Pro wrestling is unlike any other form of entertainment out there.
Mixing the best of sports and TV soap operas, it draws in millions of viewers each week to watch athletes feud over many different things, most often the right to be called champion of the world.
The WWE is the pinnacle of pro wrestling today, and surprisingly, has a lot in common with today’s NBA. Much like the WWE, the Association is full of characters all vying for the championship at the end of the year, with plenty of trash talk, storylines, and even a few fights throw in for good measure. The only difference is that the WWE carefully scripts its storylines, the NBA’s storylines form naturally, with only a little bit of help from the media.
So, on that note, with Wrestlemania 33 still in our memories and the NBA Finals fast approaching, let’s take a look at some of the NBA’s counterparts to WWE’s top stars.
Anthony Davis as Santino Marella
Two of the most famous eyebrows in all of sports and entertainment (excluding The Rock’s).
Both of these men rocked the unibrow with no shame, with the hair above their eyes becoming an integral part of their identities.
Apart from the facial hair, there aren’t many other similarities between the two. Santino Marella was considered a comedy act by the WWE, even after winning the Intercontinental Championship in his first ever match with help from Bobby Lashley. Anthony Davis, on the other hand, had a surprisingly slow start to his career after being drafted first overall by the New Orleans Hornets. He has since adjusted to the
Anthony Davis, on the other hand, had a surprisingly slow start to his career after being drafted first overall by the New Orleans Hornets. He has since adjusted to the NBA, and is one of the most intimidating interior defenders in the league today, as well as a perennial All-Star.
Tim Duncan as The Undertaker
It’s quite eerie how similar Old Man Riverwalk and The Deadman’s careers have been.
Both are considered legends of their respective crafts, with Tim Duncan a 2-time MVP, a 3-time Finals MVP, 15-time All-Star, and of course, a 5-time NBA Champion. The Undertaker has an equally impressive resume, boasting 7 World title reigns, a Royal Rumble win, a 6-time Tag Team champion, and of course, the impressive 23-2 record at Wrestlemania.
Other than their resumes, Duncan and The Undertaker share two other similarities. Both had extremely long careers where they were never really considered ‘washed up’ (Duncan winning a title at 38, The Undertaker main eventing Wrestlemania 33 at the age of 52), and on top of that, both men command the respect of all their peers, Tim Duncan being considered a consummate professional by everyone in the NBA, and Taker being described as the G.O.A.T by many professional wrestlers.
Draymond Green as Samoa Joe
There’s only one word to describe these two brutes: Enforcers.
If you haven’t heard of Samoa Joe, he is one of the hardest-hitting no-nonsense performers in professional wrestling at the moment, both in the ring and in real life, and he has been for quite some time. Draymond Green is the closest we’ll get to a Samoa Joe in the NBA, at least for now.
Green is well-known for his no-nonsense style of play, hustling for every loose ball and rebound that comes his way. Oh, and he’s also a hard hitter, just ask Steven Adams.
Joe is currently employed as Triple H’s lackey, recently feuding with Seth Rollins, Triple H’s number one enemy at the moment. You could also say Draymond is employed as the Warrior’s enforcer, even though he does a lot more that enforce for them. The technical fouls speak for themselves, you don’t want to get on the wrong side of either of these
The technical fouls speak for themselves, you don’t want to get on the wrong side of either of these men, and if you do, they’ll make sure you feel and hear about it.
Chris Paul as Daniel Bryan
Just ignore the scrappy beard and unkempt hair for a moment, if you look a little deeper, CP3 and D-Bry have a lot more in common than you think.
Both of these men have been underdogs their entire careers, with some obstacle always seeming too large to overcome on their quests for personal glory.
Daniel Bryan was at the center of one of the best storylines in WWE’s recent history, finally winning the big one at Wrestlemania 30 after years of missing out on opportunity after opportunity due to injuries and WWE management not thinking very highly of Bryan.
The same can’t be said for Paul however. He has faced some of the same roadblocks Bryan had to overcome on his journey to WWE Champion, such as upper management screwing him over (Stern’s veto of the Lakers/Hornets trade), as well as many instances of injuries, especially in the playoffs.
The only difference is CP3 has never won the big one, he’s never come close. The furthest he’s even been in the postseason has been the second-round, something which will be a permanent stain on his career resume if he retires a Conference Finals virgin.
Let’s hope Chris can follow in Daniel’s footsteps and get over the hump before all is said and done.
Carmelo Anthony as Roman Reigns
Another obscure one for you all to ponder.
Both of these guys were considered superstars in their younger years. Carmelo Anthony on the Denver Nuggets, attending All-Star game after All-Star game season in and season out, and Roman Reigns with The Shield as their muscle, the hottest stable in the WWE during their peak. But then they left.
