While fans often enjoy spotting future superstars in early appearances as jobbers -- Daniel Bryan wrestling John Cena in his tighty whities on Velocity, for example -- sometimes things go even further back. Showing up as local talent is one thing, but what about future stars that didn't even show up as competitors?
The following wrestlers appeared on WWE television in a non-competitive capacity long before they stepped into the ring. Some of them appeared as audience members, some of them as background characters in skits or elaborate entrances - and still others as NPCs like security guards or police officers, often as a result of pure, geographical convenience.
We'll also look at how long it took these competitors to make an official debut following their unofficial one; while some made it to the big leagues relatively quickly, in some cases it's a matter of decades. Sometimes that's expected, as the star in question first appeared as a literal child; in other cases, it illustrates that even for a very talented wrestler, it can take a long time to reach the top.
Have you spotted any other early bird cameos? Make them known in the comments below!
10. Cesaro And EC3
First Appearance: August 2006
Official Debut: 20 April 2012 / 7 December 2010
Believe it or not, current WWE and Impact Wrestling stars Cesaro and Ethan Carter III first appeared on national wrestling television together. Way back in 2006, both men appeared in their best Halloween Express police uniforms at the behest of Shane McMahon. They had orders to arrest D-Generation X, you see, ostensibly for middle-aged hooliganism.
Amazingly, this cameo is what actually resulted in WWE hiring Cesaro years later. Sure, the guy's Dean Malenko in Lex Luger's body, but who knew he could stand silently behind Shane O'Mac sporting a skeevy mustache? Also, if Derrick Bateman was EC3's terrible illiterate cousin, what does that make this goofy rent-a-cop?