As anyone who has ever gotten help from a friend with their professional life, then you know full well how rewarding that could be. In the world of sports entertainment, not only is its rewarding – it could alter the course of a wrestler’s career and their life since it’s so very intertwined.
Especially when you consider, that, up until the middle of 2022, wrestler’s employment were at the mercy of the audience of one – Vince McMahon of even Eric Bischoff for the WCW roster. But certain superstars always had the Chairman’s ear and were able to use their stroke to save a poor unfortunate soul. Here are some key examples of a wrestler going to bat for one of their colleagues and reviving their careers.
11 The Undertaker – Approving Kane as his on-screen brother
Glenn Jacobs had been known as a solid hand for several years since getting his start in Smoky Mountain. In the WWE, he got his start as a demented dentist and a doppelgänger Diesel.
But once he was cast to be Kane, The Undertaker’s evil younger brother – that’s when his career was at its biggest make it or break it moment. After the approval of The Deadman, The Big Red Machine was set for life.
10 Sting – Vouches for Lex Luger to Eric Bischoff
According to Eric Bischoff, the Lex Luger he knew prior to The Total Package leaving WCW for the WWE was a much different person than the guy who debuted on the first ever Nitro. He didn’t want to offer the arrogant Luger any sort of deal.
But perhaps not skyrocketing to the top of WWE humbled him, and he just wanted a better opportunity than he was getting. That’s when Luger’s buddy Sting stepped in and vouched for him. Bischoff admittedly low-balled Luger on his offer, which was surprisingly accepted and sure enough, Luger was back in WCW for the first Nitro episode.
9 Xavier Woods brainstorms with Tyler Breeze
Much like fellow list member Kane, Tyler Breeze was another wrestler who his peers thought of as an excellent worker. But he spent years toiling away in NXT sans-gimmick. He was even a tag team champion with Leaki Reigns (as in Roman Reigns), but it wasn’t enough. He repeatedly narrowly escaped the chopping block due to his hard work.
But when he was told he really needed a character, he turned to his friend Xavier Woods who helped with several ideas until essentially becoming the Derek Zoolander of wrestling. And thus, Tyler Breeze was born.
8 Beulah McGillicutty keeps Bill Alfonso employed
One of the strangest scandals in wrestling was the ECW Mole Conspiracy involving former owner Tod Gordon, several former ECW stars who headed to WCW like Raven, and ECW referee Bill Alfonso.
However, because Fonzie was so beloved by his fellow Extreme brethren, it was deemed that Paul E. wouldn’t fire him if he agreed to get his backside kicked by Beulah McGillicutty for a few minutes. Those minutes wound being some of the bloodiest in ECW history.
7 Triple H handpicks Batista for Evolution
Other than The Rock and John Cena, Dave Batista is quietly racking up an impressive number of films where he is a scene stealer and a great character actor.
That career path might not have happened had it not been for the notoriety he received during his wrestling career, a career that The Animal has always thanked Triple H for. It was The Game who plucked him out of the obscurity of the midcard and put him in Evolution, and eventually put over Batista in world title matches not once, but three times in 2005, cementing The Animal as a top star.
6 Triple H gives Shawn Michaels tough love
How many ways did Triple H help Shawn Michaels out and save his career? Besides the fact that Shawn Michaels was an absolute tool during the latter stages of his first run in WWE, and Hunter had his back. Besides the fact that it was Triple H and Chyna that were propping HBK up.
Or during his four-year sabbatical when he was still being a tool and Triple H cut him off? When HBK got himself clean and right, his brother in DX was there to welcome him home and set the stages for Shawn’s eventual return to the ring.
5 Stephanie McMahon lets John Cena showcase his talent
John Cena is the perfect example of what happens when a lot of charisma and hard work is steered by the WWE marketing machine. While he has more in his arsenal than the dreaded Five Minutes Of Doom, he is certainly not a ring technician by any means. He started out as just your typical generic babyface with a genetic freak body and short bike trunks to mimic the sports teams of whatever town the WWE was in.
By his own admission, he was very close to getting Future Endeavored… until it was discovered that he could rap and was really good at free styling on the microphone. As head writer of SmackDown, Stephanie McMahon helped to turn Cena into The Dr. Of Thugonmics and he was on his way to GOAT-status.
4 Hulk Hogan constantly goes to bat for Brutus Beefcake
Hulkamania wasn’t just instrumental in continuously saving Brutus Beefcake’s career, he did help to make sure he had all he needed to save his life and reconstruct his face after the parasailing accident. Whenever Hogan went, he took his friend with him.
When Vince and Linda decided Brutus would become The Barber, it was Hogan who helped him believe in the gimmick and offer up the idea of using gardening sheers. Of course when Hulk Hogan headed to WCW, Brutus was part of the entourage that came with him – and developed about 933 different gimmicks.
3 Shawn Michaels recruits Kevin Nash to WWE
Under the dingbats that were running WCW in the early 90s, a giant like Kevin Nash was given laughable gimmicks like a faux-Mad Max named The Master Blaster and of course, Oz. Not just the Wizard, but the entire fictional locale. Vinnie Vegas was gaining some traction, but there was zero chance of him getting anywhere near the top of the card.
But thankfully, Shawn Michaels was watching WCW Saturday Night and happened to like the cut of Vinnie’s gib. After talking to The Steiners about who the big man was, he was able to get him a deal at WWE. Diesel and the foundation of the Kliq were born in one fell swoop.
2 Ric Flair saves Arn Anderson from discipline
When tensions run high and the liquor flows fast, a little bit of wrestling wilding can happen in a heartbeat. For WCW that meant fellow Horsemen Sid Vicious and Arn Anderson would wind up getting into a major scuffle that saw Sid stab Arn with a pair of scissors and 2 Cold Scorpio helping to keep Arn alive.
The incident cost Sid his job at WCW for that period of time. But Arn’s friendship with The Nature Boy saved him from getting sent to the bread lines – a fact that was laid down during an 83 Weeks Podcast with Eric Bischoff.
1 Diamond Dallas Page comes to Jake Roberts’ rescue with DDP Yoga
After helping him along the way during the early part of his career, DDP saw it as a bit of a personal mission to help resurrect not just the career of his old friend, Jake The Snake Roberts, but his life as well. The two combined forces to get The Snake clean and sober and living healthy. The goal in mind was perhaps getting Roberts perhaps a guest stint in a Royal Rumble or two.
He received a much more prestigious Hall Of Fame induction instead. Roberts now serves as coach for AEW and sometimes on screen manager.