It's quite the common perception that in order to be a professional wrestler, one needs to be physically fit and well skilled and doesn't really need much IQ. The professional wrestlers are all famous because of their amazing work in the squared circle and not based on their educational levels or how intelligent they are in real life. But there are some cases where wrestlers are actually surprisingly smart when they are not portraying their gimmicks.
Likewise, there are some rather dumb wrestlers who probably became even more dim-witted after taking too many shots to the head in their wrestling career. Many wrestlers actually gain some intelligence because of their work in the industry over the years, but some just become even dumber as the years progress because of their ego and unwillingness to learn a thing or two.
The industry is filled with fascinating individuals, some being smart, while others... not so much. Let's take a look at 10 wrestlers who many would be surprised to learn are actually very smart in real life, and 10 other wrestlers who aren't the sharpest tools in the shed.
20 Smart: Erick Rowan
Erick Rowan may seem like a guy who doesn't know much about anything in the WWE which is why he has been a lackey almost all of his career, but that's not the case for him in real life. According to the WWE itself, Rowan has an IQ of 143! Now the IQ of an average person is somewhere between 85-115, so Rowan seems to be a really intelligent guy in real life. He can also solve the Rubik's cube much faster than the average person and is also a trained guitarist in real life as well. He seems to be a very smart guy which makes it even more perplexing at how he's still portraying this quiet, dim-witted character in WWE who can't make a decision for his own improvement as a character in the company.
19 Dumb: Nailz
Nailz was one mean character in the WWE back in the early 90s when he portrayed an escaped prisoner who feuded with WWE's Big Boss Man. He was an intimidating heel in the company who helped to put over Boss Man and The Undertaker as well, but he didn't seem to have much intelligence in real life. Nailz shocked many when he physically assaulted Vince McMahon after a quarrel between them regarding a pay-raise for Nailz and was immediately fired from the WWE. To make things worse, he went on to wrongfully file a suit of sexual harassment towards WWE, which was thrown out. He also stated that McMahon had told him to take steroids, proving how much of an idiot he is. Nailz now runs a family garage after his wrestling career ended.
18 Smart: Wade Barrett
Wade Barrett was a wrestler who was highly under-utilized by the WWE as many things were expected from him after how amazingly he gained momentum as the leader of the Nexus and invaded the main roster. Barrett would become a multiple-time Intercontinental Champion but would never get the WWE Championship, as injuries plagued his career. While the Englishman was a cocky heel in WWE, he is actually a very educated and intelligent man in real life as he holds a degree in Marine Biology from the University of Liverpool. He also worked as a recruitment consultant and in a science laboratory while training to become a wrestler, as he definitely had his life sorted in case his wrestling dreams couldn't be accomplished. While Barrett doesn't wrestle anymore, he definitely has the brains to get another job.
17 Dumb: Buff Bagwell
Buff Bagwell definitely had the looks to make it in the WCW during the 90s, where he was promoted for his amazing physique, but he didn't really have the intelligence to keep going forward after the promotion died. He was recruited by WWE but was fired after having a terrible attitude backstage and disrespecting fellow wrestlers. He apparently tried to take some time off after faking an injury in WWE, which played a factor in his release. He also spoke about John Cena and CM Punk a few years ago where he said some dumb things about how they don't deserve to be top stars and indicating that they were "lucky". Bagwell is also a professional gigolo, as it seems like life after wrestling has been tough to a dim-witted man like him who has been forced to make use of his body to make money.
16 Smart: Jack Swagger
"The All-American American" Jack Swagger didn't have the ideal career in the WWE which got off to a stellar start, but he really degraded over the years with his stale gimmick. Jack was a real asset for WWE when he was initially signed by them as he had a terrific amateur wrestling background. But what many might not know about the former World Heavyweight Champion is that he's actually a very intelligent person in real life and has a degree in Finance. He was about to join a firm after completing his degree from the University of Oklahoma, but was tempted to sign for the WWE. Swagger may be out of a WWE job right now, but knowing how smart he is and his educational qualifications, he could get a job in the finance industry if he wants.
15 Dumb: Enzo Amore
Enzo Amore has been the talk of the town in the WWE for quite sometime now as he's headlining the news for all the wrong reasons. Enzo is a trash-talking dude in the WWE who lets his mouth do the work for him, but he's actually like his character in real life as well. Enzo may think of himself as someone who's cool and smart with his mindless show-boating which has him banned from the WWE locker room, but he's actually pretty dumb. He trash-talks in real life to his colleagues and allegedly even brings in escorts to the WWE locker room! He definitely doesn't know how to behave, as the Cruiserweight Champion needs to realize his mistakes soon enough, or else he'll be out of a job in the near future.
