For anyone that can't figure out the bleeding obvious, WWE is a company that likes to have 'their guys' succeed, receiving the lion's share of air time, championship bouts and, of course, money.
Looking back through the history of the company, just about all of the personally pushed products have been at the forefront; Triple H, Randy Orton and John Cena are three that have been forced down every WWE fan's throats for the last decade, and even longer in Triple H's regard.
However, every now and then the fans combine their vocal cords and make enough noise that even a company as large as WWE can't ignore the rumbles.
Whether it's because they loved their indy work or simply believe they deserve more opportunities instead of the company serving up the same old routine, fans are dictating who the WWE pushes now more than ever.
As wrestling fans have become more aware that the product is in fact 'sports entertainment', the crowd support is generally based on who works hardest behind the scenes, something fans didn't have access to in the past.
Even if WWE can’t see certain wrestlers hanging around in the big time, they have no choice but to listen to the fans and allow those crowd favourites to flourish.
In modern times, the entire card is dictated by fan support; the following list highlights those who are succeeding in WWE almost solely due to unexpected fan support.
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15 Bray Wyatt
Having made many failed attempts previously, WWE against tried to introduce a dark character in the same vein as The Undertaker and Kane, and Bray Wyatt's ability on the microphone allowed him to become an initial success. However, despite having clear main event potential, Wyatt has been thrown from feud to feud in the last 12 months, generally coming out on the losing end in displays that could be perceived as jobbing. In fact, if not for the WWE Universe continuing to love and interact with Wyatt, you could likely say he would have been scrapped by now. It's not clear what has made Wyatt stand out from the many similar characters that have instantly flopped in the past 20 years, but fans are seemingly infatuated with Bray. Must be the beautiful beard.
If you had said Naomi would be one of the top heels in the Divas division just six months ago, most would have struggled to believe you. As a face, Naomi was struggling to connect with fans as a result of missing out on Divas Championship opportunities time and time again, with the likes of Paige and AJ Lee taking the spotlight. Having made a heel turn, Naomi's portrayal of having a chip on her shoulder has seen her finally be embraced by the WWE Universe after looking as though her character was stuck in limbo.
13 Becky Lynch
Having spent time in NXT as a fresh-faced good girl wanting to stand out, Becky Lynch's character took a turn for the positive when she sided with Sasha Banks in order to lift her standings in the women's division. After turning on Banks and cementing her spot as a face and adopting a steam punk gimmick, the NXT fans took to Lynch after she struggled to make any solid connection with them in years prior. As one of the Divas receiving main roster promotion as part of the Divas Revolution storyline, Lynch could have very well missed out on being included had she not clicked with the fans just one month earlier. As a result, she is now breaking out on the WWE roster rather than continuing to make a name for herself in NXT.
12 Kevin Owens
Upon first glance, there is nothing special about Kevin Owens. Having struggled for years to stand out on the independent scene, Owens finally got his opportunity to shine in NXT and was an instant hit with WWE fans. Despite his size, Owens is incredibly agile on top of being excellent on the microphone. Fans historically side with characters that are believable and real, and Owens' character of being a straight-up ass kicker who simply wants to make money to create a better life has seen him become an unlikely WWE success story.
11 Dolph Ziggler
Although Dolph Ziggler he wasn't exactly disregarded by fans, it was hard to imagine how popular he would become after his on-screen relationship with Vickie Guerrero. Having been seen as a perennial midcard wrestler despite previously winning the World Heavyweight Championship, Ziggler's popularity shot up during the 2014 Survivor Series event as he battled back from a large deficit to overthrow The Authority. Despite not going on to become the main event star he could be, much like Daniel Bryan has done in the past, Ziggler is a Raw highlight that has drawn comparisons to Shawn Michaels.
10 The Vaudevillains
Sometimes WWE fans throw a complete curve-ball at you when you try to predict who they will get behind and who they won't. When it comes to Aiden English and Simon Gotch, you could be forgiven for thinking a vaudeville gimmick tag team wasn't going to click with fans. However, the pair has been the subject of overwhelming support in the last two months especially, which culminated in The Vaudevillains winning the NXT Tag Team Championships at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn. Possessing personas that are entirely unique, it wouldn't be surprising to see The Vaudevillains have further success on the WWE main roster.
