Giovanna Eburneo is a high-level BJJ black belt and has even won an IBJJF European Championship, but she’s recently opted for a change of pace after signing on with WWE as a professional wrestler. It’s an unusual career path to follow for sure, but it’s not entirely unprecedented as there has always been a long-standing relationship between the scripted world of professional wrestling and the combat sports world. A huge number of elite amateur wrestlers have transitioned to WWE over the decades with many of them making a big impact on the organization, like Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle.
It isn’t just wrestlers that have joined the WWE however, as Olympic Judoka and MMA legend Ronda Rousey also signed on to perform for the organization. While Rousey is likely the most famous example from the modern era, the connection between Judo and professional wrestling isn’t new either. In fact, her long-time family friend and mentor ‘Judo’ Gene LeBell had an extensive professional wrestling career during his youth. To date, there aren’t any BJJ black belts who have decided to make that same transition however, likely owing to the fact that it is the least well-known of those grappling arts.
Despite the fact that BJJ has been around for a long time now, the sport has only really started to enter the mainstream consciousness over the last decade or two. It’s understandable then that none of the BJJ champions of the 1990s and early 2000s would’ve been given an opportunity to sign a contract with WWE, if any of them would’ve even wanted to. The latest WWE signing Giovanna Eburneo is an experienced competitor however, stepping onto the mats and reaching the podium numerous times on her journey through the coloured belts. Now that the BJJ black belt has signed with the organization, she may very well lead the way for more BJJ athletes to make the move to professional wrestling.
BJJ black belt and IBJJF European Champion Giovanna Eburneo announced the news that she had signed with WWE as a professional wrestler in a recent post to her official Instagram account: