With the World Cup underway in Japan, rugby fever is sweeping the world.
Here at TWM Wrestling, we like to ponder life’s big questions, such as: is the S or the C silent in scent? Is it called sand because it’s between the sea and land? And most importantly, what if the WWE became a rugby team? How would this look? Wonder no more as we run through our WWE XV.
1 – Rusev
Rusev resembles rugby’s modern-day prop. Gone are the days of big boys, the position now demands a more agile, athletic player without any compromise in the strength department. The Bulgarian Brute is exactly that and is perfect for the loosehead prop position, holding his own in the scrum while also displaying excellent agility in open play for a man of his size.
2 – Kevin Owens
It is rumoured that the former Universal champion was mistakenly called up to Welsh National Rugby team in 2015 when Warren Gatland mistook him for Welsh Hooker, Ken Owens. Despite that mishap, there are many reasons why we believe that Kevin Owens would have been a good fit for the hooker position after all.
KO’s brash, loudmouth, in-your-face nature would see him trash talk the opposition front row, annoying them to no end at the scrum. His vocal nature would serve the team well at line outs, being able to call plays heard by the entire pack.
3 – Samoa Joe
Much like their counterparts in the national rugby team, Samoan wrestlers hit hard, are often unpredictable, and always provide a challenging match. Props relish one to one competition in the scrum in a similar way to Joe relishes competition in the ring, often resorting to mind games to gain the upper hand.
Joe is known to train avidly in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo, and Muay Thai. This should mean that Joe is able to play a game as physical as rugby. Joe brings weight to the pack which should help defensively, while also possessing the agility to be a menace in attack gaining those last few metres.
4 – Baron Corbin
A former offensive guard for NFL teams Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals, Corbin has experience of playing a legitimate professional sport at an elite level. This experience should help him quickly adapt to the rules of rugby, and he will be well aware of the level of physicality to expect.
Corbin’s impressive height makes him an excellent option in the lineout and will allow him a substantial leverage advantage in the ruck. For a man of his hight, Corbin has a pace that should mean he can be effective in open play as well as set pieces.
5 – Erick Rowan
As one of WWE’s tallest active performers, standing at an impressive 6’8”, Rowan is the obvious second member of the second row. Rowan adds extra weight to the pack, ensuring that scrums and mauls move only in one direction: forward.
6 – Roman Reigns
One-third of perhaps the most notable 3 person faction the WWE has ever seen, The Shield, Reigns joins another three man unit here in the back row.
In a similar vein to Corbin, Reigns also has previous experience in the NFL, playing as a defensive tackle for Minnesota Vikings and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
One of the main responsibilities of the flanker is to charge forward and attempt to tackle the opposition backs coming off scrums, rucks, and mauls. As a back on the opposition team, we can think of nothing more terrifying than looking up after catching the ball, only to see Reigns charging at you with a spear. OOO-WAAAAH!
7 – Cesaro
Originally debuting on WWE with the gimmick of a former professional rugby player who had been banned for ‘excessive aggression’, the Swedish Cyborg’s superhuman fitness makes Cesaro the obvious selection for Openside Flanker.
Cesaro is somewhat of a physical specimen, with a combination of speed and strength that seems to defy the laws of physics at times. This will help ensure Cesaro is always first at the breakdown, ready to gain possession of the ball for his team.
8 – Braun Strowman
Braun Strowman is exactly what you need at the back of a scrum. Just imagine Strowman picking up the ball and charging from the back of a scrum, knocking over everyone who stands in his path and likely resulting in a try from a scrum anywhere in opposition’s 22.
Strowman can be regularly seen running through opponents on the outside of the ring on RAW, and has been notoriously difficult to knock off his feet at any time in his WWE run. What Strowman lacks in technique, he more than makes up with his sheer power.
9 – Daniel Bryan
Bryan brings an unparalleled level of tenacity to this team, which is a trait required by all good scrum-halves.
The scrum-half tends to be one of the smaller players on the pitch, and so they rely on protection from their larger forward teammates. This is something Daniel Bryan has been known to do in the past – as part of Team Hell No, Bryan teamed with larger athlete Kane, and more recently he had aligned himself with Erik Rowan.
As one of the most technically gifted wrestlers of our generation, there can be no doubt that Bryan has the vision, speed and awareness, quick hands and lightning reactions demanded by this position. Bryan’s signature ‘Yes Kicks’ mean that he has the ability to box kick, a skill that is required of scrum-halves in modern-day rugby.
10. AJ Styles
At Fly-half, Styles is an extremely dangerous attacker. At his debut at the 2016 Royal Rumble, Byron Saxton dubbed him ‘a master of offensive innovation’, and this innovation will serve Styles and the team well going forward in their set plays.
Styles’ impressive repertoire of kicks in the ring makes him the team’s selection for goal kicker, as he has demonstrated from his signature Pele kick that he can land a kick from any position.
Styles has also been known not to settle for anything less than the best, having turned down a number of WWE contracts in his career, instead signing with promotions offering better terms. It is likely that Styles would not settle for anything less than playing in arguably the most important position.
12. Seth Rollins
As an architect, Rollins’ expertise of designing structures will enable him to oversee creative and structured plays for the backs. The Man dubbed ‘Crossfit Jesus’ means that Seth possesses the combination of speed, power, and endurance to excel at the Inside Centre position.
When it comes to the opposition line, Rollins will ‘burn it down’ to exploit gaps and gain those vital extra metres for the team.
13 – Buddy Murphy
Buddy is Australian, so is a fantastic rugby player by default. Murphy avid fan of Australian rules football, with his ring name derived from Marc Murphy who is his favourite player. Aussie rules is a sport with many similarities to rugby, so Murphy would adapt to the game extremely quickly.
Despite being slightly smaller in stature than the rest of the team, Murphy packs a punch with his combination of speed, agility, technique, and strength, making him a dangerous player at outside centre.
11- Kofi Kingston
For years we have witnessed Kofi steal the show at Royal Rumble, a long-running trope being him escaping elimination by finding creative and innovative ways for his feet to not touch the floor. This skill will transfer perfectly onto the rugby pitch, with Kofi patrolling one of the wings it will be extremely difficult for defending players to eliminate him from the pitch. Kofi will use all kinds of creative ways to make sure his feet do not cross the touchline, a MUST for all good wingers when trying to squeeze a try in the corner.
Kofi’s incredible balance means that he is extremely difficult to knock off his feet, demanding a textbook tackle from the opposition to ground him, which is often very difficult to execute at high velocity, which you’d expect any good winger to be moving at.
14 – Cedric Alexander
One of the fastest members of the WWE Roster, Cedric Alexander is our pick for one third of our backline. Alexander is cruiserweight that can hold his own with much bigger opponents, which has been synonymous with the position of the winger in rugby.
Cedric has proved himself to be fearless on many occasions, recently diving from the top of the RAW set onto a number of opponents. This lack of fear is vital in rugby, where you have no choice but to collide with opponents at full speed.
15 – Ricochet
Speaking of fearless, how about someone with the word tattooed on his chest? Ricochet’s fantastic ariel in-ring ability will translate to the rugby pitch, enabling him to leap for high balls and maintain possession.
Ricochet’s superhuman agility means that he is lethal as a counter attacker, carving the defence apart after catching an opposition kick.
Manager – JBL
When appointing a manager for this team, there was really no other alternative than JBL. A renowned fan of the sport, Layfield founded and operates his own rugby charity in Bermuda, helping the disadvantaged youth of the country by teaching rugby’s principles and values such as teamwork and respect.