Every WWE Breakout Star from 2008-2018: Where are they now?
In sports, it can sometimes be considered somewhat of a burden when an up-and-coming talent is named Young Player of the Year or Rising Star of the Future.
For example, in soccer/football, legendary players including Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero won the sport’s Golden Boy award early on in their careers, and they went on to live up to the hype by becoming two of the greatest goalscorers of their generation.
Other players who won the award, such as Anderson and Alexandre Pato, excelled in the early days of their careers but ultimately failed to fulfil the potential that they showed as youngsters.
So, what does this have to do with WWE? Well, the sports entertainment alternative to this award is the annual Breakout Star of the Year category, which has featured eight times in WWE’s Slammy Awards and NXT’s Year-End Awards since it was first introduced in 2008.
With the 2019 prizes set to be handed out over the next couple of months, let’s take a look at every winner of the award from 2008-2018 to find out whether those Superstars went on to achieve success in WWE after receiving praise for their early work with the company.
#8 Vladimir Kozlov (2008)
In 2008, Vladimir Kozlov was named WWE’s Breakout Star of the Year ahead of Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne and Ted DiBiase Jr.
The Ukrainian debuted in April of that year and began to destroy opponents in quick fashion, much like how Braun Strowman and Nia Jax started their singles careers on the main roster.
Towards the end of 2008, Kozlov became involved in a WWE Championship storyline with Triple H and Edge. However, that turned out to be the highlight of his singles run in WWE, as he soon became part of a comedy tag team with Santino Marella.
Nowadays, Kozlov works as an actor and stuntman, and it was announced in September that 451 Media Group will develop a series based on an all-new mythical character – Rogan, God of Gods – which will be played by the former WWE Tag Team Champion.