Part of the allure of watching wrestlers as a kid is that they were bad – in the colloquial sense, though Roddy Piper was definitely a great bad guy – and the suspension of disbelief really made you think that they could take on their fair share of guys in a brawl. As we’ve grown up, it’s obvious that wrestling is “fake,” but that doesn’t take away from the pure athleticism of each sports entertainer.
For every awesome brawler like Bradshaw and any one of the first and second generation member of the Samoan family, there’s probably anywhere between five to 15 wrestlers who would totally eat it in a real street fight.
The early generation of wrestlers, as well as guys in the indies, have had to prove this whenever they went out, but certainly in today’s contemporary world of sports entertainment, that kind of physical situation couldn’t happen, particularly since the big company – World Wrestling Entertainment – is publicly traded and stockholders probably wouldn’t be too keen on someone like Randy Orton handing out slaps to random civilians like it was nothing. Actually, that would be pretty hilarious to watch.
In any case, there’s a case to be made when you know that a guy like Wade Barrett could probably hold his own in a fight versus the unlikeliness of Stardust really taking it to random bros mocking him and his weird (albeit cool) jumpsuit.
So the question is, who are the wrestlers that could lose in a real life knockdown drag out? I’m so glad that you asked because we’re going to explore that. For criteria, I went with their character (since they’re supposed to be their actual personality turned all the way up), ability to wrestle, and my gut feeling based on how I’ve seen them wrestle.
16 Mikey Whipwreck
A small dude from the heyday of ECW, Paul Heyman has said that he never gave Mikey Whipwreck a finisher, so his winnings were mostly accidental. Even after he beat Steve Austin, his character played up scared persona more so. Whipwreck does run a wrestling school, but (as this list generally suggests) that’s hardly a reason he could win in a fight. Whipwreck might be able to take a hell of a beating but it's hard to see him getting the upper hand in a fight.
15 Titus O’Neil
Titus O’Neil is a large and very imposing man. If he were anybody else, he probably wouldn’t be on this list, but O’Neil is very public about being a devout Christian. I’m going to preface the following by saying that it’s not that I don’t think religious people can win a fight, but O’Neil’s public image AND his ability to quote the good book makes me think that he would turn the other cheek…then get sucker punched.
14 Eva Marie
It’s almost unfair that Eva Marie’s on this list since she’s only a pro wrestler by virtue of the fact that she looks ridiculously good. That being said, she’s still included because – as TOTAL DIVAS has showed us – the women’s division is down to scrap. Natalya, Paige, and Summer Rae have all been seen getting into fisticuffs. Eva Marie has a manager and a meathead husband as her de facto bodyguard, so she’s lost without even throwing hands.
13 Disco Inferno
Disco Inferno got busted for running an illegal gambling ring inside of his house and was mocked for trying to join the NWO. And also, his name is DISCO INFERNO. Would Disco Stu from THE SIMPSONS fight anyone? Probably not and neither should this guy. Backstage he was known as a very easy going guy who didn't take the business so seriously, but really enjoyed it and made his gimmick work.
12 Randy Orton
Randy Orton, at least as a character, is really, really douche-y. Well, there are also plenty of backstage stories of Orton being a douche, at least in his younger days. The best move in his skill set is the RKO, which, despite what Vine videos will suggest, cannot come out of nowhere. I feel like people would just beat up Orton to say that they did it, as if that were a victory on its own merit. I can’t imagine anyone letting up if they’re throwing down with the Snake Predator Guy.
To be fair, I don’t think Kane has been a very convincing wrestler until he was unmasked. That said, he’s still slow as hell (no pun intended) and it wouldn’t take much to kneecap him. Whereas Big Show and Mark Henry can just smush your face, Kane would just go down in a couple minutes, especially if you fight dirty. The story might have been different back in Kane's younger days, but age has caught up to him.
