Bryan Danielson is known as arguably the best technical wrestler in the world and is no stranger to blending grappling into his wrestling.
Bryan has trained for years in jiu-jitsu and has incorporated plenty of grappling techniques into his wrestling style.
Speaking to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Bryan explained why he enjoys using MMA in his wrestling.
"To me, wrestling is like combat theater. MMA is very war-like and competitive. Pro wrestling is much more on the artistic spectrum. One of the things that I do think is that people watching, and they might not be able to identify it, can tell if something looks like it hurts or doesn't look like it hurts. If you're using a real technique that manipulates joints, I try to implement more of those things into my style because even if people can't mentally process why, they understand like 'oh, that makes sense.' One of the things that helped me in WWE, despite being so much smaller than other wrestlers is that a lot of stuff that I do, in theory, I could legitimately do to people. People would believe I get my butt kicked but when it was time to make the comeback, the stuff that I would do, is believable. Obviously, there is the theater aspect, you would never do a top rope drop kick in a fight, although there is the one Anthony Pettis kick that lived on for eternity. Sometimes there's stuff like that where 'maybe it would work,'" he said.
At UFC 148, Anderson Silva defeated Chael Sonnen to retain the UFC Middleweight Championship. The finish came when Silva ducked a spinning backfist, which caused Sonnen to stumble over and into the cage. Silva followed up with a knee to the body.
Two days later on WWE Raw, Bryan and CM Punk recreated the spot in a mixed tag team match that also featured AJ Lee and Eve Torres.
"I don't remember whose idea it was, if it was me or Punk or the two of us conspiring to be idiots," Bryan said about the spot. "There are cool things that when you watch MMA, people don't do in pro wrestling because pro wrestling gets into their own habits of 'this is how we do things.' I was watching Jose Aldo fight years ago and the way he was countering stuff with body shots was so beautiful. I started doing that a lot in my pro wrestling matches for about a year and it worked really well. Sometimes, you don't think of things and these fighters have to come up with new counters...not necessarily new counters, but MMA has to evolve and fighters have to evolve. They are at the cutting edge of what's happening and what works and what doesn't. Sometimes you'll see things that you've never seen before when you're watching MMA. Even the grappling now. When I first started watching, there weren't many leg locks. Now there are a ton of leg locks. The sport is evolving and it's fun to use that in pro wrestling."
Bryan used all the MMA techniques he could against Miro at AEW Full Gear, including a guillotine choke to secure the victory in the finals of the AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament.
If you missed anything from AEW Full Gear, check out Fightful's full report on the show by clicking here.
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