Chael Sonnen and Other MMA Talents Who Should Be on WWE's Radar
As a close follower of both mixed martial arts and pro wrestling, I'll take full advantage of any chance I have of integrating the two combat sports promotions.
Last week, I discussed the pros of bringing in Tito Ortiz, fully supporting the UFC star's potential in a WWE ring.
With Brock Lesnar returning to the WWE and several other MMA talents either expressing interest or demonstrating skills that would be critical to success in the pro wrestling arena, perhaps the WWE should take a handful of calculated risks to bring in mixed martial artists.
The WWE's recent initiative of bringing in non-athletic models and training them as Divas has clearly fallen flat in almost every category except the eye-candy department.
However, bringing in elite athletes with a proven background of promoting themselves and selling a pay-per-view could prove to pay some serious dividends for the WWE while giving fans something new.
Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal
Currently serving a nine-month suspension for testing positive for an anabolic steroid, perhaps it's time for the 31-year-old former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion to change careers.
Muhammed Lawal was at one time one of the biggest stars in UFC's (redheaded step-)sister promotion, however after failing a drug test, he will be followed by a black cloud for the rest of his competitive career.
Unfortunately, failed drug tests in pro wrestling are quickly dismissed due to the nature of a "worked" competition. This makes the WWE steroid epidemic come off as less of a moral issue, although it is an epidemic nonetheless.
King Mo already has a developed gimmick, and if he were to become a pro wrestler, he'd join the ranks of legendary grapplers Jerry Lawler, Booker T and Harley Race as a wrestler who used the King gimmick.
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
Quinton Jackson is an admitted pro wrestling fan, and even guest hosted a terrible edition of Raw while promoting the A-Team movie.
Many current MMA fans grew up on Jackson, as he competed in the exciting PRIDE promotion and is a former UFC light heavyweight champion.
As one of UFC's biggest stars of all time, he is one of the rare MMA talents whose star power transcended to the big screen.
Now at the end of his MMA career, Jackson could be a big draw in the WWE if the promotion got behind him.
Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos
After piling up wins against some of MMA's best female competitors in Strikeforce, including superstar Gina Carano, Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos seemed unstoppable.
Until she was tested.
Cyborg is currently serving a one-year suspension for steroid use, and suffice it to say, she'll never be the same fighter if and when she returns.
Pro wrestling is every bit as tough as MMA, if not tougher, and this iron woman already expressed interest in joining the WWE last year.
In Santos, the WWE would be providing the Divas division with something different than anything it currently has with a rather generic crop of female workers.
Bobby Lashley was on the fast track to becoming one of WWE's biggest stars before backstage drama lead to his premature departure.
Lashley is still struggling to get his MMA career on track dating back to 2008, and he may be hindered by his muscular physique, which has consistently inhibited his cardio during fights.
Lashley's best chance at super stardom was as a WWE superstar, and with the company currently hot for free agents, perhaps Lashley needs to cut his losses and work with WWE officials to return.
Chael Sonnen has very real potential to become one of the biggest acts in pro wrestling.
Through wildly entertaining promos, Sonnen has talked himself into a prolific MMA career.
Sonnen's wrestling background and charisma serve as a perfect convergence of qualifications that would make him a great pro wrestler.
Sonnen is good friends with WWE champion CM Punk and has attended multiple WWE events. The UFC middleweight has even been known to quote wrestling legends such as The Rock and "Superstar" Billy Graham in post-UFC promos.
With one more big-money fight for Sonnen on the horizon, as he prepares to go into full-on heel mode against middleweight champion Anderson Silva in Brazil, Sonnen should plan to transition into the WWE if he loses that fight.