Whilst there’s never going to be a sport that’s quite as good as wrestling, there are occasions where it’s necessary to branch out. Perhaps you’ve exhausted the YouTube rabbit hole, or your satellite has gone down, or maybe it’s the Olympics and you just want to get in on the action? Well, there are a few sports that seem to translate really well to the wrestling fan’s need for excitement, drama and sheer determination. See if one of these could be your second sport of choice.
Gymnastics might seem an unusual choice, but the level of athleticism and determination are similar to those you might see in the wrestling ring.
Alexa Bliss had an interesting and slightly unconventional start to her career. Before making her debut in the WWE ring, Bliss had got plenty of competitions under her belt already. She began her competitive career aged just 5 when she took part in the gymnastics competition at the Arnold Sports Festival. This early grounding in gymnastics helped her rise to become a cheerleader in her teens. Not satisfied with this though, she later progressed to be the first woman to hold both the WWE Smackdown and the WWE Raw Women’s Championship. Far be it from Alexa to rest on her laurels, she’s now hosting the hilarious Uncool podcast.
Anyway, there are going to be some wrestling fans who may be skeptical of just how exciting gymnastics is to watch. However, some of the things we love most about wrestling are equally present in this sport too. Agility, strength, balance and above all determination are the key qualities that allow both gymnasts and wrestlers to succeed. Watching someone land the perfect Produnova vault is definitely comparable to the rush of your favorite wrestler pulling off a suplex.
If you’re after a sport that’s truly terrifying then the Bangladeshi sport of Kabaddi might be just the thing for you. This sport is played by two teams of seven men each, the objective is for the ‘raider’ on each team to run into the other team’s half of the court and tag as many of their defenders as possible. Full contact is obviously allowed, so you’re likely to see some moves that would be perfectly at home in the wrestling ring.
One more thing, which makes the whole thing seem even more impossible. The raider must run into the other half of the court, tag the defenders and return to their own half of the court, all in one breath only. Some of the raiders shout one continuous note for the duration of their turn, making this quite a spectacle. If you’re looking to get properly involved with the action then AsiaBet.org offer odds on Kabbadi. Just remember that points are scored for each defender that is tagged and conversely for each raider that is stopped. So, you’ll want to find yourself a team with some big and burly defenders and some quick and agile raiders. Let’s hope the odds are in your favor!
Mixed Martial Arts
For many wrestling fans, it’ll be no surprise that there’s a huge crossover between competitors in the MMA and pro-wrestlers. Although MMA is huge nowadays, it wasn’t so long ago that it was a relatively unheard of sport. Antonio Inoki, a successful wrestler competed in MMA against champion boxer Muhammad Ali back in 1976. This fight was the spark that MMA needed and many wrestlers followed in Inoki’s footsteps. Dan Severn, Ken Shamrock, Alberto Del Rio and Brock Lesnar have all competed in MMA as well as their successful wrestling careers.
Just as in wrestling, MMA is a fight between two athletes. In order to keep things relatively civil there are a few rules, which ought to go without saying. No attacks to the groin, back of the head, eyes or inside the mouth. Head butting, biting and fingers in orifices are all forbidden, but aside from that, anything goes. If you want to get to know the sport then watching a fight organised by the Ultimate Fighting Championship is the best place to start. Connor McGregor is the fighter that really draws in the crowds at the moment, but other great names include Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva. For people who enjoy watching an incredible female fight then Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm are the athletes to follow.