For years, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) considered each other as business rivals, which they still are, to a certain extent.
However, with more and more fans accepting the WWE’s open approach toward Kayfabe, with the PG-era WWE head-honchos promoting pro-wrestling as more ‘entertainment’ than ‘sport’; the high-voltage tension between the world’s top pro-wrestling organisation and the premier MMA organisation, seems to have cooled off.
That said, although the WWE slams and submissions are executed in a safe manner, with the main focus being flashiness and scripted storylines; several WWE submission moves are derived from the arts of Catch-Wresting, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and other grappling arts.
Many of the signature submission moves utilised by various WWE Superstars such as ‘The Rock’, Trish Stratus, Sasha Banks, Chris Jericho and many others are, in fact, legitimate grappling techniques with the only difference being the intensity with which the submission is applied in pro-wrestling and MMA.
Nevertheless, their application in the WWE and the UFC are undeniable. Let’s take a look at a few such highly effective and fight-ending, submission moves:
#5 Bulldog Choke/ Headlock
The Bulldog choke is an excellent but severely under-utilized choke-variation, in MMA. Much like the Guillotine choke, the fighter wraps one arm around his opponent’s neck, however, instead of facing his opponent from the guard, the bulldog choke is applied from the left or right side; with his back turned towards the opponent.
Similarly, pro-wrestling matches involve several variations of the headlock. The headlock is featured in several WWE matchups, being used in head-and-arm throws, or being turned into neck-crank submission manoeuvres.
Multiple time WWE champions such as Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and virtually every pro-wrestler in the world has utilised headlocks in their in-ring performances, with the simple headlock being used as a starting point for working towards more flashy slams and/or submissions.
Carlos ‘The Ronin’ Newton is a Canadian MMA legend and former UFC Welterweight champion who used the ‘Bulldog choke’ to submit fellow MMA legend and former UFC WW champ, Pat Miletich at UFC 31, in 2001.
Raquel ‘Rocky’ Pennington used a headlock to transition to the bulldog choke position and submit Ashley Evans-Smith in the final second of the first round of their UFC 181 bout, in 2014.
Now we all know the Kayfabe/Sporting competition difference between WWE and UFC moves, but the Bulldog choke often resulting from the headlock in pro-wrestling is a truly effective submission manoeuvre as evidenced by its successful application in the sport of MMA as well as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ).