The WWE has a history of giving failed NFL players a chance to make it as Superstars in the ring with guys like Ron Simmons, Ahmed Johnson, Roman Reigns, Baron Corbin, and Mojo Rawley also got their start on the gridiron. What you don’t hear about are MLB players changing career paths and fleeing to the WWE.
Obviously, there are a couple reasons for that. NFL players are typically bigger and more imposing figures in the ring than the traditional MLB player. Secondly, the NFL is a contact sport, and the players who have experience on a football field are not likely to shy away from contact in a ring.
Despite that, there are still plenty of MLB players who have the look and potential to be stars on a diamond surrounded by ropes rather than baselines. For this article, we will pinpoint those 15 baseball players and give a former or current WWE wrestler as a comparison for who they have the potential to be.
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16 Jose Altuve
WWE Comparison: Kalisto
Baseball and wrestling are both similar in the fact that you don’t have to be the biggest or strongest to compete. In fact, Altuve is not just competing as he is easily one of the front-runners for the American League MVP, and could be the first player since Mike Trout and Ryan Braun in 2012 to have a 30 home run, 30 stolen base season.
Altuve’s comparison is Kalisto, who is actually listed at 5’6, the same height as the Astros second baseman. Kalisto has garnered success in both NXT and the WWE as a singles and doubles competitor. The King of Flight has trained in Mexico to maximize his skill set en route to becoming one of the best high-flyers in the WWE. It would be interesting to see how Altuve would fair in the Cruiserweight Division, given the type of athlete he is.
15 Hunter Pence
WWE Comparison: Daniel Bryan
You hear it all the time from analysts and fans. Hunter Pence is the most unorthodox player in baseball. From the way he throws the ball to the way he swings a bat, everything essential to the game is done by Pence in such a manner that would not be taught. Despite this, fans have grown to love the awkward right-fielder. At one point, people in attendance would bring signs to the game that read things like “Hunter Pence Eats Pizza with a Fork.” It’s safe to say his gimmick went over well with the fans, especially those in San Francisco who have taken a liking to him.
His WWE comparison is Daniel Bryan, another guy who was considered untraditional in his field. Despite not being the biggest and baddest guy around, he was still able to get the crowd behind him with his performance, personality, and heart. Even though the two guys come from a similar mold, they probably would not get along very well. Bryan has been quoted saying that video games are for losers, a statement Pence would take great exception to.
14 Corey Seager
WWE Comparison: Finn Balor
Corey Seager is having not only one of the best rookie seasons for a Dodger, but one of the best seasons for a Dodger overall. The 22-year-old has been the best hitter on the team and also plays one of the most challenging positions – shortstop. With a few more home runs, he would join Nomar Garciaparra, Cal Ripken Jr., and Trevor Story as the only rookie shortstops in history to hit over 24 home runs.
Finn Balor has also seen a lot of success in a short amount of time. Like Seager, Baylor spent a lot of time in the minor leagues, where he made a name for himself before getting called up. He became the first ever WWE Universal Champion after having wrestled in his first match on Raw just a few weeks before hand. Surprisingly, Seager is bigger than the Demon King, and is listed at 6’4, 215 lbs. Balor clocks in at 5’11, 190 lbs.
13 Yasiel Puig
WWE Comparison: Jason Jordan
Say what you want about his baseball skills, but you can't deny the athletic ability Yasiel Puig possesses. He seems like the type of athlete you can just throw on any field and mistake him for a professional in that sport. Maybe the Dodgers are in talks with Vince McMahon about trading him to the WWE since it appears they are trying hard to move him.
Puig's comparson is Jason Jordan, another high energy performer who looks like an olympic athlete. The two are almost identical in height and weight, and Jordan could probably find himself on a list of wrestlers who can play baseball since he was drafted out of high school to play.
11 Rougned Odor
WWE Comparison: Tazz
This list wouldn't be complete without Rougned Odor, who landed one of the best right hands ever on a baseball diamond. His altercation with Jose Bautista taught other ball players not to mess with the 5'11, 195 lbs second baseman.
