There have been mentions of Rashad Evans wanting to come over from UFC to WWE when he opts to retire. He’s let it known that there’s a real interest there in the past and has chosen to once again bring it up, if only to keep his name in mind.
I have a few issues with this desire. Much like the majority of other MMA fighers/fans, he made fun of Brock Lesnar for coming over from pro wrestling to UFC. He’s never been involved in pro wrestling, and he’s an old, injured, practically bionic man.
Just like most of the MMA world, he made fun of Lesnar for thinking he could come from wrestling to MMA. For some reason people thought it was the cool thing to do until Lesnar’s “lunchbox fists” beat the crap out of the majority of his opponents. Now, Evans thinks he can do the reverse, coming from the MMA world to the wrestling world like there’s nothing to it. While there have been plenty of amateur wrestlers who have collegiate/Olympic accolades and entered the pro wrestling universe to much success, the biggest difference is in the styles. At least with amateur wrestling, it’s all about grappling, about knowing how to maneuver around an opponent successfully, putting them in holds and pinning them. With MMA, there is a lot of that involved, but most of the match is spent striking — depending on the fighters of course — but they all throw legitimate punches and kicks without ever being told how to hold back from making real contact while still making it look real. I’m not saying this cannot be done, but it’s going to be much harder than I think Evans realizes.
Evans is recovering from recent knee surgery — again — preventing him from getting into the octagon anytime soon. This is allowing him to think about his future and plan on taking different avenues moving forward. This isn’t a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination, but I don’t think a worn out, on the wrong side of 30, injury-prone, past his prime MMA fighter belongs in the WWE in any wrestling capacity.
If they want to sign him, then I urge the use of a trainer’s contract, because I think he would be spectacular in that role. But he shouldn’t get into the ring and square off against anyone on Raw, Smackdown or any PPVs, regardless of the interest it may garner — which is the only reason they would put him in the ring. Evans coming in to show all the main roster wrestlers an MMA style that they may not be familiar with or have a proper trainer to show them how to fully implement it would be of great benefit to all of them who are interested. I could picture him getting with Roman Reigns, showing him the ropes of how a bigger man could use submission holds, different types of tosses that suit his size and so on, could catapult Reigns even higher into the stratosphere. If he doesn’t get put with the main roster, then he would be an ideal trainer for the Development Talent down in NXT.
Someone like Evans showing up to help out the talent in NXT not only gets them used to an incredibly famous star standing in front of them, but it shows them things that they wouldn’t have seen otherwise from any of the other trainers. I would imagine that they do have some type of MMA training, but it’s not from anyone who’s been fighting up until the last year with the type of successful history that Evans can claim.
I wouldn’t mind Evans making the transition from UFC to WWE in the slightest — as long as he never steps foot in the ring for a real match.