The Most Successful Non-WWE Wrestlers To Make It In The WWE?

Discussion in '[Hidden] World Wrestling Entertainment' started by Low_Ki, Sep 29, 2017.

  1. Low_Ki

    Low_Ki Former WZCW Tag Team Champion

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    Hi all,

    Not sure if this has been done or if it should be in another part of the forum (apologies in advance), but I was thinking about this this morning.

    Who is the best/most successful non-WWE built performer to arrive in WWE and build a legacy there?

    Across the annuals of time, from my generation I'd have to go with AJ Styles.

    Chris Jericho was also up there as well, but I just think with the crowds and audiences the way that they are in this day and age, AJ has created an amazing history for himself in WWE. That coupled with the fact that he was literally the face that built another place (TNA), it makes it all the more incredible.

    What are your picks and why?
     
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  2. Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D.

    Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D. Kamehamehaaaaa!!

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    Well one can argue that Balor, Owens, Nakamura, Styles, Rollins are all non-WWE made stars. Rollins was known as Tyler Black wasn't he? But yeah Styles is pretty high on the list.

    However, the real answer is Brock Lesnar. And before you say that Lesnar was in WWE from 2002 to 2004, so WWE made him. Well, yeah, but UFC used that Lesnar. Then UFC turned Lesnar into a mainstream star and WWE used that mainstream appeal Brock had due to UFC. So in my eyes, the 2002-2004 Lesnar and the 2012 Lesnar are completely different. Lesnar made a name outside the bussiness and WWE capitalized on that.

    Goldberg is also another name. He made a name in WCW. Then went in WWE for a year and beat Rock, Jericho, Triple H and Lesnar and also became the World Heavyweight Champion. That's pretty impressive. Is it more impressive than what Styles did? Well, it is.
     
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  3. Psykohurricane55

    Psykohurricane55 Moderator
    Staff Member Moderator

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    Personally, I would go way back and I would go with macho man randy savage. If you remember savage was doimg this character in the memphis era for a while before signing with wwe. They took a guy that was a big name on the regional level and made him a absolute legend. Nobody pass or present as gotten to the level that savage got after leaving the territories or the indy's and while aj styles is coming along pretty well, he still not in savage's league.

    My second choice would be daniel bryan, mostly because nobody thought that he would become the megastar he'd became.
     
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  4. Martin87

    Martin87 New Member

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    For me it would have to be Chris Jericho who is bonafide Hall of Fame material when he eventually retires. When he joined WWE (or WWF back then), i was unaware of Jericho but i have since become a fully pledged paid up Jericholic and eagerly await his next return.

    Achievements:

    Most reigns as Intercontinental Champion (9 times)
    1st Undisputed World Champion
    Invented Money In The Bank
    And many more....

    Feuds or storylines that stood out/entertained me;

    His Y2J entrance
    Kevin Owens
    HBK
    CM Punk
    Every return he has made
    The "legends" match at wrestlemania v Ricky "The Dragon"
    Dean Ambrose
    Christian
    AJ Styles
     
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  5. tdmoon

    tdmoon Pre-Show Stalwart

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    Well, after arriving in the WWF, Hulk Hogan became quite possibly the most famous and successful wrestler of all time, so the obvious answer is Hulk Hogan. He was the champion and face of the organization for the best part of a decade and pivotal in the success of Wrestlemania. Steve Austin would be another strong answer and Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels deserve honorable mentions.
     
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  6. Razz

    Razz Pre-Show Stalwart

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    This topic is very open ended. It could be argued any guy who is considered top 10 in WWE history like Andre, Macho, Hogan, Taker, Bret, Shawn, Austin, Lesnar, Angle, Jericho, Punk, Daniel Bryan etc..Guys like AJ it remains to be seen what they do with him for the rest of his WWE career. Guys like Eddie/Benoit unfortunately had WWE careers cut short in tragedy.

