The sport of pro wrestling is filled with legitimate tough guys. The fans can sit back and criticize the Superstars all they want, but few people actually know what it feels like to take a flat back bump in the center of the ring.
Most people consider UFC fighters to be way tougher than WWE Superstars. However, combat sports and pro wrestling are entirely different things all together. But, there are a few Superstars that have been successful in both occupations. Obviously, Brock Lesnar immediately comes to mind, as he is a former UFC Champion.
However, Brock Lesnar isn’t the only professional wrestler who possesses practical fighting skills. This list of the Top 15 Wrestlers Who Could Really Dish Out A Beating In Real Life was carefully crafted.
There have been some incredibly tough individuals who have competed in the sport of pro wrestling. With that being said, this list focuses on modern wrestlers for the most part. Nonetheless, I don’t want to leave out the grizzled veterans of the past. So, a shout out goes to Dick Murdoch, Haku, Harley Race, Andre The Giant, Arn Anderson and all of the other tough wrestlers from the annals of history.
I hope you’ll agree with most of the entries on this list. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment and give us your thoughts.
15. Vince McMahon
Vincent Kennedy McMahon is the billionaire owner of the WWE. Most of us would considered the Chairman of The Board to be a pompous A-hole, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Vince most likely wants us to hate him anyway.
I mean, it’s really not that difficult to hate McMahon in the first place. He’s rich, successful, and jacked. Even at the age of 70, Vince has an incredibly muscular physique. However, I bet it’s safe to assume that McMahon’s body is filled with more performance enhancing drugs than the Superstars that work for him.
Nonetheless, Vince McMahon has always been a scrappy individual. He’s fought for everything that he’s ever gotten in his life, and he hasn’t stopped fighting yet.
He’s been involved in many scandals, but nothing has stopped him from achieving his goals. In 1997, Vince McMahon offered Bret Hart a free shot to the chin after the events of the Montreal Screwjob. Needless to say, Vince was knocked out-cold. However, giving Bret a free shot took courage.
Mr. McMahon is a man’s man, and I honestly believe he could beat up any ordinary man even at this stage of his life.
Rusev is a monster. He’s 6 feet tall and weighs over 300 pounds. His size is compact on his six foot frame and just trying to picture moving him off his center of gravity makes us wince. I know he hasn’t competed in a real combat sport, but I still think he could do some damage outside of the ring. After all, Rusev did offer to fight Brock Lesnar in a real fight at UFC 200.
Rusev’s offer to fight in the UFC was real, but it was Dana White who turned it down. Rusev is a beast, and no one in their right mind would start a problem with him.
While Rusev may be an inexperienced martial artist, he does throw some fancy kicks from time to time. Furthermore, a man of his size must pack one hell of a punch.
13. Chris Jericho
I bet you’re wondering why Chris Jericho made it onto this list. Well, he’s on here for good reason. Believe it or not, Y2J is actually pretty tough.
During his time in the WCW, Chris Jericho was looked down upon by the veterans of the business. Jericho’s in-ring ability was disregarded due to the fact that he was smaller than most of the men in the locker room. And, it was Bill Goldberg who gave Jericho the hardest time behind the scenes.
In 1999, Chris Jericho left the WCW for the WWE, and it didn’t take long for him to become a superstar. By the time that the WCW was purchased by Vince McMahon, Jericho was actually a bigger star than Goldberg.
Nonetheless, Goldberg still felt that Jericho was less than him. The two wrestlers eventually got into a heated argument backstage, and the disagreement escalated into a brawl. Amazingly, Jericho got the better of Goldberg, who outweighed him by nearly 80 pounds.
Anyone who can defeat a much larger opponent in a real fight deserves to be called tough. Y2J is on this list because he is ready to throw-down and defend himself whenever the time calls for it, and he’s not afraid of anyone.
12. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Stone Cold Steve Austin is the baddest S.O.B who has ever stepped foot in the WWE. His Hall of Fame career was fueled by beer and anger.
Although Steve Austin has never competed in MMA or other combat sports, I have a feeling that he could unleash a can of whoop ass in real life if he wanted to. Austin grew up playing football and watching pro wrestling. He was a natural athlete, and his in-ring style was hard hitting and fast paced.
While Steve Austin never fought in an MMA fight, he’s proven time and time again just how tough he is. In 1997, Owen Hart broke Stone Cold’s neck when he botched a piledriver. Steve was left momentarily paralyzed, but he managed to finish the match and even walk out of the arena on his own two feet.
I’m sure that the Texas Rattlesnake would’ve been a decent fighter if he chose that career path in his younger years. His toughness alone would have carried him far.
11. Rob Van Dam
Rob Van Dam has done it all. He’s been an ECW champion, a WWE Champion, and a Grand Slam Champion. RVD is beloved by the WWE Universe, and it’s not without reason. Whenever Rob Van Dam wrestles, he puts on a show.
RVD is a highflying ring technician. He pulls off ridiculous moves that almost seem impossible. While most of the maneuvers that RVD performs are impractical, his kicking techniques are legit.
Not many people know that Rob Van Dam is a life long martial artist. He has been trained in the arts of Tae Kwon Do and American Kickboxing. RVD definitely knows how to fight, and he isn’t afraid of confrontation. In fact, RVD has punked out several WWE Superstars including Triple H, Chris Jericho and Taz. His laid-back attitude may have people think he could be had in a fight, but those people are sadly mistaken.
Before Brock Lesnar, Vader was the scariest man in the world of professional wrestling. He weighed 375 pounds, and he was incredibly athletic. In fact, one of Vader’s signature moves was a moonsault.
Vader’s freakishly large physique was intimidating, but it was the intent in which he delivered punches that really scared people. It’s no secret that Vader would often hit his co-workers in the ring for real. There are only two men that I know of have that ever got the better of Vader in a physical confrontation, and those two men were none other than Stan Hansen and Paul Orndorff.
For the most part, Vader wasn’t trying to injure the wrestlers that he worked with. However, many of them have complained about the stiffness of his attacks. In 1996, Vader was given a big push in the WWE. He worked with Shawn Michaels, who was the WWE Champion at the time, and according to Jim Cornette, it was Michaels who halted Vader’s push.
HBK complained about Vader’s unprofessionalism, and it wasn’t long until Vince McMahon killed off Vader’s character completely. Regardless of how things went for him in the WWE, Vader is stilled loved to this day for his work in WCW and Japan.
Vader’s hard hitting style made him a fan favorite, and I’m sure he’d have no problem delivering a beatdown in real life.
9. Rick Rude
Rick Rude wasn’t the biggest wrestler of all time. In fact, he was quite undersized when compared to his colleagues of the 1980s.
While size can sometimes be a determining factor in a fight, Rick Rude proved time and time again that a smaller man can dish out the punishment just as well as a larger man. Rude was known as the Tazmanian Devil backstage. He had a bad temper and a short fuse.
In 1989, the Ultimate Warrior found out first hand that Rick Rude was the last man that you ever wanted to cross. According to Ric Flair and many others, Rick Rude knocked the Warrior out-cold for making a disparaging remark. After the incident, Hulk Hogan refused to ever work with Rick Rude in the future.
Hogan versus Rude would have been a great feud, but it unfortunately never happened. However, I can’t really blame Hogan for being afraid of Rude.
In a podcast with Ric Flair, Eric Bischoff revealed that Rick Rude almost pulled a gun on him. The incident occurred when Rude wouldn’t hand over the WCW Championship. Bischoff pressed and pressed Rude to return the title, and he eventually did. However, Rude led Bischoff to a parking lot, and opened the trunk of his car. The WCW Championship along with a 357. revolver laid in the trunk. Bischoff was scared to death, but Rick Rude decided to hand over the title rather than use the handgun.
8. Kevin Nash
Kevin Nash has gone by many monikers throughout his wrestling career, but most of us remember him as Big Daddy Cool Diesel. At 6″ 10′ and 328 pounds, Kevin Nash was a force to be reckoned with.
Before Kevin Nash ever got into the wrestling business, he was a bouncer at a strip club. That kind of job requires a special set of skills. Too put it simply, Nash was a big and bad S.O.B.
Nash was brought into the WWE to act as a bodyguard for Shawn Michaels. However, Nash didn’t realize that nearly everyone in the locker room, including the Undertaker, had heat with HBK. Needless to say, Nash became a legitimate bodyguard for “the Showstopper.”
Big Daddy Cool didn’t take $h*t from anyone, and that’s because he didn’t have to. He dwarfed most of his co-workers in the WWE and WCW. With that being said, not everyone was intimidated by Nash’s size. Roddy Piper once picked a fight with him, and the Hotrod ended up getting hit hard with an open handed smack. Thankfully, Kevin Nash didn’t unload any heavy bombs on Piper.
Even at 56 years old, Big Daddy Cool Diesel is definitely a man that you don’t want to pick a fight with.
7. CM Punk
This entry on the list may surprise you, but I think you’ll soon understand why CM Punk has been included. Just a couple of years ago, CM Punk was one of the most popular Superstars in the WWE. Unfortunately, he left the company in 2014 and pursued his desire to compete in MMA.
In 2015, it was revealed that CM Punk would be competing in the UFC against an unknown opponent. During his time in the WWE, Punk had been training in Jiu Jitsu in his free time.
When he left the world of professional wrestling for good, CM Punk joined a highly regarded MMA gym known as Roufusport. Punk has been training with the likes of former UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis and current ONE FC Champion Ben Askren.
Most people will probably disregard CM Punk’s fighting ability until they actually see him compete in the UFC. Well, that’s about to happen later this fall when he fights Mickey Gall at UFC 203 in September.
No matter if he wins or loses his first fight, nothing can be taken away from CM Punk. He has put in a solid year of training at an established MMA gym. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine that Punk has learned some advanced striking and grappling techniques underneath the tutelage of Duke Rofous.
6. The Undertaker
Is there a more decorated WWE Superstar than The Undertaker? Mark Calaway is a legend among his peers. I don’t think I have ever heard a WWE Superstar say a bad word about him.
