The UFC and WWE are closer than ever these days as they continue to swap athletes back and forth. After the early success of Ken Shamrock in the octagon, to the persistent rumors that Ronda Rousey will make her crossover debut this year, the two sports have become intertwined. Some others that have already crossed over, or are expected to in the near future, include:
- Brock Lesnar
- CM Punk
- Paige VanZant
While there are obvious differences in the execution and purpose of the two sports, they do come from similar backgrounds and thus share some signature moves. With the growth of mixed martial arts in general, the WWE has embraced more authentic submissions over the more flamboyant but ultimately less effective ones.
Here are a few moves that have crossed over from MMA to the WWE:
1. German Suplex – First we have one going the other way. The suplex has deep roots in professional wrestling, being a staple throw throughout history. American Alpha even completed simultaneous ones to win the NXT tag-team championship in Dallas last year.
It’s also been put into great effect in the UFC, by people like Jon Jones. When Jones dumped Stephan Bonnar on his head in a classic match up in 2009, the arena exploded. It’s still one of the most remembered moments in his career.
2. Armbar – One of the most common submissions in the MMA, the armbar has been used to devastating effect by Ronda Rousey throughout her career. It was actually first used in the octagon by the legendary Royce Gracie way back in UFC 2.
It’s had variations over the years in the WWE, but no one is using it quite like Asuka in NXT. The current Women’s Champion can seemingly catch anyone in it at any time, making her one of the most dangerous fighters in the division.
3. Kimura Lock – A staple of the submission game, Kimura locks are a weapon from almost any position on the ground. The most notable was probably at UFC 140 when Frank Mir broke Minotauro Nogueira’s shoulder with it.
When Brock Lesnar came back to the WWE, he started using his MMA skills to great effect. His Kimura has supposedly broken the arms of both Shawn Michaels and Triple H, which is definitely possible considering the strength of the former UFC heavyweight.
Samoa Joe loves the move, and is just the latest in a line of wrestlers who have used it. Because of Joe’s huge frame, it looks totally inescapable.
5. Gogoplata – Another underutilized but effective submission is the Gogoplata. Brad Imes, a former UFC heavyweight called himself Mr. Gogoplata and ended two consecutive fights with the difficult move.
In the WWE, the Undertaker uses it as the “Hell’s Gate” finisher, occasionally making his opponent spit up blood. He even used it against Lesnar at SummerSlam in 2015, winning the match after causing him to pass out.
Kurt Angle, a former Olympic champion wrestler and WWE star, used an ankle lock as his finisher. He made countless opponents tap out to the painful hold.