Two of my greatest loves in life are football and pro wrestling. It is rare to get the opportunity to combine the two, but this series will do that as I will find the WWE Superstars that most resemble every NFL franchise. It takes a very nuanced approach to find the right matches for each team as these WWE Superstars may best fit the whole team, the quarterback, the coach, or even the owner. All comments are welcome (especially the positive ones). So far, I have looked at these divisions:
Today, I look at the battle-tested teams of the AFC North.
Baltimore Ravens – Randy Orton
The Ravens could make a very strong argument as the second most important team in the 21st century behind New England. Randy Orton could make that same claim behind John Cena. The makeup of the Ravens has greatly changed over the years as Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Jamal Lewis are gone, but they still manage to field a dangerous team that is a threat to compete every year. Randy Orton has also gone through a great change as he went from wearing suits as a part of Evolution to literally never wearing pants over the last seven years. Still, he’s just as dangerous as ever.
It seems like they should both be fading away, but any year can provide that great turnaround for them as they can bounce into title contention at any time. The Ravens cashed in two years ago, while Orton did it this past year, and although there may be some bad times, it seems like there are reasons to celebrate in their near future.
Cincinnati Bengals – Big E
There is nothing wrong with Big E or the Bengals, but at the same time, there is not enough that is right with them to see potential greatness. The area that gets brought up the most for the Bengals is Andy Dalton. He’s not a bad quarterback, but it is also hard to endorse him as a good quarterback either. The one thing I am positive of is that Andy Dalton is a quarterback. Big E has a great look and power to spare. He is not necessarily bad on the microphone, but he also hasn’t really found a niche so he’s not good on the microphone either. The one thing I am positive of is that he has held a microphone.
The question for both of them is whether their time has run out. Big E got a big push early on, but that push has fizzled. The Bengals have been in the playoffs for three straight years, but they lost both of their coordinators and some key pieces during the offseason. Each has to worry about whether they will sink to the bottom or find a way to turn around their momentum and work towards the top.
Cleveland Browns – Antonio Cesaro
Full disclosure: Antonio Cesaro is my favorite professional wrestler, and the Cleveland Browns are my favorite sleeper pick to make the playoffs in this upcoming season. They are both shockingly talented.
When you watch the individuals perform or see the traits in Cesaro, there is no way to not come across as impressed. The Browns have a ton of talent on their roster and Cesaro can seemingly do anything in the ring. Still, they are missing one key factor. For Cesaro, it’s the ability to captivate fans on the microphone. For the Browns, it’s a reliable quarterback. Cesaro was paired with Heyman, but the fit just never quite worked. Browns fans are hoping that acquiring the services of Johnny Manziel will work out better for them.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Cody Rhodes/Stardust
They are both pretty great. The Steelers consistently put out a winning team, and Cody Rhodes consistently puts on entertaining matches. Even though they have had recent success, people will always compare it to the generation before them, in the Steelers case, the 1970s, and for Cody Rhodes, his father’s career.
The present may never eclipse the past, but the present is still pretty fun to watch, and you should really take the time to enjoy it.