Saturday, April 13

10 Wrestlers You Didn’t Realize Wrestled For WWE In 2001

In 2001, WWE underwent significant changes that revolutionized the industry. The year started with the acquisition of WCW and ECW, leading to the “Invasion” storyline. This resulted in numerous inter-promotional matches and created a sense of unpredictability in the product. Additionally, Stone Cold Steve Austin’s heel turn and alliance with Vince McMahon shocked fans, while The Rock became the top babyface in the company.

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The year also saw the rise of stars such as Chris Jericho, Edge, and Rob Van Dam. There are also many forgotten wrestlers who competed for the company in that same year. This list will examine 10 wrestlers you didn’t realize competed for the company in 2001.

UPDATE: 2023/11/21 07:30 EST BY SHAWN S. LEALOS

While it doesn’t happen as much as it used to, WWE used to always bring out developmental talents and local wrestlers to fight against their bigger stars. Many times, these unknown wrestlers are never seen again. However, at times, these men and women go on to become bigger stars than anyone could have believed after they were squashed by a major league talent on Raw or SmackDown. In 2006, Jon Moxley was a no-name jobber who lost to MNM on Velocity. He has since become a world champion. It just so happens that there were several names in 2001 who went on to become stars, but at the time, were just nameless jobbers to the stars in WWE.

10 Samoa Joe Wrestled On WWE Jakked

Samoa Joe Finally Signed With WWE In 2015


March 17, 1979

Highlights from 2001

Lost to Essa Rios in WWE. Worked In Pro Wrestling Zero-One.

Career Highlights

WWE NXT Champion (3x), WWE United States Champion (2x), TNA World Champion, TNA TV Champion, TNA World Tag Team Champion (2x), TNA X-Division Champion (5x), ROH World Champion, ROH Pure Champion, ROH TV Champion, AEW TNT Champion (2x)

In 2001, a slender and youthful Samoa Joe tentatively emerged from WWE developmental and briefly appeared on an episode of WWE Jakked. His hair was blonde, and he was unknown to most. He was granted no grand entrance or recognition by the announcers. Facing him in the ring was Essa Rios, a popular luchador who was soon to leave WWE for Mexico.

Spectators only showed interest in Rios, as they recognized him as a light heavyweight champion and former partner of Lita. Joe was the unfortunate recipient of Rios’ dropkicks. It was the first step towards a long journey in wrestling for Joe, but it’s a moment in 2001 that is easily forgotten.

9 Mr. Kennedy Wrestled On WWE Jakked

Mr. Kennedy Tried Out For WWE And TNA In 2001


March 6, 1976

Highlights from 2001

Lost to Essa Rios and Golga in WWE. Also had a tryout in TNA.

Career Highlights

WWE United States Champion, Money in the Bank (2007), TNA World Champion (2x)

Ken Anderson, also known as Mr. Kennedy, had a career that was often overlooked despite his involvement in significant events. Both WWE and TNA gave him opportunities to make his mark. After leaving WWE amid controversy, Anderson spent his later career years in TNA.

Fans witnessed his rise in WWE under the Kennedy moniker and had high hopes for his success, but his journey was marked by both achievements and setbacks, revealing both his strengths and weaknesses in each organization. Mr. Kennedy made his debut as “Ken Anderson” on an episode of Jakked in 2001. It was one of two of his matches from 2001 in WWE.

8 The Bushwhackers Appeared In The Gimmick Battle Royal

The Bushwackers Returned For WrestleMania X-Seven



Luke (January 8, 1947), Butch (October 21, 1944 – April 2, 2023, 78)

Highlights from 2001

Wrestled in the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania 17. Butch retired in 2001.

Career Highlights

WWE Hall of Fame (2015), UWF Tag Team Championship (2x), NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champion, NWA United States Tag Team Champion

Luke Williams and Butch Miller, famously known as The Bushwhackers, were renowned for their comedic talent during their WWE tenure in the late ’80s and early ’90s. However, their achievements extend beyond their WWE run, as the New Zealand duo have achieved numerous accolades throughout their extensive tag team career.

Their hard work and dedication have earned them a well-deserved place in multiple halls of fame. With over two decades of active wrestling, The Bushwhackers have amassed an impressive tally of more than twenty tag team championships worldwide, solidifying their status as an iconic tag team in the professional wrestling industry. The pair also competed in the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania 17 (via

7 Eddie Fatu (Umaga) Worked With Matt Anoa’i In Developmental

Umaga Teamed With His Cousin Rosey As 3-Count


March 28, 1973 – December 4, 2009 (36)

Highlights from 2001

Worked in WWE developmental and appeared on WWE Jakked.

Career Highlights

WWE Intercontinental Champion (2x), AJPW Tag Team Champion

Umaga made his major WWE debut in 2002 as Jamal, forming the 3-Minute Warning tag team with his cousin Rosey. After a brief stint, he returned as a savage character who attacked anyone in his way without speaking English. He went on an undefeated streak and was eventually defeated by John Cena in a violent feud.

RELATED: 10 WWE Wrestlers Who Would Have Been Bigger Stars (If Not For John Cena)

Despite being a casualty of the “Super Cena” era, he remained a strong mid-carder and won the Intercontinental Championship. He wrestled a few untelevised matches in 2001 on WWE Jakked as The Samoans (Eddie Fatu & Matty Samu) and as The Island Boys (Ekmo & Kimo). Sadly, Umaga died in 2009 at the age of 36.

