Hardly a month goes by without someone in WWE undergoing an appearance change. While some of these changes are decided by the superstars themselves, WWE’s higher-ups occasionally instruct talent to alter the way they look.
AEW’s Adam Cole recently revealed on Talk Is Jericho that he could potentially have undergone a transformation if he joined WWE’s main roster. Highlighting his talks with management, the former NXT Champion said they wanted him to receive a new look and a new name.
“This is interesting too because I remember when I first had the conversation [about a main-roster call-up], they had mentioned something about ‘maybe we’ll do a name change or maybe we’ll change your look a little bit.’ So that scared me a little bit just because I’d spent nearly 14 years as Adam Cole,” Cole said. [H/T Wrestling Inc.]
Following Cole's revelation, let’s take a look at five WWE stars who were told to get a haircut by company officials.
#5 WWE Superstar John Cena was told to get a haircut
John Cena met Vince McMahon for the first time on the day of his debut match against Kurt Angle on WWE SmackDown in 2002.
Speaking to WWE.com in 2014, the WWE veteran recalled how McMahon instructed him to get a haircut just hours before he debuted on television.
“They literally dragged me by the arm to Vince’s office, threw me in and asked him, ‘What do you think?’ I had ridiculously ugly, long, super-dyed blond hair that was shaved bald on the sides. He turned around and with a disgusted look on his face, he said, ‘Cut his hair,’ and I was whisked away from Vince like an assembly line,” Cena said.
Following McMahon’s instruction, Cena sported a military crew cut in WWE between 2002 and 2018. Upon his return at Super Show-Down 2018, the legendary superstar showed off a longer hairstyle which drew comparisons to WWE Hall of Famer JBL.
Cena joked on Jimmy Kimmel Live that he receives daily messages from fans telling him he has “ruined lives” by changing his hairstyle.
#4 WWE Hall of Famer Michael Hayes was told to get a haircut
WWE Executive Director Bruce Prichard recalled in 2020 how Michael Hayes was ordered to get a haircut after joining the company as an on-screen personality.
Speaking on his Something to Wrestle With podcast, Prichard said Vince McMahon wanted the Fabulous Freebird to work for him in 1995. However, the WWE Chairman had concerns about Hayes' long hair and beard, which he considered to be a “country wrestling look.”
“We had the tryout, put him in the booth. Vince was like, 'Let's do this thing. Just one thing, Michael, we got to talk about the hair.' He was like, 'Whatever you need, boss.' It just so happened, we had a hairstylist upstairs,” Prichard said.
McMahon asked the stylist to cut Hayes’ hair and shave his beard, but he allowed his new employee to keep his mustache.
Prichard thought Hayes’ haircut was “respectable” and made him look 10 years younger. The latter was also renamed Dok Hendrix after joining WWE. The name was inspired by Doc Severinsen (band leader on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson) and Jimi Hendrix.
#3 WWE Superstar Angel Garza was told to get a haircut
In November 2020, Angel Garza took to Twitter to reveal his new short-haired look ahead of WWE Survivor Series.
Andrade, Garza’s former tag team partner, spoke to Lucha Libre Online's Hugo Savinovich in 2021 about his career. Discussing his partnership with Garza, Andrade said (H/T WrestlingNewsCo) the up-and-coming star was told to get a haircut.
“He [Andrade] noted that WWE told Garza to cut his hair because they were going to push him and he was happy that there were plans to push him. Andrade said that WWE also hasn’t done much with Humberto Carrillo and Garza has a lot of charisma with some people making comparisons to Eddie Guerrero,” WrestlingNewsCo’s report stated.
Garza recorded one-on-one victories over Akira Tozawa, Drew Gulak, Humberto Carrillo, and Ricochet shortly after his hairstyle change. He also lost matches against Damian Priest and Keith Lee on RAW.
In September 2021, Garza’s run of singles matches ended when he formed a tag team with Carrillo, his real-life cousin. The two men were selected as the 18th overall pick by SmackDown on the second night of the 2021 draft.
#2 WWE Superstar Dolph Ziggler was told to get a haircut
Dolph Ziggler has sported long, blond hair for the majority of his WWE career. In 2011, however, he surprised the WWE Universe by appearing on RAW with short, dark hair after WrestleMania 27.
Ziggler told talkSPORT’s Alex McCarthy in 2020 that WWE’s higher-ups thought he had not reached World Championship level due to his blond hair. In an attempt to become one of the company's top stars, he reluctantly agreed to a hairstyle change.
“So it got cut short and dyed black and I was serious. I went out there and beat the hell out of Santino [Marella] and it was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done. I didn’t want to do it. I said, ‘This isn’t me. We can find a way to introduce more of my shooting background and things.’ Nope. That’s what they wanted [the haircut]. Then after three weeks they said, ‘Oh, our bad,’” Ziggler said.
Ziggler had already held the World Heavyweight Championship before changing his hair. However, the title was simply handed to him by Vickie Guerrero and he did not technically win it.
He later recaptured the World Heavyweight Championship after cashing in his Money in the Bank contract on Alberto Del Rio in 2013. By that time, The Showoff had brought back his long, blond-haired look.
#1 Former WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan was told to get a haircut
In November 2019, The Fiend dragged Daniel Bryan through the ring canvas on WWE SmackDown and ripped out clumps of his rival’s hair. Bryan re-emerged at the next pay-per-view, WWE TLC 2019, with short hair and hardly any facial hair.
Speaking to the San Antonio Express-News, Bryan said he originally wanted to shave his beard as part of the storyline. However, WWE’s decision-makers told him that he also needed to undergo a drastic hairstyle change.
“They said, ‘Well, yeah, then he can cut your hair, too!’ And I was like, ‘No, I don't really want that. I don't want my hair to be cut.’ I kind of wanted my hair to be longer. Just wrestling wise, I like that. But then, the day of, we're like, ‘OK, well, he will rip out some of your hair,’” Bryan said.
Bryan explained that his appearance change would have made more sense if he had only shaved his beard. That way, from a storyline perspective, The Fiend would have targeted his beard to remove something that had become important to his identity.
The storyline resulted in The Fiend retaining the Universal Championship against Bryan in a strap match at the 2020 WWE Royal Rumble.