A journey of a wrestler in the world of sports and entertainment starts with the smallest steps. It is never certain whether the wrestler will indeed be a big star like the legendary Hulk Hogan or remain a mid-card star or worse spend most of his career even below that level. There are various factors that go into a development of a character of a wrestler - his in-ring ability, his ability to connect with the audience, his charisma, his mic-skills and then there is that ‘X-factor’ which can elevate one from the mid-card roster to becoming a main-eventer.
There are various stars who come through the ranks to the big stage and people go “Yes, I think this guy will make it big. He is a future main-eventer.” and then as years pass by for one reason or another his character just does not make it past even the first hurdle.
The stories of failures in the wrestling business are dime a dozen but in this article, we look at the opposite spectrum. We look at stars who started off low-key and not many fans would actually put their finger on these superstars and call them future main-eventers. Here, we look at top 15 superstars who were not expected to be huge stars but they defied the odds and became top names in the business.
Today, Batista is a Hollywood star, a multiple-time WWE Champion, has held numerous titles in the WWE and was a part of one of the most dominant stables in WWE, Evolution. Batista initially began training in WCW's Power Plant and was told by WCW trainer DeWayne Bruce that he'd never make it in the business.
14 Nikki Bella
After a brief trial with the WWE in the late 1990s, Fatu made a return to the company in 2002 as a part of a tag-team named 3-Minute Warning, a pair of enforcers for Raw GM Eric Bischoff with the name ‘Jamal’. But even that did not last long as the tag team was released within a year.
12 Jeff Hardy
11 The Miz
9 Bray Wyatt
8 Mark Henry
7 John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield
6 Trish Stratus
5 Dolph Ziggler
4 Daniel Bryan
2 Triple H
1 Stone Cold Steve Austin
Speaking of the MSG incident involving ‘The Kliq’ and Triple H, the person who most profited from that was the Texas Rattlesnake, Stone Cold Steve Austin. If it was not for that incident and the original plan of Triple H winning the 1996 King of the Ring would not be scrapped, the birth of Austin 3:16 might have never happened. It was after winning the King of the Ring that Austin delivered his epic promo telling Jake Roberts. “You sit there and you thump your Bible, and you say your prayers, and it didn't get you anywhere! Talk about your Psalms, talk about John 3:16... Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!"
From being The Ringmaster to being ‘Stone Cold, Austin to date remains one of the main reasons for WWE’s surge in ratings during the late 1990s and into the new millennium and that’s the bottom line cause well, it just is.
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