7 WWE wrestlers who suffered as children before finding success

AJ Lee, AJ Styles, and Becky Lynch
AJ Lee, AJ Styles, and Becky Lynch

Being a WWE Superstar is a difficult profession to practice. While there are other fields where there is constant pressure to perform every night, the physical toll that the Superstars put their bodies through every day makes it even more difficult for them to continue to function.

However, there are some WWE wrestlers who have to fight an even bigger issue on their road to make it big -- their childhoods.

They had troubled childhoods where they had to fight against the odds to survive and become the person that they were always dreaming to be.

In this article, we will be looking at 7 WWE wrestlers who overcame their childhood issues to make it big. We will be including current WWE Superstars, as well as Superstars who used to, at one point, work for the company.

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Without any further ado, let's take a look at these current and former WWE wrestlers.

#7 R-Truth


One of the superstars who has been perpetually overlooked by the WWE Universe until recently is R-Truth. Given that he never had a proper run at the forefront of the company, that is understandable.

Currently, R-Truth is one of the top stars and is the major reason for the success of the 24/7 Championship. The title fits his profile of crazy just right, and as a result, R-Truth has seen enormous success.

In the past, he has also held numerous accolades, including the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. However, to get where he is now, Truth had to fight off a lot of issues in his childhood.

He grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, amidst utter poverty. As a child, he helped his father sell marijuana to help their family get through tough times.

He later dropped out of school as well, at the age of 16, and sold drugs to help fund his music career. Unfortunately for him, he would be arrested during this time. When he was finally released from prison he spent two years trying to focus on his music career without any luck, while staying at a halfway house.

Thankfully, around this time, he met Jim Crockett of NWA, who offered him a chance, and he entered wrestling.

R-Truth has aged like fine wine and has been one of the mainstays in the WWE for over a decade now. His comic timing has earned him a lot of praise and the fact that he remains relevant even to this day transcending eras is a testament to the hard work he has put in.

#6 AJ Lee

AJ Lee
AJ Lee

If there is one female superstar every WWE fan recognizes from the early 2010s, it is AJ Lee.

Coming to WWE at a time when women were still not being booked properly, Lee was one of the driving forces of the Women's Revolution that would take place. Despite not being the largest performer, AJ Lee used her charisma to climb to the top of the food chain and become WWE Divas Champion.

Her feuds with the Bella Twins, Kaitlyn, and Paige are some of the most noteworthy moments of the women's division during this time, as well as her interactions with the male roster members. Sadly, when it came to her past, Lee had to go through a lot.

AJ Lee has been open about the mental health issues she suffers from. She had bipolar disorder growing up and her mother had suffered from the same disease, often lashing out at her. When she was a child, her family was poor and they were homeless quite a few times, where they had to live in a car or a motel.

When trying out for WWE, AJ Lee even had to restrict the amount of food she ate to afford it. She borrowed money from her sister, but this finally worked out for her when she was signed and made it big in WWE.

#5 Batista

Dave Batista
Dave Batista

Batista is one of the most well-known names in the world right now. His acting career is well documented, with him landing successful roles in different films, including Drax the Destroyer in the Marvel Universe.

Prior to making it big in Hollywood, Batista was one of the top wrestlers in WWE and was one of the Superstars pegged for greatness. Having had multiple World Championship reigns during his time there, it is safe to say he achieved that and then some.

However, this does not mean that Dave Batista is a stranger to tough times. There was a time after leaving WWE that he went broke, before making it big in Hollywood.

Other than that, Batista's childhood was not the easiest either.

Batista's parents divorced when he was young and coming from a poor neighborhood, he was exposed to a different side of the world. He said that he had seen three people murdered in his front yard before he had even turned nine. He said that at the time, the life expectancy of children in his neighborhood was worse than in many third world countries.

He got mixed up with the wrong crowd and actually started stealing cars for a living at 13 years of age. Thankfully, he got into body-building and turned his life around before actually making the switch to wrestling.

