Building your career as the top wrestler is a continuous process that requires years of hard work and perseverance. A wrestler spends years training and fighting for his dreams and yet it could all get shattered in just one match. The fans are the real judge of your capabilities as they are dynamic creatures who only expect the best from the wrestlers they are rooting for. To get loyal fans by your side in the industry of pro wrestling, you have to do the unthinkable and should also thrive to go beyond the realm of possibility to entertain the crowd. We have seen the fan base of wrestlers grow each month if not week, and it is because they believe in putting all their efforts into whatever they do.
Yet there are times when wrestlers get a huge boost just after one performance. The performance of these wrestlers was so impressive and breathtaking that people were forced to side with them and support them in whatever they do. Let’s look at such three wrestlers.
Before reading further, remember, that the wrestlers mentioned in this list didn’t just get lucky that one time. They have put in months and years of practice to get that one unbelievable performance.
Ronda Rousey- W/ Kurt Angle vs Triple H & Stephanie McMahon at WrestleMania 34
People had their reservations when Ronda Rousey first came in WWE as many thought that she was not yet ready to make her in-ring debut in WrestleMania 34 as her style of wrestling was very MMA oriented and was not safe for her opponents. Judging by the promos that she cut during the build-up for her match against Stephnie McMahon and Triple H, she clearly had lots of work to do and her debut was doomed to be a failure. But, all those opinions changed completely at the end of the show and she went on to have arguably the best match of that night. She proved that she is not only capable of having a decent matches on big stages but can also go toe to toe against wrestlers like Triple H. In less than 4 months of training, she was already better than half of the roster. She even made Stephnie look like a trained wrestler.
When she was booked to face Nia Jax in the second match of her career for Raw women’s championship, no one raised an eyebrow as fans were behind Ronda and were rooting for her to win. This just confirms how impressive she was in her first match. She then went on to have one of the best rookie years in WWE’s history. That first match certainly gave a major boost to her wrestling career.
Seth Rollins- Gauntlet Match on Raw (February 19, 2018)
After wandering in the mid-card for a couple of months, Seth Rollins needed something to get his confidence back. Since his feud with Samoa Joe at Payback 2017, Rollins was booked as a tag team competitor, first with The Shield reunion throughout the rest of 2017 and then with Jason Jordan in January 2018. The storyline was good to a certain extent but it didn’t give him his space to shine. Struggling with his road to WrestleMania, the gauntlet match could not have come at a better time. The seven wrestlers who were part of the Elimination Chamber match for determining the no. 1 contender match for Universal Championship at WrestleMania 34, were scheduled to face each other in a gauntlet match a week before on Raw. It seems like a one-off affair but little did we know about the impact it would make on Rollins career.
The match ran for around 101 minutes, with 65 minutes of that involving Seth Rollins. He set a new record for the longest time spent in the match in the history of Raw on that day and reminded everyone about how good he really is. He even eliminated top wrestlers like John Cena and Roman Reigns in the process. Seth was already a legend and the crowd’s favorite long before this match ever happened, but it gave him his mojo back and the fans were behind him in the Elimination Chamber match. People started looking at him as the top guy of Raw and that performance certainly helped him in winning the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania, a month later.
Kofi Kingston- Gauntlet Match on Smackdown (February 12, 2019)
Kofi Kingston is the most recent entry in this list. Throughout his career, he was only looked as the mid-card player who will entertain the crowd with his flips and jumps, but would never go home with the top prize. The management was high on Kofi during the early part of his career and gave him many opportunities with Intercontinental and United States Championship, but felt cold on him after a while. He was always a crowd favorite as part of the New Day, but fans never looked at him as the face of the company.
Gauntlet matches are really making stars since last year. Like last year, WWE booked a gauntlet match between all the wrestlers who were competing in the elimination chamber for the WWE championship on the go home edition of SmackDown. Kofi emerged as the ironman of the match and got the same momentum Rollins had gotten a year prior. Even though Kofi lasted for a lesser time than Rollins, the former’s performance was more impressive and he eliminated wrestlers like Samoa Joe, Jeff Hardy, and the WWE champion, Daniel Bryan in the process. That match has started the wave of #Kofimania all over the world. He is not yet officially challenging for the WWE champion at WrestleMania this year but going by the storyline, it is a matter of weeks before we can all witness him going toe to toe with Daniel Bryan at the biggest show of the year.
Nobody could have predicted that the fans would be rooting for Kofi to win the SmackDown’s top belt at the start of 2019. It all became possible because of just one match, in which he was not supposed to be in the first place. Hard work and dedication truly pays-off.