WWE: 10 Nerdiest Wrestlers Ever
Looking at the wacky, eclectic cast of characters that make up the WWE roster today, one thing becomes blindingly clear: times are changing in wrestling.
Gone are the days when wrestlers had to be seen solely as tough, hard-as-nails characters who went around winning bar fights, before chugging back a six-pack and flexing their huge muscles some more. (Although guys like Scott Steiner and Bully Ray probably still do this).
But it seems these days, many pro wrestlers are discarding the tough-guy cliche and embracing their inner geeks and letting everyone know, hey, they're just like us.
They like superhero comic books, they watch reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and read Apex Magazine religiously. They, too, wonder how George Lucas could have unleashed The Phantom Menace on an unsuspecting world and still be able to sleep at night.
These guys are just regular folks like us, you see. Needless to say, old-time wrestling promoter Bill Watts (who insisted on all his wrestlers coming off like untouchable, larger-than-life tough guys) would not be pleased with how wrestling characters have developed.
Sorry, Bill. Nerds are cool now. And with all this mind, here are a list of the nerdiest wrestlers in WWE, with one or two names from the past thrown in for good measure...
How is this for a geek paradise?
Zack Ryder, the new United States Champion, has his own highly viewed YouTube show Z! True Long Island Story, is in love with Princess Leia from the Star Wars franchise (alas, she turned to the dark side and left our hero for his arch-nemesis Dolph Ziggler a couple of months ago), and still lives with his parents.
Oh, and Hollywood superstar Hugh Jackman, of Wolverine fame, is one of his friends and even introduced an episode of Z! True Long Island Story once!
Yes, Daniel Bryan, our new World Heavyweight Champion, is a nice guy and a bit of a nerd. And WWE announcer Michael Cole (not exactly the coolest cat in town either) will never tire of reminding us of this in his frequent attempts to undermine Bryan's credibility with the fans.
Too bad WWE's obnoxious lead commentator doesn't realize most fans think nerds are cool now, and he is coming off as extremely annoying.
Frankly, the more Cole disparages Bryan, the more likely we are to switch over to the Spanish announce team, and listen to them throughout the duration of Raw, instead of his inane ramblings.
Ever since indie wrestler AJ Lee debuted on WWE's all-female season of NXT, it was made clear she was a different type of diva.
Not only was she the only one of the women featured that season who had wrestling experience (most notably for indie company Women's Wrestling Uncensored), but she was more dorky and down-to-earth than your average woman in WWE.
Indeed, AJ's old FCW profile describes her as a "self-professed tomboy" and a "fan of comic books and video games."
A refreshing change from the glamorous former bikini models who make up the division these days (notably, she is one of the few women in the company who has refrained from getting breast implants), AJ has caught on with a certain section of the fanbase and become somewhat of a cult favourite.
And, rest assured, guys, this isn't an act crafted and cultivated by the corporate WWE to endear her to the masses, she really is a massive fangirl.
Check out this footage of a very young AJ freaking out and breaking into tears when she meets her idol, Amy "Lita" Dumas, back in 2000. It's actually a little touching.
It looks like AJ's geekiness has rubbed off on her "Chickbusters" tag partner, Kaitlyn.
Indeed, what has allowed the former fitness model to catch on and become hugely popular with the masses, besides her good looks, is that she has a dorky, goofy side to her.
Like AJ, she comes off as very down-to-earth and accessible. Hey, she even managed to tell a joke from popular NBC The Office on one episode of NXT.
Dwight would surely be proud.
He's the least fashion-conscious person in wrestling ever, wrote his own comic book, loves Christmas to a scary degree (he named his oldest daughter Noelle in tribute to the holiday season) and even did a couple of voice-over gigs for Science Fiction cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Yup, Mick Foley has earned a place on this list for his self-admitted nerdiness.
Gregory "Hurricane" Helms
Before he became more famous for his out of the ring activities and hanging out with the troubled Matt Hardy, Gregory Helms' career peaked in 2001 and 2002 as "The Hurricane," a comic-book inspired wrestling gimmick that quickly caught on with the masses and sold a ton of T-shirts.
Indeed, "The Hurricane" was one of the few highlights of the badly botched Invasion in late 2001.
Interestingly, rather than being WWE's idea, the act was actually inspired by Gregory's real-life love of The Green Lantern character from DC Comics.
Well, if Helms makes the list, his one-time sidekick, Nora "Mighty Molly" Greenwald warrants a mention, too.
Indeed, Mighty Molly remains one of the greatest, and nerdiest, female characters in WWE history.
While she had a goofy personality as Santino's ditzy valet during her time in WWE, former Playboy model and ex-diva Maria Kanellis makes the list mainly for some her underground projects since leaving the company last year.
She's hosted her own series of B horror movies for cult film company Code Red, has mentioned in interviews that she is writing her own comic book and is currently starring in the horror web series Battle Femme Fatale.
It's enough to make nerds everywhere salivate.
He wears bow ties! And sweater vests! He has a Harvard education! And uses long words, like "capricious," in everyday conversation!
Yup, Mr. Otunga has "nerd" written all over him, as others, like CM Punk and John Cena, have pointed out frequently and made fun of on WWE pay-per-views and recent episodes of Raw.
Hmmm. Well, we just those two party poopers are just jealous of David's swanky fashion sense and sharp intelligence. You know Cena or Punk could never pull off wearing a smart bow tie.
With his stiff, stuffy demeanor, bland suits and laughable proclamations that he is "Mr. Excitement," there is something distinctly nerdy about our new Raw General Manager.
This guy desperately wants to be "cool," but can't quite manage to pull it off. And his perennial foe, current WWE Champion CM Punk, never forgets to remind him of his dorkiness at every possibly opportunity.
Oh, that skateboard and ridiculous mullet may have placed him on the "nerd" list forever.