HEEL TURNS

Raheel Ramzanali: Now that Rousey is in the WWE, what athletes from other sports are next to jump to pro wrestling?

Now that Ronda Rousey is in the WWE, who is next? mmajunkie.com

Now that all the rumors have been confirmed and we know Ronda Rousey is officially part of the WWE, I wanted to examine what other athletes from some sports could make the transition and start a successful career in the WWE. The criteria is pretty easy: be entertaining and somewhat athletic to be able to learn how to take a bump and learn some moves. I’ll make my case and you be the judge:

NBA

The NBA is full of personalities and of course freakishly athletic players, so I’m not too afraid about the transition. But finding the right guy that will be successful is a bit harder. My list comes down to three guys: Joel Embiid, Draymond Green, and JJ Barea. My pick? JJ Barea.

  • Joel is the people’s champ, but like in the NBA he will offend his peers with his unfiltered personality so that could cause an issue in the back with the boys. The last thing you want in wrestling is a guy that doesn’t get along with the rest of the locker room as he’s coming up. The other issue we would run into with Joel is his size. For a guy that big to take falls and work moves with others could be a nightmare.

  • Draymond Green can be the ultimate heel in the wrestling. He’s the classic “do whatever it takes (including some dirty tactics) and complain when you get caught” bad guy. I can see him arguing with the ref after he takes a cheap shot and the ref sees it. Soon as his opponent comes for the pin, he moves and lets the guy hit the ref and then all hell breaks loose, just like Green wanted. The only problem with Draymond will be that he’ll be such a defensive wrestler that he won’t be able to flow with another guy in the ring.

  • Few things in wrestling work better than a smaller guy going up against a bigger guy and JJ Barea has made an entire career out of this visual candy. Barea always plays with a chip on his shoulder and I know he’ll attack the ring with the same style. An offensive small guy in wrestling can make millions upon millions (hello, Rey Mysterio Jr.!) so he could really capitalize in multiple programs (story arcs) across different weight classes. We can also work JJ across as a babyface or heel depending on what the company needs. One day he’s the lovable small guy that never stops working and the next he’s the hate small guy that keeps running in and ruining matches with a chair. As for his ring name? I’m going with The San Juan Warrior.

NFL

The NFL is the most physically excruciating sport on my list so naturally the athletes here would easily fit in and thrive in the WWE, but finding a guy that can dominate on the mic and in the ring is a bit harder. My pick comes down to one guy: JJ Watt.

  • The WWE is ready for the next John Cena. I know we all love to boo John Cena, but he really is a once in a lifetime talent. Outside of the kids that watch, nobody will be pro-Cena because we hate greatness so it’s time we introduce the new Cena that will eventually overtake this one: JJ Watt. He has the look, the charm, and the ability of making people like him. Think about it, there’s Cena winning yet another match and the fans singing “John Cena sucks” as his music hits for the 80,000th time. As he’s being serenaded with the boos in comes JJ Watt to destroy him. He’ll be Cena’s greatest foe and the spoiler? Cena never overcomes the younger more athletic Watt. Cena rides off into the sunset knowing he put the WWE in a good place with JJ and JJ now takes over as the most loved (or hated depending on how old you are) star in the business.

  • Honorable mention: Adrian Peterson just for the fact that his finishing move would be him squeezing a guy’s hand into submission. No seriously, Peterson’s handshake is stuff of legends.  

MLB

This is the part where I talk about how MLB guys are athletically gifted and what not, but honestly I don’t need to fit the criteria in this one.

  • Nostalgia is in. This is why we’re seeing Full House, Roseanne, X-files and countless other shows rebooted. This is why the WWE needs to capitalize and bring Jayson Werth in as a superstar to be the next Rated R Superstar, Edge! I’m still convinced that Edge and Jayson are the same guy. I’ve taken a picture with Edge and I can confirm that Jayson Werth was nowhere to be found because again, they are the same guy. Like every other thing today, we only care about stuff that we’ve seen or lived through so the WWE fans would eat this gimmick up.

  • Honorable Mentions: Dustin Pedroia. Reasoning? Just go read my thoughts on JJ Barea.

Olympic bobsledding

Yes, I’m including bobsledders in my list and this is really a one man list because he’s the only bobsledder I know that isn’t fictional (shout out to Sanka Coffie! Kiss that egg for good luck, baby!) This man? Sam McGuffie.

  • He’s done it all. From playing college football to running track, McGuffie is a renaissances man. He also dabbled in Rugby, but eventually he found Bobsledding as his sport and is now an Olympian for Team USA. That is rare air for sure. I’m thinking, if he’s not going to play for his hometown Houston Sabercats, why not give wrestling a try? Based on success in other sports, he would be a hit.

I thought it would be fun to ask some celebrities around the Gow Media office to see who they want to see in the WWE - lol OK, this is me just trying to make my minimum word count (what’s up, Fred Faour!):

  • Sean Salisbury, Host of the Sean Salisbury Show: James Harrison. His reasoning? He would literally beat up guys and just out work everyone.

  • Del Olaleye, Host of the Raheel and Del Show: Serena Williams. She’s done it all and is the greatest women’s athlete ever so it’s time we see her dominate in the WWE.

