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Brock Lesnar and Cesaro have been credited with saving careers

5 WWE Superstars whose careers were saved by other wrestlers

Although Vince McMahon makes the final call on WWE storyline developments, the company’s Superstars also have a major say in how far they will go in the sports entertainment industry.

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Becky Lynch, for example, regularly appeared on WWE television following her call-up to the main roster in 2015, but it was not until 2018 that she sky-rocketed to the top of the WWE card.

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At the time, “The Man” had the support of the WWE Universe and she gradually won over WWE’s higher-ups in the process, but not every Superstar is able to persuade Vince McMahon & Co. that they are worth investing their time in.

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In fact, there have been plenty of big names over the years that came close to being fired until somebody else – sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally – kept them in employment.

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In this article, let’s take a look at five WWE Superstars whose careers were saved by other wrestlers.

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#5 Cesaro saved Tyler Breeze’s WWE job

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Listeners of The New Day’s Feel The Power podcast will know that Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods often give fascinating insight into WWE storylines and real-life situations that they have found themselves in during their careers.

On one particular episode, Big E revealed that Tyler Breeze would almost certainly have lost his WWE job in 2011 had it not been for an impressive match that he had in the Florida Championship Wrestling developmental system with Cesaro.

Breeze, who had been on the FCW roster for nine months at that time, was unable to convince the company's decision-makers of his ability until his five-minute match against “The Swiss Cyborg”.

“He didn’t have anyone who was in his corner. No one really liked him or thought much of him but I believe, if I recall correctly, he was very close to being fired and people were so impressed with the way he took that bump [from a Cesaro uppercut] that you [Cesaro] saved his job, legitimately saved his job with that bump, and he’s still here today.”
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Breeze remained with WWE and ended up becoming one of the most popular Superstars in NXT history, while he also had a four-year run on the main roster.

#4 Kevin Nash saved Mabel’s WWE job

Former WWE Superstar Mabel (aka Viscera/Big Daddy V) earned an unwanted reputation throughout his career as somebody who could sometimes hurt his opponents.

In 1995, the 6ft 9in Superstar received the biggest push of his career when he defeated Savio Vega to win the King of the Ring tournament. However, in the months following his big victory, Mabel received complaints regarding his in-ring work after he injured Kevin Nash (aka Diesel) and The Undertaker in high-profile matches.

Speaking in a Kayfabe Commentaries interview, Nash revealed that Vince McMahon wanted to fire Mabel due to concerns that he could injure more of his talent, but "Big Sexy" was able to change the WWE Chairman’s mind.

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“They were gonna fire him on the spot. Vince gave him his papers right there, and I said, ‘Woah, woah, woah, woah, woah, that ain’t gonna happen. You ain’t gonna fire him. Fire him, fire me. He made a mistake but let’s just f***ing make sure it doesn’t happen again. This f***er’s killing everybody.’”

It is worth noting that although Nash saved Mabel’s job at the time, McMahon still decided to release the 1995 King of the Ring winner at the beginning of 1996.

The former WWE Tag Team Champion went on to have two more spells with WWE between 1998-2000 and 2004-2008.

#3 Brock Lesnar saved The Big Show’s WWE career

The Big Show struggled to reclaim his spot as a WWE main-eventer following his return from a spell in the Ohio Valley Wrestling developmental system in 2000.

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Speaking on Corey Graves’ After The Bell podcast, the 7-footer recalled how he found it difficult to get back to his previous level on the card in 2001-2002 until Brock Lesnar personally requested to work with him.

“Brock and I started working and tearing the house down and it changed a lot of people’s perceptions of who I was as a talent and who I was as an individual, and I really owe that break to have them [WWE] re-look at me and it’s because of Brock.”

The Big Show went as far as saying that he owes his entire career resurgence to Lesnar, who dropped the WWE Championship to his long-term rival at Survivor Series 2002 after a betrayal from Paul Heyman.

Twelve years after their first rivalry began, the two men went one-on-one again at the 2014 Royal Rumble. The Big Show was unable to pick up the victory, though, as Lesnar attacked him with a steel chair before delivering a huge F-5 to win the two-minute match.

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#2 Tommy Dreamer saved CM Punk’s WWE job

CM Punk won five World Championships during his time in WWE, but it is no secret that he had his fair share of doubters throughout his nine-year association with the company.

In fact, Paul Heyman – Punk’s friend and former on-screen advocate – said on a 2012 DVD documentary about Punk’s career that he frequently questioned why WWE officials did not want to work with the up-and-coming Superstar.

In the same year that the DVD was released, former ECW star Tommy Dreamer told Radar Online that he had to convince WWE's higher-ups to keep Punk on the roster in the early years of his career.

"He had little-to-no chance of ever making it in the WWE – he wasn't their type of guy. I saved his job two times when he was about to be let go – I was saying, 'Ya gotta keep this kid, ya gotta keep this kid.'"
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Dreamer worked with WWE’s development talents during Punk’s time in the Ohio Valley Wrestling system, which meant he was responsible for recommending potential stars of the future to the company.

#1 Joey Mercury saved Seth Rollins’ WWE job

Seth Rollins’ 2015 WWE Championship reign is remembered fondly by many WWE fans – not only due to the man himself but also thanks to his two villainous sidekicks, Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble (aka J&J Security).

Speaking at Wizard World in St. Louis in 2015, Rollins revealed that Mercury played a big role in saving his WWE job after he grew frustrated of spending too long in the company’s developmental system.

Mercury “put me on the right path”, according to Rollins, who spent two years in Florida Championship Wrestling and NXT before moving to RAW and SmackDown as a member of The Shield in November 2012.

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Barring injury, Rollins has almost always been involved in a storyline on WWE television ever since his call-up with Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns.

He has also won nearly everything there is to win in WWE, including the Universal Championship (x2) and the Royal Rumble (2019), while the highlight of his career came when he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract at the end of WrestleMania 31 to become WWE Champion for the first time.

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Edited by
Nick Sutherland
 
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