Here are what a few of pro wrestling's biggest stars looked like before they made their name in WWE, from a red-headed Undertaker to a bronzed bodybuilder who would go on to become a 15-time WWE Champion.
Stone Cold Steve Austin
Long before he became the Texas Rattlesnake, “Stunning” Steve Austin wrestled with some glorious blonde hair.
Andre The Giant
Andre The Giant debuted in what was then the WWWF in 1973, but this shot from a 1966 broadcast is one of the earliest photos of Andre before he became a phenomenon in North America.
The Undertaker (with Paul Heyman)
The Undertaker’s seemingly been with WWE forever, but he wrestled for years as “Texas Red,” “The Punisher,” and “Mean Mark Callous.” Here’s the WWE legend with WCW in 1990, just months before he’d be relaunched as The Undertaker.
The current WWE Women’s Champion - whose real name is Mercedes Kaestner-Varnado - began wrestling professionally in 2010 for Chaotic Wrestling as Mercedes KV. Two years later she joined NXT.
Former valet and wrestler Stacy Keibler, who grew up in Maryland, was a cheerleader for the Baltimore Ravens before she got her start in the wrestling business as a WCW Nitro Girl.
Dwayne Johnson, a talented high school football player, won a national championship with the Miami Hurricanes in 1991.
Collegiate Images/Getty ImagesCollegiate Images
The 15-time WWE Champion played Division III college football and was a bodybuilder before beginning his pro wrestling training in 1999.
“The World’s Strongest Man” really was once one of the strongest men in the world, and competed in both the 1992 and 1996 Olympics as a powerlifter.
Getty ImagesAl Bello
Bill Goldberg played collegiate football at Georgia and was drafted in the 11th round by the Los Angeles Rams in 1990. Goldberg would go on to play for the Falcons and Panthers before turning to pro wrestling.
Getty ImagesStephen Dunn
Minnesota’s Brock Lesnar at the 2000 NCAA Wrestling Championships. Photo via Getty Images.
Roman Reigns and The Usos
The trio grew up together playing football, and all three would play collegiately before joining the Anoa’i family business.
Angle won a gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Getty ImagesJed Jacobsohn
Another former Olympian, Chad Gable - whose real name is Charles Betts - made the 2012 Olympic team at 84 kg and competed in London.
Getty ImagesCameron Spencer
The Big Show
Paul Wight was about as tall as the average NBA point guard by the time he was 12 years old, and it’s easy to forget now but The Big Show was incredibly agile in his younger days. The Big Show attended a few colleges in the early 90s and played for the Wichita State Shockers as a 7-foot-1 center.
Ron Simmons had a stellar football career at Florida State and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. His number 50 is retired by the Seminoles.