THERE are many professional wrestlers who’ve started out chasing their dreams of glory in another sport, or even combining another profession with their work in the ring.
Here we take a look at some of the wrestling stars that started have come through the ranks elsewhere, and some that combine wrestling with another role entirely. The overview presented by the Offers Bet, sports betting deals aggregator.
An Olympic boxing medalist and seemingly on the brink of a middleweight world title fight, Ogogo suffered a fractured eye socket in 2016 that led to multiple operations, and an eventual decision to retire from the sport three years later. With no desire to turn his back completely on the fight world, he turned to a sport he loved as a child, the wrestling bug dating back to when he watched the 2000 Royal Rumble. His influences included fellow Olympian Kurt Angle, and he made his debut in March 2021 in a bout where he aligned himself with QT Marshall to take on Cody Rhodes and Lee Johnson in a tag match on Dynamite. Unfortunately, since then he has been forced to undergo further eye surgery.
Junior Dos Santos
Junior Dos Santos is a former UFC world heavyweight champion – ironically defeating Cain Velasquez, who also switched from UFC to wrestling, for the title – before the Brazilian lost it back to Velasquez. In 2021, Dos Santos was released from his UFC contract after losing four fights in a row, before making his AEW debut aligned with Dan Lambert. Known for delivering knockouts with a big right hand, it appears he’s not finished there and has spoken about a potential move into the boxing world, signing up with SJAM Boxing, the organisation that has guided Joe Joyce to the brink of a world title shot.
While switching from one fighting sport to another is not uncommon, switching from vowing to ‘protect and serve’ to vowing to crush and defeat is another. Mustafa Ali was a serving police office in the Chicago suburbs before he signed with WWE, initially fighting on the independent circuit while upholding law and order on the Homewood streets. He has spoken of how he would take the midnight shifts so he could continue wrestling at the 9pm and 10pm bouts, often turning up battered and bruised straight from a fight. When quizzed by his boss when he turned up late for a shift looking particularly dishevelled, he claimed to be learning to box, fearing that the truth would lead to disciplinary action. His commanding officer declared: “You must be one terrible boxer,” which may have been true, but he is one great wrestler.
While many wrestlers threaten to remove various parts of their opponents’ bodies, Britt Baker is legally allowed to do just that – outside of the ring! The qualified dentist is also one of the biggest names on the AEW circuit and while her Florida practice explains that ‘warmth and compassion is apparent from the first time you meet her’, try telling that to Abadon, or the countless rivals who’ve been on the wrong end of a lockjaw, or one of her other signature moves. She loves wrestling and clearly still loves dentistry, recently saying: “Dentistry keeps me grounded and I can be a dentist when I’m 70 years old if I want to. I consider myself to be a full-time wrestler and a part-time dentist”