Pro Wrestling's Coolest Moves That Actually Work in Real Fights (Part 1)

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2012

Pro Wrestling's Coolest Moves That Actually Work in Real Fights (Part 1)

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    Pro Wrestling gets a lot of criticism for being "fake" fighting, but in reality there are many things these people do which can and will hurt you if performed without the care they use when in the ring with each other.

    Many injuries have been due to the fact that a move was performed either wrong, too stiff or just intentionally by the person in order to hurt the opponent.

    While many moves in the wrestling ring would be totally illogical in a fight, there are actually many things they do which could be used to defend yourself.

    In this slideshow, I will take a look at some of the more realistically lethal moves that are performed in the ring, but before I begin, please allow me to give you some background information as to why I am qualified to speak on this subject.

    When I was six I began training in Martial Arts and I continued to train for 13 years. During that time I also became an instructor, sometimes teaching as many as 30 students at once ranging in ages from 6-60 and all levels of experience.

    I taught Police officers, Military veterans and soccer moms alike. I also competed in tournaments in both fighting competitions as well as demonstrations, earning numerous awards throughout the years.

    During my time, I also experienced many injuries both minor and major. I have broken and sprained some bones, strained and torn some tendons, pinched nerves, received more bruises than I can recall and even dislocated my shoulder.

    The only reason I did not continue is that a congenital leg condition I was born with caused me to start experiencing pain in my knees to the point of not being able to perform how I once could.

    I hope this gives you some insight as to why I am qualified to speak on this subject. In Part 1, I will go over the more obvious things which can be used in a real fight and in Part 2, I will look at some of the more unrealistic things from wrestling which can hurt someone.

Kicks and Knees

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    There are so many different types of kicks and knee-based moves used by wrestlers that it would take forever to list them all, so I thought it would be better to put them in one general category.

    Some of the more dangerous kicks are the ones performed without as much control by the person executing it. The Beautiful Disaster is one example of a move that could easily cause an injury if the timing is off.

    The roundhouse kick used by CM Punk and many others is one that can knock a man out if the kick lands right on the temple with enough force.

    The big boot to the face is also one that has caused more than one bloody and broken nose inside a wrestling ring.

    The list goes on and on; dropkicks, missile dropkicks, mule kicks, super-kicks, buzz-saw kicks and the running boot are just a few of the common moves we see used which could make for an injured opponent.

    Would being able to pull many of these off in a fight be possible? Most likely the answer, is no, but the majority of the more simple kicks are ones you will see used in Martial Arts and MMA.

    The knee is one of the most lethal parts of the human body because it is extremely strong and can be used to hit someone with a lot of force.

    Whenever I see William Regal hit his running knee to the face, I cringe, because I know there has to be at least one guy out there who ended up taking the full force of a running knee on accident.

Punches and Elbows

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    Let's face it, Boxing and MMA would not be dangerous if punches and elbows were not lethal in a fight.

    Using your elbow, you can easily hurt another person in many ways, whether it is striking them or simply applying pressure to a specific point with the tip of the elbow.

    Many MMA fighters, and all boxers, make their matches exciting with big knockout blows. Punches are generally done with a more open fist by wrestlers but can still cause issues when someone gets a little too amped up.

    The point of the elbow is one of the most powerful parts of the human body in terms of its ability to hurt an opponent, and with the amount of elbow drops and running elbows we see in wrestling, it is a shock more guys don't get bruised ribs or lose some teeth.

    Matt Morgan's series of elbows in the corner with his back to his opponent is especially risky since he is not actually seeing where he is going to hit.

    Wrestlers deserve a lot of credit for making moves like Macho Man's elbow drop look worse than they are, because we could easily see someone with a punctured lung if too much force is dropped all at once like that.

Sleeper/Choke Hold

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    The sleeper hold is one that, when applied properly, can kill a person.

    I want those words to sink in so you know how dangerous it is the next time you think about sneaking up behind your buddy and putting one on.

    This is just one in a long list of reasons that parents do not want their kids doing backyard wrestling.

    The sleeper is not necessarily a choke where it cuts off the person's lungs from their mouth, it usually is used to cut the supply of blood and oxygen off from the brain.

    If applied for a long enough time after a person has passed out, it can cause the person to go into a coma, suffer brain damage and even die if not treated properly right away.

    When you see someone choked out in an MMA fight you will generally see two things; the ref will try and get the two separated as soon as possible, and the person who is out will have their legs elevated to help increase blood flow back to the brain.

    Having had a choke/sleeper held on me for a bit longer than necessary during one class I was teaching, I can tell you from experience that it is a terrifying experience to see the blackness start to close in around everything in sight.

    Wrestlers have various ways of letting their opponent know if there is too much pressure in a hold, but in a real fight you can't simply tap the person's arm and expect them to let up.


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    Various arm holds can be very painful and they are used heavily by law enforcement to subdue suspects. The arms are most people's go-to in a fight in terms of weapons on their own body, but in reality they are the easiest thing on someone's body to take out.

    The arms had three major joints in the shoulder, elbow and wrist and then 14 smaller joints in the fingers and thumb. Each one of these can be separated and broken with less pressure than you might think.

    I once witnessed a man in his 30s who was well over 200 pounds have his shoulder dislocated by a girl who weighed no more than 120 pounds simply because she used all her body weight to wrench his arm and he did not roll with her, so his arm rolled right out of his shoulder and hung by his side like a wet noodle until it was snapped back in.

    This happened in a controlled Martial Arts tournament with much less than full-contact rules. She had simply intended to roll him over for an arm-bar similar to how Alberto Del Rio performs the move, but these things happen by accident all the time, imagine what she could do if she actually wanted to hurt someone.

    If Del Rio went to roll one way and his opponent tried to roll another, it might not have a very nice outcome for the person in the hold.


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    Any move which puts the amount of pressure on someone's neck as these types of moves do is bound to cause some injuries.

    Darren Drozdov had his career cut short by a powerbomb gone wrong, Stone Cold almost had to quit wrestling after a botched piledriver and Bob Holly almost lost the ability to walk from a powerbomb.

    The types of mats WWE and other organizations use, as well as the training which wrestlers should have received, should make it easy to perform these moves without causing injury, but these are not perfect sciences and mistakes happen.

    In a real fight, the opportunity to do these kinds of moves do not come up very often, but it does happen and in MMA we have seen variations of powerbombs used as defensive and offensive moves.

    The DDT is likely to be the one someone would have the best chance of doing in a real fight, but in the worst case scenario the person being driven to the ground could crack their skull and possibly die.

    Whenever someone's neck and/or back are involved you have the potential for a career- and even life-ending injury.

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