14 Smart: Batista
Batista was definitely one of the most hard-hitting wrestlers in the WWE during his time, as "The Animal" didn't really do much thinking before he pummelled his opposition in the ring. Despite having such a character in WWE, Batista is remarkably smart in real life which is surprising considering how much of a difficult childhood he had. The Animal had little to no education and was struggling at the time before making it big in WWE. But Batista showed himself to be really smart when he successfully broke into Hollywood and shined in some roles. He didn't get the education he needed during his tough upbringing, but he learned a lot in his time in the sports entertainment business and gathered a lot of intelligence and experience, which led him to becoming a star in Hollywood and successful even after life in WWE.
13 Dumb: Ryback
"The Big Guy" Ryback may have been a destructive element in the WWE during his years in the company, but the fans soon figured out that he wasn't the smartest one around in the industry. Despite being the ruthless character on-screen, Ryback is actually pretty dumb in real life as he makes some comments which make him seem really dim-witted and someone who doesn't know a lot about wrestling. He recently made some degrading comments about the female wrestling fans, stating they have "mental issues". He's also made some more illogical comments about wrestlers and proved himself to be dumb when he expected WWE to increase his pay when he walked out of the company. Also, CM Punk spoke about how Ryback had injured him in a match and when he asked why he did it, Ryback said "I'm dumb as f***". That settles it then!
12 Smart: Raven
Raven was an extremely unique wrestler back in the 90s when he shined in ECW and WCW as this gothic character who really intrigued the fans with his promo and wrestling skills. Raven may look like a creepy hobo of sorts because of how he dresses and all, but he is actually a genius in real life! This may come as a surprise to many wrestling fans, but Raven actually possesses the IQ of 143 and is part of an high-IQ society called Mensa as well. He has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and is highly capable of things one wouldn't comprehend him to do. Raven was also part of WWE's creative team when he was still in the company over a decade ago, as his amazing IQ and intelligence is something really surprising and shows how even the weirder wrestlers can be geniuses.
11 Dumb: Booker T
Booker T is beloved by wrestling fans because of how entertaining he was back in the day with his awesome Spinaroonie and terrific time in WCW. While he is an entertaining wrestling personality in general, Booker has shown that he can be real dull at times. He had a difficult childhood and was arrested for trying to rob a Wendy's restaurant. He also botched the infamous Hulk Hogan promo where he used a racial slur, and always seems to be botching on commentary. Another example of his less-than-stellar intelligence is when he struggled to answer "Which Famous October Holiday Celebrates The Discovery Of America"? on The Weakest Link , proving how ol' Booker needs to work on his knowledge.
10 Smart: Dolph Ziggler
"The Showoff" Dolph Ziggler may be going through a rather rough patch in the WWE right now as his current gimmick is that of someone who hates the "flashy" stuff about WWE. Ziggler may act like a bitter man right now, but many will probably be surprised to learn that the former World Heavyweight Champion is a very smart man in real life. He's a graduate of Kent State University where he majored in political science and was almost enrolled to law school before WWE came calling. Ziggler is also a stand-up comedian and a very good one at that as well and is also fluent in American sign language. While he doesn't "show off" these qualities in the WWE, Ziggler is actually an extremely intelligent man who will find his way if he leaves WWE anytime soon.
9 Dumb: The Sandman
The Sandman was like the Stone Cold Steve Austin of ECW in its peak as he loved to chug beers and beat up people in the promotion. He was quite the "extreme" character who loved beating up wrestlers with his kendo-stick and also took some sick bumps in the promotion himself which definitely caused damage to his head. The Sandman isn't the brightest of characters either, as he's actually pretty dumb in real life. He has overdosed on drugs three times in his life and once even managed to wrestle in an ECW event after overdosing earlier in the day. He got arrested in 2008 for fighting in a restaurant and began throwing glasses at the police who came to calm things down. The Sandman has constantly taken bad bumps and harmed himself, as his intelligence also took a dip because of the pain he bared.
8 Smart: Sheamus
Sheamus has definitely asserted himself as a top star in the WWE over the past few years and has maintained his cocky heel character perfectly. The former WWE World Heavyweight Champion is enjoying his time with Cesaro as "The Bar" and still manages to make people hate himself because of his annoying presence. While he may look "stupid" to some, Sheamus is anything but stupid in real life where he actually has a very decent educational qualification. Sheamus used to work as an IT technician before he came to the WWE and is a very smart man in real life. He may not look the brightest of wrestlers, but he is actually a very smart man who used that to his advantage by landing a role in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie and making himself a mainstream star.
