MMA Fighters going into wrestling

With Ronda signing with WWE how do we feel she’s going to transition into wrestling. The last couple of years has seen a few MMA fighters move into pro wrestling and do it pretty well. Wai mentioned during a review this past week that they saw Shayna Baszler about 18 months ago and she was good but she’s even better now. One of my current favourites to watch is Matt Riddle (even with his occasional over the top no selling) and I know Tom Lawler has gone into wrestling, I haven’t seen much of him and not heard anything bad about him.
Thinking about it outside of Tank Abbot, MMA fighters aren’t too bad when they come into wrestling. Ken Shamrock was never truly awful in the ring, Dan Severn was trusted with the NWA World title for ages (even though that belt didn’t mean much at the time) and Josh Barnett got to main event a Tokyo dome show.
I also have to ask is Ronda in the right place to advance and get better? The thing with Shayna & Riddle is they committed to wrestling 100% and were working indy shows all over the world with a wide variety of talent. Granted Ronda will be with some of the greatest talent in the world at the performance centre but she’s also got a movie career to think about.

I always dug Shamrock. It’s interesting to think of MMA as a niche sport but him, Gracie, and the late Kevin Randleman were the main names I recall from that time. As you mentioned, certain MMA fighters have put in considerable time and effort towards a pro wrestling career. Baszler’s size, technical prowess, and burgeoning charisma show promise, and I hope she’s given enough time in NXT to really hit her stride as a big heel than get rushed to the main brand and get stuck in a stable. After the rumored Ronda/Stephanie feud, I think the NXT Horsewomen/MMA Horsewoman feud would be next in the cards for Ronda.

I’m generally not big on Ronda as a viable draw given her big fall from grace, made less so with her unneeded appearance at the Rumble and WM showboating. It just seemed disrespectful to all the female talent who have been in the trenches fighting for legitimacy with the male pro wrestlers. Perhaps what would be most damaging is the possible portrayal of her as a female Lesnar. Someone else had the right idea that a female Shamrock would be a better template. All things being equal, I’ve never appreciated Lesnar as a part-time special attraction who curb-stomps workhorses and gets to carry a belt.

Lesnar got a lot of people watching WWE shows who wouldn’t otherwise watch. Ronda is going to do the same, even more so I would suspect.

To me, its ridiculous to get upset about STARS being treated as STARS.

Fozzy can tour the planet a hundred times playing in front of 3,000 people in clubs. I know this is a ridiculous analogy, but if Tom Brady started a rock band tomorrow and asked Fozzy to open, and this Tom Brady rock band could draw 10,000 people based on Brady’s name, you think Jericho is going to feel disrespected? Fuck no, he’s going to take the opportunity and run with it.

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Oh but back to the original thread. All I can remember about Tank Abbott is his run with 3 count. Just watched some stuff on youtube and it did not age well at all…

I think the difference between Ronda and Brock is that Brock was a fully trained wrestler and can put on good matches. Ronda is literally learning it right now, at a time like this she needs that ring time to improve.

Shamrock was trained and had worked in pro wrestling previously as well, if I recall correctly.

To be fair, Tank Abbott was an unbelievably shit fighter as well, so this matches up.


Don’t forget the founder of Pancrase, Minoru Suzuki. Suzuki, Sakuraba, and Shinsuke Nakamura all transitioned well from MMA to Pro Wrestling.

I think the biggest trait in an MMA fighter’s successful transition to pro wrestling is their passion for it. Riddle, Baszler, Lawlor and even Ronda were all fans of pro wrestling before they began training as wrestlers. As far as I know, Tank Abbott was not, and it showed.

Making it to the UFC is a VERY exclusive club that requires years of dedication and training. Directing that same mentality towards professional wrestling training, coupled with their existing athleticism and a great deal of crossover in MMA techniques in modern pro wrestling styles, gives all of them a great edge over crossover stars from more traditional sports such as weightlifting or football.

This is why I feel Ronda, especially with WWE’s protective booking, will more than impress in-ring. She’s got Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather and Mr. T levels of mainstream appeal, but she poses the ability to actually have compelling matches in-ring.


Part of why Riddle is so good is because he was a backyarder before he began MMA training.

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Riddle landed, IMO, the scariest KO in Ultimate Fighter history.

It’s also been mentioned that you can tell Riddle adores wrestling. People have said he’s the happiest guy in the world whenever he’s approached at wrestling shows and that translates to when he’s in the ring. He’s also mastered that “switch” that some wrestlers can do where you know the match is switching gears.

Matt Riddle vs. Kota Ibushi would be the happiest you’ll ever see two guys kicking the ever loving shit out of each other. Just so happy to be there doing it, the pair of them. It’d be adorable if it wasn’t so terrifying.

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