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Five Pro Wrestlers With Skills Far More Impressive Than Wrestling

By Jason Iannone

Wrestling is a fine profession to get into if that’s all you know how to do. If your choices in life boil down to “rassle, or sell encyclopedias to the seven people who still use them,” you might as well get a steel chair and start swinging.

But sometimes, a character’s natural talent far eclipses their need to put on tights, step into a ring, and roll around with sweaty dudes all day. If you have a legitimate job, ability, or even superpower, then why bother with wrestling’s goofy insistence that you destroy your body, mind, and soul day in and day out “for the fans”?

Here are a bunch of guys who never needed to break their backs on barely-protected wood and steel, but ended up doing so anyway. That backstage catering must’ve been delicious.

Papa Shango: Voodoo Priest

In case his subtle getup didn’t convince you, Papa Shango was a voodoo priest. He had tools in his arsenal that would have put Marie Laveau to shame, such as setting people on fire, forcing them to vomit all over the place, and replacing their blood with hot oil. After all, spooky chants, herky-jerky dance moves, and cursed dolls aren’t always enough to get the point across.

Why he chose to waste these skills on random schlubs in a damn ring is beyond us. He could’ve easily been cursing the enemies of the rich and powerful and charged a handsome ransom to do so. But not only did he not do that, his brief stint in grappling killed his confidence in the black arts so much that he gave them up entirely. Instead, he focused on his second love: prostituting sad-looking women to the highest bidder.

Yep, same guy. And he couldn’t even get THAT right, choosing not to focus on exploiting the rich and lonely, but rather offering up a free lady to any opponent who forfeited his match. That’s right, he was STILL wrestling. And he STILL sucked. A sad fate indeed for the world’s only known master voodoo pimp.

JBL: Business Tycoon

John “Bradshaw” Layfield was a money-making machine, a stock market expert and business guru. He was pretty much JR Ewing with muscles, even donning a cowboy hat because if you’re going to rip somebody off, you might as well go all the way plagiarize every last part of them.

And he had been this way for years, not that anyone would notice. Before wearing a suit and tie everywhere, JBL was just Bradshaw, a tough-nosed, beer-drinking thug-for-hire. After firing his partner, Bradshaw’s boss implored him to embrace his wealthy millionaire roots, which apparently existed all this time without any explanation or action on the millionaire’s part. How he managed to keep his portfolio intact while getting drunk and beating people senseless every night is beyond us. Even Bruce Wayne took SOME time off from being Batman to run his company.

We’re sure wrestling was fun for JBL, but becoming the next Warren Buffett probably would’ve been even more fun, not to mention better for your back and knees. Oh, and he’s a commentator now, which is almost certainly his way of saying, “whoops, I done fucked up all my stocks. Maybe wrasslin’ for 20 years wasn’t the best way to keep track of the NASDAQ.”

The Genius: Poet Laureate

Wrestling isn’t exactly known for its subtlety, so a character named The Genius pretty much had to be one. If he were a blithering idiot, fans would get confused, because actual, legitimate irony is a lot harder to understand than “this man grew up in New York and ironically now plays for the Yankees.”

So yes, he was really smart, as evidenced by his graduation cap and gown and ability to write poetry about his many opponents. Yes, he was a poet. And though he stuck to a simple A-A rhyme scheme much of the time (“Hulk Hogan is a leathery mutant, that much is for sure / Hulkamania is a disease, and the Genius is the cure”), he was always clever and original, which is more than we can say for most attempted scribes.

So instead of improving his already-impressive skill set and becoming a Poet Laureate extraordinaire, like Maya Angelou without the steady Presidential inauguration gig, he pranced around wrestling rings and got knocked in the head with heavy shit almost every night. No wonder he hasn’t come up with a decent rhyme since the early-90’s.

Road Dogg: Country Music Singer

Road Dogg Jesse James could have been the next Garth Brooks. Once the roadie for wrestling country music singer Jeff Jarrett, it was revealed that he was singing the catchy country tune “With My Baby Tonight,” a song that Jarrett simply lip-synced to and took credit for. Exposed as another Milli Vanilli, albeit one that could perform a mean Figure-Four Leglock, Jarrett fled in disgrace and James started flaunting his warm baritone in any arena he could.

Not that he ever went on tour, recorded an album, or even a stinkin’ follow-up. He wasn’t just a one-hit wonder, he was a one-song wonder. He chose Vince McMahon’s traveling circus instead, which is amazing considering he wasn’t very good at it. He got popular only because of he could talk, sing, and entertain a crowd. All of these things he could have easily done in Nashville, for way more money and way more fame.

Look, if you can sing country music, then you have a job for life. It’s an entire genre filled with people whose entire creative thought process boils down to “I already wrote eight songs about girls and trucks, time to bang out a ninth!” Plus, since it’s not a terribly high-energy musical genre, you could theoretically record and perform well into your late 120’s. Simply put, Road Dogg blew it by sticking with turnbuckles instead of embracing belt buckles.

Undertaker: Ruler of Hell

So far, we’ve stuck to wrestlers with legitimate outside professions (voodoo priests are still real to us dammit). But the Undertaker is different. Out of context, he’s a goddamned wrestling legend. Multiple championships, dozens upon dozens of memorable matches and moments, a 21-match winning streak at WrestleMania, and the eternal respect of fans and talent alike stand as solid evidence to that point.

But in context: the man rules Hell. The Lord of Darkness has died (and even been buried alive) on numerous occasions, and becomes stronger with every resurrection. He controls lightning and fire, can appear and disappear at will, and can even possess other people’s bodies and control them from within. For the longest time, you couldn’t even hurt him. He was so powerful in fact, that when the source of his power (an urn containing anonymous ashes nobody ever identified) was destroyed, he simply maintained dominance without it. That’s like force-feeding Superman Kryptonite and watching him react with, “meh, pretty tasty, but I’ve had better. Punching you now.”

When you rule Darkness, that needs to be your full-time job. None of this rolling-around-with-oily-muscleheads garbage, even if you’re really good at it. Society is getting nicer — we haven’t had a major war in forever, people respond to acts of tragedy with overwhelming love and compassion, and adorable baby animals rule the Internet. You want the world to be evil and stay evil? Then get the fuck out of the ring and get back to work.

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