WWE is always looking for extra talent to appear in segments. It's easier to use unknown wrestlers or people wanting to get in the business rather than an average actor or stunt person. The wrestlers hired will typically get paid very little or nothing at all because the talents are just looking to build connections and gain experience. It has led to many future stars having fun moments looking back in their history. Quite a few relevant wrestling names have surprising backstories in WWE before anyone really knew who they were.
These wrestlers received the opportunities to be extra talents through different circumstances. Some of them already worked for WWE in developmental getting the chance to work with the main roster stars with someone needed for extra work. Others were local talent called in to appear when WWE did a show in their area. The biggest benefit for WWE in using wrestlers in these sneaky spots is the fact that they're trained athletic professionals that understand the business. An average actor could mess something up easily without knowing the ins and outs. We'll take a look at fifteen of the sneakiest instances of wrestlers you didn’t realize appeared on WWE television.
15 CM Punk Is John Cena’s Gangster
CM Punk was a standout talent for WWE developmental from day one after his success in Ring of Honor. WWE decided to give him the honor of performing at WrestleMania 22 in a very minor role. John Cena had an elaborate fancy entrance with a group of gangsters coming out on his behalf as a throwback to 1940s Chicago.
It was a cool moment for Punk getting to see the large crowd in his home city. Punk used this moment many years later during his promo battles with Cena. The chances of one of the extras later feuding with the wrestler he worked with are highly unlikely, but Punk blossomed into a huge star for WWE. This moment at WrestleMania 22 remains one of the greatest Easter eggs in WWE history.
14 Jeff Hardy Carries Mabel
Many wrestlers had to metaphorically carry Mabel to good matches due to his lack of talent. Jeff Hardy had to literally carry him to the ring as an extra talent during the era of King Mabel. Following the King of the Ring victory, Mabel went all in with the King gimmick wearing a crown. WWE planned out an entrance for a show with Mabel being carried to the ring on a throne by many wrestlers holding it.
One of the guys carrying Mabel to the ring turned out to be a very young Jeff Hardy. At the age of 18, Hardy was already preparing his future as a professional wrestler after years of experience as a teenager. WWE gave Jeff small roles on the shows multiple times during his teenage years. The role carrying Mabel was one of many to help land him a job.
13 Cesaro & Ethan Carter III As Security
Another segment featuring future wrestling stars working with D-Generation X showed Cesaro and Ethan Carter III playing security guards. Shane McMahon entered the locker room of DX with hired security protecting him. Cesaro was a standout talent for various independent promotions at this point and EC3 was a local performer. WWE ended up attempting to sign both men shortly after this appearance.
Something changed to cause WWE to pull Cesaro’s contract back in 2006 but he ended up becoming a fixture in the company years later. EC3 was signed to a developmental deal months after the sneaky appearance under the name of Derrick Bateman. Both guys are relevant stars today and it is cool seeing them over a decade ago as security guards in a random Raw segment.
12 Johnny Gargano: Champion of Lichtenstein
The tag team of Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa as DIY is one of the best units in NXT today. Gargano became a huge star on the independent circuit before coming to WWE. The amazing selling ability and an explosive offense make him a tremendous all-around performer. Gargano has been involved in a few sneaky WWE appearances before joining NXT.
One appearance that especially stands out took place during the early push of MVP in the mid-2000s. MVP signed to SmackDown as a highly valued free agent that would often face unknown comedic talents for easy wins. Gargano wrestled as the “Champion of Lichtenstein” Cedrick Von Haussen in a silly costume doing the job for MVP. It wasn’t one of his better matches but it is a fun footnote in his early career.
11 Becky Lynch & Braun Strowman as Rosebuds
Adam Rose’s partying character gave television time to many relevant names. WWE would place developmental talents and local independent wrestlers in the Exotic Express of partiers wearing wacky costumes and dancing with Rose to the ring. Two of the biggest stars in WWE were a part of this when Becky Lynch and Braun Strowman played the Rosebuds during an episode of NXT.
Both wore colorful outfits looking like they were coming out of a Party City ad. Neither of the future stars were regulars on television yet. Lynch broke out shortly after as a standout talent in the NXT Women’s Division. Strowman never wrestled on NXT television as he moved to the main roster after his Performance Center training to join The Wyatt Family. It's a bizarre visual seeing the current top star living the party lifestyle.
10 Joey Ryan Can’t Believe Mark Henry’s Strength
One sneaky appearance by a wrestler on WWE television that slipped under the radar featured Joey Ryan at Summerslam 2011. The match between Mark Henry and Sheamus featured Henry using his strength to power slam Sheamus through the barricade in the first row. Ryan was spotted in the first row reacting in awe of seeing the move up close in person.
WWE likely placed him there for two major reasons. Ryan reacted with great excitement to influence the audience watching at home to understand the shock of the moment. The other reason is the fact that it's a dangerous spot given the fan sitting in the position. A wrestler sitting there puts him in danger’s way rather than risking someone suing WWE for a potential injury to come from it.
9 Tony Nese Gets Thrown By Bray Wyatt
Tony Nese is currently a member of the Cruiserweight Division, but he appeared on WWE television in the recent past in a different role. WWE booked Nese as a literal weapon in a match involving Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns. Nese played a random employee helping produce the show with a headset towards the producer area.
Wyatt grabbed Nese and used him as a human weapon to throw at Reigns. It was a cool spot and allowed him to use his wrestling experience. The fact that this happened to be a main event match also showed WWE had faith in Nese to be a professional for the elaborate spot. Nese ended up landing a contract with the company when they needed to sign cruiserweights. WWE will remember those that did a good job with the extra roles.