Batista is a future WWE Hall of Famer.

#4 Booker T

Booker T
Booker T

WWE Hall of Famer Booker T is known for his immense career in the ring in both WCW and WWE. The former King of the Ring winner found success in the ring and is one of the top wrestlers to have ever been in WWE. Currently working on WWE Backstage, he is well-respected, having reached where he has in the industry.

However, Booker T did not always have this amount of respect. His younger years were extremely tragic before he finally made it in wrestling.

He was the youngest of eight children and by the time he was 14-years-old, both of his parents had passed away. Without the guidance of his parents, he fell in with the wrong sort of crowd, and he started to take part in illegal activities. He worked in quite a few armed robberies in Wendy's restaurants with 3 friends. This led to him being caught and arrested.

He had to go to prison for 19 months before he was released despite an initial 5-year sentence. He was a single father and worked in a storage company, hoping to make a better life for himself as well as for his son. He entered a wrestling school, which was paid for by his boss from the storage company, which helped him to later turn his life around and eventually make it big.

Booker was one of the few superstars who found tremendous success in both the WWE and rival brand WCW. He is a five-time WCW champion in his own right.

#3 Becky Lynch

Becky Lynch
Becky Lynch

Currently one of the biggest names in women's wrestling, it can be said that Becky Lynch has made it big. One of three women to be in the first-ever women's wrestling main event at WrestleMania, Lynch is well known throughout and beyond the wrestling world.

As a part of WWE's Four Horsewomen, she is practically wrestling royalty.

However, reaching this place in her life was a huge journey, that took her a long time. Early in her life, she was talented in sports, but she was stuck with the wrong crowd due to which she experimented with marijuana and drinking. She was able to give this up after meeting Finn Balor and soon started to wrestle, turning her life around.

However, even after starting her wrestling career, her troubles were far from over. In September 2006. she suffered a legitimate injury to her head in Germany while wrestling. This resulted in her suffering from headaches, buzzing in her left ear, as well as a loss of vision.

She was diagnosed with damage to her eighth cranial nerve. She took a six-year hiatus from wrestling, only coming back properly in 2011, soon after which she signed a development deal with NXT.

She has won the Women's championship four times in the WWE cementing her legacy as one of the toughest Divas in WWE history.

#2 AJ Styles

AJ Styles
AJ Styles

High-flying superstar AJ Styles is one of the biggest names in the world of professional wrestling. In the days where WWE was the only promotion worth being in, Styles was one of the only Superstars who was able to make his name in the business while not being a part of WWE, alongside Superstars like Samoa Joe.

He has wrestled in Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor, and has gone to New Japan where he became the leader of the Bullet Club.

In WWE, he found success in a big way within months of joining the company, becoming the WWE Champion. He has since held multiple titles and had proper reigns in the company.

However, before making it big, AJ Styles went through multiple issues when he was a child. He grew up in a poor household, where he could not even watch wrestling due to his parents not being able to afford cable.

His father was an alcoholic and abusive from when he was very young. He fought to get out of poverty from when he was very young and managed to do so by focusing on his wrestling dream

#1 Dean Ambrose / Jon Moxley

Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose

Okay, first of all, I know Dean Ambrose is in AEW now, but that's not the point. He is a former WWE wrestler, much like Batista, AJ Lee, and Booker T, who are also featured on this list.

Moving on from that, it's fair to say that he has found success in the world of professional wrestling. In WWE, he won the WWE Championship, the WWE Tag Team titles, the United States title, as well as the Intercontinental title.

In AEW, he has won several extremely brutal matches.

But long before all of this, Ambrose came from very humble beginnings. He spent most of his early childhood in public housing in Cincinnati. There, he was left to find ways to amuse himself and grew up in unenviable circumstances.

He had an absent father and used wrestling to escape his grim real life. He dropped out of school at the early age of 16 so that he could be a wrestler and then used the money that he earned from his passion that led him to WWE, to help move his mother to a house of her own.

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Edited by Greg Bush
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