Baltimore Ravens: Ray Lewis the Wrestler?


We have all seen Ray Lewis deliver some body-crunching blows on the football field. But could you imagine the two-time Super Bowl champion doing some hard-hitting inside a WWE ring? It almost happened, according to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who was speaking on the “The Dan Patrick Show” on Friday. 

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“There was a time where we were actually recruiting both those guys [Lewis and Warren Sapp] to come in and have a big match, and we’d gotten very close with having a big match, bringing in Ray Lewis. And we were gonna have a big tag-team match with myself, Ray Lewis as tag-team partners against whoever the top heels were at the time — probably Triple H, I think, and somebody else?”

That would have been must-see TV for Baltimore Ravens fans.

Lewis certainly has all the skills to perform inside the ring. His physical shape is right up there with the WWE’s best. His persona is certainly worthy of Vince McMahon approval. Not to mention that most of these wrestlers have an introduction before they enter the ring, and what would be better than seeing Lewis’ squirrel dance as he is about to body slam some opponents. Notice how the past tense was not used here. Lewis is still capable of entering the ring physically. It will not happen, though.

How would playing football translate into wrestling? In the wrestling world, there is a move that wrestling enthusiasts refer to is a spear. Basically, it’s a hard tackle right to the gut that sends his opponent to the mat. It is safe to say that Lewis can effectively lay someone out, whether it be on the football field or inside the ring. Just imagine Lewis coming off the ropes and “spearing” Triple-H like he did to Kellen Winslow here. He would have been just as jacked up after the hit as seen in the video. That is wrestling entertainment at its finest.

It is all for not, however, as the parties couldn’t come to an agreement on the scheduling.

“It was gonna be a big WrestleMania match, but we could never … it had nothing to do with the creative, just more so scheduling, but we were very, very excited, so we came very close to that.”

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It is important to note the relationship between Lewis and Johnson. Both played their collegiate football at the University of Miami. In fact, Johnson was Sapp’s primary backup and was successful in his role. According to his former defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, now coaching at Louisiana State University, if it wasn’t for Sapp’s arrival, Johnson had all the tools to be one of the best linemen in the country.

“You’re talking about one of the best college football players of all time. If not for [Sapp], Dwayne could have been an all-conference, perhaps an all-American.”

If that match did come to fruition, it would not have been the first time an NFL player stepped off the gridiron and into the squared circle to get physical. Former defensive lineman “The Refrigerator” William Perry competed in a battle royal that featured a large lineup of NFL players. Legendary coach Dick Butkus was a participant as a guest referee. Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Fame coach Tommy Lasorda was a guest ring announcer at the same event. The main event of Wrestlemania 11 was Bam Bam Bigelow going up against former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor. Ken Norton Jr. and Reggie White were Taylor’s “bodyguards” for the event.

It is not uncommon for other high-profile athletes to make appearances in pro wrestling. Pete Rose dressed up in a chicken suit and was choke-slammed by Kane. Muhammad Ali was a guest referee. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. wrestled the Big Show. UFC Champion Rhonda Rousey is the most recent non-WWE star to get in the ring.

Dwayne Johnson is not the only WWE star to play football, too. WWE legend “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan spent time with the Atlanta Falcons. So did WCW superstar Bill Goldberg. Brock Lesnar played defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings during the preseason, but was cut prior to the start of the 2004–05 season.

It is unlikely to happen now that Lewis’ playing career is over and he has embraced his job as an analyst for ESPN. He loves to hear himself talk and it is the perfect job for him. He’s also not too bad at it either. While there are moments you wonder what the heck he is talking about, his knowledge of the game is evident.

Could it be something that comes to be down the line? Unlikely, but do not rule it out completely either. This chatter could spark it up again.

If it did happen, it would be a more entertaining match than the recent Mayweather fight that is for sure.

Next: A Son, a Father, and a Baltimore Ravens Game