Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) earned a reputation in the 1990s as a gritty, hard-hitting renegade promotion full of violent misfits, but you’d be surprised how many of them went on to win the Nobel Prize.
Here’s a look at the ECW originals who, despite repeated chairshots and falls to the syphilitic floor of a Philadelphia bingo hall, subsequently become some of the world’s most respected academics.
Although he was best known as a cigarette-smoking, beer-swilling, kendo-stick-wielding maniac within the ropes of the ECW ring, Sandman (real name Sandy Mann) spent much of his spare time writing feminist poetry in the vein of Sylvia Plath and Alice Walker. His best-known work, “Exit Light, Enter Night,” was recognized by the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature for “a rich and intensive prose, which with restrained compassion forms a challenging vision of man’s vulnerability.”
Did you ever wonder why the homicidal, suicidal, genocidal maniac spent so much time pointing toward the sky? Despite his reputation as a bloodthirsty sadist who sacrificed his own body to destroy others, Sabu (real name Sir Terrence J. Brunk III) earned his doctorate in astrophysics before ever setting foot in the wrestling ring. He earned the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics for his “development of the heliotropic interferometer for measuring neutrino oscillation, and for sick table bumps.”
Big Dick Dudley
Although he did not achieve the same level of fame as his half-brothers Devon and Bubba, the late Big Dick Dudley (real name Richard Dudley) was clearly the most intelligent of the Dudleys, having transitioned from ECW to a professorship at Harvard Medical School, where he conducted Nobel-winning research into ionic mechanisms involved in excitation and inhibition in the peripheral and central portions in human male genitalia, now known as Big Dick Syndrome.”
Despite his reputation as a loco luchadore, Super Crazy (real name: Bob Smith) was anything but crazy. In fact, his Nobel-winning advances in neurochemistry led to the treatment and cure of countless forms of mental illness, including the peculiar mental defect that makes some otherwise normal people watch and enjoy professional wrestling.
Often regarded as the most dangerously reckless competitor to step inside a wrestling ring, New Jack is notorious for nearly killing numerous opponents. But since his ECW heyday, New Jack (real name Jerome LaFonda Young) has eschewed violence for harmony. He won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for his work to “end homelessness worldwide, particularly among bitches and hoes.” In an upcoming movie about his life, New Jack will be portrayed by Denzel Washington, while New Jack himself will portray Denzel’s best friend.
Most wrestling fans don’t realize that Perry Saturn is the namesake of the planet Saturn, which he discovered as an astronomy grad student at Berkeley in the late 1980s. He later won the Nobel for the discovery, and celebrated the honor by getting himself a very classy face tattoo.
According to former ECW honcho Paul Heyman, “Everyone knew Ian Rotten was a genius — you could tell just by looking at him.” Pro wrestling was always just a sociological experiment for Rotten (real name Dr. Emmanuel M. Farnsworth, PhD), who is the only person to have ever won a Nobel Prize in every category. His famous Taipei Death Match against his brother Axel was, he once wrote, a “dramatic embodiment of the human condition and the eternal struggle between idealism, solipsism, and nihilism.”