a WWE ring in 2015. Although his time was brief, it was still impactful for wrestling fans.
Sting was recently inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. As it's been mentioned, Sting has been wrestling for nearly 30 years and all the wear and tear on his body has finally caught up to him. In addition, Sting recently announced his retirement because of a neck injury.
Chyna is arguably one of the toughest and strongest women in WWE history. Her unique muscular physique was key for her success in the WWE, as the company used her in various storylines feuding with both females and males. Chyna is a one-time Women’s Champion and a 2-time Intercontinental Champion. After she was fired from the WWE, she worked sporadically for New Japan Wrestling. She would then leave the company due to her interest in venturing into the adult film industry. Chyna starred in six adult films winning two AVN awards, one for “Best Selling Title of the Year” and another for “Best Celebrity S*x Tape”. In addition, she has posed for Playboy twice in 2000 and 2002. She is arguably the most popular wrestler to transition into the adult industry. Although, over the years Chyna’s appearance has diminished drastically, and much of this can be attributed to years of substance abuse and bad plastic surgery.
5 Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan is by far the most recognizable wrestling star in history, with a career spanning over 30 years. The Hulkster has wrestled all over the world, and was the top star in every promotion he has ever been a part of. With his longevity in the ring, Hogan’s body has taken a beating over the years. Hogan has had numerous back surgeries (he underwent six procedures in a 19 month period). Hogan states that his back injuries can be linked to years of doing his signature "leg drop", and because of his injuries Hogan says he has lost nearly 4 inches in height. Furthermore, with his marriage in turmoil, Hogan and his wife, Linda divorced, which left Hogan nearly bankrupt. Hogan has recently bounced back winning a lawsuit against Gawker which awarded him 115 million. Don't be too surprised if Hulk's appearance begins to change for the better after being awarded all that money.
Raven was considered a good wrestler throughout his career, but he was greatly underrated and never really got the praise he deserved. Raven was one of the best talkers in wrestling. He would deliver challenging promos that were eloquent, philosophical, and peppered with literary allusions. In addition, Raven is also one of the most decorated wrestlers in history, having 32 separate title reigns in the WWE, WCW and ECW. Twenty-seven of those reigns were as Hardcore Champion, which is a key reason Raven’s body has taken such a beating over the years. His matches were grueling and destructive. Just by watching his feud with The Sandman in the 90s (which is considered one of the most emotional rivalries in professional wrestling), you get a glimpse of the punishment Raven put his body through throughout his career.
3 Scott Hall
Scott Hall rose to popularity in the WWE in 1993, by pulling off the brilliant character of Razor Ramon. He quickly turned into a fan favorite and became one of the top stars at the time for the WWE. Hall then left for greener pastures to WCW for a hefty guaranteed contract that made him one of the highest paid wrestlers at the time.
Though Hall’s life would soon unravel, with his drug problem getting so severe that it turned his personal and professional life upside down. His wife Dana divorced him, citing his uncontrollable drug use. Hall was also very unprofessional, reportedly often showing up to Monday Night Nitro events heavily drugged and intoxicated. ESPN’s E:60 did a documentary on Hall, showcasing his health and problems with addiction and being estranged from his family. All these years of battling his personal demons have placed pressure on Hall’s life, and his body has acted accordingly to the years of abuse.
2 Bret Hart
By far the greatest technical wrestler of all time, Bret Hart revolutionized the industry by bringing his style of high quality athletic in-ring ability. Even though Hart had a long career, it was tragically cut short because of a concussion sustained in a match against Goldberg. Bret’s post wrestling career would be filled with heartache, and after only hours of getting divorced, he would suffer a stroke leaving one side completely paralyzed. He would make a full recovery after months of therapy. Recently, Hart was diagnosed with prostate cancer, however following successful surgery, he is optimistic he will beat the disease.
1 Shawn Michaels
The “Showstopper”, “Mr. WrestleMania”, “The Heartbreak Kid”, these are a few nicknames Shawn Michaels has attained over the years, and another one that can be added is “G.O.A.T” (greatest of all time). Shawn was exceptional in the ring, and he had a skill for making his opponents look better than they really were. Michaels often delivered five star matches, and he won Pro Wrestling Illustrated's match of the year a record eleven times.
With his wrestling style Michaels took many punishing bumps, and as a result he suffered a severe back injury which forced him to retire in 1998. Post wrestling life was difficult for Michaels as he battled depression and substance abuse. Though, by finding God and becoming a Born Again Christian, he turned his life around and made a comeback in 2002 until ceremoniously retiring in 2010. Recently Michaels appeared at WrestleMania, and although he hasn’t aged gracefully, his physique looked great and well conditioned.