When it comes to wrestling and wrestling matches, few companies are as big as WWE. Known on a global scale, this company has seen the rise of several high-profile wrestlers and in many cases helped to jumpstart their careers. However, there are still some big-name wrestling vets who have made their careers without starting at WWE.
Seth Rollins has been at WWE for a few years already, but he had several wrestling credits to his name and a large following before that. Known for being one of the most athletic wrestlers currently contracted with the company, he’s incredibly diet and health conscious. One of his nicknames is “Crossfit Jesus”, a name given to him by fans and other people in the industry as a testament to his skill with the fitness craze. His notable achievements include winning the 2009 Survival of the Fittest Tournament with Ring of Honor, where he also held the World Championship once and World Tag Team Championship twice. Since signing with WWE, he became the first Florida Championship Grand Slam Champion, later known as the NXT Champion, a United States Champion, and the 2015 Superstar of the Year. He even won the WWE World Heavyweight championship and a WWE Raw Tag Team championship. He is currently on his second reign as the Intercontinental Champion as well. In addition, he’s a Grand Slam champion, having received titles at multiple levels including being the youngest to achieve all the titles to qualify for the Grand Slam champion. He’s even the face of the WWE 2K18 game that came out last year which is a credit to his recent popularity in the ring.
Finn Balor is another recent addition to the WWE circuit, although he’s been a familiar face in wrestling over the past decade. He has traveled to other countries to wrestle in Europe and Japan for a few years where he gained considerable popularity in Japan because of his outlandish style and dramatic flair. He is well-known for dressing up as characters or personas depending on the location he’s wrestling in, including Jack the Ripper for a match in England or covering his face and torso in demonic body paint while he was in Japan which was another feature of his popularity there. In fact, the demon body paint is one of the variants found on Notorious Finn Balor action figures, because it was so well-known for a part of his career. Balor held the longest reign of NXT champion at 292 days and was the first co-winner of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic with his partner Samoa Joe. He was also the first wrestler in WWE history to win a world title in their pay-per-view debut, and the quickest wrestler in their history win a world title after his debut. It only took him 27 days after his main roster debut to become the Universal Champion in 2016, but due to an injury during the match he was later forced to give up the title. Even though it seems he may not have another chance at the title, he has continued wrestling for WWE since then.
Samoa Joe has had considerable time in the ring before his WWE debut as well. He’s been a formidable wrestler for almost 15 years, starting in Ultimate Pro Wrestling. He is best known for his time at TNA and Ring of Honor, where he received several accolades. In 2002, he became the ROH World Champion, which he managed to hold for a record 21 months. During his time in TNA, he had a 19-month period where he was undefeated in the ring. He soon became a TNA World Heavyweight Champion, a five-time TNA X Division Champion, two-time TNA World Tag Team Champion. He is known to use an MMA style of fighting which he started using during his time in Ring of Honor. Known as hard-hitting and straightforward, he attacks his opponent straight on like a martial artist would do. He has continued using the style throughout his career with considerable success. He has also done matches internationally and won several titles along the way including the GHC Tag Team Champion with his partner Magnus, and the Intercontinental Tag Team Champion which is shared with Keiji Sakoda. He also holds the title of first co-winner of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic alongside Finn Balor. He is, however, aware of the toll his career has taken on his body. But that has never stopped him from doing what he loves, and it certainly won’t stop him now.