If you’ve ever seen a recent 49ers game, you’ve probably seen tight end superstar George Kittle get a first down. And that means you’ve seen his quick hand gesture that he does right after. He makes a zero with his thumb and index finger with the rest of the fingers pointing up. Then he quickly drop the fingers, signaling the letter M in the process.
The 0-M taunt was taken directly from wrestling. It means “cero miedo” in Spanish, or “zero fear” and it is synonymous with All Elite Wrestling’s Pentagon Jr.
George Kittle — Pentagon Jr.
This one is self-explanatory. He does the taunt. But aside from that, Kittle and Pentagon both come from prestigious beginnings. Kittle played in Iowa, a tight end factory, while Pentagon Jr.’s got his name from a lucha libre legend Pentagon. Both have lived up to their big-name associations.
Kyle Shanahan — Cody Rhodes
Shanahan has a championship-winning head coach for a father in Mike Shanahan. Cody Rhodes also has a championship-winning dad in the late Dusty Rhodes, who pioneered what modern pro wrestling looks like. Both Cody Rhodes and Kyle Shanahan once reached the biggest stage but didn’t quite make its apex. For Rhodes, it was being in WWE but not becoming world champion. For Shanahan, it was making the Super Bowl with the Falcons as offensive coordinator, only to have the Patriots spoil that perfect ending.
And now with the start of All Elite Wrestling and the 49ers making the Super Bowl, both of them are in the driver’s seat ready to take over their respective sports.
Raheem Mostert, Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman — The New Day
The 49ers, more of less, have implemented a running back committee throughout the 2019 season with Mostert leading the way. Sometimes Breida will be the lead rusher and Coleman gets to shine in other games. A running back committee is essentially the pro football version of wrestling’s Freebird Rule, where a group of three or more wrestlers can select whichever two members to compete on its behalf. That’s what The New Day does in WWE. The team — Big E, Xavier Woods, and Kofi Kingston — all take turns being the two wrestlers in the ring.
Kingston won the WWE Championship last year with the help of his New Day friends. And if his postseason performances are any indication, Mostert could be 49ers’ version of Kingston. Which combination of 49ers backs will the team lean on to get them championship of their own?
Jimmy Garoppolo — Orange Cassidy
In this postseason, there are nine quarterbacks with a better passer rating than Jimmy G. That’s not to say he’s a bad passer — he showed the Saints what he could do with his 4-touchdown, 329-yard game — but he hasn’t done a whole lot and his team is seeing success. That sounds a little like AEW’s Cassidy, the disinterested pro wrestler who’s popular because he just stands there. Garoppolo is more than capable of holding his own, though, just like Cassidy.
Nick Bosa — Keith Lee
Bosa is the 49ers’ rookie sensation who’s about to brush greatness in the championship game. Lee, although he’s 13 years older than Bosa, is a relative newcomer to WWE’s NXT brand but he’s already one of the most outstanding wrestlers there. Lee also got to take on current WWE Champion Brock Lesnar in the Royal Rumble match, showing that he’s here to stay. Bosa winning the Lombardi Trophy in his first year could signal the same for the 49ers defensive end.
Richard Sherman — Ric Flair
Sherman is a crafty veteran with world-class trash talking who used to man one of the most dominant groups in the NFL, the Legion of Boom. That’s the football equivalent of the “Nature Boy” Flair, the 16-time world champion and leader of the Four Horsemen.
This video of Richard Sherman talking about Michael Crabtree after the 2015 NFC Championship game fits perfectly with any of the best wrestling promos of Ric Flair’s career.
Flair outnumbers Sherman in championships, but the 49ers cornerback could get just a bit closer to the wrestling legend on Super Bowl Sunday.