10 Most Shocking 2023 Wrestler Transformations

Christian! Christian! At last, he's getting the credit that was due to him all along.

Toni Storm Transformation
AEW

Some wrestlers stagnated across 2023, and could possibly do with featuring on the 2024 edition of this list.

The Young Bucks, in the babyface role, seemed detached this year. Perhaps the events of Brawl Out made them lose a little love of the industry they thought they'd changed before becoming embroiled in the political drama of old. Whatever the case, they expressed this on TV and in the media. Because they are the Bucks, they still worked a string of fantastic matches. Matt Jackson's exploding sneaker spot at Double Or Nothing proved that the creative, up-all-night genius is still lurking within.

That said, the "Elite have re-signed!" Sports Illustrated piece was a bleakly pragmatic read. The word "schedule" was written rather a lot, and while "We might as well re-sign" wasn't, you could argue that was the subtext. In the build to their match with FTR at All In: London, Nick Jackson outright stated that they have nothing left to prove. Matt has also expressed that he's no longer fussed about wrestling the best matches, and would rather be remembered for giving countless people an income stream beyond the walls of WWE.

That's...nice, but a transformation would be better. AEW needs a dialled-in Matt and Nick Jackson. The recent turn might help.

They could follow the example of some - but by no means all - of the following acts...

10. Juice Robinson

Toni Storm Transformation
AEW

When Juice Robinson arrived in AEW last year, it felt like a parody of a move.

Did...did Tony Khan have a problem? Did he have an actual shoot addiction to signing new names?

Nobody asked AEW to sign Juice Robinson, realistically. Tony Khan, after buying ROH, literally had enough talent to fill two rosters - and still couldn't accommodate some of the most promising acts on the planet. Juice wasn't just one signing too far; he walked into the most stacked roster of all time when he had hardly set the world alight in the 2020s. He didn't do much in New Japan Pro Wrestling, really, after the disastrous Lifeblood stable put paid to his time in ROH. In an indictment of sorts, he threatened retirement in early 2022, and while he was working, brother, it didn't come as a major surprise. He was nowhere near as dialled-in as he was playing the awesome throwback babyface of 2019. His start in AEW was poor.

He contrived to wrestle two bang-average efforts with Jon Moxley and Darby Allin: two of the best TV match guys in the company's history. Earlier this year, he set about getting over with one, simple trick:

He went crazy.

The Juice Robinson of 2023 was hilarious, captivating meme fodder. Delighting in echoing everything Jay White said, thrusting his hips at...nothing, and generally making an assortment of strange, why-are-they-funny noises, Juice was a scenery-chewing wonder who added an extravagant amount of colour to AEW's midcard. He pulled off being off his nut. That is virtually impossible in wrestling. So many try and fail. He also wrestled what many consider to be the single greatest tag team match in TV history, which was a far cry from somehow not having a good match with Darby.

Along similar lines...

 
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Contributor
Contributor

Michael Sidgwick is an editor, writer and podcaster for WhatCulture Wrestling. With over seven years of experience in wrestling analysis, Michael was published in the influential institution that was Power Slam magazine, and specialises in providing insights into All Elite Wrestling - so much so that he wrote a book about the subject. You can order Becoming All Elite: The Rise Of AEW on Amazon. Possessing a deep knowledge also of WWE, WCW, ECW and New Japan Pro Wrestling, Michael’s work has been publicly praised by former AEW World Champions Kenny Omega and MJF, and surefire Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Cody Rhodes. When he isn’t putting your finger on why things are the way they are in the endlessly fascinating world of professional wrestling, Michael wraps his own around a hand grinder to explore the world of specialty coffee. Follow Michael on X (formerly known as Twitter) @MSidgwick for more!