11 athletes we want to see in WWE
From Goldberg leaving the gridiron for the squared circle to “Macho Man” Randy Savage journeying from the batter’s box to the top rope, some of WWE’s greatest Superstars have their roots seated deep inside the sports world.
It’s no coincidence that some of the best athletes love to “Woo!” like Ric Flair or deliver a Brogue Kick to an unsuspecting defender. It’s not a one-sided influence, though, with Superstars employing linebacker-inspired spears and Ricky Henderson-style baseball slides in their repertoire.
Considering the athleticism, skills and overall swagger of these 11 athletes, they would make a seamless transition into a WWE ring.
Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
As the star outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Andrew McCutchen often finds himself targeted by opposing pitchers. However, the clutch fielder doesn’t stay down when pitchers throw inside.
After a Cincinnati Reds hurler narrowly missed McCutchen’s head in June 2015, McCutchen responded by doing a quick push-up as if to say, “You’ve got to try harder than that.”
But it’s not just confidence that makes “Cutch” a star. He gives swagger to a franchise that, for the better part of the 1990s and 2000s, had none. Couple that with his vertical leap and speed, and you have WWE’s next great highflier.
JJ Watt, Houston Texans
JJ Watt is a freak. When the Houston Texans defensive end isn’t “Wooing” on the sidelines, he’s jostling around Yokozuna-sized offensive lineman and splitting quarterbacks in half.
It wouldn’t take long for the 6-foot-5, 289-pound beast to adjust to the ring because he’s a natural athlete. A trip to Houston Astros batting practice once resulted in five home runs. A recent hockey event for charity ended with him powering a slapshot past St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliot.
A test of strength between Watt and doppelganger Brock Lesnar would be a dream come true.
Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets
Dwight Howard is an imposing figure on a basketball court. The 6-foot-11 Houston Rockets center nearly confronted Rusev at a WWE Live Event earlier this year, and he has an outstanding offer from Triple H to step inside the ring. Considering he wouldn’t be subjected to shooting free throws in the squared circle, Howard might be open to the idea.
Howard knows exactly how to get inside opponents’ heads — just ask Kevin Garnett, who was so frustrated with Howard that he headbutted him during a game. Maybe he can convince his teammate James Harden and his beard to join him as members of a new Wyatt Family.
Serena Williams, Tennis
With the Wimbledon crowd booing, Serena Williams showed that she graduated from the Roddy Piper school of being bad, wagging her finger at the crowd and saying, “Don’t try me.”
She boasts 68 singles titles to her name, warranting the No. 1 ranking in the Women’s Tennis Association. That’s not even taking into account her doubles success, in which she and sister Venus have garnered 13 Grand Slam titles.
Serena already has the confidence of any ace WWE Superstar or Diva, but with her impressive singles and tag team resume, you can’t fault her for it.
Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
It only took one season for Odell Beckham Jr. to go from man to myth to legend. He pulled in so many jaw-dropping, circus-style catches during his rookie season that Ringling Bros. now has his number on speed dial.
When the 22-year-old phenom isn’t sprinting past the NFL’s fastest defensive backs, he’s shrugging them off and pulling in catches with one hand.
Beckham would surely come up with some wild new top-rope moves if he were to step inside the ring, and with his amazing one-handed grip, he could bring back the Von Erich family’s devastating Iron Claw submission.
Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
You don’t want to see Alexander Ovechkin on the ice against your favorite team. The 29-year-old Russian skates with reckless abandon, bulldozing opponents whenever he isn’t dancing around them for the perfect breakaway or one-timer.
He has a personality and style that’s tailor-made for the bright lights of Raw, and he’s not going to change for a couple of traditionalists. His ridiculous goal celebrations have caught the ire of some old-school types, but they would be welcomed in the ring.
If Ovechkin is truly Alexander the Great, he’ll conquer the squared circle just like he has done with a sheet of ice.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo’s moves on the pitch look criminal. He can split defenders with ridiculously intricate dribbles, breaking ankles without regret. You can’t stop him; you can only hope to contain him.
The Portuguese forward and star for the Spanish club Real Madrid polarizes a crowd as much as John Cena. You may love to hate him, but then he does something so heart-warming off the field that you feel like a jerk for booing him.
He’s handsome, skilled and notably confident — maybe to the point of being cocky. Ronaldo has Four Horsemen written all over him.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo already has the perfect WWE nickname: “The Greek Freak.” He’s not quite a household name yet, but the 20-year-old is considered one of the NBA’s rising stars.
The lanky, 6-foot-11 forward could probably clothesline four Superstars at once with his 7-foot-3 wingspan. A basketball looks tiny in The Greek Freak’s hands as he moves on the court with a mystifying agility for a man his size.
He’s only 5 inches shorter than Andre the Giant, but a full 300 pounds lighter, so imagine a behemoth who can move like a cruiserweight.
Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins
An errant, 88 mile-per-hour pitch in Sept. 2014 fractured several bones in Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton’s face. The gruesome damage would have kept some stars from stepping back into the batter’s box, but the power hitter returned in 2015, and channeled his inner Undertaker in the process.
Much like the terrifying mask The Deadman used in the mid-90s after Yokozuna crushed his face, Stanton added a protective mask to his batting helmet for the 2015 season. The 25-year-old slugger says it’s for protection, but it’s clearly for mind games.
Considering how far he can crush a baseball, imagine how far he’d throw a Superstar.
Evander Kane, Buffalo Sabres
When your parents name you after legendary boxer Evander Holyfield, you’re expected to throw a strong right hook. NHL up-and-comer Evander Kane knows plenty about that.
A 6-foot-2, 195-pound beast, Kane (formerly with the Winnipeg Jets) hardly relies on a finesse game. And if anyone else on the ice has a problem with his style — or takes a shot at one of his teammates — Kane loves to drop the gloves and do his best Holyfield impression.
The 23-year-old has already knocked out his fair share of opponents, so it’s time for him to test his jabs in a new arena.
Leticia Bufoni, Skateboarder
Leticia Bufoni is unlike anything the Divas division has ever seen before. The 22-year-old Brazilian skateboarder jumps at any challenge. With two gold medals at the X-Games, she has already proved she can hang with the best of the best.
She flies through the air with the greatest of ease and would bring a reckless style unseen in WWE since Lita. Her skateboarding skills would translate into a great highflier. Bufoni may not hit a trick the first time and she may end up with some scratches and bruises, but like any great WWE Superstar, she won’t stay down.