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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Wrestlers Who Bulked Up For A Gimmick Change

In the athletic world of pro wrestling, competitors have to constantly fine-tune their physiques. This helps them avoid the dreaded injury bug, and it adds to their aesthetic value as well. Furthermore, they need to constantly freshen up their characters, and gimmick changes allow them to do just that by hitting the reset button.



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From a creative standpoint, wrestlers can get jacked to achieve maximum impact via a gimmick change. Several performers have succeeded in blending physical transformation and character evolution.


Scott Steiner Is A Case Study In Transforming One’s Physique In Line With A Character Change

He Went From Tag Team Wrestler To Big Poppa Pump

  • Scott Steiner Had A Well-Decorated Tag Team Career
  • A Year After Joining WCW, He Had An Opportunity To Become A Huge Singles Star
  • Steiner’s Physique Grew As His Character Evolved

In the early ‘90s, Scott Steiner was a tag team specialist who effectively channeled his amateur background and showcased tremendous athleticism. After winning tag team gold in WWE and NJPW, Scott and his brother Rick took their talents to WCW. After a year in the company, Scott began a transformation that encompassed his body and his attitude.


From 1997 to 1998, Scott’s physique grew at a rapid pace. The transformation into Big Poppa Pump hit a crescendo when he betrayed Rick and joined the nWo. The chain mail and sunglasses were not far behind as Steiner reveled in the new version of his persona.

Akira Tozawa Circa 2007 Was A Vastly Different Person From His Alpha Academy Iteration

Master Gable Would Have Been Proud Of Tozawa’s Determination

akira tozawa physical transformation

  • Akira Tozawa Used To Weigh Over 200 Pounds
  • In 2008, He Entered A Storyline That Involved Him Going On A Diet
  • As A Result, Tozawa Shed Some Extra Pounds For Real

In the late 2000s, Akira Tozawa weighed north of 200 pounds as he competed in Dragon Gate. He even competed in a tag team called the Metabolic Brothers alongside Yuki Ono, a fellow alum of the Dragon Gate dojo.


A 2008 storyline would then see Tozawa going on a diet and shedding a significant amount of weight. His physical transformation was perfectly aligned with a change of pace for his character, as his stable was disbanded and a new set of teammates loomed on the horizon.

In More Ways Than One, Eddie Guerrero Looked Better In 2002

His Improved Physique Reflected His Rejuvenated Wrestling Career

Eddie Guerrero Wins Smackdown Royal Rumble Cropped

  • Eddie Guerrero Made Quite A Name For Himself In WWE From 2000 To 2001
  • However, Personal Demons Led To His Release In November 2001
  • A Rejuvenated Guerrero Came Back In 2002, And He Was In Far Better Shape

In 2000, WWE fans got their first taste of Latino Heat when Eddie Guerrero jumped ship from WCW. Wielding a charisma that no one has ever been able to replicate, Guerrero spent plenty of time teaming with his fellow Radicalz and wooing Chyna, whom he affectionately called “Mamacita.”


Guerrero, however, was overcome by personal demons that led to his WWE release in 2001. Thanks to the support of his family and his newfound spirituality, Guerrero got back on his feet and made his way back to the company the following year. Looking more chiseled than ever, Guerrero brought out a more serious side upon his WWE return. Months later, he shifted his character yet again as he and his nephew Chavo debuted the Los Guerreros gimmick.

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Jinder Mahal Would Certainly Not Be Hindered, As His Physical Transformation Showed

The WWE Championship Looked Great On His Jacked Physique

Jinder Mahal Then And Now Cropped

  • It Was Difficult For Jinder Mahal To Overcome The Comedy Gimmick Of 3MB
  • During His Time Away From The WWE, Mahal Worked On His Physique
  • He Came Back A Better Man (With A Better Body) In 2016


When Jinder Mahal got saddled with the 3MB gimmick in 2012, his credibility as a competitor diminished each time he played the air guitar. Mahal was basically running on an empty tank when he got released from WWE a couple of years later.

Instead of calling it quits in the wrestling business, Mahal changed his diet, shed some pounds, and significantly improved his look. His altered physical appearance was perfect for his 2016 WWE comeback, which saw him dump the 3MB schtick in favor of a “man of peace” gimmick. A year later, he was hoisting the WWE Championship on his shoulder as the Modern-Day Maharajah.

Roman Reigns Looked More And More Like A Samoan Deity

Reigns’ Ascent Into Historic Heights Was Perfectly Backed By Improvements In His Physique


  • No One Can Deny The Success That Roman Reigns Amassed From 2012 To 2020
  • When He Returned From A Four-Year Hiatus At SummerSlam 2020, Reigns Looked Even Better
  • His Physical Transformation Would Coincide With The Beginning Of A Historic Run As World Champion

In the illustrious career of Roman Reigns, there was a prolific, successful run from 2012 to 2020—and then there’s God Mode. When Reigns came off a four-month hiatus and returned to WWE programming at SummerSlam 2020, he made some significant changes to his character. One of these was his physical appearance.

