Skilled wrestling is a sport that appeals to opponents with a big selection of backgrounds and life experiences. These with a background in MMA and different fight sports activities are simply as frequent as wrestlers who’ve expertise within the discipline of bodybuilding.
A wrestler’s physique might not be important to their in-ring success, however there’s a discernible look that WWE and different main promotions search for out of their prime expertise. In truth, lots of the finest opponents within the trade experimented with bodybuilding earlier than making a dwelling within the squared circle.
10 Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan is arguably the preferred performer in skilled wrestling historical past. Not solely was The Hulkster some of the electrical in-ring opponents of his time, however the man with 24-inch pythons additionally had some of the spectacular physiques of the Golden Period.
Hogan, who was billed at 6’8″ and over 300 kilos throughout his profession, started experimenting with bodybuilding within the mid-70s when he was additionally a part-time musician. He shortly added muscle to his spectacular physique, and his imposing dimension caught the eye of Jack and Gerald Brisco, who finally satisfied Hogan to pursue a profession in wrestling.
Chyna started usually attending health competitions after graduating from the College of Tampa in 1992. Sadly, she didn’t possess the look that the judges had been in search of, and she or he usually completed in final place in these competitions because of this.
Her spectacular physique noticed her tower over most of her friends, and she or he finally discovered her area of interest within the ring, the place she turned some of the dominant feminine opponents in historical past. She not solely held her personal in opposition to bigger male opponents, however she even defeated a number of the largest names within the trade.
8 Lex Luger
Many overlook that Lex Luger as soon as had a promising soccer profession and even performed for the Inexperienced Bay Packers for a brief interval. He took up bodybuilding after his time on the sphere had ended, and he shortly packed muscle onto his spectacular body, which led him to pursue a profession in wrestling.
Vince McMahon noticed one thing particular in Luger, who was with WCW earlier than changing into a star in WWE, so he signed him to a contract on the upstart World Bodybuilding Federation in 1992. The group dissolved shortly after, however Luger continued to wrestle for WWE, the place he obtained an enormous push when the corporate was ravenous for a prime star when Hogan left for WCW the next yr.
7 “Celebrity” Billy Graham
Earlier than he turned a world champion within the wrestling trade, “Celebrity” Billy Graham was an award-winning bodybuilder in California. It was there that he turned shut with Arnold Schwarzenegger and different notable figures within the discipline.
He was one of many first wrestlers who remained energetic in bodybuilding competitions whereas persevering with in-ring motion. He received first place within the Finest Developed Arms division on the Mr. America contest in 1975 and completed seventh within the World’s Strongest Man competitors 5 years later.
6 Alexa Bliss
Alexa Bliss is not a legend but, however the best way her profession goes, she very nicely could also be one when she retires. Bodybuilding helped her overcome a crippling consuming dysfunction when she was a youngster. Whereas the game might have been a distraction at first, it shortly turned evident that Bliss might compete in tournaments, and she or he finally discovered herself within the prestigious “Arnold Class” competitors.
Bliss’ spectacular determine led to her signing a developmental contract with WWE in 2013 regardless of having no prior wrestling expertise. Nonetheless, she had no points climbing the ladder over the previous decade and is among the hottest feminine opponents within the trade right this moment.
5 John Cena
John Cena’s inclusion on this record ought to come as no shock, as he has some of the spectacular physiques in skilled wrestling historical past. He started to pursue bodybuilding after graduating from Springfield School in 1999 with a level in train psychology and physique motion, and it didn’t take him lengthy to search out success within the trade.
He had no points constructing muscle and made a seamless transition into skilled wrestling in 2000 when he signed a developmental contract with WWE. The remaining was historical past as Cena turned one of many best opponents in wrestling historical past, and he maintained his spectacular determine all through his standout profession.
Earlier than he turned The Man Referred to as Sting, Steve Borden was the co-owner of a Gold’s Gymnasium in Southern California. He hoped to realize a profession within the trade earlier than discovering skilled wrestling within the mid-80s, and he selected to pursue that path as an alternative.
The primary promotion he labored for was the Continental Wrestling Affiliation, the place he paired with fellow behemoth Jim Hellwig, who would grow to be The Final Warrior. He rose in recognition after signing with WCW in 1987, and he stays some of the recognizable and iconic skilled wrestlers within the trade right this moment.
3 Triple H
Skilled wrestling was a motivating issue for Triple H to start bodybuilding when he was a youngster, as he wished to appear to be the wrestlers he noticed on TV. He received the 1988 Mr. Teenage New Hampshire competitors when he was solely 19, and he continued to construct muscle afterward.
The King of Kings started to pursue a profession in skilled wrestling when he began coaching at Killer Kowalski’s gymnasium in 1990. He was a rising star in WWE inside just a few years and has remained a mainstay within the trade ever since. Nonetheless, Levesque by no means forgot the place he got here from, as he printed his personal bodybuilding e-book, Making the Sport: Triple H’s Strategy to a Higher Physique, in 2004.
2 The Final Warrior
Not solely was Jim Hellwig’s large physique distinctive for the skilled wrestling trade, however he even had uncommon dimension for the bodybuilding group, as nicely. Hellwig, who would later attain stardom as The Final Warrior, was a standout bodybuilder who received a number of tournaments earlier than pursuing a profession in skilled wrestling within the mid-80s.
Vince McMahon noticed one thing particular in Hellwig, so he signed him and instantly booked him as a near-unstoppable power shortly after he made his debut with the corporate. The Warrior’s run as one of many prime stars within the firm might have been comparatively short-lived (his first stint solely lasted 5 years), however he’s nonetheless thought-about some of the well-liked figures of The Golden Period.
Earlier than he was probably the most buff man in skilled wrestling, Dave Bautista was a troubled teen who appeared like he was destined to be one other sufferer of the system. That was till he found bodybuilding, which he says probably saved his life, and he started to pursue a profession within the discipline earlier than setting his sights on the wrestling ring.
The behemoth signed a developmental contract with WWE in 2000, and he turned one of many corporations largest (no pun supposed) stars after making his important roster debut two years later. He has maintained his signature physique through the years regardless of spending years away from the ring on a number of events.
The wrestling trade has all the time favored giant athletes, with AEW and WWE having just a few giants of their very own on their roster.
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