What exactly comes to your mind when you think professional wrestler? I’m assuming it’s most likely the image of some larger than life personality like that of Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, or maybe even John Cena. To many of you the term professional wrestler or sports entertainer may conjure up a completely different image of someone more like Ric Flair or Shawn Michaels but there is one constant. To most people the term professional wrestler or sports entertainer does not equate to a smart (or brilliant) individual. However, just because the majority of people tend to make this assumption, it does not mean that they are right.
The following article will go through the 10 smartest wrestlers in the history of the WWE. With that being said, let's first clarify a few things. This list will not be including wrestlers that merely had the gimmick of being smart like “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase’s personal accountant Irwin R. Schyster, Dean Douglas, “The Intellectual Savior of the Masses” Damien Sandow, The Genius (Lanny Poffo), or Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. This list will be covering wrestlers that actually furthered and completed their education at university or college and have used it to further their endeavors outside of the squared circle.
Before we begin, I’d like to give an honorable mention to the Hardcore Legend himself, Mick Foley who became an incredibly prolific writer when his days in the squared circle began to wind down. Foley has written several New York Times best sellers, including four autobiographies, two fiction novels and several children’s books (with another on the way). He is clearly one of the smartest individuals in the history of the WWE however as I mentioned before this article will be covering only those who completed their education at a university or college in high esteem.
10 Wade Barrett
9 Jack Swagger
8 Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler is a graduate of Kent State University, where he majored in Political Science with a Pre-law minor. While attending Kent State he also wrestled collegiately, eventually setting what was then the record for most career wins in the team's history. Prior to his WWE tryout, he was living in Phoenix, Arizona, and had been accepted into law school at Arizona State University, where he was due to start his first semester.
Glen Jacobs (also known as The Devil’s Favorite Demon) actually earned a degree in English Literature at Northeast Missouri State University, where he played both basketball and football. Most fans are aware that he is very outspoken in terms of politics and is even a member of the Free State Project. He hosted a podcast titled The Tiny Political Show under the pseudonym Citizen X (from March 16, 2007 to March 13, 2008) and ran a blog called The Adventures of Citizen X at AdventuresOfCitizenX.com and is also a contributor to LewRockwell.com.
If all that wasn’t surprising enough, he even owns an insurance company with his wife called The Jacobs Agency, which is located in Tennessee. The only real question is if they also offer fire insurance.
6 Eve Torres
The winner of the 2007 Diva Search attended the University of Southern California on a full tuition scholarship. During college, she was one of the founding members of the Omega Phi Beta sorority chapter on her campus and held the vice president position for several years. While in Omega Phi Beta, Torres was awarded for Academic Excellence at the Order of Omega Greek Awards. She graduated with honors and a Grade Point Average above 3.5 in May 2006, with a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering.
5 Matt Striker
After obtaining a Bachelor's degree in History and a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology, Striker began working as a high school teacher. He worked part time as a substitute, filling in when other teachers were on leave. In 2004, he was hired full time as a social studies teacher at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Queens, New York, but continued to wrestle part time during his vacation time and on weekends. He resigned from his position as a teacher, however, when the school found out that he was using sick days as an excuse to keep up with his wrestling commitments. Matt Striker is best known for his time in the WWE where his competed in the ring prior to becoming a color commentator for the company.
4 Michelle McCool
Growing up, Michelle McCool was an avid wrestling fan, going as far as knowing how to do Ric Flair’s signature figure-four leglock by age seven. Before and during high school, McCool played softball, basketball and volleyball. She also played first base at Pasco-Hernando State College. McCool later received her Master's degree in Educational Leadership from Florida State University.
3 Xavier Woods
The man formerly known as Consequences Creed (in TNA) graduated from Sprayberry High School in Marietta, Georgia in 2004. That same year he began studying psychology and philosophy at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. While attending Furman University, he began training for a career in professional wrestling and in 2005 began wrestling part time.
2 Christopher Nowinski
Many people may recall Chris Nowinski as one of the three finalists on the first season of Tough Enough where he was given the nickname Harvard Chris. Nowinski is renowned for being WWE's first Harvard Alumnus, as he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. He is also recognized as the youngest Hardcore Champion in WWE history. Following his wrestling career, he wrote Head Games: Football's Concussion Crisis, which examined the long-term effects of head trauma among athletes, and also became a documentary.
1 David Otunga
We made sure to save the best for last with WWE Superstar David Otunga. He may be known better outside of wrestling as Mr. Jennifer Hudson or as a reality star (remember the VH1 television show I Love New York – he was on the second season of the show and given the nickname “Punk”), but believe it or not he has a much more impressive resume than you may think.
Otunga is the most educationally decorated WWE superstar on the roster. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. From there, he worked at Columbia University as a lab manager in the cognitive neuroscience center. Next, Otunga went on to attend and graduate Harvard Law School, passing the bar exam in Illinois. He left a very promising career at Sidley Austin LLP to pursue his dream of becoming a WWE superstar.
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