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World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE is the home to hundreds of talented wrestlers. There are several superstars performing in WWE today. Out of these superstars, some find success while some don’t. If you look at the most successful wrestlers today, you can see that some of them are 2nd and 3rd generation superstars like Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, The Rock etc. while others found success in Independent Wrestling Promotions before coming to WWE like Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, CM Punk, Dean Ambrose etc.
However, there are certain stars who came to WWE without having any prior success in independent Wrestling Promotions. They didn’t even belong to a Professional Wrestling Family. Some of them even had mediocre starts but their passion, dedication and hard work led them to success. 7 such superstars are listed below.
The Miz was a part of WWE’s reality show Tough Enough in 2004. He ended up as the runner-up. Eventually, The Miz was signed by WWE and sent to WWE’s development territory. The Miz made his Smackdown debut in 2006 and from there, his main roster journey started and the rest is history. He formed a tag team with John Morrison in 2007 which lasted for more than a year. The team split up when Miz was drafted to Raw in 2009 while Morrison was sent to Smackdown.
The Miz feuded with John Cena for a while. The Miz won his first singles title on October 5, 2009 when he defeated Kofi Kingston for the US title and within 3 years, The Miz became a Grandslam champion in 2012. The Miz has proved himself to be an amazing talent. He is good in the ring. He cuts amazing promos. Almost all of his feuds as a heel have been entertaining so far. His on and off rivalry with Daniel Bryan has been one of the best rivalries of the modern era.
Stone Cold Steve Austin competed in WCW and ECW before coming to WWE. Although Stone Cold competed in several different promotions before coming to WWE, he never actually found any success. Steve Austin made his WWE debut in 1995 but he rose to prominence with his feud against the Hart Family. His amazing performance against Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 13 made him a fan favorite.
Steve Austin’s feud with Vince Mcmahon and his rebellious nature made him one of the biggest superstars in WWE’s history. Austin became a multi-time World Champion and main-evented almost every show he was a part of. WWE has tried to create another Steve Austin using the same formula with many superstars like Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose etc. but failed every time. Stone Cold’s legacy can’t be duplicated and can only be cherished.
Triple H joined WWE in 1995. He was a prominent part of the Intercontinental Title picture but his journey to success started when he became a part of DX with Shawn Michaels and others. Triple H started finding himself in story-lines involving the McMahons. He even became the WWF Champion multiple times during this phase. Triple H even married Stephanie McMahon in real life. Triple H formed a tag team with Steve Austin in 2001 which didn’t last long as Triple H got injured and was sidelined for almost a year, missing the entire Invasion story-line.
Today, Triple H is not only a 14 time world Champion, but also the CEO of WWE. He also runs NXT and 205 Live, both of which are highly appreciated by the WWE Universe for their amazing matches and exceptional story-lines. He still wrestles as a part-timer and puts on amazing matches whenever he steps inside the ring. Triple H is likely to succeed Vince McMahon as the next Chairman of WWE.
Edge joined The Brood, a stable with his story-line brother Christian and leader Gangrel. The stable disbanded in 1999 but Edge continued his team with Christian. Edge and Christian found success as a tag team and their triple threat Ladder matches with The Dudley Boyz and The Hardy Boyz at Wrestlemania 2000 and Wrestlemania 17 became cult-classics and are even praised today. Edge was sidelined for more than a year with a career-threatening neck injury in 2003.
Edge returned in 2004 and turned heel shortly. Edge quickly rose to the top and became an 11 time World Champion. Edge’s amazing feuds with Matt Hardy, John Cena, Mick Foley and The Undertaker and his extreme matches with them made him one of the biggest superstars of the Ruthless Aggression era. Edge had to retire in 2011 due to his neck injuries and was inducted into the Hall of Fame the very next year. To say that Edge was one of the best heels of the Ruthless Aggression era would be a huge understatement.
Most of the wrestlers we have discussed in this article rose to the top after giving many years of their life to WWE but there is a superstar who made a huge impact in WWE in just 2 years. That superstar is The Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar. Brock debuted in March 2002, and within 5 months, Lesnar defeated The Rock to become the youngest WWE Champion. Brock Lesnar then ruled Smackdown during the entire year of 2003 and early 2004 before his departure in March 2004. Brock Lesnar, in just 2 years, became a 3 time WWE Champion and a royal rumble winner.
Brock’s success led him to UFC where he found success too and he returned to WWE in 2012. Brock now wrestles as a part-timer and is one of the top superstars. He has held the Universal Championship for nearly 500 days now. Even The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania was broken by Brock Lesnar. Brock Lesnar is one of the most successful superstars produced by WWE and his success knows no bounds.
John Felix Anthony Cena, who debuted in WWE against Kurt Angle in a losing effort, was appreciated heavily for his amazing display of heart during the match. Within one year, John Cena became one of the biggest superstars on Smackdown. Within one year, John Cena had already feuded with the likes of The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. John Cena’s rise to the top began in 2005 when he won his first WWE Championship from JBL at Wrestlemania 21.
John Cena became a hero to millions. As a part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he has granted over 500 wishes. He is a 16 time world champion, a 2-time royal rumble winner, a 6-time Wrestlemania main-eventer and the biggest merchandise seller in WWE. He is now a part-timer and is focusing on his Hollywood career but what he has done for WWE, both inside and outside the ring, as a performer and as a hope-inspiring hero is remarkable and his name will be remembered forever.
One of the most loyal and long-lasting superstars in WWE is The Undertaker. The Undertaker had various character changes during the early part of his career but he finally became The Undertaker that we know today when he was revealed as Ted Dibiase’s partner at Survivor Series 1990. For nearly 28 years, The Undertaker has entertained the WWE Universe with his presence. The Undertaker has feuded with and has had matches with almost all the top superstars of the past, present and the future. The Undertaker even has an amazing Wrestlemania record of 24-2.
Even in 2018 at the age of 53, The Undertaker has more charisma and heart than many young performers of the current roster. His returns are still anticipated by almost everyone. Every time he shows up, he gets cheered. Every time he cuts a promo, the WWE Universe listens. The Deadman gimmick has been one of the most successful gimmicks in professional wrestling history and The Undertaker has portrayed his character with full dedication and loyalty.