Whether you consider pro wrestling fine theater or the most appalling spectacle on television, if you lift weights, you can’t deny that you’ve drawn inspiration from its Superstars. We looked back at the best-developed bodies in the history of the squared circle, the ones who made us want to train and those who are inspiring today’s new generation of wrestling fans and fitness buffs.
10. Nathan Jones
At very young age, Jones was sentenced to 16 years in jail for eight armed robberies. He ended up serving seven years in a maximum-security prison, where he was introduced to powerlifting – when he came out of prison, he became the National Powerlifting Champion of Australia and was named Australia’s Strongest Man.
His colossal proportions (6’1”/320 pounds) set him out for a promising career in wrestling in the early 2000’s, which unfortunately lasted only about a year because of the constant travel demands of the WWA company. But during his time, he succeeded at winning the WWA World Heavyweight Championship on april 7, 2002, although he lost the belt to Scott Steiner only five days later. After that, he got into acting.
Claudio Castagnoli, currently signed to WWE under the name Cesaro, received his initial training in his homeland of Switzerland and made his wrestling debut in 2000 in Essen, Germany. While Cesaro may not be one of WWE’s main event stars, he’s one of the strongest, most talented (and tallest!) guys there and always delivers compelling matches in the midcard. Some of his moves include the Neutralizer, the Cesaro Swing and Dead-Plex.
He has won a number of both tag team and singles titles, most notably being a two-time ROH World Tag Team Champion with his partner Chis Hero as The Kings of Wrestling and winning the WWE United States Championship in 2014.
8. David Otunga
This guy has a lot to brag about. Besides being “the only Hardvard-educated lawyer in the history of the WWE“, he’s the fiancé of singer and actress Jennifer Hudson with whom he has a 4-year-old son. Having an impressive physique backed up with intelligence, he quickly created himself a flourishing career as a TV personality and reality star as well as a professional wrestler. Among other things, he was the longest-tenured member of The Nexus.
Although his days in the ring are pretty much over, he still has a presence in the WWE, co-hosting the Raw Pre-Show on the WWE Network.
Batista, a.k.a The Animal, first got into bodybuilding and then decided to try out for wrestling, making it big in the WWE. He is a six-time world champion, winning the World Heavyweight Championship four times (having the longest reign ever) and the WWE Championship twice.
The giant with incredibly ripped body also is a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and signed a contract with Classic Entertainment & Sports to fight in mixed martial arts. He won his MMA debut in 2012, then proceeded to becoming a movie star. No wonder.
6. The ultimate warrior
The Ultimate Warrior was one of the biggest names in the WWE in his day, with regular appearances in the ring from 1987 to 1991. His massive physique, incredibly energetic entrance and bright war paint quickly made him a favorite among fans. Besides being a two-time WWE Intercontinental Champion, he won the WWE Championship when he defeated Hulk Hogan in a legendary match at the main event at WrestleMania VI, which made him the first wrestler to hold both titles concurrently. He was repeatedly accused of heavy steroid use during his professional wrestling career which had a sudden and controversial ending.
He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and made his final public appearance on Raw before passing away at the age of 54 in 2014.