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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 clock is ticking. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

If he is indeed to become an ex-Astro George Springer can officially sign with his new team starting at four PM Houston time this Sunday. Michael Brantley the same. All free agents can sign contracts starting Sunday afternoon. If the die isn't cast that Springer is leaving, it certainly feels like his renewing vows with the Astros would be an upset.

The Astros will make Springer a 18.9 million dollar qualifying offer for 2021. He will of course reject that because contract offers of at least five years and over 100 million dollars likely await. Should Springer move on the Astros would then get a compensatory draft pick. Brantley won't get anything in close range of Springer's haul-to-be but still should at least get multiyear offers. The Astros should make the qualifying offer to Brantley (if they don't they forfeit any compensation for his departure). If they don't out of fear that he'd accept the one-year deal, the Astros would look lame. I don't think it comes to that. Losing Springer would be a huge blow on multiple levels, but if somehow they were to keep Brantley while getting back Yordan Alvarez at even 80 percent of his rookie performance level the Astros' lineup would look to be in decent shape.

With MLB's economic outlook shaky for 2021, it's unreasonable to say Jim Crane and his partners should give Springer whatever he wants. A six or seven year megadollar contract for a 31-year-old player with some durability questions on his resume is an iffy proposition. At the same time, the Astros have been quite profitable in recent years (before 2020), and Crane said over the summer the Astros were positioned to be "aggressive, whatever the market looks like." 13 million Josh Reddick dollars are off the books for 2021, 10 mil of Roberto Osuna is gone. After next year more than 57 mil of Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke clear.

MLB's postseason awards will be doled out over the next couple weeks but for the first time in years the Astros don't have a credible candidate for any of the big ones (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year). The Astros do have three American League Gold Glove finalists. I think Carlos Correa wins the shortstop honor. Correa had a weak regular season at the plate but his defense was stellar, plus the two guys who divvied up the last four AL SS Gold Gloves (Francisco Lindor and Andrelton Simmons) had down seasons and aren't finalists. Quick: name the teams of fellow finalists J.P. Crawford and Niko Goodrum. Hard to see either winning over Correa. Yuli Gurriel and Kyle Tucker were also named top three at their positions. For the first time the finalist selections were driven entirely by stats and analytics.

Big week for the Rockets

With the Rockets settling on Stephen Silas as their new Head Coach, that hire coupled with the in house promotion of Rafael Stone to General Manager makes it appear as though owner Tilman Fertitta is doing more things on the cheap. The NBA economic environment is challenging and huge portions of the rest of Fertitta's portfolio are submerged in a COVID-driven bloodbath. Silas has paid his dues for a good while and most recently worked under the outstanding Rick Carlisle in Dallas. He has earned a lead chair opportunity. But with no prior head coaching experience and no bidding war for his services, Silas signs on at a much lower rate than, say, Jeff Van Gundy would have commanded. Former head coaches (and former Rockets' player rivals of the 90s) Jeff Hornacek and Nate McMillan would make for two strong Silas assistants. From their playing days if you combined Hornacek's offense and McMillan's defense into one player you'd have one of the top 20 or so greatest guards in NBA history.

Silas and Stone take the reins at a challenging time for the Rockets with their messy salary cap sheet, reduced draft capital, and one of the oldest core player groups in the league. Polite public statements aside, it's part of why Daryl Morey left. Maybe Mike D'Antoni too though that seemed more about feeling disrespected by the lack of a contract extension before this past season. D'Antoni may have overplayed his hand since he did not get fill any of the coaching vacancies elsewhere in the NBA. Only Oklahoma City remains open, and D'Antoni has gotten no run there.

Buzzer Beaters:

1. It seems sadly appropriate that the first meaningful positive in the Texans' 2020 season came in form of a COVID test result.

2. If we all commit to getting through it together, I think we can get by without a Texans' game this weekend. Remember, it's their open week, not a bye!

3. One hit wonder goodbye songs: Bronze-Terry Jacks "Seasons in the Sun" Silver-Norman Greenbaum "Spirit In The Sky" Gold-Steam "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye"

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