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5 Professional Wrestlers Who Use MMA Moves In The Ring

The Undertaker Hell's Gate

Another MMA fighter is leaving the Octagon in favor of pro wrestlings’ squared circle (and a circular cage, too).  Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, former UFC Light Heavyweight champion, has signed with TNA Wrestling and Bellator MMA.

We hope Rampage has greater success in his new MMA home than former Strikeforce star King Mo did in his debut, but it’s his foray into predetermined matches that intrigues us most.  He may not have ever cracked someone over the head with a steel chair during a UFC fight (that’s definitely not allowed), but his amateur wrestling and boxing backgrounds will most likely serve as the basis for whatever style/persona he adopts in TNA.  His experience with powerbombs should also come in handy.

Elements of MMA have been used in pro wrestling since its inception, given the various submissions, strikes, and, yes, wrestling maneuvers used.  Aside from Jackson and Mo, let’s take a look at five other wrestlers utilizing mixed martial arts techniques and how it fits into their styles.  This is not a complete list by any means so feel free to add your own in the comments section.

The Undertaker


While going walking the top rope then smashing your opponent in the back of the head is an MMA no-no, The Undertaker has a kickboxing and brazilian jiu-jitsu background. To integrate his BJJ training and maybe take some of the heavy lifting (pun intended) out of match-ending sequences, he added the ‘Hell’s Gate’ submission, a crudely executed shin choke/gogoplata, to his arsenal as a finisher.


CM Punk has been kicking it for a long time…literally. Chicago’s straight-edged bad boy uses both flying knees and knees in the clinch, as well as a variety of leg and head kicks, all from his muay thai background. We highly doubt he’d be able to pull of the GTS in a cage fight, though.

Samoa Joe


TNA’s Samoa Joe, much like CM Punk, will use muay thai-style kicks and knees.  He also was a Cal State Junior Judo Champion and has a great rear naked choke finisher.  While most wrestlers may not show great technique with MMA disciplines during a match (so as to not actually knock or choke out their opponent, for example), Joe’s RNC looks better than most popular wrestlers’ submissions, as he usually takes his opponents’ back and sinks in hooks with his legs.

Kurt Angle


Olympic gold medalist. Former pro wrestling champion. Recent TNA Hall of Fame inductee.  Kurt Angle has been leveraging his freestyle wrestling background in the WWE and TNA for over fifteen years. Aside from various suplexes, Angle’s ankle lock submission has been used in various forms by jiu-jitsu, catch wrestling and judo practitioners throughout history. It’s true. It’s so true.

Honorable mention goes to Jack Swagger, who comes from a less-decorated, but still notable, amateur wrestling background and uses the ankle lock (Patriot Lock) submission to finish.

Brock Lesnar


You didn’t think we’d forget Brock, did you? The University of Minnesota wrestling standout and 2000 NCAA heavyweight champ made his money in the WWE before landing in the UFC where he quickly won heavyweight gold utilizing his ridiculous size, speed, and wrestling acumen.  Brock’s unfortunate bout with diverticulitis, and a knack for getting hit in the face by men with some decent takedown defense, shortened his MMA career. He wound up back in the WWE and added an ugly kimura submission to his wrestling mix, despite never having actually used it when he was fighting in the UFC. Stick to the F5’s, big man.

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