For years, the worlds of professional wrestling and football have regularly collided. Legendary Tight End Rob Gronkowski has dipped his toes into the squared circle, appearing at numerous different Wrestlemanias. Former Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee has also wrestled for the WWE and now commentates on their Smackdown brand on a permanent basis.
Thomas Pestock – who goes by the stage name Baron Corbin when he’s wrestling – also appeared in the NFL for the Colts, as well as the Arizona Cardinals.
Bill Goldberg played in the NFL between 1990-1995 before rising to stardom in the WCW, where he would become World Heavyweight Champion in the late nineties before repeating the achievement in the WWE in the early 2000s.
Another star who tried his hand in the NFL is former UFC and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar. The 295-pound behemoth had a training camp with the Minnesota Vikings before, unfortunately, being cut without playing a game.
While it’s noteworthy that a number of household names have featured in both the NFL and the professional wrestling ring in the past, it’s even more surprising to discover that the two current WWE icons listed below have each featured in the CFL in years gone by.
Roman Reigns is the current top guy in WWE. The 6’3 Florida native has been in the company in recent years with his bloodline faction, featuring his two cousins, Jimmy and Jey Uso, as well as wrestling royalty Paul Heyman. Reigns – real name Joe Anoa’i – has held the Universal Championship for almost 800 days, a title which he unified with the WWE Championship when he beat Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania
But a little-known fact about the Head of the Table is that he actually played in the Canadian Football League. In 2008, he played for the Edmonton Eskimos for one season before committing to a career in professional wrestling.
Prior to his stint in the CFL, Reigns was signed to the Minnesota Vikings. Sportsbooks providing NFL odds have the Minneapolis-based franchise for Super Bowl glory this season since they have kicked off their current season with an impressive winning streak. However, the former Royal Rumble winner and current Undisputed WWE Universal Champion
never achieved success at the US Bank Stadium, eventually being released without playing for the team.
Dwayne’ The Rock’ Johnson is perhaps the most famous man on the planet. He has featured in a plethora of Hollywood blockbusters including The Fast and The Furious franchise, as well as DC’s newest release Black Adam. But as we all know, The Great One built his name in the world of professional wrestling.
He began his career with Vince McMahon’s company in 1996, rising through the ranks until he, and Stone Cold Steve Austin, became the top stars in the company around 1998. For the next five years, The Rock became a household name and used his platform to springboard himself to Hollywood superstardom. He would return to the WWE, to standing ovation, in 2011 and throughout his time with the company has racked up ten world championship victories inside the squared circle.
But another little-known fact, one that gets touched on in the brilliant NBC show ‘Young Rock’, is that Johnson signed for the Calgary Stampeders following his graduation from the University of Miami in 1995. Things didn’t work out, however, and after being assigned to the practice roster, he was cut from the team just two months into the ’95 campaign.
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