As co-host of the original American Gladiators series, Mike Adamle has witnessed his fair share of punches, kicks and body slams. Good thing, too. All the better to prepare him for his latest role: WWE on-air personality.
Best known for his Gladiator role (1989 – 1996), Adamle joins the WWE broadcast team this Sunday at the Royal Rumble, where he'll get his feet wet interviewing Superstars. From there, Adamle will join team Raw on Monday nights doing, as he describes it, "a little bit of everything."
Growing up near Chicago, the sportscaster says his ties to wrestling go way back. "I remember going to see matches with my Dad and my sister," Adamle fondly recalls. "We would watch Bobo Brazil do his move called the Coco Butt, [a head butt]."
Adamle says he appreciates the innovation of Superstars such as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and current American Gladiators co-host Hulk Hogan.
"Anytime you have an athlete who's remembered years afterward, that's special," he says.
These days, Adamle admires a host of Superstars, but when pressed on which pair he'd particularly be thrilled to see clash, the man who's covered two Olympic Games doesn't hesitate.
"Triple H going up against Randy Orton would be a great match," replies Adamle. "You've got two tremendous athletes and a lot of showmanship."
As a former NFL running back in the early 1970s, Adamle says he's encouraged by the showier aspects of sports-entertainment.
"Even as a [football player], I always felt I was an entertainer first," he says. "After I'd make a great play on special teams, I'd try to wave to the crowd. Now, when someone scores a touchdown and celebrates, they're penalized. In the WWE, they're encouraged."
Adamle's NFL days may be behind him, but that doesn't mean he's confined to the couch. Several years ago, after feeling a few aches and pains and having put on some extra poundage, Adamle decided to refocus by training for a triathlon. "I finished in about 14 hours," recalls Adamle of his first crack at the competition.
Since then, he's competed in four more triathlons and shaved roughly two hours off his time. Despite being so fit, however, Adamle says he's more comfortable interviewing Superstars as opposed to battling them.
"I feel like I'm not big enough to compete against these guys," says the 5-foot-9-inch Adamle, with a chuckle. "They'd have to start me off against Hornswoggle."
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