Reigns was noticeably more jacked for this next phase of his career, and when he decided to wrestle without a top in subsequent months, fans got to better appreciate the hard work he put into his physique. Reigns’ altered appearance was perfectly in line with his amplified, Paul Heyman-backed arrogance, which was justified as he won the Universal Championship just a week after returning to WWE.


As Real1, Enzo Amore Was Really Jacked

Various Muscles, Including The Ones On His Mouth, Grew By Leaps And Bounds

Enzo And Cass Indy

  • Enzo Amore Had Prolific Mouth And A Number Of Catchphrases During His WWE Run
  • Despite The Popularity Of The Enzo And Cass Tag Team, The Two Were Out Of The Company By 2018
  • Amore Would Take His Talents To MLW In 2021, And As Real1, He Looked Quite Jacked

During his time in WWE, Enzo Amore generated all sorts of reactions from fans. Some hailed him for being one of the best promo guys on the roster, while others despised his big mouth that his wrestling talent couldn’t always back.

Amore threw all caution out the window when he emerged as Real1 in MLW three years after his WWE release. This persona was his most aggressive version to date, and if anyone had any problem with it, Real1 could now flex his vastly improved physique and silence all the haters in a hurry.


Coming Off The Stardust Gimmick, Cody Rhodes Bulked Up And Showed That He Didn’t Need A Full-Body Costume

“Undesirable To Undeniable” Perhaps Sums Up His Physical Evolution

  • When Cody Rhodes Was Working The Stardust Gimmick,” He May Have Been The Most Undesirable That He’d Ever Been In The WWE
  • By Taking A Gamble On Himself And Improving—Among Other Things—His Physical Appearance, Rhodes Became A Truly Undeniable Headliner In The Industry

No fan can be faulted for thinking that Stardust was the lowest point of Cody Rhodes’ career. This derivative gimmick kept Rhodes from realizing his full potential as an in-ring performer.

Upon leaving WWE in 2016, Rhodes junked the Stardust costume and gradually transformed his body into spectacular form. As he went on a tour of the indies and became a founding pillar of All Elite Wrestling, the American Nightmare became more and more comfortable in his own skin.


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Drew McIntyre Got Shredded And Successfully Shed The Stink Of 3MB

“The Chosen One” Was A Different Beast Altogether When He Arrived In NXT

  • Drew McIntyre Was Handed Both A Gift And A Curse When Mr. McMahon Proclaimed Him “The Chosen One” In The Late 2000s
  • Initially, He Couldn’t Quite Live Up To Those Expectations
  • McIntyre, However, Would Work On His Storytelling Skills And His Physique In Order To Become A Bona Fide Main Event Player

In a span of five years, Drew McIntyre went from being “The Chosen One” to harboring rock band delusions with 3MB. When McIntyre was released from WWE in 2014, his lasting impression with fans was that of failed potential packaged in a comedy gimmick.


Three years later, McIntyre resurfaced in WWE as a driven, focused superstar on NXT. If anyone doubted his new lease on his professional career, all they had to do was look at his monstrously jacked physique that was perfect for launching Claymores at any and all opponents.

Adam Rose Got Jacked Towards The Tail End Of His Career

The Party Was Over For The Carefree Persona

Adam Rose physical transformtation

  • Adam Rose’s Party Animal Gimmick Could Only Take Him So Far In The WWE
  • Notably, When He Was At The Tail End Of His Career, He Looked And Acted Quite Differently As A Performer

In all fairness, Adam Rose was a feel-good character who lit up arenas every time he made his entrance. This persona, however, barely elevated Raymond Leppan’s standing in WWE, and after a couple of years working this party boy gimmick, he exited WWE due to some legal troubles.


A couple of years later, Leppan was on the tail end of his wrestling career but he looked nowhere near his appearance in his WWE days. Wielding a way more serious character, Leppan flaunted more muscle than ever before.

The Transformation Of W. Morrissey Is A Success Story

These Days, No One Can Accuse The Former Cass Of Being ‘SAWFT,’ Physically And Mentally

Picture showing Big Cass' Body Transformation

  • As Part Of The Enzo And Cass Tag Team, Big Cass Was Billed As A 7-Foot Tall Giant
  • However, During His Time In WWE, He Couldn’t Reach His Sky-High Potential
  • These Days, Having Overcome Some Personal Issues That Threatened His Life And Career, W. Morrissey Looks Ripped And Ready To Take On The World


During the immensely popular run of the Enzo and Cass tag team in WWE, Big Cass was a lovable giant who loved to spew catchphrases alongside his real G of a partner. Their gimmick, however, would run its course; by 2017, Enzo and Cass were working a tag team breakup storyline. The following year, both men were out of WWE.

Getting released from WWE plunged Cass into a deep hole that was difficult to get out of. But, with the help of mentors like Diamond Dallas Page, he was able to turn his life around by making some much-needed changes. In the process, Cass overcame his alcoholism, got into much better shape, and shifted his persona into a more vicious giant. Fans took notice of his improved physique when he wrestled as CaZXL on the indy scene and as W. Morrissey on Impact Wrestling and AEW programming.

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