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 wrap up the NFC by looking at the WWE doppelgangers for the NFC South.
Atlanta Falcons – Dolph Ziggler
They are fun to watch when they are healthy, but unfortunately, they can’t seem to stay healthy. They also make their opponents offense look unstoppable, as the Falcons lack defensive talent, and there is nobody better at taking bumps than Dolph. Ziggler is known for stealing the show, and the Falcons “stole” the show Hard Knocks this season. They also steal the show in that if Roddy White and Julio Jones are healthy, they present one of the most dynamic passing games in the league. Finally, they are also tougher than they look. The Falcons because, let’s face it, all football teams are tough, and Ziggler because he is a former Kent State wrestler.
Carolina Panthers - Sheamus
The Panthers are completely void of finesse, and I say that in the most positive way possible. They are known for a bruising offense where they have a plethora of running backs, none of which are as effective at running the ball as their quarterback, Cam Newton. On defense, it is the same way, as their front seven are incredibly talented, especially their defensive line, as they eat up running backs and terrorize quarterbacks. This is basically exactly what has made Sheamus famous, as he puts a beating on his opponents and is totally fine when somebody tries to put a beating on him. Neither is likely to lose a slugfest, but if teams are able to get their throws off, their weaknesses in the secondary and at wide receiver could be their downfall.
New Orleans Saints – Mark Henry
This is a team that just goes around and messes up people’s worlds, much like The World’s Strongest Man, Mark Henry. It used to be that they were just an offensive force with Drew Brees throwing it to a bevvy of receivers that could make plays while also making every running back a dangerous threat on the ground and through the air. That is all going to continue (as long as the line can hold up to at least give Brees a few seconds), but they added Rob Ryan last year to lead the defense. Ryan switched the team to a 3-4 and led an attacking defense that took a big step forward last year. Despite all of this talent, they are often overlooked as Super Bowl contenders behind the trendy picks out west. Mark Henry is a dominating force as well but often gets stuck in meaningless feuds that just pass the time. Saints fans are hoping that the offense and defense can combine to induct their opponents into the Hall of Pain.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Nikki Bella
Lovie Smith may look like the same coach that he has always been, and the Bella twins may look identical upon first glance, but they have both made drastic changes recently that change their very foundation. First off, Nikki Bella got a breast enhancement surgery, so although her sister, Brie, and her are billed as twins, they are quite easy to tell apart due to the drastic change that Nikki has undergone. Lovie Smith has had a similar transformation in his defensive philosophy. Many people believe that he runs a Tampa-2 defense that he will use on every play, because he feels it gives him the best chance to win, but this is actually not the case. Lovie has used a lot more man techniques in his coverage schemes to mix up the looks that opposing quarterbacks have to deal with. Because of this, it allows him to blitz more often to find various ways to create pressure. Lovie may seem like the same coach who started in Chicago a decade ago, but he has added some excitement to his coaching strategies, much like Nikki Bella has added excitement in…other ways.