Feb 13, 2024

10 Wrestlers Who Made It Big After Humble Beginnings

Pro wrestling is an immensely demanding industry, and these wrestlers were able to make it big despite their humble beginnings.

Professional Wrestling can be a lucrative career for those performers who manage to reach a comfortable position in their respective promotions. Getting signed to a major promotion and making it big in the business is every aspiring wrestler's dream, but that is no easy task to achieve.

RELATED: Top 15 Wrestlers Who Started Really Late

Many wrestlers in the past overcame the early obstacles to reach a satisfactory position and became highly popular performers. They came from all over the globe with different backgrounds, and some of them had to endure some tough upbringings and rough patches before they became wrestling superstars. With that said, let's take a look at ten wrestlers across WWE and AEW who made it big in the business after having humble beginnings.

The Animal Batista is one of the most successful wrestlers to ever come from WWE as the former 6-time world champion made a tremendous impact among the fans throughout his decorated in-ring career with the company. However, he didn't achieve all this success easily as he had to endure some tough upbringing during his early days. Batista's family lived in poverty, and he got estranged from his parents at the age of 17 and shuffled between multiple jobs before choosing to pursue pro wrestling as a career.

Batista faced the most uncomfortable situation in his life when he had to borrow money from a friend to buy Christmas presents for his children, which motivated him to get his life straight, and the rest is history.

Current All Elite Wrestling star Darby Allin is having a successful run with the company after becoming the partner of the WCW legend and WWE Hall of Famer Sting. Allin is a former 2-time TNT Champion and is destined for main event success down the road.

During the early stages of his pro wrestling career, Darby Allin was homeless for a while and had to sleep in his car as he had to drive around various wrestling schools around the country to hone his craft. Such dedication at an early stage led Darby Allin to AEW, and it's certain that he would go on to achieve more success in the coming days.

The current reigning AEW World Tag Team Champions FTR also had a very humble beginning to their pro wrestling careers. Dax Harwood grew up in Whiteville, North Carolina, and had to work three jobs to fund his college and wrestling training, and he managed the time by wrestling on the weekends.

RELATED: 10 Things Fans Should Know About FTR's Lives Outside AEW

Cash Wheeler grew up in Ashville, North Carolina, and credited wrestling for saving his life as he was from a family full of addicts, and his passion for wrestling saved him from going down that path. The two had a decent run in WWE as The Revival, but their current AEW stint has catapulted them into superstardom.

WWE Hall of Famer and 6-time world champion Booker T had quite a rough childhood after he lost both his parents at the age of 13. He lived with his elder sister for a while before moving in with his brother Stevie Ray.

He made friends with the wrong kind of people during that phase and found himself in prison after he pleaded guilty to armed robbery at a restaurant he used to work. After getting out, Booker T started working towards a career in pro wrestling at the insistence of his brother Stevie Ray, and he eventually went on to become one of the most decorated wrestlers of all time.

The late WWE Hall of Famer Rowdy Roddy Piper hit a rough patch in his early life when he got expelled from junior high for having a switchblade in school. He had a bad falling out with his father, who worked as an officer with the CN Rail Police and spent a considerable amount of time living in youth hostels while trying to navigate his way into the pro wrestling business.

Several pro wrestlers hired the young Piper to run errands for them as he picked up odd jobs at nearby gyms. He eventually started his training and made his in-ring debut in 1969, and went on to have a successful career.

Despite all the controversies surrounding him, there is no denying the fact that CM Punk is one of the best wrestlers in all of pro wrestling. He achieved tremendous accolades in his stint with WWE and is replicating the same success in AEW despite having a 7-year break in his in-ring career.

However, Punk didn't enjoy the same success and happiness during his childhood, as he had to grow up with an alcoholic father, five siblings, and a mother who suffered from bipolar disorder. His father's alcoholism was the driving force behind him adopting a straight-edge lifestyle, and pro wrestling acted as the perfect escape for him, and he eventually went on to make his debut in 1999, and the rest is history.

Despite coming from the iconic Anoa'i Family and being the son of the legendary WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson, The Rock didn't have an easy journey to the start of his pro wrestling career. He aspired to have a career in pro football and got a scholarship to play for The University of Miami. But the injuries he sustained in his senior year derailed his momentum and prevented him from trying out for the NFL. He also got cut from the Canadian team he signed with.

RELATED: 10 WWE Wrestlers The Rock Successfully Got Over

When he got back home, he realized that he only had $7 to his name, and it motivated The Rock to turn his life around by becoming a pro wrestler, which eventually led him to reach the position he's in today.

R-Truth is one of the most hilarious characters in WWE history, as the former United States and Tag Team Champion has impeccable comedic timing, which he used throughout his career to put on some of the most entertaining segments in WWE history.

However, his early life was not all laughs and smiles, as he had to endure a rough upbringing and had to deal drugs to financially support his aspiring music career, which sent him to prison on multiple occasions. He then switched his focus to pro wrestling and had a brief run in WWE and TNA before returning to the former company and adopting his current character.

Former WWE and AEW World Champion Jon Moxley grew up in Cincinnati's East End, an area in which shoplifting of food and other essentials was an everyday happening.

He used wrestling as an escape from his rough upbringing and even dropped out of school to start training to be a wrestler. He worked multiple minimum-wage jobs during that phase, as he regularly got fired from them when he took unannounced day-offs to attend wrestling events. From there, he went on to compete in the independent circuit and worked his way up the ladder to reach WWE and AEW to get to the position he's in today.

AJ Styles spent most of his childhood living in poverty with an alcoholic and abusive father. He developed a passion for pro wrestling at a very young age but wasn't able to watch the shows as his family couldn't afford cable. He started his pro wrestling training while he was attending Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina, and took on various jobs like mowing lawns and driving ambulances to support his training and other expenses.

He made his in-ring debut in 1998, and the rest is history as The Phenomenal One went on to compete across the globe and win numerous accolades throughout his iconic in-ring career.

Kebin Antony is a God-fearing, peace-loving pro-wrestling fanatic from South India. He's been a fan of the sport since 2004, and also has a little experience by wrestling pillows in front of an imaginary crowd. He now works as a wrestling list writer for Valnet, Inc, covering thesportster.