It was reported yesterday by Deadline that MGM is teaming up with WWE for a reboot of the television show American Gladiators.
With the popularity of programs like Ninja Warrior and possibly even COVID convincing networks to pump out relatively cheap content for easy turnover money, along with cashing in on the nostalgia craze we’re all obsessed with to give us some level of comfort, this is no surprise. American Gladiators doesn’t even require many of the same headaches a normal show would, such as a writing team tasked to come up with buzz-worthy storylines. It’s pretty straightforward: the same set, the same games, new challengers every week and you’re good to go.
The core cast, though, has to be colorful characters who are muscular, athletic and can be a bit over the top. This is perfect for WWE and I’m surprised a connection wasn’t made sooner.
I was a fan of this show during its original run and checked out the 2008 reboot, too. It’s over the top and silly, but it’s fun nonsense to watch in the background while you’re eating or want to shut your brain off instead of diving deep into a more complex storyline.
As someone who’s watched the show and used to root for the gladiators all the time as a kid, I couldn’t help myself but to start looking at the WWE roster, wondering who might make good cast members.
Mind you, I don’t think people should be leaving WWE for this gig. However, I do think there’s an opportunity here that should be capitalized on. There should be one “guest gladiator” every week or every so often, at least, who is a WWE Superstar. They can be given gimmicky names like the core team and really try to get a crossover audience going.
Last time around, there were 10 men and 10 women as gladiators. For the sake of variety, I’ve gone ahead and written up my top 30 picks who I think could be great gladiators, as well as some cheesy nickname suggestions for as many of them as I can think of. Be sure to check out the bonus pick at the end, too!
Top 10 WWE American Gladiator Ideas – Women’s Superstars
Bianca Belair = Belair is able to pull off the whole EST of WWE gimmick because she’s legitimately that athletic. The woman’s a beast. She killed it at the WWE PC Combine stuff in the past, apparently, too. I think as far as a nickname goes, they could play the combo game and go with Beast, but spelled bEaST to get the “EST” thing in there.
Charlotte Flair = Clearly, her nickname is Queen. Flair is one of the more domineering athletes in the WWE women’s division as far as looks go. She also has her background in gymnastics and volleyball to help her out with this sort of competition.
Dana Brooke = Is she not perfect for this? Brooke isn’t utilized a ton on WWE television, so taking the time off to film an episode shouldn’t be a problem. She’s also had lots of experience with fitness competitions and has exactly the look you’d go for in an American Gladiator. With those muscles and that blonde hair, let’s call her Bombshell.
Ivy Nile = I’m of two opinions for Ivy Nile’s name. Either you go with Poison to play into the “poison ivy” idea, or you remember that she’s in Diamond Mine and call her Diamond. As part of the Titan Games show (and the first female Titan champion), she’s an absolute 100% must for this. There are no debates.
Raquel Gonzalez = Among the tallest on the roster, Gonzalez doesn’t have a set nickname of her own right now. However, her father was Ricky “Desperado” Gonzalez. Maybe she could be Desparada to pay tribute?
Rhea Ripley = Can you imagine trying to beat someone Ripley’s size and strength? It’s not going to be easy, that’s for sure. She checks off the whole “attractive and big and muscular with a unique look that would stand out from the rest” package. Also, she comes ready with a nickname of Nightmare.
Shayna Baszler = The Queen of Spades has the public notoriety, the MMA experience and the boost in showmanship from her time as a WWE Superstar that she would make for considerably tough competition on this.
Sonya Deville = Deville originally played up her MMA background and wanted to go with a Jersey Devil theme for her character. Obviously, Devil would be her nickname and she’d be able to flex more of her athleticism than what she’s doing now as an authority figure.
Xia Li = Not only is Xia Li great in NXT, she’s a co-founder of her own fitness studio and trained in martial arts wherein she won several competitions, such as the Second World Traditional Chinese Wushu Championship, Nike Challenge Competition and First China Throw Down: Battle on the Bund. I’m blanking on a nickname for her, but maybe Zhànshì, which means warrior in Chinese.
Zoey Stark = While I was tempted to put down some other women like Mandy Rose (let’s go with Thorn as her nickname), Naomi (Glow), Tamina (Superfly, maybe?) and even Lacey Evans (who would totally be Belle as her nickname), Zoey Stark caught my attention. She hasn’t developed much of a gimmick or any nicknames, but as her real name is Lacey Ryan, maybe they give her an outfit that can play into the nickname Lace and be more on the sexier side of gladiators. They’ve had the name Lace before, so let’s bring it back.
Top 20 WWE American Gladiator Ideas – Men’s Superstars
Apollo Crews = “One Man Nation” is some nickname of his that I was completely unaware of. While the name Nation doesn’t strike me as a great one to use, they’ve had some more location-based names over the years like Malibu and Dallas. It’s not the best, but it could work. More so, he could work as a gladiator based on his size, strength and speed.
Big E = I’m not huge on the name Power just because of the power of positivity, but E-Train is a signature maneuver of his that doesn’t get called that as often. Maybe that could be his name? In any fashion, Big E’s as bombastic as you can get. He’d not only be a wrecking ball in the competitive sense, but he’d be super fun to watch during these challenges and the perfect level of trash talking without being a jerk.
Bobby Lashley = Give it up for All Mighty. You can’t tell me seeing a guy the size of Bobby Lashley opposite you in one of these competitions wouldn’t make you second guess why you thought you had any chance at winning. If you don’t go with All Mighty, call back to his past as Blaster. That’s an incredibly fitting American Gladiators name.