Wrestling entertainment has given birth to a multitude of huge stars. Some professional wrestlers reach the pinnacle of the WWE, while other still leave the ring for stardom in Hollywood. The ability to perform and put on a thrilling show means some WWE heavyweights have gone on to become action stars in Hollywood.
Being a WWE wrestler not only requires a star to be a performer, but professional wrestlers also need to be in peak physical condition. Because of their athleticism, some wrestlers have even left the WWE to pursue work in other sports. Some WWE stars even participated in other sports before they entered the WWE. For some, their foray into a different sport has been met with extreme criticism, and for others their history in their previous sports has given them the skills to be successful in the WWE.
Most of these WWE superstars have been involved in other sports that are similar to professional wrestling. Some dabbled in mixed martial arts, some were boxers, while others still were involved in Olympic wrestling – which is of course completely different than the wrestling that’s part of the WWE. Athletes that play multiple professional sports are not uncommon. The most famous of course is Bo Jackson, who had a phenomenal MLB career as well as a short but successful NFL career.
Even Michael Jordan, the greatest NBA player of all time, showed he had the potential to make it to the MLB after he demonstrated his skills playing for the Chicago White Sox’s minor league affiliate the Birmingham Barons. In pro wrestling jumping to, or coming from, another sport is quite common. Here’s a look at ten WWE wrestlers involved in other sports.
He was signed by the Cardinals right out of high school, and he began playing minor league baseball when he was just 18 years old. Savage played as a catcher, and over the course of his baseball career he played 289 games over five seasons. He started wrestling in 1973, which was one year prior to his final baseball season where he played on the Tampa Tarpons.
8 Ken Shamrock – MMA Fighter in UFC
Ken Shamrock is undoubtedly the most successful professional wrestler to ever compete as a mixed martial artist in the UFC. His record is so impressive it not only puts the records of other pro wrestlers that have competed in the UFC to shame, but the records of many of the best UFC fighters ever as well.
Unlike most other pro wrestling stars that competed in the UFC, Shamrock started off in the UFC and then later made his debut in the WWF. He has been called the world’s most dangerous man, and has cemented his place in the UFC Hall of Fame. Shamrock transitioned from professional wrestling to mixed martial arts when he was in Japan competing in the Fujiwara Gumi league.
7 Kurt Angle – Olympic Wrestling
Kurt Angle not only has earned multiple title belts in his professional wrestling career, but he has also earned something that is undoubtedly more impressive. He is an Olympic gold medalist.
He won his gold at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta for freestyle heavyweight wrestling. The WWF and TNA superstar showed that his athleticism was unmatched when he defeated Abbas Jadidi to win the Olympic gold medal. Angle also won gold the year prior at the World Wrestling Championships. He won bronze at the World Cup in 1992, and then won silver at the World Cup in 1995.
6 Phil “CM Punk” Brooks - MMA Fighter In UFC
CM Punk left the WWE at the height of his wrestling career to pursue a new challenge in the UFC. He was one of the most talented and popular WWE stars of the last ten years, and perhaps he will be just as successful in the UFC.
5 Claudio Castagnoli AKA Antonio Cesaro – Professional Rugby Player
4 Steve “Mongo” McMichael – Football Player in NFL
3 Wade Barrett - Bare Knuckle Boxing
2 Dave Bautista AKA Batista - MMA Fighter In UFC
1 Brock Lesnar - MMA Fight In UFC
Brock Lesnar is yet another WWE star who tried his hand in the UFC. His mixed martial arts career was nowhere near as successful as his professional wrestling career. Still, he managed to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion fairly quickly, but a series of problems forced him to end his UFC Career early. He finished his time in the UFC with a 5-3 record. Lesnar’s first match was against Frank Mir at UFC 81, but Lesnar lost that bout. Lesnar would later defeat Randy Couture at UFC 91 to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion. He finally defeated Mir at UFC 100 to become the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion in the UFC. Illnesses and injuries cause Lesnar to end his UFC career early. He ended up going back to the WWE. There was speculation for many years about Lesnar’s return to the UFC, but this year those rumors were put to rest when Lesnar resigned with the WWE.
Sources: bleacherreport, mmafighting
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