Almost everyone can relate to the struggles of needing a job, especially given today’s wintry economic climate. Having a few friends within one’s professional industry can immeasurably help out in times like this, and depending on who those friends are, sometimes it can solve the problem altogether. Pro wrestling is just like any other job in this respect, as out-of-work sports entertainers have been relying upon one another to seek out employment for as long as the business has existed.
In general, this probably doesn’t register with fans as a particularly shocking discovery. However, some of the specifics on whom asked who for what job might indeed surprise even the most diehard wrestling fans in the WWE universe. Plenty of the superstars who found employment through their friends, in turn, wound up linked on camera with the person who got them the job, but that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, on more than one occasion, the person getting their friend a job didn’t even work for the company where said job existed, and rather they simply used industry contacts to connect newcomers with the people who have all the real power in the wrestling industry.
Wrestlers aren’t always entirely honest, and thus some of the stories we’re about to tell have more than one version of them, with wrestlers and officials alike not wanting to admit when they needed help. Nonetheless, plenty of documentation exists that these friendships were real, and the jobs they’re alleged to have created were most certainly factual, as well, whether or not they were a direct result of friendly interference. For insight into which WWE superstars may have needed a little help from their friends, keep reading to learn about 15 wrestlers who had to ask their closest allies for help getting a job.
15. Bob Holly Asked Paul Bearer
When a manager is responsible for getting a wrestler a job, one would probably assume that the wrestler would go on to be managed by the person responsible for their employment. Granted, not all managers are suited for all superstars, but that hasn’t stopped WWE from creating some odd manager-client pairs in the past. Nonetheless, the case of Bob Holly and Paul Bearer proves this trend is mere speculation, as Holly credits Bearer for pretty much his entire career, despite the fact that they never had any significant onscreen interaction during their shared decade-plus in WWE.
Holly has never gone into great detail on how his relationship with Bearer began, although it remains clear how important the connection between the two was to the hardcore superstar’s career. What Holly has explained is that he sent an audition video to Bearer in the early ‘90s, and Bearer, in turn, gave that tape to the WWE officials who would go on to hire Bob and turn him into Sparky Plug. Holly and Bearer may never have interacted much or at all onscreen, but that didn’t stop Bob from being eternally grateful for the opportunity Bearer gave him, as explained in his autobiography, The Hardcore Truth, and countless shoot interviews.
14. Justin Credible Asked Paul Roma
Justin Credible and Paul Roma are two pro wrestlers who most fans would assume have absolutely nothing in common. Yet, when one digs a little deeper, a few interesting parallels can be drawn. Roma’s biggest claim to fame is performing as a member of The Four Horsemen, with the downside being Roma is generally considered the worst wrestler ever to earn such an honor. Credible is occasionally included within wrestling’s infamous Kliq, an idea treated almost like a joke among wrestling fans, considering his low status in comparison to his close friends like Kevin Nash and Shawn Michaels.
Credible and Roma have another interesting thing in common, since both were members of the same gym during the early 1990s, and quickly became friends as a result. Credible was just getting his foot in the door as a wrestler, and asked Roma to introduce him to WCW officials. The result was an appearance on WCW Worldwide jobbing to The Nasty Boys, which wasn’t exactly the key to fame, but Credible still appreciated the opportunity to get his foot in the door nonetheless.
13. Shawn Michaels Asked Kevin Nash And Scott Hall
There is a distinct difference between wrestlers that got their friends a job and wrestlers that asked their friends to get them jobs. These requests don’t always result in employment for a variety of factors. Shawn Michaels was the top star of WWE in 1997, while Kevin Nash and Scott Hall were two of the most important names in WCW, as high-ranking members of the nWo. Despite his position in the company, Michaels wasn’t entirely happy with his career at this point in time, and therefore repeatedly attempted to get out of his contract, knowing his friends in WCW could easily get him a job working for that company should he be allowed to do so.
Ultimately, HBK’s reason for staying in WWE wasn’t exclusively about his contract, either. Michaels has explained Vince McMahon convinced him that WCW wouldn’t use him correctly, and he’d end up hating his time there even more than he did with WWE. This list reaffirms the theory that people like working with their friends, but obviously, there’s a lot more to a job than just the people you work with, and therefore not all of these arrangements panned out.
