We all know about Vince McMahon and the infamous World Wrestling Entertainment. Or at least the world of professional wrestling itself.
Many players who have spent time playing in the National Football League, either injured or retired, found some success in professional wrestling. Ahmed Johnson, a former Dallas Cowboy linebacker, entered the world of the WWE and became the first African-American Intercontinental Champion in WWE history. Others have followed this path, some still well known.
Jim Ross, who works in talent development for World Wrestling Entertainment, has a meeting scheduled with the NFL Players Associations today in which he will make a case that football players who lose their jobs on teams, could be informed on a career opportunity in pro wrestling.
“Everybody doesn’t make the 53 man roster. Some guys are going to be looking for work, and we’ve got some job openings. Maybe we can put the synergies of those two entities together and create something wonderful some day.” - Jim Ross on NFL Radio
Pro wrestling looks for athletes like football players, either college or professional level. You need to be big, strong and agile to make it in that business. Sure it may be scripted, but the pain those athletes go through, yes professional wrestlers ARE indeed athletes, like it or not, still affects their bodies just like any other contact profession.
Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael, a former New England Patriot, Green Bay Packer and Chicago Bear, spent some time in World Championship Wrestling with the legendary Four Horsemen stable. He became a holder of the WCW United States Title and always came out wearing a Chicago Bears letter-man jacket.
Others who joined professional wrestling ranks are Monty Brown (Super Bowl Appearance with the Buffalo Bills in ’94), ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman (Cincinnati Bengals), Bill Goldberg (Rams, Falcons), Lex Luger (Packers), Leo Nomellini (San Francisco 49ers), Ed McDaniel (Oilers, Jets, Broncos, Chargers), Ernie Ladd (Chargers), Ron Simmons (Browns), ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan (Falcons), Bronco Nagurski (Bears) AND Kevin Greene (Rams, Steelers, 2x Panthers, 49ers). All are players who converted from the National Football League, leaving their mark in professional wrestling. Some are even WWE Hall of Fame or future Hall of Fame inductees.
Whenever the WWE makes a stop in a city that has a professional football team, there is almost always a front row filled with players who represent that cities team. It’s clear that the world of professional wrestling has fans of every player in every sport imaginable, it’s a big time sport. So it makes sense that Jim Ross and the WWE are trying to pitch this idea to the NFL’s Players Association, giving young talented individuals a chance of making it in something else. Nobody likes to waste talent, right?
St. Louis Rams Linebacker James Laurinatis is the son of Road Warrior Animal, one half of the greatest tag teams to ever step foot in a professional wrestling ring.
As a fan of professional wrestling and the National Football League, I am thrilled that Jim Ross and the WWE have this meeting scheduled, possibly bringing in more talent. I hope they work something out, cause the talent that is left floating around after the final cuts are made is endless. It would be good business between two of the top professional talent companies in the country, if not the world.
An honorable mention is Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Even if you aren’t a professional wrestling fan, we all know him for his play at the University of Miami (Hurricanes), being teammates with Warren Sapp. In addition to that don’t forget he starred in all those movies.
Happy Birthday to the late great Flyin’ Brian Pillman.