Melo packed his bags and headed off to The Big Apple in a huge trade, and Reigns was betrayed by Shield member Seth Rollins, forcing him out on his own.
Things seemed fine in the beginning, some would say they actually improved while in their new environment. Carmelo continued to make All-Star games, while Roman hung around the mid-card. But then things changed again.
Anthony’s production began to dip, and his team wasn’t doing as well as they used to. Reigns began to appear in the main event scene more and more often, while not owning the required wrestling or promo skills to deserve the spot he was being pushed into. Despite this, we were told that they were still the same old Melo and Reigns, and there was nothing to worry about.
Even now, Carmelo is still being pushed as a superstar by the media, which is debatable considering his production and team success, and Reigns is being pushed as the top guy in the WWE despite the fans’ vocal outrage, even receiving the honor to retire The Undertaker.
James Harden as Bray Wyatt
Who would have guessed it, the two guys with beards are being compared to each other, how original, I know.
But cut me some slack, this was too easy not to go for. I’ll be sure to update this section if Harden decides to show up to games with a lantern, and begins crab-walking up the court.
Kevin Durant as Seth Rollins
Another easy one, but this fits just too well.
Both of these guys had a big three they were apart of, but both decided to throw it all away for personal gain.
Seth Rollins, after winning the Tag Team titles with Roman Reigns as part of The Shield alongside Dean Ambrose, turned on his stablemates in favor of siding with Triple H and The Authority in search of singles glory.
Kevin Durant, after making The Finals with Russell Westbrook and James Harden, and also the Western Conference Finals alongside long-term friend Westbrook, backstabbed his teammates and the entire state of Oklahoma, deciding to sign with the team he blew a 3-1 lead to in the Western Conference Finals, the Golden State Warriors, in search of a championship.
They’re legitimately splitting images of each other in the sense of their actions.
And if Durant is Rollins in their respective situations, that must mean…
Russell Westbrook as Dean Ambrose
…Russell Westbrook is the stablemate scorned.
You probably could’ve guessed this was the train of thought I had when creating this list, I mean, it’s painfully obvious.
Both of these guys were innocently and unfairly thrown under the bus by their former friends, who greedily chose individual glory instead of sticking around for a little while longer.
Not only do they share the moniker of ‘victim’ of their respective backstabbings (In Ambrose’s case, a back-chairshot), they also share some of the same traits as each other.
Both men may be a little unhinged, Ambrose in the ring, and Westbrook looks extremely out of control when on the court, going 100% at all times.
Let’s hope Westbrook can find some of the personal success that Ambrose found after the breakup of The Shield, Dean being a 2-time Intercontinental Champion and 1-time WWE World Champion after being left on his own.
Steph Curry as Rey Mysterio
Maybe not the case for Curry as of late, but both of these guys are fan-favorites, you can’t deny that.
Both are undersized to some degree, especially in Mysterio’s case, but they perform their craft to the highest standard.
Some would even say that they revolutionized the game, with Mysterio popularizing the Lucha Libre style of wrestling in the US along with Eddie Guerrero, whereas Curry has completely redefined the importance of the three-point shot in the NBA.
Both have also been the face of their respective brands, with Curry recently becoming the face of the NBA during his back-to-back MVP seasons, while Rey Mysterio was one of the most popular superstars in the WWE in late 2006, winning the Royal Rumble from the number 2 position and capturing the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 3 months later.
Back to the fan-favorite argument though, you’d be hard-pressed to find a young fan of the NBA or WWE that doesn’t own a Curry jersey or Rey Mysterio mask, as for some reason, these two manage to capture the attention of children everywhere with their entertaining performances.
LeBron James as John Cena
You knew it was coming, we all did.
Both of these guys are synonymous with their respective brands. You can’t think of WWE without thinking of John Cena, and you can’t think of the NBA without LeBron James popping into your head.
Both arrived onto the scene in the early 2000’s and took their audiences by storm, quickly rising up as the most popular figures in their disciplines.
Cena rose to stardom after debuting his ‘Doctor of Thugonomics’ gimmick, portraying a rapper which thrust him into the main event scene. LeBron, on the other hand, was in the national spotlight as soon as he left High School, being drafted number one overall by his hometown Cavaliers.
It’s safe to assume that both of them have been the target of bucketloads of hate throughout the years as well, with fans fiercely divided whenever one of their names are brought up in conversation.
Cena has received tons of hate considering he’s been at the top of the WWE for the better part of a decade, winning 15 World Championships in the process.
LeBron has also been on top of the NBA throne for quite some time, receiving as much hate, if not more than Cena when he decided to leave Cleveland and join up with Wade and Bosh in South Beach during the Summer of 2011.
You can’t deny it though, these two are definitely ‘best for business’ when they’re the face of their respective brands.