The New York Yankees will be without their lead-off left fielder this upcoming year.
Johnny Damon announced Saturday that he is leaving the Yankees to pursue a career as a professional wrestler, and has reportedly signed a multi-year deal with World Wrestling Entertainment.
“Vince McMahon came around with the right deal, I was granted my release from the Yankees, and just like that, I’m going to be a pro wrestler,” said Damon to the Associated Press.
Damon, a native of Fort Riley, KS, has been in the major leagues since Aug. of 1995. Since his MLB debut, he has played for the Kansas City Royals, the Oakland Athletics, the Boston Red Sox, and of course, the Yankees. Damon simply felt he was not getting enough out of the sport of baseball.
“The competition just wasn’t there anymore,” he said. “I remember when I ran into that left field wall at Yankee Stadium on July 4, and I thought ‘why not?’ That was the defining moment in my life that made me realize I want to pulverize people for a living instead of a ball.”
A lifetime wrestling fan, this is not the first time Damon has been involved in the sport. He was a part of TNA Wrestling’s “Basebrawl” match in Feb. of 2007.
The match saw Dale Torborg and A.J. Pierzynski square off with Lance Hoyt and David Eckstein with Damon in their corner. In addition to that, Damon was spotted in the crowd and backstage at WWE’s Pay Per View event “Survivor Series” in Nov. of 2007.
Damon is currently being instructed and taught by former WWE wrestler Doink the Clown.
“I really want to wrestle, and I’m happy to have a great trainer in Doink helping me. I’m learning a lot from him,” said Damon. “Just today he taught me this crazy move called the ‘whoopee cushion.’ It seems like an awesome maneuver, and I feel like I’m going to win a lot of matches under his guidance.”
WWE is happy to have Damon on board, and will use him as soon as his wrestling training is complete. McMahon expressed his excitement over Damon’s crossover.
“He (Damon) was contemplating becoming a two-sport athlete and participating in both the WWE and the Yankees,” said McMahon.
“It’s virtually impossible to partake in wrestling and baseball, and he just thought he was not getting it in baseball anymore. I am a businessman, he’s a businessman, we negotiated, a deal got done, and we’re happy to have Johnny in the world of professional wrestling. He’s a tremendous influence in the locker room.”
Damon hopes to accomplish big things in the WWE, and is looking forward to his experience as a wrestler.
“It’s going to be quite a challenge,” he said. “But I am confident in my ability. And I have a message for John Cena, Batista, Randy Orton, and Triple H: I am coming for you all. That WWE championship belt will be mine very soon.”