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Rick Starr

The Splash: When Do Pro-Wrestlers Become Superstars?

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I watched the C.M. Punk Documentary that was just released on DVD, and it was fantastic! The documentary showed that Punk was the sole man behind his character, and NOT a WWE product. In fact he used the “Straight Edge” character as a heel, when he was wrestling for the “Indies”, and he drew just as much heat then as he did when he was in the WWE. Of course Punk had a passion for wrestling, which goes a lot further than the desire to make a buck.

Punk will tell anyone, it was that infamous shoot on RAW in mid 2011, that was the “turning point” in his WWE career. Some wrestlers need that moment, to launch their careers. However others are more fortunate and their careers don’t need that initial spark. So what makes a star...a star?

Sheamus: While Sheamus is on a great run with the World Title, He also is a former 2-Time WWE Champion. For someone who has only been in the WWE for just over 3 years, that is outstanding! Like Punk, Sheamus’ character is his own. The only things he had to lose were his last name (O'Shaunessy) and a little bit of face paint. If you ask me, this is a small tradeoff for an illustrious career.

To be honest, I don’t think Sheamus ever had a “turning point” in his career. Unlike the rest of his peers, he was fortunate enough to come right out of the gate, and has yet to stop in the WWE. Just to clarify, when I say “turning point” I DON’T mean turn from heel to face or vice versa.

Hulk Hogan: Hulk Hogan’s biggest “turning point” was after he debuted in the hit movie “Rocky 3” as “Thunderlips”. Hogan was also a heel in wrestling, until the WWF turned him to one of the biggest baby faces in history. Vince knew he had a star on his hand and took advantage of the situation, and even had Hogan come out to “Eye of the Tiger” which was the theme to the movie for almost 2 years.

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin: For those of you who have seen “Beyond the Mat”, or any of the Hall of Famer’s DVD’s for that matter, Austin’s road to success was not an easy one. When he was in WCW, he was “Stunning” Steve Austin, and frankly I hardly noticed the guy. Then he came over to the WWE as “The Ring Master” and nobody gave a shit. These are some hard facts, but their true. Nobody gave a shit about Austin, until he won the King of the Ring, and coined the legendary phrase “Austin 3:16 said I just whipped your ass!”

That was his “turning point”, and to this day I remember it vividly! He had defeated Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who was on a bible kick (hence the Austin 3:16 comment). Roberts used to be one of the most dangerous men back in his hey-day, and Austin was talking to him like a common jobber, as he was being helped up the ramp. Austin was the first true heel that everybody loved!


John Cena: My earliest memory of John Cena was the “Thug-a-nomics” character. Whether that his own character, or a WWE character I do not know, nor will I try to make a guess here. I just knew I hated it, but I also knew he was getting over with the younger crowd.

If you want to ask me when Cena did first became noticed as the face of the WWE: It was when he was first drafted to RAW. It’s as simple as that. Sure he had the WWE Title with him, when he came over from Smackdown, and they had even created the “Spinner” Titles (The U.S. and WWE) specifically for him, even before he was drafted to RAW. But it was when he was drafted to RAW, that was the final piece of the puzzle.

Undertaker: The Undertaker is significantly different from the rest of his peers. Although his character mostly a WWE product, he has been one of the most successful superstars in the WWE to date. There is no doubt in my mind that the Mark Calaway has truly bonded with his Undertaker Character and molded it to his own. Otherwise he would not have been so successful over the years.

Although his story is unique from the others on this list, The Undertaker is not the only person to have a WWE character and be successful. “Edge”, was portrayed by Hall of Famer: Adam Copeland was another successful WWE character. Another big successful WWE character was Mankind portrayed by Hall of Famer: Mick Foley.

The Miz: After winning his WWE title via Money in the Bank in 2010, The Miz has begun to fizzle out a bit, rather than shine (A rare, but not an unfamiliar story). He is currently the WWE IC Champion, and he is commentating on The Main Event, and other shows. But if you ask me, this appears to be a step down, rather than a step up for a former WWE champion. While Miz did do a few side projects earlier this year. One can only wonder, Is The Miz is getting comfortable sitting on the sidelines?


When you get right down to it, no one really knows what it is that gets a wrestler over with the fans. In some cases like Punk and Austin, when you have thrown your hands up, and just become your own character. Then there are People like Cena, Undertaker and Edge, who "played the game", and were successful their entire careers.

So for the pro-wrestlers who want to become superstars, do they follow Punk and Austin's lead and go against the grain? Or do they play the game like Cena and the others and hope to get noticed?

Well that’s it for this one. As always thanks for reading, and please post your thoughts. I will do my best to respond to all of them. Until next time…See you When I See You -RickStarr

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Updated 10-14-2012 at 02:06 PM by Rick Starr

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  1. Ozzy Mandias's Avatar
    Another big successful WWE character was Mankind portrayed by Hall of Famer: Mick Foley.
    Liked the blog, but I have a slight issue. Yes Mankind was a WWE developed character, and yes he was successful. But Mick Foley was the man who won the WWE title that night and I believe it was him that then carried on that fued that helped make The Rock before his match with Austin at WMXV. And Mick Foley was commissioner and Mick Foley mainevented Wrestlemania 2000. Michael Cole called his title win by saying "Yeah Mick Foley!" and fans chanted for "Foley" not for Mankind. Cactus Jack, Dude Love and Mankind were never WWE Champions, but Mick Foley was.
  2. Rick Starr's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ozzy Mandias
    Liked the blog, but I have a slight issue. Yes Mankind was a WWE developed character, and yes he was successful. But Mick Foley was the man who won the WWE title that night and I believe it was him that then carried on that fued that helped make The Rock before his match with Austin at WMXV. And Mick Foley was commissioner and Mick Foley mainevented Wrestlemania 2000. Michael Cole called his title win by saying "Yeah Mick Foley!" and fans chanted for "Foley" not for Mankind. Cactus Jack, Dude Love and Mankind were never WWE Champions, but Mick Foley was.
    This is true, however, at the time the WWE had packaged him as Mankind: a WWE Character.
  3. Marx's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Starr
    Zach Ryder is NOT a bigger star than Sheamus. .
    I understand your point of view and don't know where I want to stand myself.. but Ryder outsells Sheamus in de merchdepartment.. the ppv where he won the US Championship was magnetic.. you'll still see people pump the fist.. he gets attention via youtube and twitter.. I have never heared a crowd full on cheer Sheamus, not that way. Those are arguments for my point that Ryder might be a bigger Superstar, in a way. Sheamus is the better and more achieved wrestler, but WWE doesn't make wrestlers, they make Superstars.
    Updated 10-16-2012 at 02:43 PM by Marx
  4. Ozzy Mandias's Avatar
    He was packaged as Mankind when he was managed by Paul Bearer and crying for his mummy, but I really believe Mick Foley shone through and eventually eclipsed that character. That was his turning point. Have a look at the early Mankind promos and matches with Undertaker and Michaels, then look at his feud with Rock and then even the one with Big Show towards WMXV and you'll see the massive difference.

    I agree with Marx on Sheamus/Ryder too btw.
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