12. Dustin Rhodes Asked Dusty Rhodes
On one level or another, it wouldn’t be fair to put any second generation wrestler on this list, as their parents usually played a role in getting them their first job in the business. Dustin Rhodes is a special case, though, because there was once a period in his career where his drug problem left him virtually unemployable, and he was still able to get a regular job thanks to his famous father. The younger Rhodes has struggled with substance abuse issues the majority of his life, and his addictions brought him to his lowest point sometime around 2007. Despite nearing a personal rock bottom, Rhodes asked his father for a job at TNA, where he began performing as the controversial Black Reign character.
The big reason Black Reign is so controversial is that Dustin himself openly detests the era of his career, primarily due to his drug habits being completely out of control. Dustin didn’t care about his career in the slightest, and some unfortunate matches and storylines were thus the result. Any other wrestler may have been fired in this scenario, but Dusty happened to be the second highest ranking official in TNA at this point, so his son was pretty safe to keep his job regardless. Dustin would later take WWE’s offer to put him through rehab, and went on to make a comeback as Goldust without needing to rely on his father’s legendary status.
11. Andy Kaufman Asked Bill Apter
It almost goes without question that Andy Kaufman was the greatest celebrity wrestler of all time, and perhaps even more significantly, he was also the first of this type to be successful on a national level. It should, therefore, come as a bit of a surprise that Kaufman’s entry into the wrestling world wasn’t an immediate and effortless endeavor. Although it was in Memphis, Tennessee where Kaufman’s wrestling career would take off, he actually gave his first wrestling interview for none other than Vince McMahon.
Vince McMahon’s father was still the man in charge, though, and Vince, Sr. didn’t feel like a celebrity wrestler would fit on his program, so Kaufman only gave one interview before going down South and feuding with Jerry Lawler. How exactly Lawler and Kaufman met has become a source of slight controversy over the years, but the most likely story involves Andy first becoming good friends with a wrestling journalist named Bill Apter. Apter recalls Andy essentially inviting himself into his apartment, and then asking Bill to call Lawler to pitch his idea. Lawler didn’t believe Apter at first, but once he was convinced, they started talking about the possibilities at hand, and before long Kaufman was a major part of wrestling history.
10. Beulah McGillicutty Asked Raven
There have been a number of examples where a wrestler getting their friend a job doesn’t necessarily mean that they will interact on screen, but there have been at least a few cases where the exact opposite is true. Case in point, Beulah McGillicutty, who owes her ECW career to the person she was introduced to manage, and then went on to feud for all eternity, Raven. McGillicutty had actually briefly worked in wrestling as far back as the 1980s, when she was dating Brian Pillman and would appear in the crowd during his matches.
A few years later, Beulah had become a Penthouse model, but was looking to get back into the wrestling industry, and a chance meeting with Raven changed both of their careers forever. Beulah immediately asked Raven if he could get her a job in ECW, giving him naked pictures of herself to serve as headshots, and also because that sort of move would get most guys to at least try and help her out. Raven introduced Beulah to Paul Heyman, and though Raven was hesitant at the idea of Beulah being his own valet, Heyman talked him into it, gradually turning the saga of Raven, Beulah, and Tommy Dreamer into one of the most legendary angles in ECW history.
9. The Bushwhackers Asked The Dynamite Kid
It would be hard to imagine any group of wrestlers with less in common than The Dynamite Kid and The Bushwhackers, Butch and Luke. The Bushwhackers were silly cartoon characters who once wrestled as vicious foreigners, while Dynamite was a technical master who invented a hard hitting and high flying style predating modern legends like Rey Mysterio and A.J. Styles. They did all have one thing in common in that they were pro wrestlers who traveled the world practicing their craft, and Dynamite himself claims it is because they shared this bond that he was responsible for The Bushwhackers getting jobs in WWE.
There is some controversy to this story in that The Bushwhackers themselves tell a different version of events. In his autobiography Pure Dynamite, the Dynamite Kid tells the story that he met Butch and Luke in an airport and they asked for Pat Patterson’s number, with the rest of the story more or less writing itself. The Whackers themselves dispute this, and claim Patterson called them out of the blue as their profile rose in the NWA. We may never know the real story, but the idea of Dynamite and the Bushwhackers bonding during a Japanese layover is too fun to deny completely, so we’ll go with Dynamite’s story on this one.
