Back in June of last year, Donald Trump announced he planned to run for President of the United States. It was all a bit of fun really, a controversial property mogul who liked to speak his mind and who would, if nothing else, make for a good few months of entertaining news bites. Lo and behold, nine months later, Trump is still hanging around. He's doing more than hanging around actually, he has a stranglehold on the Republican nomination and while his political opponents have spluttered and faltered, he's gone from strength to strength running the most unlikeliest of campaigns.
Some of his outlandish proposed policies, to name only a couple, include banning Muslims from the USA and building a wall on the border with Mexico. It seems every time he opens his mouth he says something so controversial, it would spell political suicide for another candidate. But for Trump, it seems to work.
It got us thinking. If Trump can make such a go of running for President, surely there's a few retired wrestlers out there capable of making waves. If nothing else, most wrestlers are supremely talented on the microphone, and oratory skills often spell plenty of votes. Sure they get paid to wrestle, but so much of the battle to win fans is done on the mic. Some of them were so good at it, they won universal respect and admiration from the global wrestling audience - even if they did spend substantial time as a heel during their careers.
Many wrestlers represent a core set of values and beliefs, and fans often support wrestlers whose values match their own, as opposed to the guy with the coolest move set; Bret Hart is a shining example. For so long in his career he was the ultimate good guy and he won over fans from all over the world, those fans looked upon him as a hero, many of whom stayed with him despite his anti-American heel turn. Please note Hart is not included in this list, because he's Canadian. But the point is that professional wrestlers might make half decent politicians. We'll only be including retired, or at least semi-retired wrestlers on this list, as no full-time wrestler could ever have time to run a country.
Here are 15 former wrestlers who should run for President of the United States.
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15 Jesse Ventura
Jesse Ventura made political waves long before Donald Trump came along and shook the rafters of this U.S. presidential campaign. Comparisons have been drawn between the pair with Ventura having won an unlikely election to become Governor of Minnesota in the late 1990s. But what about the big chair for Ventura? He'd probably do a better job than Trump. While Trump is opposed to gay marriage and wants to build a wall to keep out the Mexicans, Ventura doesn't believe the government has a right to oppose gay marriage and stands firmly in the open border camp. Maybe he's just what America needs, and the former Governor hasn't ruled out an Independent run at the White House.
14 Shawn Michaels
Shawn Michaels has the ideal personality to succeed in office. He's charismatic and full of swagger, but also has the ability to double cross someone when necessary, as we all saw almost 20 years ago now against Bret Hart during the Montreal Screwjob. That seems to be an unfortunately necessary asset at the top of the chain in politics.
Michaels was born in Arizona but grew up in San Antonio, Texas, where he was billed from throughout his wrestling career. He'd have huge support down there, and wouldn't do a bad job of expanding his legion of followers. He'd do well in a U.S. presidential race, although I wouldn't be running for office any time soon in Canada if I were Shawn...
13 Daniel Bryan
Why the hell not? He's recently been forced to retire so he'll be looking for a new career, and he's well loved by the American public. In 2012 he was named PETA's most animal friendly athlete, and that's got to count for something, right?
But Bryan's best asset would be on the campaign trail. Just imagine streams of supporters gathering around and chanting "YES!" repeatedly. It'd be a great way to generate momentum. Curiously enough, a Bryan for President campaign would be looking to install the first ever Washington State native in the Oval Office.
Remember when Goldberg's remarkable winning streak started in WCW, when he'd enter the ring surrounded by security and he refused to give interviews? Maybe that's the type of President the U.S. needs. Not someone that spends all their time churning out political spin, but someone that represents their beliefs and those of their country with actions.
Goldberg, a staunch supporter of the armed forces, spoke out following the November terrorist attacks in Paris. He said that U.S. soil was no longer safe, and that American citizens needed to be prepared for a terrorist attack. One thing is for sure, if Goldberg was President, the United States would have one hell of a military.
11 Diamond Dallas Page
Well this one is slightly out of left field, but when you think about it, Diamond Dallas Page would make an interesting candidate. He excelled in the ring, particularly with WCW, and since retirement he's gone on to make a super successful career as a yoga instructor. He even helped Jake 'The Snake' Roberts back in 2012 to kick his alcohol and drug habits.
But perhaps DDP's best asset is simply his name. Born Page Joseph Falkinburg, he legally changed his name in 2003 to Dallas Page. Now if that's not a rock solid name for a U.S. President, then I don't know what is.
The man formerly known as Bradshaw makes this list purely because he's ruthless enough to go all the way to the top, without a care for any of the casualties he causes along the way. JBL spent most of his wrestling career as a heel, and he wasn't much liked backstage either. He'd mercilessly beat up new talent in the ring, and bullied his way around the locker room, all while climbing the WWE ladder.
No doubt he'd happily squash any opposition on his way to the Republican nomination. Then it'd just be a matter of convincing the American public that he's the right man for the job. It may be tough at face value given his lack of charisma, but hey, Donald Trump isn't letting that stop him.
9 Kurt Angle
He's still wrestling on the independent circuit but he's well and truly retired from the amateur scene, so that makes him an ex-wrestler of sorts. Anyway, Angle could really play up the American hero angle if he was vote hunting, with that shiny Olympic gold medal permanently draped around his neck. He'd certainly generate plenty of momentum on the campaign trail. Perhaps this isn't as far fetched as it sounds. In 2012 Angle's Twitter account produced this:
"I'm Gonna Run for Office. Boost Economy, Alter Obamacare to Work for all Of Us. And create More Jobs. That's It!"
