Which WWE wrestlers had stints in NJPW?
WWE is the biggest wrestling juggernaut, and every wrestler wants to work with the company during their career. While the promotion tries everything in the book to ensure that the best wrestlers are a part of the company, a lot of them worked in different organizations before they made it “to the big time.”
Wrestlers are known for their performance, and some of them have gone on to become legends in the business. When they decided to step foot between the ropes, they didn’t get their break directly into the company or caught Vince McMahon’s attention. They worked in various promotions, and when they became the best or had a mass appeal, Vinnie Mac ensured that they sign pen to paper.
Here are five superstars that were a part of NJPW before coming to the WWE:
#5 Ken Shamrock
Ken Shamrock reached new heights in the WWE, and then switched gears to reinvent and work with people of different styles. In an attempt to do so, he went to NJPW and worked with the superstars in 2003. NJPW’s ‘Inokiism’ served well for Ken, who was a big name, and during his tenure with the company, he only fought two matches before moving away.
#4 Shelton Benjamin
The Gold Standard of the WWE worked with NJPW between 2012 to 2015 where he worked alongside Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP) and also performed as a singles performer. The former 24/7, Intercontinental and Tag Team champion didn’t need much time to showcase his skills as the World Tag League, and G1 Climax Tournaments helped him create a niche for self in the company and the business in Japan.
#3 Kurt Angle
The former Olympian and WWE Hall of Famer also stepped foot inside an NJPW ring. He worked with the company in 2007 and defeated The Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar to win the IWGP Heavyweight belt. One can always think that Kurt didn’t fight with The Phenomenal One, but they did meet between the ropes thanks to the NJPW storytelling experience. In 2009 when Kurt Angle had his foot at the door and was about to step out, he got a phenomenal call from AJ Styles, and that’s one match he couldn’t resist. Oh, It’s True!
The Ninth Wonder of the World is the standard-bearer and the trailblazer in women’s wrestling and inspired people to follow their dreams. Her skills made her the most revered performer in the world, and NJPW called her in 2002 where she worked in tag team action and individual matches thereby making the women’s division more relevant for the brand that rarely featured Women’s wrestlers.
#1 The Undertaker
If someone walked up to you and told you that Dice Morgan was once a part of NJPW, you may hardly pay heed to it, but if they also mention that Dice is the same person that we know as The Undertaker, then you may be taken by surprise. The Phenom worked with NJPW eight months before he put pen to paper for the WWE (then WWF) and worked with legends such as Bam Bam Bigelow in tag team action.
Now tell us how many of them did you know about beforehand?