John Cena in his bodybuilder daysProfessional wrestlers by default are expected to have a ripped body. Although this perception among the fans has cooled down in recent times, there is still a portion of the wrestling community which wants superstars to look like bodybuilders. This is a blessing in disguise for bodybuilders who want to transition into professional wrestling.A lot of bodybuilders have made good use of this opening and went on to make a name in the wrestling business. This list is going to take a look at those names. So here are the WWE superstars who started off their career as bodybuilders and then went on to become professional wrestlers.
#10 The Ultimate Warrior
Seeing Ultimate Warrior in the list might not be a big surprise. His body always impressed the wrestling fans and was a point of discussion throughout the years. And what made Warrior look so good was his bodybuilding career that flourished before he entered the wrestling business. He competed in a lot of body building contests and won a handful of them as well.
Warrior wanted to become a chiropractor as well but all that took a twist of fate when he was invited to wrestle. He formed a team with Sting and they climbed the wrestling ladder by taking one step at a time before both of them reached the top.
#9 Billy Graham
Billy Graham is a familiar face among the old fans. He is someone without which the history of WWE will not be complete. Graham had numerous title runs in the company and was one of the biggest draws that Vince McMahon Sr. had at his disposal. Billy’s stardom however, had roots in his love for bodybuilding.
He won many bodybuilding contests before making it into the WWE and was featured in many magazines. Also, Graham used to train with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who happened to be a bodybuilder as well before making it big in Hollywood. Graham had an option of choosing football after his bodybuilding laurels, but he decided to try out wrestling instead.
Batista is currently busy pursuing a career in Hollywood. He had a strong stay in WWE and went on to become a multiple-time World Heavyweight champion. Before Batista found success in the wrestling business, he tried out his hand in body building. It was a short spell, but Batista did consider bodybuilding as a career.
However, his height came in as a hurdle. Shorter guys needed to look stockier in the bodybuilding arena and this made Batista give up the option. He later enrolled in wrestling schools to learn wrestling and though he got a lot of negative reactions during the early part of his career, Batista did not give up and eventually made it big.
Chyna was a revolutionary figure in the wrestling business. She did things that other female wrestlers only dreamt of and Chyna ended up being as popular as the male superstars in the roster. Her relationship with Triple H and the McMahons soon derailed her career and the entire momentum she had gained, went in vain.
Before all this happened, Chyna was a bodybuilder. She competed in various bodybuilding contests for women but could not win any due to her large size. This forced Chyna to quit bodybuilding and later, the wrestling business welcomed her with open arms. Apart from being a body builder, Chyna was also a flight attendant before her wrestling career.
Wrestling fans that follow Kaitlyn’s social media accounts would be familiar with her love of bodybuilding. Kaitlyn was an active body builder during her pre-WWE years as well. She started her bodybuilding career at a young age of 18 and went on to win numerous contests. During the early years, Kaitlyn won these contests without any nutritionist or trainer.
She finished fifth in the Arnold Classic as well and she later decided to try her hand in professional wrestling, where she became the Divas Champion. Although Kaitlyn’s stay in WWE was a short one, she is still one of the most loved divas among the WWE fans.
There is nothing notable to say about Aksana’s stay in the wrestling business. It was a blink and miss type career but since she was released only recently by WWE, most fans will still be familiar with the diva. Aksana did not have much success with WWE but her bodybuilding career was entirely different.
She tried her hand in bodybuilding from her teenage years itself and she was pretty successful back then. She was also a personal trainer and a fitness model that ended up being in the wrestling business. She soon realized that the business was not meant for her and the release from WWE would probably be a blessing in disguise for her.
#4 The Great Khali
The wrestling fans will probably be split on The Great Khali. Some like him and some hate him, either way; he had a solid run in the wrestling business. Khali was a police officer before becoming a wrestler and as part of his Police team, Khali made his bodybuilding debut. Khali went on to win certain competition afterwards and in 1997, he became Mr. India.
He won the competition in 1998 as well and later, Khali went on to make use of his size in the wrestling business. He tries his hand in acting, reality television too and that, everyone is what you call multi-talented. Khali is still one of the most popular wrestlers in India despite not being in WWE for over a year.
#3 Triple H
Triple H had to struggle a lot to reach the WWE. He had a forgettable run in WCW first but before that Hunter had a love for bodybuilding. As a youngster, Triple H competed in a lot of body building contests and was tagged the ‘Teenage Mr. New Hampshire’ in the year 1988. He kept his body-building dreams aside for professional wrestling and after a lot of hard work, Hunter reached the top.
He is still very interested in bodybuilding and has inspired a lot of fans around the world to do the same. Hunter has been active in making DVDs and books about bodybuilding and he was also featured in the Muscle and Fitness Magazine recently.
Sting was the major weapon that WCW had during their war against WWE. He was a fan favourite from toe to head and his name became synonymous with WCW as well. And you would probably be surprised to know that Sting didn’t want to be a professional wrestler at one point of his life. Instead, he wanted to be a bodybuilder.
He worked day and night to be one and even co-owned a gym during that time. But Sting’s plans were shaken up when he went to attend a WWE show. He found the sport of professional wrestling appealing and the rest, ladies and gentleman, is history.
#1 John Cena
Before John Cena became the most polarizing superstar in WWE history, he was a bodybuilder. Cena wanted to become a bodybuilder during his late teenage years and competed in a lot of body building contests to reach his goal. He competed in competitions like ‘Yankee Classic’ in Massachusetts and ‘Natural Iron Man’ in California.
Cena eventually decided to quit bodybuilding and try his hand in wrestling. The prospect of a full-time job and throwing away the baggage that came with bodybuilding were the motives. Fortunately for him, Cena’s decision turned out to be a good one and he has gone on to have one of the most successful careers in the wrestling business.