Could James Norwood become the first footballer-turned-wrestler?

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It’s unheard of that a professional footballer would even consider climbing into a wrestling ring. However, that’s what Ipswich Town striker James Norwood did, albeit all in the name of charity. It all came about when the former Tranmere Rovers hot-shot recorded some goal celebration gifs for the official Ipswich Town Twitter account, which saw him emulate Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Stone Cold Steve Austin, to name but a few.

Norwood admitted he chose WWE characters because of his long-held love for wrestling, reminiscing about how he and his school pals would act out wrestling moves in their parents’ living rooms. After ‘The Rock’ tweeted Norwood back praising his moves, Norwood was asked to make his in-ring debut as part of a ‘Norwood Mania’ charity event, hosted on behalf of Cancer Research UK.

Norwood paid homage to his WWE wrestling hero ‘The Rock’

He appeared in the ring as a ‘special guest enforcer’ during a match on the International Pro Wrestling (IPW) charity card. He even managed to get in a couple of moves with a tribute to The Rock thrown in there thanks to a slick ‘Rock Bottom’.

It’s unlikely that the Tractor Boys’ boss, Paul Lambert will be overly keen to have Norwood back in the ring, particularly with the Suffolk side in the midst of a promotion battle in League One. Contractually, the idea of a professional footballer wrestling in his spare time does seem somewhat bizarre, given that they are financial assets in this day and age. Norwood might have to wait until he’s hung up his boots to get a real taste of the action.

Could we see a match-up between Norwood and Grant Holt in the ring?

Were this to happen, Norwood would be following in the footsteps of hulking former Norwich City goal hero, Grant Holt. The bulky old pro has since become a professional wrestler in his footballing retirement. Holt goes by the name ‘The Incredible Holt’ and managed to sign a contract with the World Association of Wrestling. He even bagged a 40-man Royal Rumble in his first-ever appearance in the ring as a pro – not bad hey? What do you mean wrestling’s not real?!

Nevertheless, James Norwood will be hoping that he still has several seasons in professional football left in the tank having reached the English Football League (EFL) at quite a late stage in his career. He fired Tranmere back into League Two in the 2017/18 campaign and promptly took to the EFL like a duck to water, finishing the 2018/19 season with 32 goals in all competitions, earning him a lucrative switch to Ipswich in the summer. He bagged five goals in his first six games and has helped lead the line in a team that’s looking to bounce back to the Championship at the first time of asking.

The Tractor Boys are currently a best-priced 13/8 to win League One this season with Betway. This sportsbook offers more than just sports betting markets too, with its own dedicated online and live-streamed casinos proving very popular, particularly with the Betway welcome bonus up for grabs. Unfortunately, that bonus isn’t valid with the Betway sportsbook, but you’re still getting top value for your wager on Ipswich to become League One champs next May.

Norwood’s strike partnership with Kayden Jackson has shown signs of bearing fruit, with Norwood taking the physical blows and allowing Jackson to run in behind League One defences, terrorising them with his searing pace. When both are fit and firing, there’s surely no better front pairing in the division, save for Peterborough’s Ivan Toney and Mo Eisa. The world’s strongest footballer, Adebayo Akinfenwa might have something to say about that remark too!

It’s just over ten years since Norwood last played at League One level. He came on as a late substitute for Exeter City in a narrow 2-1 loss at Leeds United. Despite the then Exeter boss, Paul Tisdale predicting a “bright future” for Norwood, his career drifted, and he ended up dropping to the National League to regain his shooting boots, firstly for Forest Green Rovers and then for Tranmere. Having had to work so hard for his EFL return, it’s unlikely that Norwood would consider swapping an Ipswich jersey for a wrestling belt around his waist just yet.

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