Two weeks ago, Ronda Rousey made a shocking appearance at the 2018 Royal Rumble and pointed to the WrestleMania sign while standing in the ring with Charlotte Flair, Alexa Bliss and Asuka. WWE immediately announced that she was signed to a full-time contract and was training to become a professional wrestler. Rousey isn't the first one to have made the transition from sports to wrestling, as many of our favourite Superstars have previously done it in the past. Some of whom excelled in their respective sports, and made a name for themselves before changing careers.
But then you have others who simply embarrassed themselves and were cut from the team, which isn't a great look when you consider their wrestling success. Very few have been able to replicate the same success in a sport and the squared circle, which is an impressive feat due to the difference between the two industries. There are some names that WWE promotes as a previous star in their sport, which serves in building their character and increasing their stock upon their arrival.
But of course, you have some cases in which the company skips over their previous career, mainly due to their failure at succeeding. WWE is all about maintaining an image, especially for a company that so often brags about having the most talented and athletic stars in the world. Today's list certainly has a few common names but there are also some that are guaranteed to shock you, as we look at 10 wrestlers who embarrassed themselves in sports and 5 who were actually good.
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15 Embarrassed: CM Punk In MMA
The wrestling world was shocked upon learning that CM Punk was done with the WWE in 2014. He had been one of the company's stars for many years, but growing frustrations led to a split between them. Since then, fans haven't gotten over it and still chant his name to this day, which is often met with a snarky comment by whoever is cutting a promo.
Punk took his talents to the UFC in hopes of replicating Brock Lesnar's success, but nagging injuries postponed his debut until he finally competed in 2016 against Mickey Gall - a fight that only lasted 2:14 in which Punk was brutally damaged. It seems like Punk isn't done just yet as he is currently engaged in negotiations with the UFC for a second fight at an upcoming event in June 2018, which will be taking place in his hometown of Chicago.
14 Embarrassed: Roman Reigns In Football
If Roman Reigns was half as great of a football player as he has been booked in the WWE, then he would have been one of the greatest to grace a field. He certainly impressed during his time at Georgia Tech, but not quite enough to be drafted in the NFL. His football career resumed in the CFL, which was already quite a downgrade of his ambitions, yet couldn't land a spot for more than one season.
Upon his release from Edmonton in 2008, he gave up on a career as a footballer. Reigns didn't instantly draw the attention of the WWE, as he was told that he needed get in better shape. Roman put in the required work at the gym and was hired soon afterwards. It's safe to say that he has come a long way from being rejected by the CFL to a WrestleMania headliner.
13 Actually Good: Bobby Lashley In MMA
During the mid 2000s, WWE were grooming Bobby Lashley to be their next top Superstar. He had the ideal look that Vince McMahon was known to love, although he lacked charisma yet that didn't stop the company from pushing him to the top. But his run came to an abrupt end, leaving WWE for a run in MMA. Since 2008, Lashley has an impressive record of 15-2 while competing for several promotions.
Although he never signed with the UFC, nor did he have the greatest of opponents, that is still an impressive record so one cannot say that he embarrassed himself. As of 2014, Lashley signed to Bellator MMA which allowed him to still compete for Impact Wrestling. It's been speculated that Lashley never attempted to join UFC since he wouldn't be allowed to wrestle at the same time, and the Bellator offer was simply too good to turn down.
12 Embarrassed: Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin has had a tumultuous run through the WWE so far. He was rumoured at one point to be on the receiving end of a big push by top brass. At some point during his rise, he managed to rub Vince the wrong way and all that was washed away when he lost his cash in attempt with Money In The Bank.
Corbin also failed in the NFL, as he couldn't stay on the roster. The Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts both gave Corbin a look as an offensive guard. When Corbin decided the NFL wasn't going to work out, he took a chance on WWE. His athletic background added to his character as a rare NXT star that didn’t have any wrestling experience. This made it much more easy to draw legit heat once he came to the main roster.