Angle hasn't taken this any further as far as we know, his enthusiasm for politics is perhaps not quite as voracious as his enthusiasm for randomly placed capital letters.
8 Booker T
Booker T is certainly not an unfamiliar name in American politics. More than a hundred years ago, Booker T. Washington was a towering figure in the U.S., a leader of the African American community, and adviser to presidents of the United States. How would the modern day Booker T fare in presidency? Most likely, quite well.
He had a tough upbringing and managed to come through it, albeit not without a prison sentence in his younger days for a spate of armed robberies. He's always been largely entertaining on the microphone, and he once got into a backstage fist fight with Dave Bautista, not happy at the way Bautista had been parading around arrogantly during his time with the WWE. Booker T was reportedly praised by many of his colleagues after the incident. That's a good quality for a president, not the fist fighting, but the willingness to stand up for what you believe in.
7 Triple H
Well he's not quite an ex-wrestler yet but we'll let him off given his business contributions for WWE have now superseded his in ring performances. Triple H brings several qualities necessary for a stint in the White House, perhaps none more important than the ability to absorb criticism.
Let's be honest, he's always been a favorite target for cynical wrestling fans and if anything he seems to thrive on the negativity endlessly thrust his way. Plus if Triple H became President, then Stephanie McMahon would be First Lady and there's something strangely alluring about all that.
You get the feeling Sting would be a very decent President, one with the best interests of his citizens at heart as opposed to someone who's every action came laced with an element of reelection in mind. For so long he fought the good fight in WCW against the NWO. He represented his fans, he loyally defended the threat to his company, and maintained his morals through several decades in the ring.
Plus he'd be pretty handy under pressure in the situation room when faced with an important decision. He showed this back in 2011 when scheduled to fight Jeff Hardy for the TNA World Heavyweight Title. Hardy turned up to the ring not fit for purpose, and Sting ended the match in less than two minutes, avoiding the risk of wrestler injury or company embarrassment.
5 Vince McMahon
Surely this idea has crossed the boss's mind at some point. His wife Linda twice ran for Senate election in Connecticut, earning the Republican nomination both times but falling in the general election in 2010 and 2012. And now Donald Trump is showing what deep pockets and an outspoken public image can do for a presidential campaign. Sound familiar?
McMahon's biggest problem would be untangling himself from the controversies that have dogged him during his time at the top of the wrestling industry, the steroid case of the early 1990s and the spate of early deaths of wrestlers past and present to name just two.
But he's be a strong political presence, and would have no problem delivering speeches and convincing the wider public of his ideas. Realistically he's probably missed his chance given he'll be in his mid 70s by the time the next campaign rolls around, and that's probably good news.
4 Stone Cold Steve Austin
One thing in Stone Cold's favor is that he's almost universally loved across the wrestling world. If he did make it to the oval office though, he'd probably need to rein in his trash talkin', mudhole stompin', beer swillin' Texas Rattlesnake persona. Then again that might work wonders for him in the situation room. Crucially, Stone Cold has an estimated net worth of roughly $45 million, so he'd certainly have a head start when it comes to funding a campaign.
The best thing about Stone Cold being President would be the interviews he'd give. Something along these lines no doubt:
Reporter: Steve, how do you plan to fix America's healthcare system?
Stone Cold: What?
Reporter: What's your long term strategy in the Middle East?
Stone Cold: What?!
Reporter: Steve, will you be building a wall along the Mexican border?
Stone Cold: WHAT? WHAT! WHAT?!?!!
3 Sgt. Slaughter
Maybe the answer to the Presidential throne is one time WWE Champion Sgt. Slaughter. He'll bring the discipline, he'll bring the military presence, and he might even bring a wisp of facial hair that's been conspicuously missing from the Oval Office.
Forget about that angle that WWE ran with in the early 90s where the big Sarge aligned himself with the Iraq side of proceedings around the Gulf War. Go back instead to 1984 where Sgt. Slaughter cut an emotional promo finishing with him, and the entire crowd, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, that's where his heart lies. And here's a fun fact. Sgt. Slaughter has already been to the White House, way back when on a dinner invitation from Ronald Reagan.
2 Mick Foley
As a wrestler Mick Foley was one of the most hardcore we've ever seen, possessing scant regard for his body. Outside of the ring he's apparently one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. Put those two facts together, and you have quite an interesting potential Presidential concoction.
A man willing to put his beliefs on the line for the good of the people, he's another one of those ex-wrestlers that's universally popular, in fact you'd struggle to find a fan who doesn't like Foley or at the very least respect what he's done. Wouldn't it be just brilliant to see the president of the U.S.A. strutting around in a flannelette shirt all day?
1 The Rock
"Finally, The Rock, HAS COME BACK to <insert current campaign city here>". Could the People's Champion become the People's President? Celebrity Net Worth estimates he has a personal fortune around the $160 million mark, so he could definitely fund his way to the White House.
He's now a successful movie star which puts him in similar company to Ronald Reagan, who served as the 40th President of the USA. He's pals with Arnold Schwarzenegger too, and no doubt the former Governor of California would have some helpful advice from one bodybuilder to another. One thing is for certain, if The Rock can work the American public like he works a wrestling crowd, then he'd be every chance in a Presidential campaign.
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