Create
Notifications

5 major athletes who became successful WWE Superstars

Ronda Rousey excelled at Judo and MMA before shifting her attention to WWE.
Ronda Rousey excelled at Judo and MMA before shifting her attention to WWE.
Raktim Nandi

Not all WWE Superstars are former independent wrestlers. Some women are scouted from the fashion and modeling industry, and a considerable section of both male and female WWE Superstars have been selected from sports.

Stars like current WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, and former titleholder Goldberg, dabbled in sports.

WWE has also signed major sports stars. Not all of them found success in the world of wrestling, but some made a seamless transition and became natural in the new realm.

WWE's most recent acquisition is Gable Stevenson, who was drafted to RAW without a stint at NXT. Here's a list of five major athletes who made the jump with confidence and success.


#5. WWE Hall of Famer The Iron Sheik

@MaskedMma Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri....better known as The Iron Sheik. Khosrow competed for a spot on Iran's Greco-Roman wrestling team for the 1968 Summer Olympic. In 1971, he was the Amateur Athletic Union Greco-Roman wrestling champion and gold medalist at 180.5 pounds. https://t.co/PAIQ1tEvKs

The Iron Sheik is infamous for his Twitter rants, but his life story is a whirlwind of success and sorrow. The only Iran-born WWE Champion played an instrumental role in the birth of Hulkamania and remained a hated heel for his entire career.

Khosrow Vaziri, the man behind the gimmick, was a celebrated Greco-Roman wrestler and coach before falling in love with pro-wrestling. He idolized the wrestler Gholamreza Takhti and became a noted amateur wrestler while working as a bodyguard for the Iranian monarch.

After relocating to the U.S., Vaziri became the AAU Champion in 1971, and was an assistant coach for the 1972 Munich Olympics. He mentioned his achievements during his WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

#4. WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle

25 years ago, WWE legend Kurt Angle won Olympic gold with a BROKEN NECK πŸ‘ https://t.co/QKPvQFGp8e

Kurt Angle is the only Olympic gold medalist to ever wrestle for WWE. Angle, a well-known amateur wrestler, was appalled by the extremity of ECW, but couldn't reject a later deal presented by WWE.

Angle turned out to be natural, with much success in both serious and comic portrayals. As part of countless iconic in-ring moments and a holder of multiple championships in WWE and beyond, Kurt Angle is a true legend of the industry.


#3. Olympic Bronze medalist Bad News Brown

Allen "Bad News Brown/Allen" Coage meets President Ford after getting the bronze medal in Judo in the 1976 Olympics. Be curious how many pro wrestlers have met Presidents pre-2004. I know about Mr. Wrestling II and Carter, and Ric Flair and George H.W. Bush https://t.co/aQZw8Po9BL

One of the toughest men to ever enter WWE, Bad News Brown didn't remain in the company for a long time but managed to create a spot for himself. A unique character: he was a loner who never smiled.

Bad News Brown was also a respected judoka who represented his nation in several international competitions. In the 1976 Montreal Olympics, he won the Bronze medal.

Brown would leave WWE without winning a championship, frustrated by WWE turning their back on their promise of turning him into their first African-American world champion.

#2. WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry

Before becoming a professional wrestler in 1996,Mark Henry competed in super heavyweight weightlifting in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona,Spain and in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta,GA:at the age of 24,Henry had earned the title of "The World's Strongest Man" https://t.co/9OEUfUFvM3

Mark Henry is most well-known for his long WWE career and is a current backstage talent in AEW who hasn't lost hope of an in-ring return. His WWE career saw him get signed to the company on an unprecedented deal.

Henry initially failed to become the major star that WWE wanted him to be. A major weightlifter who holds several records to this day, he was seen as a failure of sorts despite his nature as a serviceable superstar.

By the end of his WWE career, Henry won the World Heavyweight Championship and became a member of the WWE Hall of Fame.


#1. Former WWE Raw Women's Champion "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey

Eight years ago today, Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche made history as the first women to fight in the UFC πŸ‘Rousey would win the bout at UFC 157 by first-round armbar to retain her bantamweight title. https://t.co/nmmtRTMkpR

Ronda Rousey was a world-famous name before her WWE days. An Olympic medalist Judoka, she transitioned into MMA with great success, becoming an inspiration for women to enter the combat sport.

Rousey then shifted to pro-wrestling, immediately becoming a main eventer. Her WrestleMania debut was surprisingly excellent, and she displayed a natural mastery over the theatrical, controlled violence of the medium.

Ever since losing the WWE Raw Women's Championship at WrestleMania 35, Rousey hasn't stepped inside the squared circle. She has recently become a mother and is enjoying her new role.

Edited by Abhinav Singh

Comments

comments icon4 comments

Quick Links:

More from Sportskeeda
Fetching more content...