11 Embarrassed: The Undertaker In Basketball
The Undertaker always dreamed about becoming a professional wrestler, but very few know that his career trajectory almost landed him in an entirely different sport. According to some scouts, he had an impressive presence but lacked the fundamentals. He played basketball during high school and college, but was never good enough to ever make it in the NBA. Being as tall as he is instantly earned him an opportunity, but he never impressed enough to become a real prospect.
Taker was offered a chance to tryout for a team in France, but decided to pursue a wrestling career instead. Perhaps he realized that there was no future for him as a basketball player, and the chance to play abroad wasn't exactly enticing during those times. Decades later, it's safe to say that The Undertaker made the correct decision when he switched gear from a basketball player to a wrestler.
10 Actually Good: Ken Shamrock In MMA
Ken Shamrock is certainly one of the greatest athletes turned wrestlers, and his legacy would have been much better in both fields if he hadn't come out of retirement in 2000. Shamrock left UFC in 1996 with a remarkable record of 23-5-2, and went on to wrestle for the WWE over the next few years. In 2000, he decided to get back to fighting - a risk which backfired on him as he lost his star power and embarrassed himself in the ring.
He would lose the majority of his fights, and continued competing way longer than he should have. But despite the awful second half of his career being, we cannot overlook a prime Shamrock who was among UFC's top fighters. His departure from the WWE has reportedly burned all bridges between him and the company, as he hasn't been contacted to return since then.
9 Embarrassed: Bill Goldberg In Football
Goldberg may have been the most dominant wrestler of all time, but his days as a footballer were far from impressive. He wasn't a wrestling fan nor did he consider it as a profession until he was released from the NFL. Goldberg ended up meeting a couple of WCW wrestlers who convinced him to get inside the ring. In his short NFL career, Goldberg bounced from one team to another and couldn't find a spot on any roster as he was cut numerous times.
He also became the first ever player to be cut by the newly created franchise Carolina Panthers, who had no interest in his services despite their need for talent. Goldberg's football career was very forgettable and he barely got a taste of the NFL. But thanks to his impressive size and physique, he has managed to make it there before becoming a wrestling star.
8 Embarrassed: Randy Savage In Baseball
Before he went on to become one of wrestling's greatest stars, Randy Savage had different plans in mind. After graduating high school, he was offered the chance to play in the Minor League as a catcher but he failed to really impress on the field despite given many chances. He played four seasons for different teams, yet couldn't find his form to earn a promotion to the major league.
Savage's baseball career came to an end following an injury to his right shoulder, but it's not like he had a bright future in the sport. Savage started wrestling during the offseason of the minor leagues, and it didn't take him too long to make an impression in the ring. His transition from the field to the squared circle proved to be the right move as he excelled in wrestling like very few others have throughout history.
7 Actually Good: Ron Simmons In Football
Ron Simmons is one of the better football players turned wrestlers with accolades that earn him a spot on this side of the list. Although his NFL career was nothing to write home about, it's his college career that was truly impressive, being named a two time Consensus All-American in 1979 and 1980. His jersey was also retired by Florida State, and Simmons was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008 - an impressive feat to say the least.
Despite having an impressive football resume, Simmons' wrestling career was even better as he won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship and later on formed one of the better teams with Bradshaw as the APA. These days, younger fans may not be familiar with his football playing days since that was decades ago, and he has become known for his random appearances to deliver his catchphrase "DAMN!"
6 Embarrassed: Brock Lesnar In Football
Brock Lesnar has succeeded in almost every venture of his, except for football. It's quite obvious that he was successful in MMA so we opted to leave that entry out. In 2004, Lesnar had grown frustrated with the WWE and wanted out to chase his dream of playing in the NFL. A mix of busy schedules and nagging injuries had annoyed Lesnar to the point he wanted nothing to do with the wrestling industry.
