The professional football and wrestling worlds can often cross paths with stars from the beautiful game showing an interest in WWE events.
Sometimes, big-name personalities in football even step inside the ring to face WWE superstars.
Here at Wrestling Travel, we will take a look at when Pro-Wrestling and football collide!
Grant Holt made 516 league appearances over two decades, with the Carlisle-born forward scoring 157 goals in his career, but he’s also had success as a wrestler!
Making his name with Rochdale and Nottingham Forest, Holt found his best form in Norfolk at Norwich City, where he helped the Canaries to back-to-back promotions, scoring 15 times in the club’s 2011/12 Premier League campaign.
After stints with Wigan Athletic and Aston Villa, Holt embarked on a professional wrestling career in May 2018 when he signed a contract with World Association of Wrestling.
Holt won his first fight, when he was the last man standing in a 40-man Royal Rumble which earned him the Crusher Mason Memorial Trophy.
From featuring with the Germany national team in their 2010 FIFA World Cup and 2012 UEFA European Championship campaigns, goalkeeper Tim Wiese swapped the pitch for a wrestling ring.
Wiese, who had enjoyed a decade of playing in the Bundesliga, Germany’s top-flight for Werder Bremen, 1. FC Kaiserslautern and 1899 Hoffenheim, made his first foray into the world of wrestling.
The 38-year-old was firstly offered a development contract before accepting Triple H’s offer of a place at the WWE Performance Centre.
He made his WWE debut in an event in Munich back in November 2016, appearing on the main roster.
Wiese would team up with Cesaro and Sheamus as they defeated Bo Dallas and the Shining Stars.
Another goalkeeper, Stuart Tomlinson, spent two years (2014-2016) with WWE following on from his playing career in the lower leagues of English football.
Chester-native Tomlinson started out with Crewe Alexandra having graduated from the Railwaymen’s youth system at Gresty Road.
Tomlinson would go on to represent Barrow, Port Vale and Burton Albion prior to turning his attention to professional wrestling.
He was signed by WWE’s Performance Centre in 2014 under the ring name “Hugo Knox” where he competed at events prior to leaving in 2016.
A part of Wimbledon’s Crazy Gang to their 1988 FA Cup win over Liverpool, Vinnie Jones developed a reputation for being a “hard-man” on the pitch.
Featuring over 200 games for the Dons at Plough Lane, Jones also represented Leeds United, Sheffield United, Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers while also captaining Wales.
Jones later moved into acting following retirement, appearing in Hollywood blockbusters.
The 55-year-old has graced a wrestling ring on two occasions. In 1998 he featured on World Wrestling Federation’s pay-per view Capital Carnage show.
Then in 2007, Jones appeared on WWE’s No Way Out, alongside Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Jose Mourinho was the centre of attention back in 2007 when he was spotted at a live taping of WWE Monday Night Raw at London’s Earls Court.
The Portuguese boss who was then manager of Chelsea, was caught in the crowd by Shane McMahon.
McMahon sent a verbal tirade towards Mourinho in the audience much to the entertainment of the viewers in attendance and watching at home on television.
England and Manchester United’s record goal-scorer Wayne Rooney came face to face with Wade Barrett when he attended WWE Raw at Manchester Arena in November 2015.
Preston North End fan Barrett, who stands at six foot, seven inches sought Rooney out in a packed arena after accusing him of diving in an FA Cup tie against the Lilywhites nine months earlier.
Barrett challenged Rooney to a tag-team match before saying that he embarrasses himself “every time you step on a football pitch.”
It escalated quickly, and after Barrett prodded Rooney in the chest, Wayne got revenge by slapping Wade who fell to the ground – to the cheers of the crowd!
Ben Reardon – When Football and Pro-Wrestling Collide – August 2020 Twitter: @BenReardon95