7 Dumb: Billy Graham
"Superstar" Billy Graham inspired many wrestlers to follow in his footsteps in the wrestling industry as he was the mentor of none other than Hulk Hogan, who "stole" his gimmick to succeed in the WWE. While Graham was a great wrestler who had a fantastic physique, he isn't really the brightest of human beings and has done some rather dumb stuff in real life. According to a wrestling urban legend, Graham used to drink bleach to prove to his colleagues how tough he was. He has also made numerous, mindless accusations at wrestlers and criticism which don't really make any sense and enraged many when he apparently asked for Dusty Rhodes' spot on WWE NXT after his death. Also, Graham recently shocked many by saying he wished the death of Chris Jericho, which proves how much of a stupid idiot he really is!
6 Smart: David Otunga
David Otunga arrived in the WWE with quite the bang as a part of the Nexus, impressing with his looks and how well he worked as part of the team. Otunga would enjoy some early success by winning the Tag Team Titles, but would fall apart as a singles wrestler which he just couldn't become in the WWE. He later went onto become a commentator and still works as one in the WWE, but he shouldn't have taken the jump into wrestling knowing how smart he is. He's a graduate from Harvard Law School and even worked for a big law firm in Sidley Austin after it. Otunga had a settled life outside the WWE and only took a step down by becoming a part-time commentator in WWE, as he's just wasting his intelligence and talents over the years in WWE.
5 Dumb: Lex Luger
Lex Luger was a polarizing character in the 90s as he was loved by some wrestling fans, but received much backlash when the WWE tried to assert him as the "Face of WWE" after Hulk Hogan Left. But Luger wasn't that smart as WWE needed him to be and prior to his match at SummerSlam 1993 against Yokozuna, Luger apparently got drunk and spilled the details of the match to a journalist in a bar. He was degraded to a tag team wrestler after that and shocked many some-time later when he arrived at WCW without letting Vince McMahon know that he wouldn't renew his contract and was leaving WWE. He also couldn't take care of Miss Elizabeth (his girlfriend at the time) as she overdosed from a mixture of drugs in 2003, and Luger only had a stunning figure and no intelligence to show for himself.
4 Smart: Mick Foley
Mick Foley has earned the name of being the "hardcore legend" for a reason, as he has put his body on the line many a times in his career and taken some nasty hits throughout his career. While he's quite the average-looking guy, Foley was a terrific performer who devoted his life to wrestling and entertaining the fans once he entered it. But what some may be surprised to learn is that Foley is actually a very smart guy in real life. He graduated from State University at New York and while he doesn't have the most impressive educational qualifications, he proved his intelligence through his books. His first two autobiographies were New York Times best-sellers as he's a fantastic writer who has the brains of writing scintillating books, with Foley proving that despite taking nasty hits to his head, he's still a brilliant man.
3 Dumb: Sid Vicious
Sid Vicious looked like a really dangerous man and was someone every promotion wanted in the 90s because of how much of a "top guy" he looked like. Sid would go onto appear in both WWE and WCW in the 90s and while he did impose a terrifying figure, he didn't have much smartness about him in real life. Sid has made some rather dumb comments about wrestlers in recent years and who can ever forget the time he horribly botched a promo in WCW. Sid was talking to Kevin Nash and Scott Hall and accidentally said "I have half the brain as you", much to the humor of his two opponents. Sid is also the guy who carried around a pet squirrel with him and put it inside his pants as a joke, after which the squirrel bit him, proving how much of a dumbo he is.
2 Smart: Kane
Kane has been the "big red monster" in the WWE for almost two decades now as he has terrorized many wrestlers over the years and given us many memories in the mean-time as well. He may be a rather silent, sadistic character in the WWE, but Kane in real life is a completely different man who is actually very intelligent as well. Apart from wrestling, Kane is very good at speeches on political things and was even an insurer until recently. He recently announced that he would be running for the mayoral seat of Knox County as a Republican and is doing a damn good job at promoting his campaign. His speeches are great and he's smart enough to actually pull this campaign off and even though it may be weird for someone to see Kane as a US mayor, it would prove how much of a genius he really is.
1 Dumb: Scott Steiner
"Big Poppa Pump" Scott Steiner has to be one of the better looking guys in the professional wrestling industry in the past two decades. Steiner may be a great performer in the ring, but he's quite the dumb, loud-mouth outside it. Steiner has been a controversial figure in wrestling for many years and that's mostly because of his own stupidity as "Big Poppa Pump" once got arrested in 1998 after he ran over a person for telling him that an exit to a highway was closed. Also, who can forget his infamous TNA promo where he ponders about the "mathematical chances" of Samoa Joe for their match at Sacrifice 2008? That was the ultimate example of just how dumb Steiner is in reality.