Ever since mixed martial arts promotions rose to prominence in the mid-90’s, there has been significant crossover between the worlds of legitimate fighting and professional wrestling. In the early days of UFC, there was even some cross-promotion going on between the fledgling company and WWE that saw UFC fighters appear on WWE programming, and occasionally even become wrestlers themselves. It’s a well-known fact that many pro wrestlers, including The Undertaker, Triple H, and Shane McMahon, are huge fans of mixed-martial arts, and several top fighters have expressed their love for sports entertainment. Over the years, pro wrestling has often been a potential destination for MMA fighters, and a few wrestlers have even tried their hand at shoot fighting. Some of them even manage to find notoriety in both arenas, which is definitely the case in all of the following names.
10. CM Punk
Well, of course we’re going to talk about this guy. CM Punk rose from one of the best independent wrestlers in North America to a sport in WWE, where he was fortunate enough to parlay his wrestling skills and unique personality into multiple World title runs. At one point, Punk was arguably the biggest star in the company, but he often felt mistreated by those in power backstage, and reports of his attitude problems and clashes with management were common. Punk abruptly left WWE in 2014 after apparently reaching a breaking point over how he was being treated, and after months of silence, announced that he had signed a contract to compete in UFC. Many saw this as little more than a publicity stunt, as Punk was already in his late-30s and had virtually no real MMA experience, but Punk expressed an honest desire to at least explore the possibilities of becoming a legitimate fighter. UFC even shot a pseudo-reality show where they attempted to find a fighter who would match up well against the inexperienced Punk. Unfortunately, several injuries during training delayed Punk’s UFC debut, and his debut fight was an embarrassingly quick loss that has apparently soured UFC on ever promoting a second fight under their banner. While his MMA career may end up disappointingly short, no one can say that it won’t also be one of the more memorable ones in recent history.