8. Eddie Guerrero Asked Dean Malenko
While all of the superstars on this list should be grateful their friends were able to get them jobs in the first place, a few of them were especially lucky in that they may not have even realized the opportunities that awaited them in the first place had their friends not spoken up. Take for example the case of Eddie Guerrero, who was one of the top heels in Mexico throughout 1994, turning into a massive star thanks to his antics with Art Barr as Los Gringos Locos. Barr, unfortunately, passed away in late 1994, and Guerrero was at a crossroads in his life and career, at which point his friends Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit stepped in with an extreme suggestion.
As buzzworthy as Eddie was in Mexico, his notoriety couldn’t compare to that of the most influential indy promotion in American wrestling, ECW. Adding some immediacy to the matter, the Mexican economy was hurting, and thus Eddie’s previous employer, AAA, could no longer afford a contract he felt was fitting to his star power. Eddie floated around various independent promotions for a few months, while Malenko and Benoit were trying to sell him on a longer term stay in ECW. Ultimately, Malenko convinced him, and then in turn Malenko convinced Paul Heyman to give Eddie a job. Eddie and Malenko went on to feud one another in one of ECW’s greatest in-ring wars.
7. Apollo Crews Asked Wale (Who Asked Mark Henry)
There are pros and cons to the many ways in which the Internet has changed pro wrestling forever, but chances are it will continue to change sports entertainment in both positive and negative ways for a long time to come. One wrestler in particular who should be extremely thankful for this is Apollo Crews, who credits his WWE career to a shocking and unexpected friendship that began with a message on Twitter. At the time, Crews wrestled on the independent scene as Uhaa Nation, and one of his many fans was the hip-hop artist, Wale.
Wale plainly asked Crews through a message, “How can we get you in WWE?” and although Crews didn’t really have an answer, Wale was able to find one out by himself. If you’re a hip hop star who casually messages pro wrestlers in your free time, chances are you’ve done this more than once, so Wale next contacted his friend Mark Henry about getting Crews a tryout. Crews immediately impressed officials and was signed to a contract not long after, crediting the opportunity to that initial online interaction with Wale.
6. Enzo Amore Asked Joe DeFranco
It makes sense that pro wrestlers would spend a lot of their free time in the gym, so it should be no surprise that their closest friends are often the people they work out with. Triple H has plenty of friends within the wrestling industry, but another one of his closest confidants is his athletic trainer, a man named Joe DeFranco. Joe DeFranco hasn’t been Triple H’s athletic trainer forever, though, and it just so happens that some ten or fifteen years ago, DeFranco was the trainer of a teenage football player named Eric Arndt.
Nowadays, Arndt is far better known as Enzo Amore, and it is largely thanks to DeFranco he got the opportunity to become a star. Amore was shocked to learn his former trainer had started working for a man he referred to as Paul Levesque, and instantly began begging his old friend for a chance to meet the WWE COO. DeFranco instead had Amore put together a video package he could show Triple H, and it would turn out The Game was impressed with what Enzo made for him, as tryouts in NXT soon followed.
5. Dennis Stamp Asked Terry Funk
It can be somewhat embarrassing to need help finding a job, despite how easy some of the other entries on this list made it look. Pro wrestlers can be a proud type, and they don’t necessarily want to come off as needing to beg their friends for work. Nonetheless, some need to do exactly this, such to an extent that it can be somewhat sad, or in the right light, perhaps even funny. Take for instance Dennis Stamp, a career jobber who nevertheless was unwilling to give up his dreams of wrestling stardom, and who along the course of his career became good friends with actual wrestling legend Terry Funk.
Terry Funk has become as famous for his many retirement matches as for his exploits in the ring, and one such final match occurred in late 1997. Funk wrestled Bret Hart with Dennis Stamp as the referee, although Stamp more or less had to beg Terry for the opportunity. As documented in the film Beyond The Mat, Funk asked his old friend if Stamp would be attending his retirement show, only for Stamp to shrug and reply, “I’m not booked!” The Funker eventually took the hint and allowed Stamp to be the ref, and though the match was another Terry Funk classic, Stamp would be the one who turned into a meme due to his sly way of angling for a job.
