There are so many well-known superstars on the WWE roster right now who have been in the wrestling business for decades just working their way up to the WWE. The likes of Seth Rollins and Cesaro came through the ranks in Ring of Honor while Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, Austin Aries and AJ Styles were already well-known stars in Impact Wrestling before they decided to make the switch over to WWE.
While there are many stars who were signed to WWE with a wealth of experience, when the company opened up the state of the art Performance Centre back in 2013, it meant that they had the means to create their own superstars for the first time, which is why there are many superstars on the main roster right now who had no prior wrestling experience before they signed to WWE.
The Performance Center has only been open for five years, but there are already a number of names who have made it through the ranks in WWE and are now able to say that they are complete results of the training from some of the best coaches in the world, since they had never stepped into a WWE ring before they came to WWE. The following list looks at just 15 superstars who are on the current WWE roster who were signed to WWE/NXT with no prior wrestling experience, but were able to pick up the basics early on and have since been able to excel in their chosen career.
15 The Authors of Pain
The Authors of Pain made their main roster debut on Monday night as part of the celebrations on the Raw after WrestleMania, but even though the dominant duo have made waves in NXT over the past few years, they only started their wrestling career with WWE back in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
According to USA Today, before WWE came knocking, Akam had a background in freestyle wrestling and amateur wrestling that almost took him to the Summer Olympics in 2012, while Rezar had quite an interesting MMA career with six wins in his eight matches and two of these coming via TKO.
Both guys managed to get WWE's attention with their previous ventures and were invited to tryouts with the WWE and then signed to full-time contracts.
In their short time as part of the wrestling business, The Authors of Pain are already former NXT Tag Team Champions and have been managed by WWE Hall of Famer Paul Ellering.
Carmella may be seen as a second generation superstar in WWE after her father Paul Van Dale wrestled for the company as a jobber in the 1990s, but this was never a career path for The Princess of Staten Island. Carmella was a cheerleader and then a dancer for the Los Angeles Lakers before she attended a WWE tryout and was signed to the Performance Centre back in 2013.
She made her debut the following year and has since climbed the ranks through the company to become the first ever Women's Money in the Bank winner. After holding that case for 287 days, she recently became the SmackDown Women's Champion for the first time.
This is the first Championship the former NXT star has held in her almost four-year career, but she has definitely excelled since she had no prior experience before joining the company.
Lana has become a well-known face on WWE's main roster over the past few years as the manager of her real-life husband Rusev, as well as pursuing a career on the squared circle herself, which allowed her to compete in a number of matches back in 2017 before she returned to her managerial duties.
According to Pro Wrestling Wiki, Lana had experience in dancing and acting before she came to WWE as part of the 2013 Diva Search, the online competition was won by Eva Marie and JoJo Offerman who were then awarded a place in Total Divas.
Lana impressed at the auditions and the company decided to sign her to the NXT brand, and aligned her with Rusev in 2013.
Lana had no prior knowledge of the business before she was signed in 2013 and has been able to become one of the best superstars on the mic in recent years, but sadly her wrestling ability hasn't been able to follow suit.
12 Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin is currently performing on WWE's SmackDown brand and is another person who is a product of WWE's Performance Center in recent years. The Lone Wolf joined WWE back in 2012 and made his debut just two months later at a WWE Live Event. Luckily, Corbin spent another few months learning the ropes before he made his televised debut in 2013, but he hasn't looked back since. According to Newsday, Corbin's history is in Golden Glove boxing and playing footballer for the NFL.
His football career came to an end back in 2011 and Corbin then turned his attention to another sport.
There are a number of stars who have been able to use the skills they acquired from their football careers to make names for themselves in WWE. Superstars like Goldberg and JBL proved that a football career can set the groundwork for a WWE career a decade before Corbin made the same switch.
Naomi won the first ever WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal last weekend in one of the biggest highlights of her career at one of the biggest WrestleMania's in the history of the company and is also a former two-time SmackDown Women's Champion. Naomi signed for WWE back in 2009 and has now been part of the company for almost a decade, despite only having a background in dance when she first made her way to FCW.
Naomi was then part of the first ever all-woman season of NXT in 2010, which was won by Kaitlyn before she made her way to the main roster and had to wait seven years for her first Women's Championship.
Naomi has continued to dance outside of WWE and was known to be a backup dancer and cheerleader for Orlando Magic's NBA team before she decided to make a career switch and hasn't looked back since.
10 Mojo Rawley
Mojo Rawley was just the fourth man who won the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale last year in what was considered to be a huge shock since Rawley had only been known as a tag team star alongside Zack Ryder in the years prior to his main roster call-up.
Rawley was someone who was signed to WWE back in 2012 and became one of the wrestlers that were known as Triple H's favorites in NXT. According to Bleacher Report, Rawley only had a background in football when he was signed to the company and had spent 18 months on the sidelines rehabbing an injury before he opted to join WWE rather than return to his football career. Rawley is currently working on the SmackDown brand, but he hasn't been able to capitalize on his win from the Andre The Giant Battle Royal last year since he's still seen as a mid-carder on the Blue Brand.
9 Braun Strowman
Braun Strowman is one of the most popular superstars in the company right now, but even the former Raw Tag Team Champion came to WWE with no prior wrestling experience when he was first signed back in 2013.
Strowman had a history in Strongman competitions and football before he decided to change up his career path and head into the wrestling world.