  • Jordan Smith, Sales Guy with the best dreads in the business and Cameron Maybin Impersonator: Ray Lewis. OK, his wrestling nickname alone is why we need to see this happen. The Obstructor of Justice.

  • Trey The Intern, Intern: Brian Bosworth. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong, but didn’t Bosworth get recruited by the WWE back in the day? He really would’ve dominated as a wrestler. Maybe we’ll see him reprise his role with the new XFL on the broadcast team.

  • Andrew Carlson, Intern and the guy that picks up your phone calls during the Raheel and Del Show thus giving us the shortest wait times in the industry: Gronk. One word: YES!.  

Let me know who you want to see in the WWE by tweeting me @The_Raheel.

 

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The Rockets selected Jalen Green with the No. 2 pick. Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images.

The city of Houston can finally rejoice as Jalen Green was selected as the number two pick by the Rockets at the 2021 NBA Draft. It was already suspected that the Rockets would draft Green from past reports. Shams Charania of The Athletic already reported that the Rockets narrowed their decision down to Green.

Green is an explosive shooting guard that can get in-and-out amongst the perimeter and paint. With the G-League Ignite, he averaged 17.9 points, 2.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He is an excellent free throw shooter at 82.9 percent. Like James Harden, he is incredibly good at getting to the free throw line. Green has a good trigger from three by shooting 36.5 percent on 5.7 attempts a game. His mature status since high school has prepared him for the NBA.

"His down-hill playmaking is really hard to guard", as Joey Fucca, his ex-coach told TDS. "If he says he's going to get to the rim, good luck. He is very good at getting to the free throw line, he is also very explosive to finish above the rim. When his three ball is on, you're just going to have a long night. I wouldn't be excited to guard him."

Green has blistering speed with outstanding handles to blow by his defenders and score. Spectators have compared Green to a younger Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Bradley Beal, and Zach Lavine, which are superstar players. He is a particularly good midrange shooter underneath the perimeter, as he shot 35 percent on a small quantity of attempts in a shorter season.

"Jalen is a uniquely blessed guy. He's a transcendent athlete," as Rockets GM Rafael Stone said. "He can handle the ball, and he can shoot. Normally, people that athletic aren't as skilled. We think that combination of tools makes him an extraordinarily exciting prospect."

During his press conference on Thursday night, Green emphasized the achievements he wants to accomplish with the Rockets. Green even discussed his desire of being a better defender, as he wants to continue to get better. He has a great wingspan and lateral movement to stay with opposing players on defense and be disruptive in the passing lanes.

"They're going to say it's a great choice," Green said. "Rookie of the Year, All-Star, All-Defense, max contract. We're doing it big."

"Yeah, I think I can be that piece. I think I'm going to bring that dominant mentality, that defensive mindset…They already got a lot of star players"

As the draft continued, the Rockets sent future draft picks from the Wizards to land the 16th pick in the draft, which was 6'10 Alperen Sengun from Turkey. The 16th pick did belong to the Oklahoma City Thunder until Rafael Stone executed an interesting deal with Sam Presti.

"We did not think he would fall to us at 23, so we were really aggressive to try and move up all throughout the first round to acquire him," as Stone said.

Sengun's abilities on the court revolve around his post ups and skillful passing. He even maintains good feet along the baseline. In his press conference, he mentioned his passing skills can become better. There are clips of him looking impressive on shovel passes, passing the ball behind his back, and finding the cutting man towards the basket. Sengun looked good in double teams by showing he can still find the open man with his back turned.

While playing in the Turkish Super League, Sengun was an MVP at 18-years-old, averaged 19.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.5 assist, 1.7 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game. He could be another huge figure next to Christian Wood on the court, and a safety blanket for the Rockets if they cannot bring back Kelly Olynyk.

Usman Garbua is similar to former Rocket Luc Mbah a Moute. He is 6'8 with a tremendous wingspan at 7'3 and can guard anyone on the court, which is 1-5. Garbua was seen guarding Kevin Durant in the Team USA vs. Spain matchup and had interesting battles. The Rockets will get a ton of energy out of the 19-year-old player. He knows how to run the floor in transition, so he can finish around the rim. As I see it, he could be on a defensive first team in the future as he matures more. Garbua will become a defensive nightmare against opposing players.

"I think he's the best defender in the world outside of the NBA, and he's just 19 years old," Stone said. "I think he potentially could be really, really impactful on that side of the ball."

As the Rockets made their last selection, they selected Green's AAU buddy, Josh Christopher from Arizona State. He impressed a ton of scouts during his draft workouts and scrimmage against other prospects. Christopher had a double-double during his third scrimmage, which was 16 points and 10 rebounds. He is a very shifty guard with a ferocious step back.

While playing with the Sun Devils, he averaged 14.3 points per game and shot 49 percent from the field. Just like Green, he loved the midrange opportunities, as he shot 49.6 percent underneath the perimeter. He is another shifty big body the Rockets will have in their back court at 6'5. Christopher is very good at rebounding and playing defense. Stone loves watching him in defensive one-on-one situations. Christopher has Sixth Man of the Year written all over him because of his stocky body type and upside.

Hopefully, the Rockets have an exciting summer league and training camp along with their season.

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