Pure Power: From Soccer to WWE and Bodybuilding, Stuart Tomlinson

A sprinter sport. Yes. For small impregnables. Of course. Maximum weights? Limited, but still present between defense, midfield and attack. In football you need agility, knowing how to move in every situation, going beyond your own weight and being graceful. Ibrahimovic teaches: with a hard training behind him, the body only serves to counteract the opponents, sweeping them. Clearing up doubts about the immobility that 95 kg grant. Imperceptible dimensions, because they are accepted in modern football, now full of giants in all roles. Even when the eye moves between the poles to observe the needle of the scale beyond the canonical, maximum weight, it is considered how much a goalkeeper must have worked to combine height greater than one meter and 90, a weight that tends to 100 and yet an incomparable reaction speed Like a champion of the paper. The more the weight rises and the lower the height, almost presenting itself to the opposites, the discrepancy of the role is noticeable. The rule, never written but born from the instinct of considering it obvious, seems to hang from the lintel above the heads of the fans: if a goalkeeper weighs much more than his height, he cannot stand out. Basically maybe. But everything lies in the reactivity learned, modeled, conquered at birth. The more the two data go towards opposites, the muscle mass is visible. Topic of discussion. The examples? Schmeichel, Peruzzi and Kahn, the very famous ones. Symbols of the 90s, explosives. Like the hornets, they knew they couldn’t fly like the others. And yet, in fact, they did. As it did to a lesser extent, too stuart tomlinson.

Schmeichel, Peruzzi, Kahn. Three players who lifted the Champions League, won with their national team, stamped their gloves on fresh ground from which to take the mold of their hands. Inimitable. Tomlinson won the FA Trophy at best. Mind you, not the FA Cup. Maybe, maybe Stuart thinks of the ancient land of Albione. A trophy for semi-professional teams, which Stu, now 36, won in 2010 after leaving his first career girlfriend, Crewe Alexandra from Cheshire, for good.

Few goalkeepers like Tomlinson have been seen, not just Great Britain. His physical structure was different from most goalkeepers, even the aforementioned Danish, Italian and German champions. Unlike Schmeichel, Peruzzi and Kahn, he never reached the bottom rung of the football temple. He stopped midway, either by fate, or by an ability not comparable to that of his companions. Stuart, however, has always impressed, flying, darting from pole to pole (metaphorically) Wakashimazu-style, surpassing his hundred kg by 185 cm. A huge difference for a goalkeeper, never a problem for the boy from Chester.


Physically well placed, Tomlinson grew up with Crewe, making a living playing minor league football. Salaries at the beginning of the millennium light years away from those of the Premier, but also of the Championship that he will have the opportunity to study only in the early years of his teens, half youth and half in the first team. He has always combined his passion for football with his passion for fitness. Become a tank, a tank at the exits. The missing centimeters of height are replaced by those of muscular breadth. And so the opponents crash into him. The ball hits Stuart. Just like the dreams of him.

Continuously plagued by injuries, Tomlinson will be forced to say goodbye to football due to a serious knee problem, the last of many knockouts suffered during his career. Ankles, crossed, ligaments. They jump. He jumps them, overtakes them and returns to the field. At the right moments, when teams from the higher ranks look to him to bring him to their side, more than as a footballer than as a bodyguard, there is always something to deal with. Physical problems, in the first place, but also financial offers often judged ridiculous by their clubs and positions taken by them, insurmountable.



With a bodybuilding physique, perhaps what really stops Tomlinson from being an English goalkeeper in sight is his good placement. An end to look at with curiosity rather than with respect. Desire, envy, crack. It means a definitive stop, not a phenomenon. Because no matter what you think, Stuart, it never was. Good goalkeeper, but not excellent. Those number ones that make their figure in the Championship and that even before a small opportunity in the Premier, in the end they have to settle for the third, if not the fourth, series.