Odor gets compared to Tazz because, while he wasn't the biggest or most talented wrestler on the roster, Tazz was never afraid to get into a brawl with anyone. He was portrayed as a tough guy from the mean streets of Brooklyn, New York. Odor is a tough guy from the mean streets of Venezuela. He isn't afraid to stick up for his teammates, and has been in the middle of a couple other bench clearing incidents outside of the infamous Bautista slide.
10 Xander Bogarts/Mookie Betts/Jackie Bradley
WWE Comparison: New Day
It certainly is a new day in Boston. For the past two seasons, we watched the Red Sox finish in last place in the AL East, and now they are competing for the top spot thanks in part to the terrific seasons these three men are putting up. Mookie Betts has been the top performer of this trio, and like the aforementioned Altuve, has a decent chance of accomplishing a 30 home run, 30 stolen base season. Jackie Bradley has been a pleasant surprise in center field and Xander Bogarts continues to hit for a high average.
This Red Sox trio compares to WWE’s most entertaining and successful trio of the last year and a half. New Day has held on to the Tag Team Championship since August of 2015, and have cemented themselves as one of the most talented and entertaining tag teams in WWE history. This Boston team is trying to make some history themselves, but if things go downhill, maybe they would consider contacting Vince.
9 Yoenis Cespedes
WWE Comparison: The Rock
Both men are built like a rock and Yoenis Cespedes might be the most electrifying five tool player in sports entertainment. If Cespedes ever hit his opponent with a Spinebuster, his obvious follow up move would be the People's Forearm. That’s the move where he takes his neon yellow arm band off, throws it into the crowd, and runs across the ring before dropping that forearm on his opponent.
When Cespedes hits a no doubt home run, he exudes the confidence and bravado of The Rock by flipping his bat and watching that ball fly over the fence. Of course, for the Mets outfielder to truly be The People's Champ, he will need to work on his mic skills.
8 Mike Trout
WWE Comparison: A.J. Styles
Mike Trout is building himself a legacy, despite only making one postseason appearance thus far in his time with the Angels. His combined WAR total through the first seven years of his career has already surpassed the man who was voted into the Hall of Fame with 99.3% of the vote this past offseason – Ken Griffey Jr. Incredibly, the only men he trails in WAR through the first seven years of their careers are Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Joe DiMaggio (per Baseball-Reference play index). That’s it.
A.J. Styles himself is in the middle of creating a legacy as well. “The Phenomenal One” is well traveled and has captured Japan’s most important title. While he isn’t deep into his WWE career yet, he has had an impressive start, including a huge defeat over John Cena at SummerSlam after kicking out of an Attitude Adjustment from the second rope. The move to the WWE for Styles was an obvious choice as the contracts are more lucrative and he also gets more exposure to a mainstream audience – now if only Trout can similarly find his way onto a contending team so we can truly witness his greatness.
7 Jake Arrieta
WWE Comparison: Cesaro
Not many pitchers are able to generate as much intimidation on the mound as Jake Arrieta does. The Texas native takes the mound every fifth day with crazy in his eyes and a beard to match. The intense look he projects to the batter is reminiscent of Jonathan Papelbon, only, instead of giving that look for one inning, he does it for six, seven, eight, or nine. Arrieta is a health and workout freak, and contributes much of his pitching success to how well he treats his body. The right-hander believes his pitching performance benefits from him being in top notch condition, unlike some pitchers (see Bartolo Colon).
Arrieta gets the comparison to Cesaro not only because of Cesaro's impressive physical condition, but also because of his well-rounded abilities as a wrestler. Arrieta himself is well-rounded in the game of baseball as a power pitcher with a nasty curveball. He is even a threat at the plate.
6 Noah Syndergaard
WWE Comparison: Triple H (1995-97)
He’s one of the most imposing pitchers on the mound, standing tall at 6'6 and weighing in at 242 lbs. People often refer to him by his superhero nickname, Thor. His hair is long and golden, perfect for that of a heel. He can throw a fastball harder than any starter in the game, and if you're opposed to him throwing that fastball up and in, then you can meet him “60 feet, six inches away.” His name is Noah Syndergaard, and it’s safe to say most people wouldn’t want to step foot against him in a batter's box or a ring.
