Yea this list has been done before, but the newer the better, right?
Either way the idea is always tossed up in any random bar or gym on a regular basis, “Who’s a wrestler you think could compete in MMA?”
Ready to win that argument?
A few wrestlers have already crossed over such as Bobby Lashley (who underwhelmed in my opinion), Sean O’Haire and Dave Batista (who underwhelmed in everybody’s opinion) and then there was Brock Lesnar who went and won a UFC Heavyweight Title and defeated former UFC Champions, Randy Cotoure and Frank Mir.
“Then my client returned and beat the Undertaker and halted his glorified Wrestlemania winning streak.” – Paul Heyman
Who else out there could at least attempt a run at MMA glory like the success Brock had?
This is a list of wrestlers that could have, but more than likely can’t now.
Except for one. . .
1. John Cena
1. Al Snow
Al Snow was a big factor in the Attitude Era of the WWF now known as the WWE and combined athleticism and comic relief to audiences in the late 90’s. He held the European and Tag Titles but saw his most success in the Hardcore title which he held for six times.
Side note: Who else misses the Hardcore title and the 24-hour rule?
Al Snow was present at UFC: 4 cornering long time MMA veteran Dan Severn. Severn won his first two contests then lost the finale against the legendary Royce Gracie.
Al helped Dan train for professional wrestling and for a brief period Severn was apart of the WWF.
Snow stated on bjpenn.com that he never considered MMA because to be truly passionate about it is the real key to success and that wrestling was his true passion.
Al has dabbled in greco-roman and catch wrestling to help train younger wrestlers in pro-wrestling.
Imagine if he’d had trained all facets of MMA with Severn? A guy with 100 mma victories to his credit, and if he would’ve started back then, who’s not to say he couldn’t have made a splash?
2. Jack Swagger
Jacob Hager Jr., was a 2 sport athlete at Hall of Fame ring announcer, Jim Ross’s favorite University that of Oklahoma.
While Hager was a sporting Sooner he competed in football and wrestling before focusing completely on wrestling and in doing so became the record holder for most pins in a season (30) and the All American-American became a collegiate All-American American.
Many popular MMA practitioners have gotten their start from multiple sporting platforms. One that mimics that of Jack’s is current UFC Heavyweight Champion, Cain Velasquez.
The All American American vs Brown Pride? Border War?
“I would like for all of you to rise, place your right hand over your heart and in a loud fervent voice, repeat after me; WE THE PEOPLE!” – Zeb Coulter (Swagger’s on-screen manager)
3. Marc Mero
Mero became renown for his former side piece and ex-wife, Sable (Lesnar’s current wife) and the on-screen feud between the two based on the jealousy on the part of Mero always leaving him with his hands in the air in disgust.
Before professional wrestling, Mero would have his hands in the air ready to engage.
Marc had been trained by boxing coach Ray Rinaldi and he led Mero to 4 New York State Titles including a win in the New York Golden Gloves tournament. Following this success, Mero had intended on becoming a professional boxer but his career was sidelined due to an accidental broken nose. One thing led to another and he entered wrestling.
If he didn’t and entered MMA or more Boxing then MMA, would he be a joke like Art “One Glove” Jimmerson? Or would he see slight success like a KJ Noons, could Marc have a became a “Marvelous” MMA practitioner?
4. Kurt Angle
Honestly, who didn’t want to see Kurt Angle in the octagon?
Maybe pound-for-pound the most likely to have achieved success in MMA on the short list.
Angle storm rushed the WWE at the tail end of the Attitude Era and was a key factor in the following Aggression Era. Kurt was awarded the WWE title before his first year was up and pushed the moniker that he was “The only professional wrestler with an Olympic Gold Medal.”
It was true. It was damn true.
Kurt attended Clarion University of Penn. and won many accolades for his wrestling dominance, among the awards he became a 2 time National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 Champion. Upon graduating Angle won a gold medal in the category of Freestyle Wrestling at the 1995 World Wrestling Championships. Kurt struck more gold at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, GA this time in the division of Heavyweight Freestyle.
He was also named as the greatest shoot wrestler and is listed as one of the top 15 college wrestlers of all time according to USA Wrestling.
Angle vs Lesnar? Angle vs Couture? Koba vs Fedor?
(Koba was the character Angle played in the acclaimed MMA movie, Warrior where he had an origin story much similar to the dominance of Fedor.)
5. CM Punk
Now things get interesting.
CM Punk made his way to the WWE the hard way. Punk climbed his way through the ranks of numerous indie promotions before getting his start on the biggest stage.
When he did, he produced.
Winning multiple titles, money in the bank contracts and even becoming the longest reigning WWE titleholder of this era. He’s competed with legends such as HHH, Cena, The Undertaker and The Rock.
Then he left.
Out of the blue, no warning or foreshadowing (unless you ask Paul Heyman), but what he did on the side and continues to do today is train BJJ under Renar Gracie.
Renar has event been quoted as saying “There are no limits to what Punk can do in the sport of MMA.”
Punk has shown bits and pieces of his skill in the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu but none more than one of his last marquee match-ups coming against Brock Lesnar at last year’s Summerslam event.
Brock and Punk rolled, reversed and transitioned from submissions to dominant positions for the better part of 20 minutes in their epic clash.
If Punk does decide to spend the next part of his career in MMA he already has a short list of challengers.
Longtime, outspoken MMA Bad Boy, Phil Baroni took to twitter upon the news of Punk walking out on the WWE.
“I’ll fight CM Punk on Bellator, it’s the best match to make.” said Baroni, who added, “I’d fight CM Punk in Bellator or Pro Wrestling. I’d hook him up with Coker if he introduced me to Vince.”
Another man wanting to introduce the “Best in the World” to the world of MMA is the Mighty Morphin’ Green Power Ranger, Jason David Frank who called out Punk via instagram;
“So now that CM Punk is out of his contract and wants to do MMA, why not me? He already said he’d fight me. I got that on video from a fan, come on Punk we could make this an awesome fight. Plus his weight is way down. I’ll make any weight to make this happen!”
Jason David Frank has a pro MMA record of 1-0 and is 40 years old, Phil Baroni is 15-18 and is 38 years of age.
Punk is 36 and both could be fights that draw a crowd that are relatively safe to make a debut in.
There’s your list of 5 wrestlers that more than likely could’ve made the transition and one that we all want to see do so.
Did we miss anybody? Let us know on our Facebook or on the website.