Five Examples Of MMA’s Influence On Pro-Wrestling

Some people tend to think that Mixed Martial Arts and Pro Wrestling are at odds with each other. The quibble is solely about MMA being “real,” and wrestling being “staged.” This is a tired and unconvincing issue, in my opinion. It is akin to complaining that tap dancing is worse than ballet because it involves improvisation instead of careful choreography. They’re still tricky disciplines involving the same inherent act in dancing. This is true with MMA and wrestling. Both are about technique, power, and stamina. Each rewards the best and requires years of training to master. But the similarities don’t end there. While MMA borrowed interviews/promos and showmanship from wrestling, mixed martial arts has imparted a few traits onto the wrestling scene. Here are five examples of that.

The “Shoot” Fighting Style.

Perhaps the most potent example is how pro-wrestling has become more “real.” A “shoot” is a reference to ‘shooters’ who were real trained catch wrestlers who could take you down and pound you into the dirt. Especially on the indie scene, we see less “gimmicky” wrestlers and more technicians. Everything looks real. It isn’t perfect and crisp. Moves and holds are a struggle to put on. This reflects the reality of what a real fight would be; you wouldn’t just allow someone to put you in a headlock. The below match between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt Dominic Garrini and catch wrestling technical warlock Zack Sabre Jr is a fan example. I would also suggest checking out the classic UWF promotion from Japan for more “shoot style.”

Lion’s Den Match

While the steel cage existed long before the Octagon, WWF took inspiration from MMA’s steel cage format to create the “Lion’s Den Match.” Matches inside the sunken ring of steel usually featured Ken Shamrock and other practitioners of MMA. It led itself to a more “legit” feel than the zany, colorful “New Generation” style wrestling of the early to mid-90s.

MMA-styled Gear

Another small change has been the modification in gear. Fewer wrestlers are in trunks or pants or singlets. We’re seeing more wrestlers wearing shorts and rash guards.


And what about MMA-style gloves? You can thank the Undertaker for that.


Perhaps the most noticeable addition is the prevalent use of submission finishers. Before, you’d only see the figure-four and occasionally a headlock. Now we have omoplatas, gogoplatas, kimuras, armbars and much more.

What do you think about MMA’s influence on pro-wrestling? Share your thoughts in the comments below.