8 DDP The Driver
Diamond Dallas Page actually made his first WWE appearance many years before the WCW invasion storyline. WWE allowed him to be a part of an entrance during WrestleMania VI. Page drove Honky Tonk Man, Greg Valentine and Jimmy Hart to the ring for their match in a pink Cadillac. If not for the power of the internet, no one would have likely ever noticed this given how hard it is to spot the driver’s face during the entrance.
DDP would sign with WCW and become a star during the Monday Night Wars many years later. The WWE appearance before his wrestling career truly took off may have actually been the best WWE moment of his career. They sadly never did much with Page when he came over following the death of WCW.
7 Tye Dillinger Is Stan
The backstage antics of D-Generation X led to Tye Dillinger having a cool appearance in WWE over a decade ago. Shawn Michaels tried to prove his reputation of being a controversial figure in the wrestling business. Dillinger played a backstage employee doing his job as Michaels walked up to him to ask his name. Upon Dillinger saying his name was Stan, Michaels gave him a super kick.
DX struggled to connect with comedic segments during the mid-2000s. This was actually one of the better ones with many jokes to come from it online. Dillinger was in WWE developmental at the time still looking to get to the main roster. All these years later, Triple H is the one to give him a chance in NXT and Dillinger is now on the SmackDown Live brand.
6 Dolph Ziggler Protects Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle and Dolph Ziggler are two rare wrestlers to have strong amateur wrestling backgrounds before entering WWE. Another thing they have in common is the fact that they worked together during a forgotten segment in 2005. Angle came to the ring with his own personal security guards during an episode of SmackDown. WWE used a couple of developmental wrestlers in the role, including current star Ziggler.
Both Ken Doane and Ziggler were spotted as security guards and they went on to become members of the Spirit Squad. It proved WWE viewed both as potential future players on the main roster and looked for opportunity. Doane would get released after a short main roster career but Ziggler has remained employed to this very day. If Angle gets cleared to wrestle, Ziggler would be an ideal opponent.
5 The Young Bucks Cosplay As DX
The Young Bucks are known for doing super kicks and crotch chops in both satire and tribute to D-Generation X. Funny enough, Matt and Nick Jackson actually appeared in WWE dressing as Triple H and Shawn Michaels during an edition of The Dirt Sheet. John Morrison and The Miz were in a short-time feud with DX and used the segment to mock their rivals.
Matt and Nick dressed as Triple H and Michaels doing the DX entrance before Miz and Morrison beat them up. The Young Bucks have become huge stars outside of WWE as one of the best tag teams in the world. They adopted some things learned from DX to help them become big names. You can’t script out things playing out as fitting as this one did.
4 Tommaso Ciampa The Lawyer
NXT star Tommaso Ciampa is a great addition to the roster today as one half of DIY with Johnny Gargano as his partner. WWE employed Ciampa over a decade ago in the developmental system. They used him as an extra talent for a segment with The Undertaker of all people. Ciampa played a lawyer threatening Undertaker on behalf of Muhammad Hassan.
Naturally, Ciampa found his way on the bad side of Undertaker resulting in a beat down. Ciampa never got called up and WWE eventually released him. The hard work on the independent circuit landed Ciampa an opportunity in NXT that he would make the most of. Today, he has a bright future in the company, but his first stint on the main roster will always be the segment with Undertaker.
3 Rob Van Dam Kisses Ted DiBiase’s Foot
A sneaky moment of a future star appearing on WWE television featured Rob Van Dam getting involved in a Ted DiBiase segment. This actually wasn’t planned like the rest of instances on this list. DiBiase was in the midst of his arrogant wealthy heel character. The segments would show him offering fans to do humiliating things as a way to show his power.
DiBiase wanted a fan to kiss his foot in exchange for $100 during a show that Van Dam attended as a fan. RVD was selected and went through with kissing the foot for the money. No one would have predicted he would go on to become a huge star in the wrestling world. Van Dam actually went on to win the WWE Championship for an accomplishment that the legendary DiBiase never secured.
2 Lita Appears In A Role She’d Like To Forget
The Attitude Era gave us characters like The Godfather. WWE allowed him to play a pimp with his own personal “ho's” leading him to the ring each week. Unlike other instances of WWE looking for local wrestlers, they frequently hired local exotic dancers for the role. There were a few wrestlers selected for the spots as Lita played one of the them accompanying Godfather to the ring one week.
Wrestlers would take any gig to get noticed by WWE and it eventually worked out when they hired her to manage Essa Rios. Lita went on to become one of the biggest women’s wrestling stars of all time. It wasn’t the best extra talent role but she used it to achieve success. Victoria is another future star that played one of Godfather’s women, proving good things could come from the less than wonderful introductions to WWE.
1 Alexa Bliss, Charlotte and Sasha Banks appear with Papa Hunter
Triple H is currently viewed as the proud papa of NXT singing the praises of the young stars he helped get to the main roster. The women’s revolution may be the best thing to come out of NXT creating a new credible world for the female performers of the business. Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss are arguably the top three women on the roster right now.
All three were handpicked by Triple H to play a role in his WrestleMania XXX entrance for his match with Daniel Bryan. WWE wanted to hire models to stand by his side for the entrance that played up his King character. Banks, Flair and Bliss all were shown in the WWE 24 special ecstatic about having a role on such a big stage. It was only the beginning with all three participating in title matches at WrestleMania 33 this year.