His WWE comparison at this stage in Syndergaard’s career is a young Triple H. Before winning the WWE Championship 14 times, Triple H had a string of success as a European and Intercontinental Champion. That’s right about where Syndergaard is in his MLB career. He’s had some success, but he has the potential to be one of the greatest.
5 Jose Abreu
WWE Comparison: Kevin Owens
As the third and final Cuban native to make this list, Jose Abreu might be the most powerful of them all. Abreu is big for a baseball player, weighing in at 255 lbs. For reference, that's 15 pounds heavier than David Ortiz. The right-handed first baseman uses his big frame to smack plenty of home runs, and has 30 or more in his first two seasons in the MLB.
Like Kevin Owens, he might not have the best looking body, but you don't need that to compete. Using pure strength and some surprising flexibility can go a long way in itself, and Abreu has both of those tools. Don't forget, as a first baseman, you are taught to stretch for the ball on a close play at first, and we've seen the big guy make some impressive yoga poses at the bag.
4 Evan Gattis
WWE Comparison: Bray Wyatt
Nicknamed El Oso Blanco, Evan Gattis is the White Bear of baseball. He has raw power and has consistently hit over 20 home runs since breaking into the league with the Braves back in 2013. In fact, his entire game is based off that power, since he doesn't hit for average, isn't the best fielder, and also doesn't strike fear on the base paths. That's why he finds himself as a DH/Catcher since he is able to use that arm strength to gun down would-be base stealers.
Gattis gets compared to Bray Wyatt, not only because of the facial hair, but also because they are each on the pudgier side of athletic. Like Wyatt, Gattis comes from a strange background. Before playing baseball full time, he took a number of odd jobs until his old coach convinced him to play college ball. MLB teams were hesitant to draft him because of his personal issues with drug and alcohol abuse, but the Braves would eventually take a late-round flier on him. Soon after, Gattis found himself with the big league club.
3 Alex Rodriguez
WWE Comparison: Roman Reigns
The man who was supposed to be the face of MLB but ended up getting a chorus of boos at every road stadium the Yankees traveled to. Multiple steroid suspensions ruined Alex Rodriguez from ever being loved by the fans, but there was a time when he was considered to be a lock for the Hall of Fame. Regardless, A-Rod is one of the greatest to ever play the game with his ability to hit for power, average, and make slick plays at shortstop and third base.
Roman Reigns is another man who was turned on by a good portion of the fans and is in the process of adjusting his character. Reigns, like A-Rod, broke in with a lot of promise with The Shield. When the trio split up, fans were disappointed with Reigns playing the role of the hero for a number of reasons. After the WWE Universe voiced their opinion, the creative team decided to take a different direction with Roman and put him up against Rusev.
2 Bryce Harper
WWE Comparison: Seth Rollins
Bryce Harper is one of the few guys in baseball who can pull off a heel persona. He’s stated that he isn’t opposed to a little showboating in baseball, and his hair is styled like he’s auditioning for the role of a bad guy in an upcoming movie. It also helps that he’s in insane physical conditioning as evident by the video of him doing squats on an exercise ball. When you are expected to be the best baseball player of your generation, you kind of have to be a freak athlete.
Seth Rollins is the guy who Harper resembles most. Both men have a combination of power and speed in their arsenal, and choose to go all out when they do their job rather than half-ass a performance.
1 Giancarlo Stanton
WWE Comparison: Brock Lesner
Giancarlo Stanton may be one of the few players in baseball who has the body that could pass for an imposing wrestler, listed at 6'6, 245 lbs. In high school, the future Marlins right-fielder was a three sport athlete, and was offered scholarships from UCLA and USC to play football. Obviously, he declined those offers and is now one of the most feared hitters in the game of baseball today. The Marlins right-fielder is the only batter who has hit a ball over 500 feet this season. With the news of his season ending injury, Stanton draws comparison to one WWE Superstar in particular.
No, Brock Lesner does not get injured frequently, but he is a part-time performer. Lesner is also one of the most feared Superstars in his sport, and he doesn’t hold back in showing his opponents why that is. At this point, The Beast Incarnate has become the kid who plays the WWE video games and presses the same button to do the same moves over and over again until his meter fills up for a finisher. In some ways, that's what Stanton is to baseball, but it's OK because mammoth home runs are always a crowd pleaser.
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