And his early football journey was going well as he managed to impress in the NFL Combine with some remarkable numbers, earning him an opportunity to play for the Minnesota Vikings. Lesnar failed to impress during the pre-season and was eventually cut from the main roster, thus ending his NFL dream. Lesnar gave up immediately afterwards and joined New Japan Pro Wrestling for a stint before transitioning into a UFC fighter.
5 Embarrassed: Big Show In Basketball
Big Show serves as a great reminder to anybody who believes that it only takes height to make it in the NBA. He wasn't a late bloomer by any means since he had already surpassed 6 feet while in middle school, which enhances his chances of making the basketball team. He would end up being recruited by Wichita State where he averaged a whopping 2.0 points and 2.1 rebounds for the 1991-1992 season.
Big Show also admitted to having attitude problems during his playing days, as he perhaps believed that he was greater than he actually was. Although the WWE loves to promote him as the most dominant athlete, it's safe to say that wasn't the case for Big Show on the court who struggled to make a significant impact. Wrestling turned out to be the perfect fit for him where he has shown his talents over the years from WCW to WWE.
4 Actually Good: Monty Brown In Football
Monty Brown, also known as Marcus Cor Von during his brief WWE stint, was one of TNA's better stars before the company completely lost the plot. He had an incredible finisher known as "The Pounce" to go along with his natural charisma. He joined the WWE soon afterwards to compete on the ECW brand, but his run only lasted a year before he asked for his release due to ongoing personal issues. But before he became a wrestler, Brown was an accomplished linebacker who had a great college career that led to him getting into the NFL.
Unlike most footballers turned wrestlers, Brown competed in a Super Bowl back in 1994 although he was on the losing side with the Buffalo Bills. He would joined the New England Patriots in 1996 but his career ended due to severe injuries, which led him to the squared circle.
3 Embarrassed: Kevin Nash In Basketball
Pictured above wearing #32 in the back row, Kevin Nash was a top prospect with plenty of potential to make it big. He even teamed up with Magic Johnson during their younger years, and while the latter went on to become arguably the greatest point guard in history, Nash's basketball career fell flat. He certainly had some skill, as well as an impressive physique, but Nash was another prospect who relied on his height rather than talent which exposed him as he got older and faced better competition.
On top of all that, Nash was very hotheaded which often got him into trouble with opposing players and even his own coach. His basketball career never went anywhere, and eventually Nash traded his sneakers for boots to train as a professional wrestler. Knowing how much of an injury prone he has been throughout his career, we can only imagine how much worse he would have had it as a basketball player.
2 Embarrassed: The Rock In Football
The Rock has some great incredible accomplishments to his resume from the squared circle to the acting industry. From being the biggest wrestling draw to Hollywood's highest paid actor, The Rock seems to always excel at what he does. But football wasn't nearly as kind to him despite promising showings in his college career, where he impressed many scouts. But he failed to even make an NFL roster and instead went to the CFL where he joined the Calgary Stampeders.
His stint only lasted two months and he was waived from the team afterwards, which signalled the end of his football career. It's pretty embarrassing for a man who has done it all since then, but The Rock used his failed experience to push him further and motivate him into becoming a top all-around wrestler. We can all agree that it worked out for the best at the end.
1 Actually Good: Kurt Angle In Amateur Wrestling
Kurt Angle is not only one of the WWE's greatest Superstars but he also is arguably the most successful name to have excelled in two fields. His professional wrestling resume speaks for itself: a multiple time World champion, King of the Ring, and has practically won every belt that there is. He has also been apart of some of WWE's most memorable matches and headlined WrestleMania.
But before he joined Vince McMahon's empire, Angle was an accomplished amateur wrestler who won an Olympic Gold medal with a broken neck, as he would brag for so many years in WWE. He was also a two-time NCAA Heavyweight Champion, and won several other titles as well as medals in the field. Angle was as good as he led us to believe during his WWE run, which is rare considering how often it turns out to be fabricated material by the company.
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