Some people believe that friendship doesn’t matter in the wrestling business but they couldn’t be more wrong. The theory that only one person can be the top star in a company is true. However, friendship benefits in many other ways when it comes to getting pushed, receiving opportunities or just getting hired. Many talents to get hired in the wrestling business were signed thanks to having friends in the right places. There have been cases of top names using their power to get buddies hired. Other instances have seen ordinary wrestlers just pass along some information regarding a talented free agent.
We'll take a look at different examples of this happening through the years in various wrestling companies. Everyone wants to work for a relevant promotion on national television such as WWE today. WCW and ECW had a similar track record when it came to wrestlers trying hard to get a job there during their peaks. This has existed in wrestling for the entire existence as friends will network and try to get work through others. Let’s take a look at them all with fifteen stories of wrestlers being responsible for other wrestlers getting signed to a deal with WWE and other promotions.
15 Shawn Michaels: Kevin Nash
The combination of Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash for WWE in the 90s led to success for both men. Michaels looked like a far bigger star having the big man as his bodyguard. Nash entered in a major way working with a credible star right away. Michaels actually was responsible for it happening when watching Nash wasting away in WCW under comedic characters.
Vince McMahon was convinced by Michaels to hire Nash as Diesel. The big man working as Michaels’ bodyguard gave them a ready-made story to feud as well once splitting up. Nash actually won the WWE Championship first leading to a feud between the two. Michaels and Nash had some of their best matches against each other before Nash went back to WCW.
14 Enzo Amore: Liv Morgan
Enzo Amore and Liv Morgan is a more recent instance of a wrestler getting someone else an opportunity with WWE. The two worked together at a Hooters location in New Jersey before WWE ever knew of them. Enzo received his chance first after his connection with Triple H’s trainer Joe DeFranco. This would get Enzo hired leading to him becoming a popular NXT star.
Enzo passed on the power of connections by helping Morgan get a Performance Center tryout. The coaches were impressed with her work ethic and saw potential in her. Liv has been in NXT for a few years now. Amore’s intentions weren’t of the purest form as he ended up in a relationship with her shortly after getting her the tryout. The couple has since split but both remain employed by WWE.
13 Evan Bourne: Seth Rollins
A little known fact about Seth Rollins signing with WWE is that he almost didn’t do it. Rollins was having great success in Ring of Honor as the face of the growing promotion and made a living there. TNA offered a great deal as well offering to give him a push on national television back at a time when there was more optimism regarding the promotion.
Rollins talked to friend Matt Sydal (former WWE star Evan Bourne) about second guessing his WWE deal. Bourne told him about all the benefits of working with WWE and gave him the confidence to confirm he would be taking WWE’s offer. Rollins ended up becoming one of the top stars of this generation. Bourne would unfortunately get released but he helped a friend thrive in the WWE.
12 Mark Henry: Braun Strowman
The success of Braun Strowman this year has made him one of the top Raw stars. Strowman looked like another generic big man before showing off his athletic ability and getting booked to decimate Roman Reigns. The level of experience for Braun in wrestling is less than the vast majority of wrestlers on the main roster.
WWE hired Strowman based off a wrestler unofficially scouting him. Mark Henry has stated in various interviews that he was the one to tell Vince McMahon and others about signing Strowman to a Performance Center contract. Strowman has confirmed this statement, as the two became friends after he competed at an Arnold Strongman Classic event and Henry attempted to get him into WWE. The rest is history with Braun now being pushed to the moon.
11 Mark Henry (via Wale): Apollo Crews
Another signing thanks to Mark Henry saw WWE reach out to Apollo Crews in 2015. Hip hop star Wale actually found his way in the middle of this. Wale is a mutual friend of both Crews and Henry for many years now. The work of Crews on the independent circuit as Uhaa Nation made Wale reach out to Henry telling him to keep an eye on him for WWE.
Henry talking to Vince McMahon and Triple H saw Crews get signed by WWE and become an immediate star in NXT. Despite Crews struggling to find a role on the main roster, it is viewed as another good call by Henry. WWE is now using Henry in a backstage role transitioning him into a position scouting talent and helping young talent on the roster.
10 Triple H: X-Pac
The Monday Night Wars featured most of the wrestlers jumping back and forth between WWE and WCW trying to find the best deal. Sean “X-Pac” Waltman did this during the hot period for WCW when the New World Order took over the wrestling industry. Waltman hoped to find similar success to his best friends Kevin Nash and Scott Hall.
Eric Bischoff never viewed Waltman as anything more than a lower-card performer and actually fired him when injured. Vince McMahon was hesitant about bringing back some of the former stars that turned their backs on him to join WCW. Triple H talked him into signing X-Pac once again to start the next chapter of D-Generation X as he unofficially replaced the retired Shawn Michaels. It was a great signing as DX continued growing in popularity.
9 Ted DiBiase: Virgil
Another situation that featured two old friends helping each other out during the Monday Night Wars saw Ted DiBiase get Virgil hired by WCW. Both men worked together for quite some in WWE when Virgil was the manager, bodyguard and manservant of DiBiase. They worked well together until a split that led to a failed Virgil singles push.
Virgil disappeared for a few years until DiBiase joined WCW to become the benefactor of the New World Order. DiBiase put in a good word for Virgil as the nWo needed extra bodies to pose as an intimidating threat. Under the new name of Vincent, he would get paid very well for a few years to mostly stand in the background of nWo promos and take part in group beat downs. Virgil actually lasted longer in WCW than DiBiase.
