The wrestling world has been peppered with the appearance of stars over the years.
From musicians such as Kid Rock, actors like David Arquette and influencers such as Kim Kardashian, stars have benefited from mixing it with the WWE and vice versa. Of course, the obvious crossover is other fighters, with plenty of famous boxers making cameo appearances. Mr T, Evander Holyfield and James ‘Buster’ Douglas are three who have appeared in one form or another.
There are benefits of using fighters in WWE scenarios; they can get involved in the action. Few could imagine Seth Green being laid out on the canvas by the Big Show, but when Floyd Mayweather stepped into the ring with him, there was an air of believability, certainly as much as you can expect from sports entertainment.
However, real fighters have competed legitimately in the WWE in some instances, either as special guests or fully-fledged stars. So, here are three of the best that have taken to the squared circle.
Ken Shamrock trained as a wrestler under Buzz Sawyer, and after a stint in Japan, made his way to the WWE. He famously feuded with Vader, Bret Hart and The Rock. Those associations made him a main event draw, and he even fought the British Bulldog for the European Championship. He won the 1998 King of the Ring and held the Intercontinental title too. Whilst fans loved seeing him in the WWE, he was also highly regarded in the UFC. He’d been an MMA fighter since 1993, starting in Japan, and is now widely considered one of the greatest fighters in MMA history. His feud with Royce Gracie is as well-known in the UFC as any of the kayfabe battles he had in WWE.
Tyson Fury is pure WWE material, despite currently being the WBC Heavyweight Champion. He was set to face Anthony Joshua in what would be a main event in any sport, but as ESPN report, that bout is now not likely to happen after his fellow Brit fell to defeat against Oleksandr Usyk. He is set for a rematch with Deontay Wilder, the third in a trilogy, and one he is favorite with Bwin to win. That proves he is a boxer at the top of his game, with the skills to match the personality. That’s already led him to the WWE, a journey he is sure to take again at the end of his career. He fought Braun Strowman at WWE Crown Jewel, taking home $15m in the deal. He then teamed up with the same fighter in Manchester, defeating Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel.
Eric ‘Butterbean’ Esch
Eric Esch is such a hybrid he has two names; Eric Esch in the boxing world and Butterbean in the WWE universe. In 1997 he won the IBA World Super Heavyweight Championship, which he held onto for several years. He was well known for losing to Larry Holmes in 2002, but bounced back for his own trilogy of bouts against Kenny Craven. It wasn’t quite Fury/Wilder, but it was a headliner nonetheless. He also fought as a kickboxer and in MMA, plus he starred in the WWE. As Butterbean, the busy brawler defeated Marc Mero before being placed in a legitimate shoot fight at WrestleMania XV with Bart Gunn. He knocked the wrestler out in 34 seconds, having had him on the canvas before delivering the deadly punch. Sometimes, it pays not to mix sports entertainment and real fighting; just ask Bart Gunn!
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