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Athletes Who Became Wrestlers

Updated September 10, 2019 50.6k views26 items

Let's get ready to rumble! When excelling at one sport wasn't enough, these professional athletes became wrestlers. Several famous NFL players, bodybuilders, and MMA fighters later became wrestlers. Some of these players won Olympic medals before becoming wrestlers, while others became wrestlers after being cut from NFL teams. Two famous NBA stars even competed against each other in the ring.

Who is the most famous athlete who became a wrestler? Dennis Rodman tops our list. During a suspension from the NBA, Dennis Rodman participated in several WCW wrestling events. His intro song was "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. In 1998, Karl Malone teamed up with Diamond Dallas Page to take on Dennis Rodman and Hulk Hogan in a WCW "Bash at the Beach" event.

Before becoming known as "The Rock," Dwayne Johnson was a National Championship college football player with the University of Miami. In 1995, Ken Shamrock won the UFC Superfight Championship. In 1997, he left the UFC for the WWF, but he returned to competing in MMA in 2000. Kurt Angle won a gold medal in heavyweight freestyle wrestling at the 1996 Olympics. He signed a contract with the WWF in 1998.

Do you think that wrestling is a good back-up plan for many professional athletes? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
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  • During a suspension from the NBA, Dennis Rodman participated in several WCW wrestling events. His intro song was "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
    • Age: 59
    • Nationality: United States of America, United Kingdom
    • Birthplace: Trenton, New Jersey, United States of America
    • Teams: Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks

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  • Brock Lesnar is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Athletes Who Became Wrestlers
    Photo: Miguel Discart / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0
    In 2000, Brock Lesnar won the NCAA Division I heavyweight wrestling championship. He later joined the WWE.
    • Age: 43
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Birthplace: Webster, South Dakota, United States of America

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  • In 1998, Karl Malone teamed up with Diamond Dallas Page to take on Dennis Rodman and Hulk Hogan in a WCW "Bash at the Beach" event.
    • Age: 57
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Birthplace: Summerfield, Louisiana, United States of America
    • Teams: Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz, Utah Jazz

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  • After retiring from football, Lawrence Taylor took on and defeated Bam Bam Bigelow at WrestleMania XI.
    • Age: 61
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Birthplace: Williamsburg, Virginia, United States of America
    • Teams: New York Giants, North Carolina Tar Heels football

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