The Top 3 Superstar Athletes You Didn’t Know Wrestled Professionally

While not exactly a ‘traditional’ sport, professional wrestling has always often still been respected as a highly athletic endeavor. The degree of sheer physicality it takes to have a convincing match that captivates audiences has presented a certain allure that has drawn people from every part of the sports world.

Over the years, many skilled athletes have stepped out of their comfort zones of the sports they established themselves in, and stepped into and competed in the squared circle. From Lawrence Taylor to Adam “Pacman” Jones, athletes from every corner of the athlete world have had their time under the lights to compete in the ring to showcase their skills.

Today, we’re going to highlight some of the top superstar athletes who also wrestled professionally, showcasing some of the possibly greatest athletic crossovers of all time.

Lawrence Taylor

A key standout on this list, Lawrence Taylor had one of the biggest showcases of all time as an outside athlete competing in pro wrestling by headlining one of the biggest events of each year—WWF’s Wrestlemania.

His brief but notable time in the industry started at the 1995 Royal Rumble. After losing the final round of the WWF tag team championship tournament with Tatanka, Bam Bam Bigelow was being heckled by the crowd, enraging him and causing him to shove Lawrence Taylor, who was in the front row with his teammates. This ultimately initiated a match between the two, which was used as a way to generate media buzz by highlighting the athletic crossover L.T. was making.

Going against Bigelow in what has been considered one of the less exciting main events to have graced to show, L.T. managed to hold his own against one of the legends of the ring, beating Bigelow with a bit of help from his teammates.

Dennis Rodman

Many people may not know this, but Dennis Rodman, alongside his many accolades he garnered in the NBA, also has a fairly lengthy professional wrestling career that stretched well over a decade. His first appearance in the industry was in early March of 1997, appearing on an episode of WCW Monday Nitro alongside his friend Hulk Hogan.

Rodman’s first in-ring bout took place at that year’s Bash At The Beach event in July, where he joined up with Hollywood Hogan to compete in a tag team match against The Giant (Big Show) and Lex Luger, and Rodman and Hogan ultimately ended up losing.

His next event took place the following year after the 1997-1998 NBA Finals, where Rodman and the Chicago Bulls ended up defeating Carl Malone and the Utah Jazz to win the championship. Capitalizing on this real-world rivalry, WCW had Rodman and Malone compete against one another in the ring at 1998’s Bash At The Beach Event, where he and Hogan once again teamed up and won against Malone, who was teaming with Diamond Dallas Page.

From there, he had a run on an Australian wrestling tour in 2000 and ended up retiring from Wrestling shortly after. However, he briefly came out of retirement in 2008 to compete on Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling, a reality show on CMT.

Adam “Pacman” Jones

After real-life legal troubles led to a lengthy suspension from the Tennessee Titans during the 2007 NFL season, Adam “Pacman” Jones used his time away from the league to make a brief run with the then-leading competitor to the WWE and fellow Tennessee company, TNA. His time in wrestling was unique because he was actively under contract as an NFL athlete at the time, and was prohibited from active in-ring competition by the Titans.

However, this limit on his in-ring performances didn’t stop Pacman from teaming up with Ron “The Truth” Killings to form Team Pacman, a noteworthy tag team for the time. The two managed to secure the TNA tag team championships at 2007’s No Surrender, defeating legends Kurt Angle and Sting in the process.

The team managed to hold the titles until that year’s Bound For Glory PPV, where the team ended up losing the match to A.J. Styles and Tomko. After this, Pacman’s contract expired, where he then waited out the rest of his suspension until he was able to return to the NFL.

Finding Success In The Squared Circle

While the outcomes are predetermined, the athleticism needed to pull off some of the insane maneuvers you see in the world of professional wrestling is very much real. The athletes discussed today are perfect examples of this, showcasing how this sheer skill and physicality can translate across sports of all kinds.

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