Everyone loves a good underdog story: A “zero to hero” character overcoming all odds to prevail against their opponents is usually the guy we’re rooting for. Such stories give us hope that, in our darkest times, we can still fight for our hopes and dreams – and win.
Naturally, underdogs played a huge part in the history of WWE; most fighting sports rely on the drama ensuing from the clash of a favorite and an up-and-comer to drive the story built around the technical aspects of the battles. Wrestling wouldn’t be the same without that.
Today, we’ll be looking at people that have been considered underdogs in WWE, for one reason or another. These were the wrestlers that surprised the fans and messed up even the best betting strategies: Most of them were not superstar material, but their heart and passion for the sport drove them to glorious triumphs.
He may have become a crowd favorite, but in the world of WWE, he hasn’t always been what would be considered an ideal wrestler. Mysterio started out as a short luchador in a world dominated by mountains.
Fortunately, what he lacked in height, he made up for in charisma and energy, which quickly earned him a place in the fans’ hearts. Pair that with some excellent wrestling technique, and he soon snagged his first big win at the Royal Rumble. Stardom was soon to follow.
Rey Mysterio’s wins paved the way for more traditional Mexican wrestlers and competitors who weren’t too tall to join the professional wrestling world. Before him, it was very rare to see any luchadors in WWE, but now they’re as common as the ground-stomping big guys. Hence, for us, he’s the ultimate WWE underdog.
The late Eddie Guerrero had all odds turned against him. He built his fame on wrestling as a heel, but Guerrero was an unmatched performer and a fan-favorite wrestler.
He was primarily kept in the shadows and fought in lower-tier matches until he faced the Beast Incarnate, a.k.a. Brock Lesnar. The fight – which he won in the face of dire odds – brought him true fame, as well as a Triple Crown and Grand Slam Championship.
Unfortunately, Eddie Guerrero passed away when he was just 38 due to heart failure. According to his fellow wrestlers, he was the best wrestler of his time and, ultimately, ranked as the 11th greatest wrestler of all time.
If there was ever a wrestler that could be a textbook example of an underdog, it’s Mick Foley. Throughout his long wrestling career, he portrayed three personas, or the “Three Faces of Foley,” as they were known.
Foley was one of those wrestlers who really put everything into their role, famously getting injured from ludicrous stunts that had him bloody, broken, unconscious, and even one ear short. The man has always been hardcore, and fans loved this kind of showmanship.
Despite all that, he only got out of his underdog status when we faced the Undertaker and busted through the roof of the cell in an unscripted move. It was a massive breakout – pun intended – for the grizzled wrestler.
Kingston’s story is an interesting one, as he went from being the superstar down to an underdog and back. As a solo wrestler, he enjoyed a good deal of fame in his younger days, but after joining the New Day, he fell off the radar of many wrestling fans.
It was only during the Elimination Chamber 2019 that he reclaimed his fame: Kingston had to stand in for Mustafa Ali in that match and quickly became a fan favorite. Even though victory slipped out of his hands, Kofi regained popularity in the grand WWE scheme of things. As the commentators said, it was as if fans had forgotten how good Kingston is in the ring. Later that same year, he won the WWE Championship for the first time, giving the promotion its first African-born champion.
‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin
There probably isn’t a wrestling fan that doesn’t know who Stone Cold is. For years, he was the most popular character in professional wrestling, topped by just a few superstars, like John Cena and The Rock.
However, Steve Austin wasn’t always the boisterous bruiser we know and love. He started his career first as “Stunning” Steve Austin – a good wrestler with better looks – and rebranded as the Ringmaster after a while. Unfortunately, that persona didn’t really suit him, and needed a major change; thus, “Stone Cold” was born. By becoming the beer-drinking rebel, especially after defeating the “evil corpo overlord” McMahon in a series of handicap matches, he finally became the superstar he is today.