* Japanese professional wrestling does this in a number of ways. Most Japanese wrestlers start out as lower-than-dirt {{Jobber}}s who lose pathetically unless they're wrestling each other, in which case they use stock moves to decide the victor (the German Suplex is a huge crowd-pleaser in Japan partly because it is the official finisher of anyone who doesn't have a distinct finisher yet). After spending a few years as total losers, these wrestlers will then get PutOnABus to wrestle overseas, after which they come back with a more distinctive wrestling style and a new, more badass FinishingMove that allows them to climb the ranks. This gets taken even further in some promotions, in which the new finisher becomes SoLastSeason and the wrestler breaks through to the very top with another finisher and another level in Badass.
** One of the most famous uses of this was the Wrestling/AllJapanProWrestling 1995 Champion's Carnival. Akira Taue had spent years as a bit of a CreatorsPet because, while a competent grappler, he was constantly OvershadowedByAwesome in his tag team with [[BadAss Toshiaki Kawada]] and was given top billing despite being nowhere near the level of fantastic main-event technicians like [[InvincibleHero Mitsuharu Misawa]], [[FutureBadass Kenta Kobashi]], [[ForeignWrestlingHeel Steve Williams]], and the aforementioned Kawada. However, during the Carnival (a round-robin tournament for a title opportunity), Taue discarded his goofy agility-based offense in favor of brutal power moves that better suited his height and awkward build. The more power-based moveset and accompanying winning streak made a DarkHorseVictory look ''very'' plausible going into a match with the nigh-unbeatable Misawa.
** One somewhat related example is Wrestling/KazushiSakuraba, who wasn't anything remarkable as a pro wrestler, but then switched to real-life fighting and became one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time.
* This is often the result of a push after a wrestler turns heel or face. One example would be the late great Wrestling/OwenHart. Although always a talented wrestler, early in his WWE career he had a fairly plain gimmick and was often booked to lose. After he turned on his brother Wrestling/BretHart, he was given the win in their classic Wrestlemania match and became a credible threat to anyone on the roster.
* Likewise, Wrestling/{{Lita}} was already tough as a valet then levelled up when she began taking on men, and again in a lost baby angle with Trish where she reached levels of brutality you usually don't expect from the ''male'' competitors.
* Wrestling/SantinoMarella has arguably taken one of the more natural evolutions into this trope, starting off as an incompetant jobber that often served as [[ButtMonkey the punching bag for the majority of the roster]], Marella has slowly shown more impressive agility and actual wrestling skills and become Tag Team Champion alongside Vladmir Kozlov. While still played for comic relief he at least can actually pull of the Cobra now.
** Santino started as an ''inversion'' of this trope, actually. His first appearance (in WWE anyway) was being called out as a "random fan" during an event in Italy, where he ended up not only fighting Wrestling/{{Umaga}} for his Intercontinental title, but BEATING him to claim the championship. For a while he was portrayed as a somewhat talented if amateurish technical wrestler with a couple of unique mannerisms (usually [[FunnyForeigner odd mispronunciations or choice of words]]), who slowly lost level after level and devolved into a complete {{Cloudcuckoolander}}. He finally seems to be getting a bit better, bringing him into this trope again.
** He's still a bit nutty (The Cobra, anyone?) but as of the 2/17/12 Smackdown, he somehow survived a battle royal, being one of the last four out of twenty superstars and took out Ezekiel Jackson, Drew [=McIntyre=] and David Otunga for this prize: ''to become the last wrestler for the Smackdown Elimination Chamber''. The only thing that remains to be seen is how he'll perform.
*** He was of the last two in the Chamber match (and eliminated two competitors), put the Cobra on ''Daniel freakin' Bryan'' and seems to getting huge pops from the crowd. There seems to be a potential push here and his goofiness only seems to help give him a hint of CrazyAwesome.
*** As of 3/5/12 he's taken enough levels to actually defeat Wrestling/JackSwagger and become the new United States Champion.
* Wrestling/TheMiz started off as an annoying goofball who could barely remember lines as the host for the Diva Search. Now he's WWE Champion, and holds his own pretty well against such established stars as Wrestling/RandyOrton and Wrestling/JohnCena.
** Miz even ''defeated'' Cena at ''Wrestling/{{WrestleMania}}'' during the main event to retain his title[[note]]Yeah, The Rock sorta helped by attacking Cena beforehand, but still...[[/note]]. It didn't stick, but hot damn, it's still pretty impressive for a guy who started off doing [[TheRealWorld reality shows]].