4. Scott Hall Asked Diamond Dallas Page
Scott Hall would go on to become one of the most important superstars in the history of the business during the Monday Night Wars, so it could be easy for some fans to have forgotten that he was once pretty low on the wrestling totem poll. Hall was a successful tag team wrestler with Curt Hennig while working for the AWA in the 1980s, but for some reason, he didn’t have much success when that company went out of business. Eventually, Hall wasn’t making enough money to support himself in wrestling, and the situation became worse when he learned that his wife was pregnant.
Rather than quit the business altogether, Hall called his friend “Diamond” Dallas Page, who instantly got him a job in WCW as the Diamond Studd, a member of DDP’s Diamond Exchange. Hall also slightly changed his look, shaving his mustache and dying his hair jet black, which caught the attention of Vince McMahon and Pat Patterson. In essence, Page not only got Hall his job in WCW, but also got him his job in WWE thanks to the fame Hall achieved once Page opened the door. And this wouldn’t be the only time DDP helped one of his friends out in this nature.
3. Raven Asked Diamond Dallas Page
It can be downright horrible to seek out employment and not be able to find a job, but that doesn’t mean having a job in and of itself solves every problem a person could have. Some people are better suited for particular jobs than others, and if a person isn’t suited for their job at all, going to work every day can become even more miserable than unemployment. Raven found himself in this scenario in late 1994, when he was offered a lucrative backstage job in WWE as a producer, which he knew would shatter his aspirations of becoming a full-time wrestler.
Raven walked away from a $100,000 salary job with benefits because he wanted a career in the ring, and the only immediate offer he had to do so turned out to be based on false promises. Luckily for Raven, he had recently met “Diamond” Dallas Page, and also had become a fan of ECW Hardcore TV. Raven knew Page and Heyman worked together a few years earlier, and thus asked Page to get the two in contact with one another. DDP set up the contact, and Raven was in ECW by the end of the year.
2. Paul Bearer Asked Rick Rude
Typically in pro wrestling, the implication is that if a wrestler has a manager, that manager is responsible for handling all of the technical aspects of their job, including getting them their contracts in the first place. As it would turn out, sometimes it can be the exact opposite of that, and a former client can turn around and find employment for their managers, as well. Paul Bearer managed Rick Rude in Texas during the 1980s, when Bearer was known as Percival Pringle III. Bearer and Rude were, in fact, neighbors during this time, and thus became close friends as they worked together.
Rude made the jump to WWE in 1987, while Bearer stayed in Texas for several years, slowly watching a once fruitful territory get sucked up into the WWE machine like so many others in that era. Bearer was unsure what to do with his career and casually told this to his friend Rick one evening, causing Rude to mention Bearer’s name to Vince McMahon. It wasn’t long before Bearer had a meeting with McMahon and other WWE officials, and though he would stray far from Rude on camera, he still credits the Ravishing One with the fact that the meeting turned into Hall of Fame-worthy employment.
1. The Rock Asked Pat Patterson
Even the most electrifying man in sports entertainment needed a little help on his way to the top, and in fact, there were dozens of pro wrestlers who helped The Rock on his journey to become a star. It would probably be fair to assume that the first person to help The Rock in his career was his father, WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson, who was the first man to train Dwayne Johnson in the finer arts of the squared circle. Rock’s uncles and cousins would help out, too, and his grandmother’s experience as a wrestling promoter no doubt influenced the young Great One in more ways than one.
When it comes to actually getting The Rock a job, though, the Brahma Bull himself claims that no one person was more instrumental in his hiring by WWE than Pat Patterson. Patterson likes to downplay his own role in WWE, despite the fact that he has long been considered one of Vince McMahon’s best friends and right-hand men. Patterson has also long been friends with The Rock and his entire family, and thus he was willing to recommend The Rock to Vince and give him a tryout match with Rock’s actual in-ring talents virtually sight unseen. Only through incredible luck and natural charisma was The Rock able to turn this into a career to electrify, although he never would have had a chance in the first place without Patterson’s early assistance.