When at the time of Burton Albion, in the fourth series, he suffers a torn anterior cruciate ligament, he is forced to retire. He is just 28 years old. He can’t do anything else, because the doctors are clear: he risks worse problems than having to skip a race through the green English countryside. The sadness is great, but the end is only the beginning.

Tomlinson does have good looks, a statuesque physique and experience in sports. He knows how to make his body as perfect as possible, studying nutritional values, intervals between meals, training series. He was contacted by the well-known Men’s Health magazine, whose cover is highly coveted around the world. He will end up there seven times, as his Instagram profile description currently says. He will be one of the first, however, to earn Tomlinson a particular request, unexpected even for a Hercules like him. The WWE:

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“I owe a huge thank you to Men’s Health. WWE saw my photos in the magazine and contacted me for an audition.”


The US wrestling federation, by far the most famous in the world, judges the cover first. And then the book. An athlete with 100 kg of muscle? Requirement. With the prospect of working as a model, Tomlinson also takes a surprise plunge into WWE. Not that Stuart is completely oblivious to the world of Rick Rude, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, Macho Man. As he told the Mirror, she’s always been his former passionate interest anyway:

“My older brother and I were always fighting and we had all the old VHS tapes. We grew up watching them, it’s something that always interested me. there watching Monday Night Raw. I was joking around in training trying to fight them.”

And with a body like that, maybe it’s better than not. Tomlinson plays soccer on the weekends, trains during the week, combines a double passion that will lead him to have both:

“They were looking for talent from the UK, I was lucky to try, they immediately made me sign the contract and here I am.”

The two worlds, however, are very different. Soccer and wrestling are different realities and also have different possibilities within them. Content also has similarities common to all industries: without experience, you can’t have it all right away. Tomlison has to wait for his moment, which will only come under the WWE banner in the fall of 2014, a year after Vince McMahon signed with the company:

“There is no way for an inexperienced footballer to enter the Real Madrid first team directly, so I realized that it was going to take some time.. You don’t go in and expect to be at the highest level. Perhaps the thing that has kept me from being on television the most is the minor injuries I sustained.”

If you’ve had the opportunity to attend a WWE broadcast, be it Smackdown, Raw, or the pay-per-view events connected to them, the wording at the beginning of it is continually present, necessary: ​​”Don’t try this at home.” Anyway, the myth of the fighters is ok, but don’t try to imitate them at home. Because behind the fight is the stunt training. Know how to receive blows in a choreographic way without risking your life:

“My first year I was lucky enough to go to WrestleMania for NXT Axxess, and that’s when I broke my bicep there. I learned how to get hit on a table, sometimes 50 times in a row. I learned how to do it safe.” , but I still feel like I have whiplash.”

Tomlinson is one of the few dozen candidates who manage to enter the WWE circuit in the face of more than 10,000 thanks, we will let you know. Despite this, however, the name Hugo Knox, the moniker used after transitioning to wrestling, will never truly shine. The federation will use it at home and in Ireland for the performances of NXT, which over time has become the third official roster on a par with Raw and Smackdown, but in terms of media coverage far inferior to the two great historical shows of twenty years.

In the world of wrestling, Tomlinson learns new techniques, showing all the agility of his football days. The same ones who could not convince the opposing fans, always determined to call him fat, implying with mocking chants that he had swallowed all the cakes in town. Of the 112 kg achieved between 2014 and 2016, the year in which he will leave WWE, very little body fat is seen. Suplex, elbow, dropkick. Basic wrestling moves in tiny polka dot boxer shorts.

Unusable when in 2017, aware of his chronic knee problems, he will return to the courts in the sixth English series. At Altrincham FC he closed football for good, moving full-time to a life as a model, personal trainer and dog lover. His little British Bulldogs even have their own Instagram profile. Infinitesimals, both newborns and at their average size of 40 cm, compared to the body of his friend Stuart. Who was a wrestling athlete and a soccer player. Goalkeeper, without being in the eyes of generalists. But being much more than the others.

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