Being a rookie in the WWE locker room was traditionally pretty damn tough.
You usually started at the bottom and had to work your way up, putting in your time while proving that you ‘deserved’ whatever opportunities you were given.
And that’s not even mentioning the bad pay and backstage hazing and politics and everything else…
Yes, it can be tough being a rookie, but some are either destined for big things from the very start or impress the right people with their skill and professionalism so quickly that they can have themselves a rookie year where they bypass the dues paying and go straight to big-money glory.
There’s something special about watching a greenhorn say ‘sod the mid-card’ and power their way to the main events, especially if their progression matches the push.
It doesn’t always come off as planned, but when it does it usually sets a superstar up for a long and fruitful career.
We’re all rooting for you, Damien Priest. Do NOT screw this up.
10. Bobby Lashley
With his distinguished amateur wrestling background, freaky physique and impressive athleticism, it was obvious from the off that WWE weren’t going to waste time when it came to Bobby Lashley.
After smashing through the Simon Deans and Orlando Jordans of the world, Lashers found himself at the top of the card as a member of the SmackDown Survivor Series team, earning his place in the main event of that show around two months after his televised debut.
From there, Lashley was booked to look dominant in whatever he did and had notable feuds with veterans like JBL and Finlay, going months before tasting a pin-fall loss in singles competition.
His feud with King of the Ring winner Booker T, who beat Lashley in the finals, raised his stock, as did his US Title win in May of 06.
Elevated liver enzyme problems took him out of action for a bit but when he returned it was evident that WWE planned on pushing him to the very top, placing him into the World Heavyweight Title scene with Booker, Finlay and Batista.
Lashley ended his rookie year as one of the top babyfaces on the blue brand, but would actually achieve more success when he was shipped over to ECW.
The All Mighty deserves a lot of credit for the improvements he made during his rookie year, as he went from green muscle-man to a much more accomplished worker.
And it only took WWE fifteen years to pull the trigger on him properly…