    Pretty much in the mid-late 90's when territories died out than WWE started developing their own guys that were considered green or didn't wrestle indies in places like USWA then to OVW, DSW, FCW, NXT etc. So I guess you couldn't consider a guy like The Rock non-wwe developed since he pretty much developed through WWE like Cena, Orton, Batista, Brock that whole class pretty much developed under WWE umbrella..
     
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  7. Dolph Ziggler's Gimmick

    Dolph Ziggler's Gimmick Dark Match Winner

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    God, that's a tough one to think about. Especially considering the amount we've had just this decade alone.

    Would Bret Hart count? Technically he was brought up in Canada with his Stampede Wrestling run, even if he gained his widespread popularity and acclaim in the WWF. And Shawn Michaels wrestled in AWA and NWA territories before being a WWF guy.

    If you mean strictly someone who made a big, main event level name for themselves before entering the WWE/F, then I'd say so far it's a toss up between CM Punk and Bret Hart off the top of my head. Just based on their accomplishments and overall legacy, despite WWE's efforts to lessen it(Punk). Daniel Bryan also comes to mind, and like others mentioned AJ Styles is currently leading the pack when it comes to that.
     
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  8. ShinChan

    ShinChan Gone. For. Good.

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    I can talk mostly about the period which I've watched most. I will take this decade to see. And I can see only two and those are Daniel Bryan and CM Punk. Actual stars. AJ Styles is coming close, I guess.

    But Bryan and Punk are the biggest stars of this decade i.e Post 2011. And both are non-WWE.
     
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  9. d_henderson1810

    d_henderson1810 Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    I'd say Goldberg, who was a top guy in WCW and is a two-time WWE Champion. Booker T has also done very well in both companies, and also "Nature Boy" Ric Flair.

    I don't count Punk or Bryan, since most people don't watch indy wrestling, and the casual wouldn't have known them before they came to WWE. You could say Styles, but then that is to assume that anyone watched TNA, whereas Goldberg was on a show that outrated RAW 83 weeks in a row, so Goldberg was more of a household name.
     
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  10. BestSportsEntertainer

    BestSportsEntertainer I Don't Need No User Title

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    Hulk Hogan is probably the best answer. Obviously he's one of the biggest stars ever, but he was a star before he came to WWE. Also Ric Flair.

    AJ Styles is probably the biggest recently, but his time in TNA just doesn't compare to Hogan and Flair pre-WWE.
     
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  11. I_Like_All_Wrestling

    I_Like_All_Wrestling Championship Contender

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    This is a difficult question and needs parameters. Pretty much anyone before, maybe, the late 90's came from somewhere else, and lots were big names there. So if you're going to do that, it has to be Hogan. Though I don't really know how big he was outside of WWE. Beyond that, you would have to pick Ric Flair. He was and probably will always be known as the NWA/WCW guy.

    From the late 90's to early 00's you had the ECW and WCW crowd, almost all of which have gone on to WWE. Out of that crowd, Chris Jericho is probably the biggest. Unless you argue that Austin was big enough outside of WWE. Actually, Austin probably was more successful than Jericho in WCW but I think Jericho was more successful other places maybe. If that's it, you have to give it to Austin then.

    Now, if we're doing the post territory, post-WCW/ECW era, that limits who it can be. Because again, almost everyone wrestled somewhere else. CM Punk probably was on his way to being that guy. Daniel Bryan is probably more well know, but same thing as Pun, was an indie and ROH guy. AJ on the other hand was a guy on TV for more than a decade with TNA, and then also ROH and NJPW. So out of the current crop, he probably is the most "non-WWE" guy currently. But even then, his current success is still not huge.

    So for me, based on someone being "known" as a non-WWE guy first, I'd probably give it to Ric Flair.
     
