James Ellsworth had a unique run in WWE, going from a jobber on a RAW episode to competing for the WWE Championship in a singles match against AJ Styles a few months later.
During the initial draft of 2016, Heath Slater was undrafted. The plan was for him to face Ellsworth at Summerslam 2016, with a place on Smackdown on the line, and Ellsworth was scheduled to win.
However, Slater ended up getting over as a face, which led to WWE giving him the inaugral Smackdown Tag Titles with Rhyno. The Ellsworth match never took place as they both were heels at that point.
“They were doing this thing where Heath Slater didn’t get drafted by RAW or SmackDown. So, the major idea that never happened was, originally, I was going to wrestle Heath Slater at SummerSlam and the winner gets a SmackDown contract. I was going to win! That was the original idea to bring me in. Then, Heath started getting over as a babyface doing that.”
Ellsworth went on to have a good run in the company, playing Carmella’s lackey for a long time before being released a few years ago.