The Greatest Pro Wrestling Moves That Have Actually Been Used In MMA Fights

Phil Brooks is set to make his UFC debut soon, and the former CM Punk will definitely be bringing in a lot of pro wrestling eyeballs to UFC 203. Back in his wrestling days, he slipped in references to MMA, and now, he’s in the unique position to return his own favor. There are plenty of submission holds and various suplexes and amplitude throws with roots in traditional martial arts that get used a lot in pro wrestling. However, here are some of the moves more on the sports-entertainment side that have been pulled off in the world of MMA.

Elbow Drop

In the waning seconds of a fight against Joe Ellenberger, Moontasri stood up, leapt into the air, and came crashing down with a combination hammerfist and elbow drop. It didn’t knock out Ellenberger, and didn’t even give “Moon Walker” enough style points to win the fight, so this just skates into the list. Maybe if James had spammed elbow drops from the last minute of the fight, or jumped from the top of the Octagon, he would have had better luck.


While it’s typically used by tiny Japanese men when they face off against monstrosities several times their size, there is a small slice of practical application to a dropkick. If you want to initiate grappling with an opponent, you have to get close enough to grab ’em. Most of the time, that results in being close enough to get socked in the head, which is the quickest way to suffer a demotion in belt rank. A dropkick usually results in a fighter close enough to grab for a leg, but it uses an attacker’s entire body to put distance between head and fist.


Cat Zingano just wants you to get within clinch range. Instead of brutalizing your face with knees like the previous thirty other times, though, she just snaps you right over. This might technically be closer to a double underhook suplex, but it’s still pretty awesome.

Koji Clutch and LeBell Lock

It’s the Shannon Special!

Coty Shannon is a regional amateur with a penchant for submitting dudes in fun ways. He’s got wins by omoplata crossface, better known as the LeBell/Yes!/No! Lock, and what looks like maybe a baseball choke, but it’s way closer to a Koji Clutch than anything taught at a BJJ academy.


Strictly speaking, this is an illegal spike under the unified rules of mixed martial arts.

Typically, though, there’s a bit of leeway in the enforcement, since the victim of a piledriver is usually attempting to grapple the attacker, and has the option to let go for defense.

Inverted Boston Crab

I’m a sucker for weird, wonky submissions, and this hold, which basically requires a perfect storm of a flexible, long-limbed attacker and a fairly non-bending opponent to really work is my favorite. It’s probably never going to happen again in a shoot fight, and that’s what makes it so great.


While the various grappling arts will enumerate the methods a person can escape a triangle choke before it is fully sunk, the best way to deal with that submission hold after it is fully locked in is to simply hoist your opponent in the air and violently put them back down on the canvas. Of course, often times, that simply locks the choke in deeper, but it’s still cool as hell to see.

Fisherman Suplex and Brainbuster

The front headlock isn’t used a ton in MMA, but it can result in some fun things. Whether it’s knees to the head, D’arce or anaconda chokes, the position has some solid offensive capabilities. Reaching for an opponent’s leg and lifting him up for a suplex is certainly nothing I’d seen before, but damn if it didn’t work.

This move, however, is pure brutality. Lifting a dude up just by his neck and dropping him down is peak SICK NASTY, BRO.

Giant Swing

Some people like to worry and wrack their brains, trying to figure out how much of Pancrase was worked (it sure as sh*t wasn’t a pure shoot, brother jack dude). I prefer to watch Genki Sudo with giant boots and the most amazing hair giant swing some poor jamoke and then drop down for an Achilles’ lock. That’s just fun entertainment.


This might technically be listed as a hook kick or a side kick, but c’mon, we all know this is some of that Sweet Chin Music. I don’t think Punk’s hips are flexible enough to pull this off, though.