6 AJ Styles Won A WWE Tryout Match

AJ Styles Eventually Became An All-Time Great In WWE


June 2, 1977

Highlights from 2001

Beat his trainer Rick Michaels in a tryout match before Raw.

Career Highlights

WWE Champion (2x), WWE Intercontinental Champion, WWE United States Champion (3x), WWE Raw Tag Team Champion, ROH Pure Champion, ROH Tag Team Champion, NWA World Champion (3x), NWA Tag Team Champion (4x), TNA World Champion (2x), TNA Tag Team Champion (2x), TNA X-Division Champion (6x), IWGP Heavyweight Champion (2x)

AJ Styles made his mark on the wrestling world while with Impact Wrestling. Notably, he stands out as a rare talent who achieved stardom without the need for an intermediary channel like NXT or WWE. Throughout his illustrious career, Styles has also been a part of several notable tag team units and stables, including the likes of Bullet Club and The OC. Styles’ true WWE debut happened in 2001. On an episode of Jakked, he defeated his trainer, Rick Michaels, in a tryout match before Raw. However, he didn’t get the job and Styles moved on to become a TNA original the next year, when that company was formed.

5 Kamala Returned As A WWE Legend

Kamala Returned For WrestleMania X-Seven


May 28, 1950 – August 9, 2020 (70)

Highlights from 2001

Worked the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania X-Seven

Career Highlights

USWA World Champion (4x), NWA United States Tag Team Champion, AWA Southern Heavyweight Champion

Kamala’s portrayal as the “Ugandan Giant” stands out as particularly problematic. Despite the insensitive nature of the character, which relied on African stereotypes and facepaint, Kamala managed to captivate audiences and achieve widespread popularity during his tenure as a performer.

RELATED: 10 Times WWE Legends Didn’t Do What’s Best For Business

He became an emblematic figure of the 1980s wrestling scene and proved himself to be a significant draw for fans. After 1993, Kamala returned to the WWE and competed in a forgotten match at WrestleMania 17.

4 Bobby Roode Worked An Episode Of WWE Jakked

Bobby Roode Returned Years Later And Won The NXT Championship


May 11, 1976

Highlights from 2001

Lost to Perry Saturn on Jakked.

Career Highlights

WWE NXT Champion, WWE 24/7 Champion, WWE United States Champion, WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champion, WWE Raw Tag Team Champion (2x), TNA World Champion (2x), TNA King of the Mountain Champion, TNA Tag Team Champion (6x), NWA World Tag Team Champion (2x)

Over the years, numerous TNA stars have ventured into the WWE, but not all have achieved the same level of success. While AJ Styles has been hailed as a major talent following his arrival in 2016, other TNA alums have not fared as well. One such individual is Bobby Roode, a prominent Canadian wrestler who was a consistent headliner for TNA.

His reign as the World Champion was a defining moment for both himself and the company. His career in WWE has left a lot to be desired, but his history with the company dates back to 2001. Some forget that he competed in his first WWE match in 2001 when he jobbed for Perry Saturn on WWE Jakked.

3 Heidenreich Lost To Perry Saturn On WWE Jakked

Heidenreich Later Became A Road Warrior



June 28, 1969

Highlights from 2001

Lost to Perry Saturn in a dark match

Career Highlights

WWE Tag Team Champion

Heidenreich, a WWE superstar who graced the ring until 2006, is etched in the minds of hardcore WWE fans who revel in the bizarre. His character was one of the most unsettling in the company’s history, leaving an indelible impression that remains to this day. Many forget that he competed in 2001 in a dark match against Perry Saturn on Jakked before he made his WWE debut on Raw in 2003.

2 Brother Love Wrestled His First WWE Match In 2001

From The Brother Love Show To The Gimmick Battle Royal


March 7, 1963

Highlights from 2001

Worked the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania X-Seven

Career Highlights

Managed Undertaker, Ran Brother Love Show

Bruce Prichard has had a remarkable start in the wrestling business, beginning at the young age of 10 when he and his brother helped out their neighborhood territory – Paul Boesch’s Houston Wrestling. By the age of 12, he was already helping to direct TV, and by 14, he was selling posters.

Despite his early start, he still had almost a decade to go before working for Vince. While he is now widely known as Vince’s right-hand man and one of his biggest allies, he spent a few years as Brother Love, pulling double duty for the first few years of his career. Brother Love competed in his first WWE match in 2001. At WrestleMania 17, Brother Love competed in the Gimmick Battle Royal.

1 Bryan Danielson Tried Out In WWE Thanks To William Regal

Bryan Danielson Moved On The Ring Of Honor To Become A Star


May 22, 1981

Highlights from 2001

Lost to Jerry Lynn

Career Highlights

WWE Champion (4x), WWE World Champion, WWE Intercontinental Champion, WWE United States Champion, WWE Tag Team Champion, WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champion, ROH World Champion, ROH Pure Champion, PWG World Champion (2x), IWGP Junior Tag Team Champion

Bryan Danielson is highly regarded among the top performers in the industry today. His technical skills are widely considered to be unparalleled, and his numerous accolades and championships attest to his excellence. Throughout his career, Danielson has competed in several prestigious wrestling promotions, including ROH, WWE, and his current home at AEW. Danielson competed in a forgotten match in 2001 against Jerry Lynn. Danielson went on to become a multi-time world champion in WWE and became part of AEW later in his career.

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