When you consider that Stardust's character didn't appear to be taking off at first, it's great to see him getting plenty of recognition from audiences. Although some of the positive feedback can be attributed to the passing of his father, Dusty Rhodes, Cody Rhodes has taken the character and turned it into something that is surprisingly enjoyable to watch. Rather than just playing a villain, there are deep-lying mental issues that are included which adds intrigue to the gimmick - Rhodes genuinely believes that he is Stardust rather than Cody Rhodes - which makes fans interested in seeing how it all plays out.
8 New Day
Watching the trio of Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods develop from a lame group to the top stable in WWE has been somewhat baffling. Effectively, the group took a sinking sail boat and turned it into a state of the art cruiser. Originally portrayed as a face stable pushing the power of positivity, fans reacted negatively and New Day looked headed for the scrap heap. However, the trio embraced the negative response and used it to subtly make a heel turn and oddly become 'cool' in the eyes of the WWE Universe. Wrestling fans are weird.
7 Tyler Breeze
It's clear for all to see that Tyler Breeze is a cocky, arrogant and completely vain character, one who would be very easy to hate. In fact, had the WWE Universe not clicked with the NXT star, it's not too hard to imagine he would be pushed out the door. Instead, Breeze has almost become an unintentional good guy, with his vanity becoming the reason behind his support rather than discontent amongst fans. Instead of becoming the latest superstar whose main trait is arrogance to fail, Breeze has gone from strength to strength, further adding to his flamboyant entrance and ring attire.
When Rusev made his WWE debut, Lana quickly became one of the most despised characters in wrestling, acting as the voice and advocate for the America-hating Bulgarian residing in Russia. In an odd twist of fate, fans suddenly began cheering Lana in 2015, despite her doing little more than trashing Americans on the microphone. After recognising the WWE Universe's change of heart, Lana made a face turn and eventually turned on the emotionally abusive Rusev for the more affectionate Dolph Ziggler, further boosting her popularity amongst male WWE fans.
5 Sami Zayn
When you consider the WWE's history of taking established independent wrestlers and completely reworking them, it wouldn't have been surprising to see Sami Zayn flop in NXT. However, the popularity of El Generico carried over, and despite currently being sidelined through injury, Zayn was well and truly the most popular wrestler in NXT before his rehabilitation. Having debuted on Raw in a United States Championship match against John Cena, Zayn is sure to continue where he left off when he makes his return.
While others flourished at the top of the NXT Divas division, Bayley always seemed to come close to claiming the NXT Women's Championship before having to restart at the bottom of the ladder. However, 2015 has seen Bayley suddenly become a hit with fans, especially young girls, and has resulted in her being crowned the NXT Champion. Although she wasn't included in the group of Divas to be promoted to the main roster, there is no doubting her sudden popularity and a main roster promotion is surely just around the corner.
3 Tyson Kidd
Given Tyson Kidd has struggled to break out in the WWE, it's odd to see that Kidd has suddenly found a large group of support after suffering a near-fatal injury. Having injured his neck and spine during a dark match with Samoa Joe in June, Kidd revealed just how severe the injury was on social media, with only 5% of people surviving his injury and most survivors ending up quadriplegic. Simply making an effort to return to the ring is impressive on its own and fans have been glued to Kidd's Twitter awaiting news of a return. When he does inevitably come back, he is sure to be an instant favorite.
It appeared as though Cesaro was headed for months of dark matches when tag team partner Tyson Kidd was sidelined with injury, but in a somewhat unexpected twist, Cesaro has been pushed as a genuine future main event wrestler. Fans have been waiting for Cesaro to receive a push from the WWE decision makers and now that it is finally happening, they are throwing their support behind the Swiss Superman. Those same decision makers have been public about supporting Cesaro as a competitor and things seem to have finally all fallen into place.
1 Dean Ambrose
You could be forgiven for thinking Dean Ambrose was going to be lost in the aftermath of The Shield, with Roman Reigns being pushed as a top face and Seth Rollins taken under The Authority's wing; if it weren't for Reigns being injured in late 2014, Ambrose may well and truly have faded off into the darkness. However, fans quickly embraced Ambrose after recognizing that he wasn't going to receive a singles push, and the Lunatic Fringe is arguably the single most popular wrestler - John Cena and Brock Lesnar aside - on the WWE roster.
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