The wrestling industry is built on connections. Word of mouth and good reputations will land many performers opportunities in various promotions. Wrestlers who possess star power or have earned a credible reputation backstage can help get friends an opportunity in WWE or other major companies to see if they stand a chance. There are other scenarios of a wrestler getting a friend out of trouble or preventing them from losing their job. It is good to have friends in high places when you are a wrestler trying to make a name in the wrestling business.
We'll look at some of the stories in wrestling history that feature careers being saved by other wrestlers. These wrestlers benefited from a friend either getting them hired or going to bat for them in a major way that impacted their livelihoods. These stories don’t necessarily have endings of every wrestler being saved getting to main event WrestleMania or become millionaires. However, they could have been in ugly situations if their pals didn’t step in to provide a helping hand. Find out if your favorite wrestler received help or provided help in changing a career for the better. Here are fifteen wrestlers that saved the careers of one of their peers.
15 Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash
Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash are linked together for their time together in the Kliq. Before they even became friends, Michaels saved Nash’s career. Michaels saw Nash on WCW television in horrible roles wasting his potential. WCW placed Nash in horrible gimmicks such as Oz the wizard and Vinnie Vegas the parody mobster.
14 Mark Henry and Neville
The backstage role of Mark Henry today has him working as a producer and talent scout after a long in-ring career. Henry has stated that he loves the behind the scenes job of contributing to the product by helping others. Braun Strowman and Apollo Crews are just two wrestlers to get discovered by WWE thanks to the recommendation of Henry to those in power backstage.
13 The Undertaker and Kane
The careers of Kane and The Undertaker will be linked together for their work as on-screen brothers. The Undertaker was obviously the bigger star and spent nearly three decades as a top name in the company. Glenn Jacobs struggled to find a role in WWE playing horrible characters such as Isaac Yankem DDS and the fake version of Diesel.
12 Evan Bourne and Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins is a top player in WWE today and is expected to be a main event fixture for the next decade. A shocking discovery is that Rollins wasn’t sure he would even join WWE when he signed a developmental contract many years ago. Rollins always had the dream of working for WWE, but he had a better financial offer from Impact Wrestling.
11 Kevin Nash and Buff Bagwell
The WCW career of Buff Bagwell is extremely impressive if you factor in that he flopped every time he was given a big push. Bagwell spent a full decade in the company until its dying day. WCW loved his look and believed he had potential to become a future main event star. The lowest point for him took place in the mid-90s when his American Males tag team with Scotty Riggs was no longer over with the fans.
10 Zelina Vega and Andrade Almas
Andrade “Cien” Almas winning the NXT Championship in November was a huge shock to those that have witnessed his entire NXT run. As recently as early 2017, Almas was struggling to get consistent television time and a spot on the TakeOver cards. The talent was clearly there, but fans just couldn’t connect with him. Almas displayed a lack of charisma and confidence wrestling without a mask for the first time since his success in Mexico.
9 Chris Jericho and Disco Inferno/Konnan/Cyrus
Chris Jericho has gone out of his way to help many of his friends in the wrestling business. Various wrestlers have received huge donations from Jericho when in need of financial help in tough times. Jericho took this to another level by offering jobs to his friends that he felt could benefit them all. Podcast One offered Jericho his own network known as The Jericho Network featuring a few shows.
8 Ted DiBiase and Virgil
The career of Virgil has basically been all in the shadow of Ted DiBiase. Both men were a package deal in WWE for many years when DiBiase was a top heel. The arrogant rich villain character made DiBiase arguably the top heel in the wrestling business for a few years. Virgil worked as his henchman and manservant doing ordinary tasks along with taking care of business for him in the ring.
7 Kevin Owens and Mike Kanellis
Mike Kanellis’ career is a tricky one to examine. During his time in Impact Wrestling as The Miracle, he did a lot of good work along with wife Maria Kanellis. Both wrestlers made the jump to the WWE in 2017 skipping NXT to join the SmackDown brand. Mike’s addiction to pain killers took him off television for a short time period and Maria getting pregnant ended the act from being pushed strongly due to more important things in their lives.
6 Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake
Hulk Hogan has wielded the most power of any wrestler in the history of the business. The power of Hogan in WWE during the 80s and WCW in the 90s allowed him to help many of his friends. Hogan would get various buddies hired in WWE. WCW took it to another level by basically hiring a dinner table worth of Hogan’s closest buddies.
5 Triple H and X-Pac
The friendship between the various members of the Kliq is still going strong today. One friendship to last the test of time is Triple H and X-Pac. They grew close during the mid-90s when both guys were trying to make a name in the mid-card picture. X-Pac left to join Kevin Nash and Scott Hall in WCW as a member of the New World Order. Unfortunately, he was treated with less respect and Eric Bischoff fired him while injured.
4 Booker T and The Boogeyman
Booker T is one of the most respected men in the wrestling industry after decades of hard work. The work ethic of Booker is the biggest reason that he had a longer and more successful career in WWE than most of the other wrestlers to come from WCW. WWE eventually respected him enough to take his recommendations of hiring talent.
3 The Miz and Mandy Rose
An odd instance of someone saving another wrestler’s career came on the Tough Enough reality show. This most recent competition took place in 2015 with The Miz replacing Hulk Hogan as a judge after the latter was fired from WWE for a racist tirade leaking. Mandy Rose was one of the standout talents on the show that was on the cutting block earlier than expected.
2 Kazuchika Okada and The Young Bucks
Kazuchika Okada and the Young Bucks shared one thing in common during their time in Impact Wrestling. The company treated them with zero respect and made them look like complete jokes. Okada was there as part of a talent excursion leading to New Japan cutting ties with TNA due to the anger from this poor use of their star. Despite the setback, Okada went on to become the top guy for NJPW and is still leading the company to huge success today.
1 Sting and Lex Luger
The friendship between Sting and Lex Luger became part of their on-screen characters in the 90s. Sting and Luger were well-known best friends as two guys that happened to stumble into the wrestling business. Both guys worked out at the same gym and eventually started running their own gyms together as a business venture outside of wrestling.
Luger made a huge move going to WWE in the early 90s with the idea of a massive push. WWE wanted him to be “the guy” replacing Hulk Hogan, but he flopped badly. Sting was the one to convince Eric Bischoff to bring Luger back to WCW. Bischoff hated Luger, but Sting talked him into stealing Luger away from WWE. Luger ended up being a top star making huge money for the rest of WCW’s existence.
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