10 Olympic Wrestlers Turned Pro: Olympic athletes after completing their career as a wrestler head their way to the pros. Pro wrestling is something that is never taken seriously, however, these are the top performers with gold medals and are some of the best athletes on television.
The WWE and other pro wrestling companies have introduced some of the best athletes who made successful transitions from Olympic wrestling to sports entertainment.
Here we have come up with the list of 10 Olympic Wrestlers that turned Pro:
1. Kurt Angle: He is one of the most successful Olympic wrestlers to go pro. Kurt was associated with both WWE as well as TNA, winning world championships in both promotions. He won his first gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the 1996 Olympics in the 220 pounds category.
2. Hiro Hase: Hiro Hase was one of the most exciting pro wrestlers in the late 80’s and early 90’s. In the 1984 Japan Greco-Roman wrestling, he got placed at the ninth position. His memorable matches were against Jushin Liger and Owen Hart are also known as the best of that era.
3. Verne Gagne: Verne emerged as the most successful pro wrestler for decades with the A.W.A. He was on the 1948 United States Olympic team but did not participate. Gagne went to London to compete in the Greco-Roman games but was restricted to compete since his trials were in freestyle.
4. Mad Dog Vachon: He was not remembered for his outstanding technical wrestling in the ring, but was famously known for his talent on the mat than many other notable technicians. He won a gold medal at the 1950 British Empire Games and also finished at the seventh position at the 1948 games. Vachon is the former AWA champion and his biggest contribution to pro wrestling came in developing young Andre Roussimoff into Andre the Giant.
5. Masanori Saito: Saito represented Japan at the 1964 Japan Games, where he finished seventh in freestyle as a super heavyweight. He came into the limelight for a legendary feud with Antonio Inoki that included the first Island Death Match in 1987.
6. Riki Choshu: Choshu is known as one of the most successful pro wrestling stars of the Japan region. In the 1972 Greco-Roman competition, he represented South Korea. A three-time IWGP heavyweight and World tag team champion, he was a brilliant booker of his time. Choshu also trained many of the international star wrestlers.
7. Jumbo Tsuruta: Tsuruta acclaimed fame as the famous pro wrestler in Japan, well known for his crisp work and dramatic matches. He was a mainstay in most Japanese wrestling. He faced a deep run in the United States as the American Wrestling Association World Heavyweight champion.
8. Danny Hodge: Danny Hodge is known as the greatest pro wrestler of all time, mainly for his skills and agility. In the 1952 Olympic games he secured ninth position. A successful amateur boxer had won the 1958 Golden Gloves title at 190.
9. Dick Hutton: Hutton is a former N.W.A world heavyweight champion. In the 1948 freestyle heavyweight championship at London, he was placed seventh.
10. Brad Rheingans: He stands last in the top list of the pro wrestlers by beating out territorial wrestlers like Bob Roop and Baron Von Rachke. At the 1976 Montreal Games in Greco- Roman he finished fourth in the 220 pounds category. He spent the majority of his career as a mid-card for the American Wrestling Association and was briefly associated with WWE.