The path to WWE superstardom usually begins when a wrestler catches the eye of the right people and catches on with a major promotion like WWE, TNA or ROH. But sometimes, that’s not the case. Sometimes, wrestlers have to follow an unusual path before they reach the big time, and it’s surprising just how many wrestling legends have done just that.
1. Triple H
Helmsley was born into a wealthy family; his father was wrestling promoter Vince McMahon’s godson. After college, he became part of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), where he soon became a favorite and turned heel in 1997, forming D-Generation X with Shawn Michaels. His most recent role is as the Chief Operating Officer of WWE – one of the leading figures in world wrestling.
2. Kurt Angle
A two-time Olympic gold medalist and a WWE Hall of Fame wrestler, Kurt Angle is one of the most accomplished athletes in the world. Kurt was a wrestling fan from an early age and knew that he wanted to become a pro wrestler. His hard work paid off when he began wrestling for ECW in 1996, then joined WWE in 1998. Throughout his career, Kurt would go on to win over 30 championships. He left WWE after 12 years to pursue other interests outside of pro wrestling.
Stephanie McMahon is the CEO of the WWE, but before that she was an announcer and occasional wrestler. Dolph Ziggler has been a main eventer for many years and has won the World Heavyweight Championship four times, but he also used to be a stuntman in Hollywood. Eva Marie made her debut at Wrestlemania XXVIII, but before then she had been working as a model and actress since 2006.
4. Roman Reigns
For starters, his character changed drastically. He was a Hail to the King type of guy, who had a lot of pride and dignity. His new character is more aggressive and unpredictable than the old one. Roman Reigns has said that he liked this change because it gave him a new opportunity to be creative and express himself in ways he never had before.
5. Cody Rhodes
I was doing something I didn’t want to do anymore. I felt like if I’m not happy then that’s not good for anyone. I’m just trying to make myself happy and be productive with my life outside of wrestling. Rhodes has been posting frequent videos on his YouTube channel where he records himself reading, cooking, playing video games, or talking about current events. He also hosted a podcast called Cody Rhodes Show on PodcastOne which ran for 20 episodes in 2016-2017.
6. Dean Ambrose
Born Jonathan Good, Dean Ambrose made his wrestling debut in 2007 and was soon signed to WWE’s developmental promotion, Florida Championship Wrestling. After a two-year stint there, he was called up to the main roster. Ambrose became a key player on SmackDown and Raw for years before being drafted to Monday Night Raw in 2013.