It's no secret that it can take some time for a wrestler to make it all "click." Whether it's a dull moveset or a clash of looks vs their storytelling style, it can take years for a wrestler to figure out what works and what doesn't. When that fails, sometimes a wrestler needs to accept that they've got to scrap what they have and try again.
While a do-over isn't a guaranteed success, it has led to some of the most significant and memorable characters in wrestling. Many of them would go on to popularize and rejuvenate the promotions they worked for. Here are ten top wrestlers whose reboots saved their careers.
10 Hollywood Hulk Hogan
In the mid-90s, Hulkamania was no longer running wild, and the increasingly cartoonish aspects of WCW were doing nothing to capture the viewers. Then, with the arrival of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, things began to change. This led to one of the greatest heel turns in wrestling history.
Rebranded as Hollywood Hulk Hogan, suddenly the Hulkster was something he hadn't been considered for quite some time; cool. From his use of "Voodoo Child" as a theme to finally getting to be the heel he had long been seen as by the fans, the Real American would herald in the N.W.O., a faction still remembered and mimicked today.
First introduced to us as Deacon Batista, a bodyguard for Reverend D-von, we're left scratching our head whenever we try to think of what the WWE had planned with this angle and characters.
Quickly dropping the title of Deacon, Batista soon joined forces with Triple H, Ric Flair and Randy Orton to form the villainous faction Evolution, where he would be the powerhouse of the team. From here on, he set the wrestling world on fire when he eventually split from the group and took down Triple H, a foe he would remain undefeated against until his curtain call at WrestleMania 35.
Glenn Jacobs certainly had a time of it in his early years with the WWE. From Issac Yankem to Fake Diesel, he struggled to find a character that got over with the fans. Due to his impressive physique, Vince stuck with Glenn, as he knew there was something special here. At Bad Blood in 1997, we would see Kane for the first time, in what would be remembered as one of the most surprising debuts in wrestling history.
The Big Red Machine was a monster, but one that the fans were immediately enamored by. Having tombstoned his brother to close out the inaugural Hell in a Cell match (and proving himself a dab hand in more comedic angles in later years), Kane is a character that will forever stand the test of time.
One of the unlikelier reboots, but you would be hard pressed to find someone who didn't loathe this dastardly heel. Originally introduced to us as Bradshaw, this tough, no-nonsense beer guzzler (and temporary cultist) would devastate opponents with the clothesline from Hell.
Then, one day we were treated to the rich playboy antics of JBL, a character Vince McMahon reportedly viewed as being a babyface. Instead, alongside his faction The Cabinet, he would go on to dominate as the WWE champion for months, until finally losing the title to John Cena at WrestleMania 21.
6 Broken (Or Woken) Matt Hardy
Matt Hardy, as popular as he was in the Attitude Era, stood in Jeff Hardy's shadow. As the years went on, he would be considered the "Jannetty" of the duo, with his brother's singles run proving that Jeff was a bonafide star.
However, Matt is far more versatile when it comes to character work. Having gone through a variety of revamps, from Matt V1 to Big Money Matt, it would be his "Broken" persona that would become the talk of the wrestling world. With a bizarre look, absurd accent and often hilarious way of describing his opponents, Broken Matt Hardy would prove so successful that he found the WWE desperate for his triumphant return.
5 The Rock
Initially introduced to us as Rocky Maivia, this smiling babyface was destined for greater things, but it would take a while to see it. As Rocky Maivia, he struggled to win the crowd over. He eventually settled into the Nation of Domination, where he would dub himself The Rock.
Arming himself with iconic catchphrases and the most electrifying move in sports entertainment, The People's Elbow, his change of character would catapult him into stardom. He rose to the Hollywood elite, where he has gone on to become one of the biggest movie stars in the world.
4 Bray Wyatt
Coming up as part of the Nexus, Husky Harris was promptly put out of commission when Randy Orton gave him a punt kick. After this, Husky would go back to NXT. Enter Bray Wyatt.
With everything that happened Bray since, it's easy to forget just how captivating he was in his initial debut. The Wyatt Family's feud with the Shield is one of the highlights of the new era. Sadly, Bray's status has fallen in the past year, but with the inception of the Firefly Funhouse, his character looks to be making a return soon.
3 Triple H
Now seen as the current Number Two of the company, few recall that Triple H was introduced to the WWE as a man of status who insisted on proper etiquette at all times. Two years later, as a founding member of D-Generation X, he would shorten his name to HHH, leading to one of the most substantial character changes ever.
As HHH, he would gain many monikers. From the Cerebral Assassin to The King of Kings, his crowning achievement as a character was at WrestleMania 2000, where he became the first heel ever to win the WrestleMania main event. Outside the ring, he brings his knowledge and experience to NXT, as he guides and mentors the next generation of superstars.
2 Cody Rhodes
Cody went through a plethora of gimmicks in his time with the WWE. From his time in The Legacy to becoming "Dashing" and his complete change over as Stardust, Cody did what he could with every opportunity given. Once he left the WWE, he became "The American Nightmare."
Under his new persona, Cody (don't call him) Rhodes may be one of the most significant reboots in wrestling history. Whereas others stole ratings from or propelled the WWE to heights hitherto unseen, the ensuing rise of The Elite and creation of AEW may only exist due to Cody taking the chance and betting on himself.
1 Stone Cold Steve Austin
A list like this wouldn't be complete without mentioning Steve Austin. Having initially come to RAW as the Ringmaster, there's another timeline where Austin's push for mic time never happens, denying us the famous Austin 3:16 moment that leads to the creation of the Stone Cold persona.
The year since that promo would slowly define the character, his meteoric rise finally coalescing after his now-legendary match against Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13. Without Steve Austin, there may be no Attitude Era, no feud with Vince McMahon and even (maybe this one isn't such a good thing) no villainous authority figures. Stone Cold Steve Austin, much like Ric Flair and Bruno Sammartino, is an era-defining talent, one we may never see the likes of again.