Retired wrestlers who are completely unrecognizable today
By Jason Iannone
Once the pressure of looking larger-than-life on TV every week goes away, many pro wrestlers start looking very different. Whether they lose the muscle, change their hairstyle, stop wearing outlandish clothing, or all of the above, many wrestlers are virtually unrecognizable after they hang up their boots.
From 2008 to 2012, WWE fans got to know Russian bruiser Vladimir Kozlov very well. He started as a super-stoic monster, then evolved (maybe) into a wacky, fun-loving big man, prone to dancing, having tea parties, and tooting on invisible trombones with his tag partner and BFF, the equally wacky Santino Marella.
Since leaving the ring, Kozlov has slimmed his body but jacked up his muscles. Plus, he’s grown a big, bushy beard that makes him look like a Russian Hugh Jackman. Why would he spend his retirement getting into better shape than during his day job? Because he’s looking to make it big in Hollywood as an action-movie tough. He’s making some good progress, having appeared in Fast 6 as a stunt double. (Between him and the Rock, that movie is full up with WWE refugees.) He was also in The Wire, Burn Notice, and the Chinese mega-smash Wolf Warrior II. He even founded a production company in 2014 called Quasar Entertainment, where he currently serves as vice president. Now that Hugh Jackman is done with Wolverine, maybe he’ll join up.