Originally Posted by TheRainKing
I just picked what came up on google image search. The only filtering I did was to make sure the pictures I chose were not too big or small.
Type those names in on google image search for yourself and you'll see practically the same pattern. The current roster look jolly, colourful and fake; whereas the old stars look tough and intimidating.
Many of those old stars stuck around and can still be seen wrestling these days. Interestingly enough, one of those guys got his big break in 2004 after having his look altered from the one you posted.
You mention the importance of image and I completely agree that it's a key selling point for the business. The notion of look is not limited to the physique, but also the presentation of their character; namely strengths, individuality and their placement in a particular story. Creating a compelling image and personality is paramount. Of course believability is important, but that is also a result of adequate booking that cements the position in the eyes of viewers.
I think Batista was the beneficiary of fantastic booking and great backing, particularly in his fued with Evolution which saw him rise through to the Main Event . That's not a knock on him as a performer personally, even though I don't care much for his talents. He is an important example of the role playing up the strengths of a performer (even if they may only be marginal) and fully accentuating them through the character's image. His physique was important in establishing his 'toughness', but his overall
image was the thing that stood out in the minds of viewers. Remember the tweaks in his attire as he became heel later on? His image became a little more outlandish and attention-grabbing which worked well into his prima donna- esque attitude.