There’s a belief in professional wrestling that you never know where your next big star is going to come from. Just because someone is stuck in a lame gimmick today, doesn’t mean they couldn’t suddenly find a spark and connect with the fans, setting them down a path to the main event and possibly even the World title. Even the biggest stars this industry has ever seen started out as terrible or forgettable characters before they hit it big. Don’t believe us? Look at some of the entries on this list, see the ridiculous personas they began their careers under, and tell us that you could have predicted that they’d be some of the most memorable Superstars that have ever existed in professional wrestling.
20. El Generico
For many years, a mysterious masked man roamed the North American circuit. Known as “The Generic Luchador”, El Generico’s name became known far and wide as the ultimate good guy, a fan favorite everywhere he went, who always did the right thing. This led him into trouble more than one time, especially due to his friendship/rivalry with the dastardly Kevin Steen (now known as Kevin Owens, and we’d include him in this list, but he pretty much looks like the same angry guy he always has). El Generico won many titles in his long career, before reportedly retiring to run an orphanage in Mexico. Days after his disappearance, a young man named Sami Zayn appeared in WWE’s developmental territory, claiming to be the protege of El Generico*. Zayn had learned much from his master, including a cheerful exuberance and charm that instantly made him beloved by WWE fans everywhere. Unfortunately, he also seems to have inherited Generico’s lifelong feud with his worst enemy, a war that continues to this day, and constantly threatens to destroy both men.
* – Yes, we know. But it’s more fun this way!