The Phenom might just be the most respected and feared man in the history of the wrestling business. He’s a huge man at 6 ft 10 inches tall and 300 lbs. Not only is The Undertaker massive, but he’s actually quite nimble as well. What other man his size can walk on the top rope or dive out of the ring?
It goes without saying that The Undertaker is a hell of a performer. However, not many people know that he’s actually a skilled Martial Artist. In fact, The Undertaker was awarded a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt by Rolles Gracie just a few years ago. Had he been a few years younger, The Phenom stated that he would’ve loved to compete in the UFC.
It’s obvious from Taker’s in-ring work that he enjoys dishing out punishment. His punch combinations are crisp, and his submissions are smooth.
Testing The Undertaker outside of the ring would be a very foolish thing to do for any man.
5. Bart Gunn
Bart Gunn wasn’t the greatest wrestler of the Attitude Era, but he was probably the toughest. In 1998, the WWE held a legitimate boxing tournament which was called the Brawl for All.
The tournament was brutal, as several WWE Superstars were knocked out-cold in the match-ups. The fighters that participated in the Brawl for All included Bradshaw, The Godfather, Bob Holly, Bart Gunn and many others.
As the tournament commenced, it became clear that Bart Gunn was probably going to win the whole thing. He had a tremendous amount of power in both hands, and he had a hell of a chin as well. Bart fought a total of four matches, and he won three of them by knockout. Bart’s final opponent in the Brawl for All was Bradshaw.
Bart Gunn versus Bradshaw was expected to be an epic matchup for the ages. Instead, Bart smashed Bradshaw with a vicious left hook that rendered him unconscious in the very first round.
The Brawl for All solidified Bart Gunn as one of the toughest WWE Superstars of all time.
4. Bobby Lashley
In the mid 2000s, Bobby Lashley was a huge Superster. He won the United States Championship, ECW World Championship, and nearly captured the WWE Championship from John Cena. It seemed like he was pegged to be the next face of the WWE.
Lashley’s rise to the top was quick, but so was his downfall. He was released from the WWE in 2008, and it wasn’t long before he signed with TNA in 2009. While he has remained a pro-wrestling star, it’s his MMA career that his kept his name relevant.
Bobby Lashley is one of the most popular Heavyweight fighters in Bellator. He has a record of 14-2, and most of his victories have come by way of stoppage. Lashley is one man that you would never want to meet in a dark alley. He’s unbelievably athletic, and he’s skilled enough in all aspects of MMA to render you helpless.
3. Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle is the most accomplished amateur wrestler that has ever competed in the WWE. He is an Olympic Gold Medalist, and the story of his success at the Olympic Games is anything but ordinary.
In 1996, Kurt Angle won the Men’s Freestyle Heavyweight Championship with a broken freaking neck. Angle’s accomplishment was superhuman given the fact that his neck was severely damaged at the time of the competition.
In 1998, the WWE quickly offered Kurt Angle a contract. Needless to say, it didn’t take Angle long to become a fan favorite. He won the WWE Championship in 2000 by defeating The Rock.
During his time in the WWE, Kurt mentored a young Brock Lesnar. Angle and Lesnar even wrestled for a shoot backstage, and Angle won the competition. Anyone who can outwrestle Brock Lesnar has to be a badass.
Kurt Angle would continue to have a great career in the WWE until his departure from the company in 2006. Today, Kurt Angle is currently out of action, but he is expected to return to the WWE in the near future.
2. Ken Shamrock
Ken Shamrock was one of the original pioneers of the UFC. He was also a champion in Pancrase. Shamrock has fought the whose who of fighters. He’s taken on Royce Gracie, Bas Rutten, Tito Ortiz, Rich Franklin, Kazushi Sakuraba and many others.
In 1997, Shamrock joined the WWE. His first memorable appearance in the organization was when he refereed the classic WrestleMania 13 matchup between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bret “The Hitman” Hart.
Ken Shamrock became a valuable asset to the WWE rather quickly. He even headlined a few Pay Per View events. The thing that the WWE fans loved about Shamrock was the fact that he was a legitimate fighter.
Aside from Brock Lesnar, there has never been another MMA fighter as skilled as Ken Shamrock in the WWE. Everything about Shamrock was believable and fans bought him as a legitimate threat to any opponent in the WWE.
1. Brock Lesnar
Can you name another WWE Superstar who has won both the WWE and UFC Heavyweight Championships? The answer is obviously no, and there’s a simple reason why. The UFC is a real combat sports league where the best fighters in the world compete. On the other hand, the WWE is a professional wrestling organization in which the matches are predetermined.
It’s no secret that Brock Lesnar is a legitimate badass, and he would destroy every Superstar in the WWE in a real fight. With that being said, Brock will have a tough test ahead of him when he takes on Mark Hunt at UFC 200.
Regardless of his chances in his upcoming fight, Brock’s accomplishments in combat sports cannot be ignored. In 2000, Brock Lesnar won the NCAA Division 1 Heavyweight Wrestling Championship. In 2008, Brock became the UFC Champion when he defeated Randy Couture.
Brock is a monster, and we are all lucky that he is calm man outside of the ring.
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