Amid the news of the reboot of Gladiators, Michael Van Wijk (Wolf) looks unrecognisable now after two decades.

Many of the most popular shows in the 90s and early 00s have announced comebacks in some form. Fast-forward to present day, and some stars from the series look drastically different.

The Gladiators, which was a hit in several countries as well as the UK, saw two male and two female contestants compete in a series of physical events. They were pinned against each other in which they had to prove their strength, agility and skill in gruelling challenges. As only one could reach the final and win the grand prize, the tension rose with each round.

While the new edition of the series won’t feature all the popular 90s Gladiators, it will include several challengers that longtime fans of the show will instantly recognise.

Bad guy Wolf on Gladiators

Wolf opens Blockbuster Reading
Photo by Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Michael is best known for his iconic and unforgettable long-haired looks as the big bad Wolf on Gladiators. He rose to fame as one of the most popular bodybuilders in the show, and for hilarious reactions towards his hatred of losing.

Wolf was one of the main stars and appeared in every series. Becoming one of its most recognisable faces amongst its cast, his signature facial expression also joined him on this feat.

However, the grumpiest ones always end up being some of the nicest, and Michael grew a soft spot for his thousands of fans.

The Gladiators are back

The excitement of Gladiators has been building up to longtime fans who spent their mornings and afternoon tuning in to the new episodes of Gladiators. The sports entertainment show ran for eight years, attracting 13 million viewers at the time. After more than two decades and a spin-off in between, it’s set to return in 2023.

The BBC confirmed it would be making its comeback with an 11-episode series. Instead of using its old cast, it would bring a new generation of “superhumans” that would be competing against each other to prove their “ultimate test of speed and strength”.

As per Mail Online, the famous ‘Wolf’ himself revealed the reboot’s line-up won’t be bringing on the same vibes as the 90s cast. He claimed it will be more of a “photocopy of the originals”.

Explaining how his life had changed after Gladiators, the 69-year-old said: “After Gladiators it all became crazy. Even now when I get back home and come through the airport the customs guys put their thumbs up and everyone wants a photo. The recognition is still there which is nice.”

A new look

Years later and with a new life thousands of miles away, he now looks unrecognisable in a new look. He was known for his earthy look and long hair, now many would not believe that he is now spotting a shaved head.

After his popularity in the series, the bodybuilder traded in his life in the UK. He moved to New Zealand with his wife Paula for a more tranquil lifestyle. Since then, the athlete opened various gyms.

Over the years, the bodybuilder has shared several selfies through his Instagram account. Showing that his body is still in shape, even though he no longer has his long curly hair.


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