Strowman states that Mark Henry is one of his inspirations for joining the WWE as the World Strongest Man made a career in WWE off the back of his exploits in weightlifting. Strowman debuted in the company a few years later in 2015 and was seen as one of Adam Rose's Rosebuds for a time before he was added to The Wyatt Family and then became known as The Monster Among Men. It's been a long few years for Strowman but he's finally on the right track to becoming World Champion in the future.
8 Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey made her official WWE debut back at WrestleMania where she teamed with Kurt Angle to take on Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, but even though Rousey is a well-known former UFC Champion, she doesn't have a history in the wrestling business.
Rousey has been training with the company over the past few years and they were happy to sign her without actually seeing her wrestle.
Her career in UFC has allowed her to find a platform like WWE where she has been able to continue her career in the spotlight. Rousey has been in a number of films in recent years off the back of the exposure that her career in UFC gave her, but none of this prepared for a career in WWE, but she did make quite the impression in her first ever match on the Grandest Stage of Them All.
7 Big E
Big E has become one of the most popular stars in the company right now as one-third of The New Day and he's a former Tag Team Champion. Big E made quite an impact in NXT after he was signed to the company back in 2009. Big E was first sent to FCW before the company was rebranded into NXT and was then just the second NXT Champion when he was able to defeat Seth Rollins to hold the richest prize in the developmental brand.
According to PWPIX.net, Before he made his way over to WWE he had a background in powerlifting, which allowed him to set a number of world records, all of which have since been broken. Big E's powerlifting background gave him the strength to be able to make the switch over to WWE, a place where he has been able to remain one of their most consistent performers over the past nine years.
6 The Usos
The Usos may be part of one of the most famous Samoan Wrestling families, but the two didn't have any aspirations to follow into the business until their uncle Umaga decided to take them on the road with him. The Usos were worked as furniture fitters before they were distracted by a career in WWE and they have been able to make quite the impact.
The members of The Usos are former Tag Team Champions who have made quite the impact on the main roster over the past few years ever since they signed for WWE back in 2009. They were then sent to FCW alongside many other names who were part of developmental at that time before they made their official main roster debut the following year. The team has been able to work with their father Rikishi on WWE TV in recent years so they have been able to follow the family history anyway.
5 The Miz
The Miz is seen as one of the best heels on WWE TV right now, but everything that The Miz has created on-screen over the past decade is completely down to WWE since they signed The Awesome One back in 2004 after a stint on WWE'S Tough Enough show. He was just seen as a reality TV star who had been part of The Real World on MTV when he first came to the company. Miz became seen as the host of The Diva Search before he was able to make the transition into an in-ring career with WWE in the years that followed.
The Miz has since been able to win the WWE Championship, main event WrestleMania and achieve a number of other known accolades in WWE in recent years, which isn't bad for a star who walked into the WWE with no experience. He is now seen as one of the companies biggest stars and has even been able to star in movies and have his own TV show.
4 Alexa Bliss
Alexa Bliss has become one of WWE's top female wrestlers over the past few years and is currently seen as a former SmackDown and Raw Women's Champion. Alexa has excelled in the company ever since she was promoted to the main roster back in 2016 as part of the WWE draft despite being overlooked or most of her time in NXT. According to Akron Beacon Journal, Alexa was signed to the company back in 2013 even though she only had a background in cheerleading and bodybuilding.
Alexa sent a video to WWE in the hopes of landing a tryout and the company liked what she had sent and went on to sign her to the company.
Bliss has since been able to earn her craft in the Performance Center and become one of the stand out female stars in the company as part of the Women's Revolution over the past few years.
Charlotte is currently one of the best female wrestlers in the company right now as a former Champion on both Raw, SmackDown and NXT. Even though Charlotte is the daughter of WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair, she didn't want to pursue a career in WWE until 2012. Charlotte signed for the company a few months before her brother Reid passed away back in 2013. According to USA Today, she decided that she would make a career out of the business in honor of him, which allowed her to follow in her father's footsteps.
Charlotte's background in gymnastics and as a personal trainer has helped her to push forward in the company over the past few years to become one of the biggest stars of the Women's Revolution.
The former SmackDown Women's Champion was one of the stars who kickstarted the Women's Revolution in NXT when she first debuted on the developmental brand.
2 The Bella Twins
The Bella Twins have become the faces of the Women's Division over the past few years after they were seen as the main stars of Total Divas back in 2013. Nikki and Brie Bella have trained hard over the past few years to be able to reach the level required to become Champions in WWE, but even these stars didn't have any experience when they first debuted on the main roster.
According to What Culture, Nikki and Brie were pursuing a career in modelling and acting when they auditioned for The Diva Search back in 2006, but even though they didn't win the contest, the company signed the twins and sent them to FCW to train ahead of a debut.
Nikki and Brie are now seen as former Divas Champions and have become two of the best-known female wrestlers in the world thanks to their appearances outside of the company in recent years.
1 Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns is seen as The Big Dog on WWE TV and a Grand Slam Champion. Even though Reigns has been pushed to the top of the company in recent years, he started his career with WWE, according to Bleacher Report, because he was pursuing a career in football before he decided to follow in his father's footsteps.
Reigns was first signed to the company back in 2010 and after a lengthy stint in FCW. The developmental brand was renamed NXT and Reigns was then brought to TV a few months before he debuted on the main roster back in 2012 as one-third of The Shield.
Reigns has since been able to become one of WWE's most talked about stars and has main evented the last four WrestleMania events, which shows the star power that Reigns has gained in recent years thanks to the backing he has from Vince McMahon.
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