Superstars who weren't supposed to make it

Page 5 of 9
September 28, 2012

Mikey Whipwreck

From bleacher bum to ECW Heavyweight Champion to trainer of the Superstars, the trajectory of Mikey Whipwreck’s career in sports-entertainment has been … confounding.

While in his late teens, Whipwreck began noodling around in the squared circle under the watchful eye of journeyman Sonny Blaze in the mid-1990s. To Blaze, Whipwreck’s prospects were so bleak that he did not even bother charging the youngster for any tips he may have gleaned; Whipwreck earned his keep by staying late at the gym and mopping floors.

While setting up Blaze’s rented ring for a show at the ECW Arena, he caught the attention of ECW mastermind Paul Heyman and announcer Joey Styles after they spotted Whipwreck practicing moonsaults in an empty ring hours before a show. Whereas everybody else saw an unintimidating, undersized wannabe in Whipwreck, Heyman saw a talented and feisty underdog who could evoke empathy from ECW fans. (His entrance theme was Beck's "Loser.") Little did even Heyman realize at the time that he was staring at an eventual ECW Triple Crown Champion and the man would score perhaps the greatest upset of all time against a not-yet-“Stone Cold” Steve Austin. (WATCH)

Though Whipwreck’s dragon-print T-shirt aesthetic was not expected to catch on outside the outlier-embracing ECW, the high-flier enjoyed a brief but memorable run as part of WCW’s stellar cruiserweight division in the late ’90s. More pertinent to today’s WWE Universe, Whipwreck opened a training school after hanging up his boots. Among his school’s most famous products? None other than WWE Superstars Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins and Trent Barreta. (READ: Back to School: Training Grounds)

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