* [[Wrestling/DwayneJohnson The Rock]] started his career as a talented yet under appreciated face but after he [[FaceHeelTurn turned heel]] he began his rise as the "most electrifying man in sports entertainment"
* [[Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin Steve Austin]] started his WWF career as just a random henchman of [[Wrestling/TedDiBiase Ted [=DiBiase=]]], but thanks to a now-legendary promo at the 1996 King of The Ring event ("Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your ass!"), Austin gradually transformed into the stone-cold bad ass that fans eventually grew to love, cementing his place as a true legend of the ring and helping to put pro wrestling on the map in the late 90s.
* Wrestling/MarkHenry arrived in WWE in 1996 and was immediately billed as the WorldsStrongestMan and given a push. However, due to injuries and a number of embarassing gimmicks, he was always treated as an afterthought by wrestling fans despite his size and strength until 2011 (15 years later), when he pulled a FaceHeelTurn and was booked '''''hard''''' as an unstoppable monster. He eventually won the World Heavyweight Championship by absolutely ''destroying'' Wrestling/RandyOrton, and has been demolishing everything in his path ever since.
* Many Divas came into wrestling from other venues, such as gymnastics, dance, or even modeling. However, they do train hard and inevitably improve. Gradually the quality of their matches goes from "Terrible" to "Not bad with a good opponent" to "Slightly better than a carry job should be" to "Wow, where did that come from?" [[Wrestling/{{LayCool}} Michelle [=McCool=]]], [[Wrestling/{{LayCool}} Layla]] and Wrestling/EveTorres all done this in recent years.
* Once upon a time, there were two brothers: Brett and Brian Major. They were a tag team, standard fare...and then they teamed up with Wrestling/{{Edge}} and became Curt Hawkins and Wrestling/ZackRyder. Then they became part of La Familia, then split up, and one went to ECW. Here we focus on Wrestling/ZackRyder, who wasn't billed as 'great' to begin with. Hailing from Long Island, dressing himself as if he was a wrestler in the Wrestling/AttitudeEra he still didn't make it. Then, he created a web show in a last attempt to get notice and not get himself fired. After struggling to make name of himself on the web, garnering support from fans and other wrestlers alike, and polishing his in-ring technique to no end, he eventually got a Number One Contender's match at WWE TLC 2011 and became the new United States Champion. WOO WOO WOO. You know it.
* Wrestling/{{Sheamus}} was known to be a powerful wrestler when he debuted, but then got pushed out of the spotlight for quite sometime. Cue late 2011 and here he comes, being the only person to stand up against a monstrous Mark Henry and was powerful enough to ''kick the World's Strongest Man unconscious''. Also, he was able to get out of the Khali Vicegrip ''by pushing it off with his own hands''. It seems that Sheamus is also becoming back to being the badass he originally was.
* Kazuchika Okada. He went from playing a bad [[Franchise/TheGreenHornet Kato]] knockoff in Wrestling/{{TNA}} to a main-event heel and former IWGP World Champion in Wrestling/NewJapanProWrestling in the space of a year.
** Not to mention the youngest Tokyo Sports MVP and G1 Climax champion ever.
* While [[Wrestling/BryanDanielson Daniel Bryan]] is certainly no slouch as a wrestler, he experienced a textbook case of this trope in the Summer of 2013, wherein he was determined to prove that he wasn't the "weak link". This would lead to absolutely badass moments including: Taking out Wrestling/TheShield by [[OneManArmy himself]] during one episode of [=SmackDown=], defeating Randy Orton cleanly on Raw (or as cleanly as a win can get in a Street Fight), and ultimately ''pinning'' John Cena cleanly at [=SummerSlam=]. To put it in perspective: That pinfall loss was the first time since losing to The Rock at Wrestling/WrestleMania 28 that Cena ever lost without any outside influences.
* Prior to summer 2013, Windham Rotunda aka [[Wrestling/TheWyattFamily Bray Wyatt]] was best known for an unimpressive stint in the [[Wrestling/TheNexus Nexus]] as Husky Harris where he was quickly sent back to developmental. Two years later, Rotunda returned under the Bray Wyatt gimmick and immediately made an impression with his dark and downright disturbing promos that demonstrated his incredible mic skills. While his initial match with Kane at Summerslam '13 was mediocre, Wyatt quickly improved and in the following months proceeded to beat Daniel Bryan clean at the Royal Rumble and then pit his stable against the [[Wrestling/TheShield Shield]] in a match of the year candidate at Elimination Chamber. Not bad for someone who was once best known as "that fat guy from the Nexus".