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  12. WWEWrestleFest

    WWEWrestleFest Pre-Show Stalwart

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    All of those guys are remembered most for their WWE/WWF runs though They may not have been seen as WWE guys when they first started, but by the time they left, they were always going to have the WWF/WWE branding. I think the answer is Ric Flair because he's still best remembered for his NWA/WCW days with the Horsemen, but was pushed to the top of the WWF as soon as he got there and had multiple moments like the 1992 Rumble, the WM8 match with Savage, the WM18 match with Undertaker, the whole Evolution angle, and the retirement match with HBK that were all really high profile.
     
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  13. Pika

    Pika Pre-Show Stalwart

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    A lot of these guys are foreign or older. A majority of people will reference people who they have been overexposed to due to living in their own bubble and WWE revisionist history. If we're talking some of these people in the early 20's all the way to late 50's the Top guys never even knew WWE was going to be a thing and were more successful than pretty much everyone today objectively. Then we have guys like Blue demon and god forbid you mention Rikidozan.

    I can't go back 3-4 Decades and mention Hogan or Flair and take the answer seriously. They're heavily overexposed, Literally both had runs in WWE and WWF, and have appeared on TV of WWE programming even just this year (Flair, Hardly long ago for HH). If we went back that far we could mention people like Lou and at his peak popularity it'd be incredibly hard to even playfully make an argument against him outside of the literal highest peak of top guys in WWE. Then it really isn't pertaining to the topic or context, because they were in WWE.

    So if we can't go back to Wrestling at it's absolute peak and reference a Lou, Rikidozan, Blue Demon, etc. when they're more than likely the objective Answer. We're left with people citing people citing indy guys (who even had great WWE runs lol) who at their peak were not as popular as Jushin Thunder Liger, Misawa, or Kenta Kobashi. Then if you want to go even further. Antonio Inoki and Giant Baba did an incredibly minuscule amount of WWF stuff (not even relevant) and out did someone like a Hogan and Flair for a MUCH longer time than those two were at their peak wrestling popularity with less push and pop culture relevance.

    On a side note. Kenny Omega, Tanahashi, Okada, Young Bucks are credible in the topic, but in the long scheme of things like people are aiming towards they are really not even possible objective options. It'd either be them or foreigners / old guys in true never made it in/ to the WWE or F. Other than that it's pretty much just who your biased point of view leans towards with the abundance of information you've received on that one individual as backing. Which at the end of the day is as credible as adding "In your own opinion" to the main question. Not credible at all.
     
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  14. BestSportsEntertainer

    BestSportsEntertainer I Don't Need No User Title

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    The OP is asking for wrestlers who made it in WWE but made their name elsewhere. Blue Demon, Rikidozan, and a lot of the wrestlers you brought up never made it in WWE.
     
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  15. Pika

    Pika Pre-Show Stalwart

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    Ye. It was late last night and I didn't even realize I was on this thread or this site until like hours after I had slept and woken up Lol. Thanks for pointing it out though so it looks slightly less insane in context Lol.
     
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  16. Just Do It

    Just Do It Getting Noticed By Management

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    Goldberg did great in 2016, Sting did great in 2014 to fit in before it went south, AJ Styles is doing great right now.
     
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  17. Eyebrows

    Eyebrows Guest

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    I feel like the question is geared towards more recent 'indie' guys from the past 10 years as an antithesis to those who went through WWE development, or those who made their name in ECW, WCW.

    I'd have to go with Bryan for the sheer popularity he had, and because him not being a 'WWE guy' was brought up as a major part of his character and storyline. Seth Rollins would be another one. Styles hasn't been there that long and it's crazy how much he's accomplished already. CM Punk was phenomenal.
     