10 The Miz
The Miz is a clown. He is one of my favorite workers on the mic, but as we’ve seen on RAW, in TOUGH ENOUGH, and in the REAL WORLD, he’s a dude bro jackass. As I’ve seen on many occasions at a party, it doesn’t take much to flatten out a guy who’s full of cheap whiskey. Maybe the Miz more so because he strikes me as the kind of person who would drink three Four Lokos, and then end up peeing on someone’s pink flamingo.
9 Adam Rose
I don’t think I’ve seen Adam Rose wrestle in a year and a half. I mean, I know he has, but I just tune him out. Even when we can remember seeing him on RAW along with his rosebuds, he was never convincing and one wouldn't feel too intimidated going up against him. If you watched the ESPN/NXT documentary, he seems too grounded in taking care of his family to even engage in a fight. Walking away constitutes a forfeit in my mind.
Even in his prime, Sting was still a product of the bodybuilding scene, so that almost disqualifies him as winning in a real fight. Big E and Ryback might be the exceptions for the same reason why Show and Mark Henry would win in a bar fight – they would just bonk someone on the top of their head. Sting, on the other hand, seemed like the very typical bodybuilder with a limited skillset (see also: Ultimate Warrior). You can’t Stinger Splash someone in real life. You could try, but it just seems like a jump hug.
7 Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins looks like he could hold his own for sure. With the pedigree of his Midwestern origins and just being super cut, he definitely looks like he can knock a dude or two out. Rollins is also an avid Crossfitter. Now, before I go any further, I am neither pro or against Crossfit. I am absolutely in favor of anyone who wants to get in shape and be healthy. Crossfit largely champions endurance and not necessarily to be a powerhouse in punching. In the case of Rollins, I just image that he would be a punching bag until the guy fighting got tired, because, you know, endurance.
6 Matt Hardy
Have you ever seen that video of Matt and Jeff Hardy really trashed and calling out CM Punk? If Matt Hardy is in that smashed state in a fight, it wouldn’t take much to end the fight. You could probably just push him down and the brawl would be over before it really began. Matt had an interesting on-screen fight with Edge over Lita, and one would wonder what would happen if they had to fight for real.
5 Nikki Bella
Brie Bella is a good wrestler. She has some pretty awesome moves that could possibly work in a real life altercation. Nikki Bella, on the other hand, would get flattened real quick. Now while her dominant in-ring style is not unlike John Cena’s, she also doesn’t have Brie’s speed or skill set to take that to a real fight. Also, the Rack Attack is a really dumb finisher. Would you try to do a Rack Attack in real life? No, you would try it and someone would take a pool cue to your stomach.
4 Xavier Woods
I like Xavier Woods because he’s a nerdy guy like me. Like Adam Rose, Woods is too enamored with playing video games and on the road to becoming a doctor to even leave the house for a potential confrontation. Unless it’s a fight over video games, but I feel like that’s something relegated to suburban guys who really love Mountain Dew Code Red. He's probably be better served getting Bie E or Kofi to fight for him.
3 Roman Reigns
Why are The Usos, The Rock, Tamina Snuka not on this list? Because they all have the potential to beat you up. Actually, I really wouldn’t put it past any one of The Usos or Snuka to take it to you. His Shield brethren in Dean Ambrose would definitely win in a bar fight (just because he’s nuts and looks like he’s already been in a brawl) and Rollins we’ve already discussed, but Roman Reigns has too much riding in the WWE as the next John Cena. He wouldn’t even be in a situation where a fight could happen and if that were the case, he no doubt has someone to do the fighting for him.
But let’s say for the sake of argument that Reigns really did get in a fight, he’s top heavy. Like Kane, take him out at the knees and break a bottle over his head. It’s done and you can go back to eating fried pickles.
2 Shawn Michaels
Shawn Michaels once got beat up in a bar fight, which is pretty much a loss. The story was he was hitting on a marine's wife. The story has been told from either one marine or multiple marines beating up Michaels.
Then, there was the story of Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart's actual backstage fight where the two were separated before things really got out of hand.
Michaels would always find a way to make his street fight entertaining as hell, but you wouldn't put money on him to win.