Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 6/15/13

With two huge brawls in the league this week (Rays/Red Sox, Dodgers/Diamondbacks), I thought it would be fun to compare some current players to their brawling counterparts in the WWE. I’ve been an avid fan of wrestling since I was a wee lad. I will not simply be matching up player and grappler – there will be legitimate correlations. The “beard-off” between Daniel Bryan and Josh Reddick will not be the only WWE-MLB connection this season.10. Rey Mysterio/Derek Jeter, SS, NYYBoth of these guys have been around for what seems like forever and both are currently out with injuries. When each is on, however, they are two of the most electric players in their respective sports. Mysterio flies all over the ring, and Jeter rarely lets a ball by, though his range is certainly diminished. Jeter and Mysterio are also vets that still have it, and both will be returning soon. And of course, both will be members of their respective Hall of Fames.9. Sin Cara/Hanley Ramirez, 3B/SS, LADSin Cara (translates to faceless or without a face) and Ramirez are younger than their counterparts at 10. Sin Cara flies all over the ring, off of turnbuckles, ropes and opponents’ chests. Ramirez is one of the best young talents in the game and when healthy, he’s a 30/30 threat. Unfortunately, both are injury-prone and each has huge expectations heaped upon their shoulders. Vinnie Mac wants Sin Cara to be the next Mysterio but Ramirez is a better blend of power. He’s also been the face of a franchise (Miami).8. Undertaker/Mariano Rivera, RP, NYYBoth are ageless and both are called upon to perform in the biggest moments of the year. Rivera shuts down teams in the ninth and he’s tied with Jason Grilli and Jim Johnson for the league lead with 23 saves. The Undertaker is 20-0 at Wrestlemania, and lately he comes around when he’s truly needed. Both Rivera and the Taker are at the end of their careers, and when they do end, both will be in the conversation for greatest of all time in their respective sports.7. Randy Orton/Prince Fielder, 1B, DETRandy Orton burst onto the scene in the early 2000s and has been one of the top guys in WWE since. Breaking out in 2005, Orton is a 9-time champion. Prince Fielder (12 HR, 51 RBIs so far) burst into the MLB in 2006 with the Brewers (clubbing 28 homers) after being a 1st round pick in 2002. Each stud is also the progeny of a former star — Fielder’s dad is former Tigers’ slugger Cecil Fielder and Orton, a 3rd-generation star, is the son of “Cowboy” Bob Orton. Both will eclipse the success of their fathers, and both are currently in their primes.6. Y2J/Cliff Lee, SP, PHIChris “Y2J” Jericho always says “I am the Best in the World at what I do.” That translates to being one of the best all-around performers year-in and year-out, especially over the last decade. He makes the young guys look great but doesn’t need help doing it for himself. Lee has been one of the top pitchers of the last decade, and he’s one of the best in the world at limiting walks (had a 207:28 K:BB ratio last year). This year, Lee has 86 Ks and 16 BBs. Lee’s also had to be the guy in the Phils’ rotation with Cole Hamels struggling and youngsters Jonathan Pettibone and Tyler Cloyd still looking for their footing in MLB.5. CM Punk/Clayton Kershaw, SP, LADIf you aren’t familiar with Punk, or “the Best in the World” as he calls himself, then you’ve missed one of the best performers of the past five years. He had the longest title reign of the last 25 years, holding the WWE Title for 434 days before erroneously dropping it to the Rock. Kershaw has been one of the top two pitchers in fantasy over the last few years, culminating with a Cy Young Award in 2011. This season, he has a 1.88 ERA, 96 Ks, 28 BBs, and a 0.98 WHIP. Kershaw may indeed be able to lay claim to being the best in the world again this season.4. John Cena/Ryan Braun, OF, MILWhile both Cena and Braun are beloved by some, they are also hated by many as well. They are two polarizing figures who put up big numbers despite the scrutiny. Cena (11 title reigns) has been the top guy in the WWE for the last decade while Braun has been one of the top players in fantasy for a long time. Both guys are also scrutinized for being juicers, although no proof has ever been found to legitimate that claim on Cena. You either love ‘em or you hate ‘em.3. Dolph Ziggler/Mike Trout, OF, LAA“The Showoff” is the current World Heavyweight Champion and it’s been a long time coming. He has consistently been one of the best performers of the last few years and he’s finally been recognized as such. There are few wrestlers who do what he can do on a nightly basis. Trout, on the other hand, was a stud last year and has kept it going this year (80 hits, 47 runs, 12 HR, 42 RBIs, 14 steals, .303 average). He isn’t a show off, he’s just that good. Both could steal your girlfriend, but Trout wouldn’t wear a shirt saying so.2. The Shield/Yasiel Puig, OF, LADThe Shield consists of young stars Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins. They burst onto the scene last November when they cost Ryback the WWE Title. Ever since their emergence, they’ve been on fire. Rollins and Reigns are the current Tag Team Champions and Ambrose is the U.S. Champion. Just like the Shield, Puig has made an immediate impact since being called up. In his 35 at bats, he has 16 hits, 5 runs, 4 HR, 10 RBI, and a .471 average. Like the Shield, we’re only scratching the surface of his potential, and if you saw the D’Backs/Dodgers brawl on Tuesday, you know that Puig likes to brawl. So does the Shield. Believe in the Shield! Believe in the Puig!1. Daniel Bryan/Miguel Cabrera, 3B, DETBryan was the most well-known wrestler from the Indies before he signed with the WWE a few years ago. He was known for being an in-ring technician and one of the best pound-for-pound grapplers regardless of league. He’s currently in the midst of one of his most impressive runs, receiving the biggest pop from crowds every night. He truly can do it all. Cabrera is the best player in the MLB right now, and he has the triple crown from last year to prove it. He currently leads the league in OBP, RBI, and batting average. Both guys are fun to watch, and both will be the best for the next few years. Is Cabrera the best player in the MLB? In the words of Bryan, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

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