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  18. Hawkseye95

    Hawkseye95 Hawky95

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    I would say ric flair or mankind, ric flair just for everything he has done for the business and also that 92 rumble which is the first ppv I saw and I have loved flair ever since, mankind for his contributions to the Monday night wars, he helped build up WCW, then helped build up ECW, then arguably won the Monday night wars when he won the title on that crazy episode of raw.
    For the modern day fans it would have to be Daniel Bryan, what he did at wrestlemania 30 will never be achieved again and I will forever remember his yes invasion on raw, for me one of the best raw moments in my memory
     
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  19. stingray11214

    stingray11214 Cena is no Bruno & Cole is no Solie

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    And, people forget that Hogan was trained by Hiro Matsuda and wrestled in the NWA in the South before his first run in WWE. Hogan COMPLETELY reinvented himself in Japan. Close behind are Randy Savage and Bret Hart. Of the Modern Era, I am surprised that nobody mentioned a former WCW jobber that became a king, or should I say The King, in WWE. I think his name is Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
     
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  20. GetTheTables

    GetTheTables Dark Match Jobber

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    Well how about Sting? Oh, wait. Nevermind. WWE used him horribly and he had just a 2-2 record. In the past few years Triple H has done a very good job of putting other talent over (Roman, Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins), still not sure why they decided to have Trips beat Sting at Mania.
     
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  21. sikkbones

    sikkbones the root of all evil

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    Mean mark of the skyscrapers would like a word.

    Also many forget that Sid was a Nwa creation not a Vince creation. He would fit the description.
     
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  22. tdmoon

    tdmoon Pre-Show Stalwart

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    As a Memphis wrestling fan, I have to nitpick and say Sid was actually a CWA creation. I used to watch him wrestle there as Lord Humongous. He drifted around there and Contintental before going to World Class. I remember one of the Weston mags had an article about a brawl with Kerry Von Erich where Kerry was in amazement of Sid's size and viciousness, they were touting Sid as one of the next big deals in wrestling. He made his name nationally in the NWA so it's a minor quibble but I'm always on the lookout to credit the CWA whenever possible.

    Some good answers with strong arguments in this thread but many are talking about slightly different things. I answered Hogan because I was thinking something along the lines of "most successful wrestler to make it in the WWF who wasn't initially a WWF wrestler". Austin and Andre would also work here(and sikkbones nomination of Undertaker was a good one I hadn't thought of). If the OP meant more like "most successful pre-WWF wrestler who then went to build a legacy in the WWF" then I'm in agreement with those who said Flair.

    Really, Bruno probably deserves a place here somewhere depending on how you categorize him. He started out in Pittsburgh which was an independent organization but did use a lot of WWWF talent, so some may argue he was kind of a WWF creation. I don't agree but can see the argument.
     
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  23. MrMojoRisin

    MrMojoRisin Championship Contender

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    If you go back to Hogan's first run in 1980, he's basically made in the WWF.

    He first made his name as a WWF heel. Then left once his run was up, and went next level as a main event caliber face in the AWA.

    Hart and Michaels are basically WWF creations too. They both became known outside of the WWF at first of course (Hart in Stampede, Michaels in the AWA), but they made their names as WWF properties though.

    Austin? Austin would be my answer here. He reinvented himself in the WWF and went to new levels in doing so, but before the WWF, he was very highly regarded throughout the industry. If Hogan doesn't change the game by going to WCW, bringing in all his friends, and giving Turner's crew cause to change direction? Austin would have been an eventual, homegrown World Champ. Probably used as a long term foil for Sting.

    You could say pre-WWF Austin was on the same type of industry wide level as a Styles or Balor today. Austin in the WWF though? The only guys who ever reached the same heights he did are Hogan and the Rock (both WWF creations).
     
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  24. tdmoon

    tdmoon Pre-Show Stalwart

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    Can't argue with this but I think we're talking about two different things. You are correct in that they got popular in the WWF, but I'm referring more to where they were created. Hogan had been wrestling almost three years before stepping foot in a WWF ring and Hart and Michaels were already experienced and successful wrestlers(though on a smaller stage) before entering the WWF. The Midnight Rockers/Buddy Rose and Doug Sommers bouts were some of my favorite Shawn Michaels matches, they had an excellent and bloody feud.
     
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