Since Pro Wrestling is an entertainment form which evolved from a combat sport, it should be no surprise that there are many parallels between the world of martial arts and sports entertainment.
It takes years of study and practice to master martial arts. The same could easily be said about Pro Wrestling. Then there's the fact that in martial arts coordinating your movements with another person is essential to put on the best shows, movies, and demonstrations.
That also sounds like pro wrestling. Finally, many of the most famous martial artists in the world were possessed of a great deal of charisma.
Here are five great martial artists who would have been great in the WWE, and five martial artists who were (or are) great in WWE.
#1 Would have been Great: Jean-Claude Van Damme
Jean Claude Van Damme has been called the Muscles from Brussels, and with good reason. During his prime in the late 1980s/early 1990s, Van Damme's physique was the envy of many.
Trained in both Ballet and Karate from an early age, Van Damme used his natural athleticism to combine the two talents into a cohesive whole. When he was first attempting to promote his first film, 1988's Bloodsport, Jean Claude Van Damme actually walked the blacktop and handed out flyers since the studio wasn't spending much on the advertisement.
Bloodsport was critically panned, and didn't set the box office on fire, but received a second life as a cult classic among martial arts enthusiasts on VHS and home movie channels like HBO.
Van Damme went on to star in dozens of films, many of them financial success stories. Given his superstar presence, good looks, chiselled physique, and athleticism, Van Damme would have been a fantastic WWE Superstar who may even have reached the world title picture.
Van Damme is of no relation to Rob Van Dam, although the latter was inspired by Jean Claude's success.