5 Pro Wrestlers You Probably Didn't Know Who Tried MMA
Brock Lesnar. Alberto del Rio. Bobby Lashley.
Those are just three professional wrestlers who have dabbled in the world of MMA. They are among the most famous men, due to their runs in WWE and the amount of fights they have actually taken.
But a number of pro wrestlers have tried the fastest-growing combat sports; you just don't know they did it. A lot of them have taken just one or a small number of fights, which is probably why you're not aware they competed in MMA.
So, here are five pro wrestlers you probably didn't know who gave MMA a shot at one point.
Bam Bam Bigelow
Real Name: Scott Bigelow
"The Beast from the East" Bam Bam Bigelow took one fight as a super heavyweight against Kimo Leopoldo in a U-Japan event in 1996.
Before becoming a pro wrestler, Bigelow was a bounty hunter and a beast of a man. He was a natural athlete who did things men more than 300 pounds shouldn't be able to do in the ring.
However, against a trained fighter in Leopoldo, he didn't fare very well. He was immediately grounded by the UFC veteran. After that, it didn't take long for Kimo to secure a fight-ending rear-naked choke.
That doesn't change the fact Bigelow was a legitimate tough guy and a great professional wrestler, though.
Real Name: Taka Michinoku
A lot of professional wrestlers from Japan take fights in the land of the rising sun. Taka Michinoku, who gained notoriety in WWE, took one fight in 1997.
Pancrase, an organization that was home to guys like the Shamrocks and Bas Rutten, hosted Michinoku's one fight. He took on a guy who now has 88 pro fights under his belt in Keiichiro Yamamiya.
Michinoku lasted more than seven minutes with the far more experienced MMA fighter before getting tapped out with a keylock.
Michinoku would then go on to see some success in WWE as the light heavyweight champion and a guy who consistently performed well in the ring.
Real Name: Mike Plotcheck
You may remember Bart Gunn as the man who won the awful Brawl for All tournament that WWE hosted. That made a good amount of sense, especially considering he did Toughman contests before becoming a pro wrestler.
In that tournament, Gunn decisioned Bob Holly while knocking out "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, The Godfather and Bradshaw. Those performances could have convinced him to try MMA.
He actually scored a win in his MMA debut, earning a doctor's stoppage in less than two minutes. He then took another fight where he lost a decision to Japanese legend Ikuhisa Minowa to level out his record.
Gunn is a legitimate tough guy who could handle himself in and out of the ring.
Real Name: Jessica Kresa
It surprised me to learn that Jessica Kresa, known as ODB in the world of professional wrestling, had an MMA fight in 2003. That is mostly because a lot of female wrestlers these days are models, not fighters.
Obviously, ODB is a fighter.
The former collegiate hockey player took a bout against Kelly Kobold, a female fighter who was one of the best in the world back in the day. ODB suffered a loss via armbar, but it was valiant that she even stepped in the cage with Kobold.
There's a reason fans love ODB, and it's because she's legitimately tough, not a cookie-cutter model who tried to grapple.
Real Name: Keiichi Yamada
Jushin "Thunder" Liger is a legend in professional wrestling. He is one of the best wrestlers in the history of the industry.
He also took a fight with Pancrase back in 2002. It came against Minoru Suzuki.
The fight failed to make two minutes, with Suzuki using a rear-naked choke to finish Liger. It was obviously disappointing for Liger, but he was not a pro fighter. Suzuki, on the other hand, had 48 pro fights under his belt at the time.
It doesn't detract from the fact that Liger was a legend in the ring.