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Kings of the ring


IN THE early hours of April 2, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson made his triumphant return to the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) by emphatically defeating John Cena at Wrestlemania 28.

The Rock is one of a select few black wrestlers that have been crowned world champions in professional wrestling but that’s not to say that black wrestlers have failed to make an impact inside the squared circle.

This week the Voice of Sport names their top five black wrestlers of all-time...

5. Shelton Benjamin

In terms of athleticism, Benjamin would be number one on this list, or any other list for that matter.

The 36-year-old was a junior college national 100m champion and an all-American amateur wrestler.

During his eight-year tenure in the WWE, Benjamin performed some of the most death defying manoeuvres ever witnessed in a ring.

4. Bobo Brazil

Widely regarded as the first black wrestler to break down racial barriers, unofficially, Brazil is the first-ever black professional wrestling world champion.

However, his victory over the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) world heavyweight champion, Brett Rodgers, has been erased from the history books.

Brazil passed away in 1998 aged 74.

3. Ron Simmons

While younger wrestling viewers might recognise Simmons for randomly scaring unsuspecting people with his catchphrase “damn”, the former college American footballer is officially the first black world champion.

Simmons pinned Big Van Vader in 1992 to become the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) world champion.

The WWE Hall of Famer has also captured the world tag team titles on four occasions.

2. Booker T

Wherever the Houston native has gone, success has not been far behind.

For 20 years, the six-time world champion achieved acclaim in both the WWE and the now defunct WCW, winning a total of 33 titles in both companies.

Booker T currently works as commentator on WWE-produced programme Smackdown.

1. The Rock

Arguably the best talker in wrestling history, no superstar has managed to garner the mainstream success that The Rock has.

Equipped with endless catchphrases and hilarious tongue-lashings, The Rock’s popularity has transcended beyond the wrestling industry and helped him to forge a successful acting career.

A third-generation competitor, The Rock is the first black WWE world champion, achieving this feat in 1998.

Although he rarely performs in the ring nowadays, ‘the great one’ still makes occasional appearances just like he did at Wrestlemania 28.

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