8 Kevin Owens: Mike and Maria Kanellis
The signing of Mike and Maria Kanellis by WWE came as a surprise. As a married couple in real life, Mike and Maria worked in wrestling together as well. The heel worked achieved a lot in Ring of Honor, New Japan and Impact Wrestling. Mike confirmed on Edge and Christian’s podcast that they were going to re-sign with Impact before a conversation with Kevin Owens.
The comments of Owens saw him state that signing with Impact would be a stupid move and to wait a little longer on WWE. William Regal reached out to Mike and Maria shortly after offering a contract that allowed them to skip NXT to start on the main roster right away. Unfortunately, Mike has been used in a lesser role as he needed some time off to deal with an addiction to prescription medication. Maria is now pregnant as Mike continues his sobriety working as an enhancement talent but still living his dream in WWE.
7 Hulk Hogan: Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake
The recent falling out between long time best friends Hulk Hogan and Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake has become a hilarious story in the world of wrestling. Beefcake, also known as Ed Leslie, spent the majority of his career getting paid a lot of money specifically because Hogan asked WWE and WCW to. The two wrestlers pretended to be brothers as a tag team act before Hogan signed with WWE.
Hogan achieving massive success in WWE as the first mainstream wrestling celebrity gave him a lot of power. One of his moves was to get McMahon to hire and push Beefcake. This continued for many years as Leslie once again received a great contract in WCW to do very little solely due to being Hogan’s best friend. These days are over as Hogan being close with Beefcake’s ex-wife and Beefcake writing a tell all book is putting an end to the friendship for good.
6 Marc Mero: Sable
Sable became one of the first major female stars in WWE getting huge ovations and selling merchandise during the Attitude Era. There weren’t even any real plans for Sable to join the company until her then husband Marc Mero convinced her and WWE it would be a good idea. Sable was a model and aspiring actress before joining WWE.
The company introduced her as one of Triple H’s valets that Mero would save from the dastardly wrestler. Sable and Marc worked together on screen for quite some time with Sable surpassing him in popularity right away. Marc would lose matches and get powerbombed by his wife on many occasions. Top stars like Steve Austin refused to work with him for selling for a woman. It ended up hurting Marc’s career but made Sable a huge star.
5 Batista: Titus O'Neil
Active WWE star Titus O’Neil originally got signed back in 2009 thanks to a connection with Batista. The star power of Batista made him one of the top names in the company for the latter half of the 2010s decade. It made his word mean more to management and he used to help out a friend. O’Neil and Batista lived in the same neighborhood and became close.
Batista suggested WWE give Titus a chance due to his athletic background in college football. O’Neil received a developmental contract and has been in WWE for over eight years now. Batista actually tried talking O’Neil into quitting back when he was suspended for playfully roughhousing with Vince McMahon on television. His friend being punished harshly for something silly pissed him off. Titus however remains with WWE and is still a good friend of Batista.
4 Konnan: Rey Mysterio
The hiring of many talented wrestlers from Mexico in WCW during the Monday Night Wars added something new and unique. Rey Mysterio is regarded as the most successful luchador. Between his colorful masks and the high-flying innovative wrestling style, Mysterio made fans care about the cruiserweight division as well as giving a chance to other luchadors.
Konnan actually was the one responsible for Rey and some of the other luchadors getting signed. WCW first signed Konnan due to his success in Mexico as a top face draw. Konnan found some success in WCW and earned enough respect to pitch hiring a few other wrestlers. Mysterio being one of Konnan’s best friends and the most talented wrestlers got him a spot in WCW that changed his career forever.
3 Kevin Nash: Torrie Wilson
Another interesting WCW signing based off a connection came when Torrie Wilson joined the company. Torrie was pursuing a career in acting and just attended a WCW show as a fan with her boyfriend at the time. They had backstage passes to mingle behind the scenes. Wilson ended up getting offered a small role walking to the ring with Scott Steiner.
Kevin Nash saw money in Wilson as a talent and wanted to work with her in a storyline. This led to him getting her signed to a contract to start working on television right away. Wilson spent the final few years of WCW’s existence as a successful valet in many storylines. WWE hired her after the buyout of WCW and she ended up becoming one of the most successful talents to make the jump. Torrie made a lot of money to live comfortably thanks to Nash going to bat for her in WCW.
2 Pat Patterson: The Rock
The Rock could be argued as the greatest signing in WWE history. Some would argue that any talented wrestler could have thrived in Hulk Hogan’s 80s role and that anyone could see how Steve Austin was. Rock signed with no wrestling experience aside from growing up in the business watching his father and grandfather do it for WWE.
Pat Patterson was the person in WWE that Rock connected with when asking for an opportunity. The future of Rock was up in the air after his football career failed and he needed to make a living. His natural talent and unparalleled charisma made him an obvious star once WWE tried him out. Rock achieved as much as anyone in a relatively short WWE career before moving on to success in Hollywood.
1 The Undertaker: Kane
One of the closest friendships on-screen and off screen features Kane and The Undertaker. Both guys are regarded among the greatest big man in WWE history. Undertaker was already a major star with a great deal of influence when Kane was trying to get hired. They worked together on live events when Kane had the horrible gimmicks of Fake Diesel and Isaac Yankem.
Undertaker reportedly pitched Glenn Jacobs as the man to play the Kane character due to believing in his talent and having a mutual respect. The character of Kane would be tied to Undertaker forever considering it was his long lost brother. Undertaker wanted Jacobs to get this role and finally land a full-time spot in WWE. It worked to perfection as Kane has been a successful character for over two decades now.