Is Ken Shamrock really the 'Greatest American Catch Wrestler' in history?

Discussion in 'UFC Discussion' started by TheMaster, Sep 3, 2018.

  1. TheMaster

    TheMaster Take The Road To Reality

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    Have heard this claim bandied about recently and although a longtime Ken fan, had never considered it.

    For:
    -He has the lineage and pedigree from Karl Gotch to Funaki who then taught Ken, and was pioneer applying the style in US and Japanese MMA.
    -He trained elite grapplers like Frank Shamrock
    Tapped Greco master Severn and Bas although Bas was green on the ground then.
    -Apparently schooled alot of guys in the early days doing sub grappling before injuries took hold.

    Against: Josh Barnett, perhaps others

    Also he 'forgot' how to finish a closed position rear naked choke vs Kimbo or panicked and applied a pro wrestling sleeper hold instead. I hope to #### that was actually a work otherwise ####, and it would severely damage his above claim but still...

    So arguments for and against. At least in MMA he probably has a case but I imagine there are some catch guys rolling in their graves at this statement.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
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  2. Muppettoker

    Muppettoker Brown Belt

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    I would say Josh subbing dean lister ranks above anything ken did(submission wise)
     
  3. Arm Barbarian

    Arm Barbarian Titanium Belt Platinum Member

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    He would beat anyone into a living death.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
  4. AndrewSUFC

    AndrewSUFC Brown Belt

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    He won the 1998 WWF King of the Ring tournament. I think that sufficiently answers your question.
     
  5. Bullitt68

    Bullitt68 Senior Moderator Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    In MMA, I'd say yes. Josh Barnett is his obvious competition. It'd be cool to get Josh's thoughts, but I doubt that he'll see this thread. IMO, the fact that Ken not only has the catch lineage but was champion of what was for all intents and purposes a catch-based MMA org puts him in the best position for the title.
     
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  6. Yoshimitzu

    Yoshimitzu White Belt

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    I'm not so sure about that, Ken was good in Pancrase but I never considered his takedowns to be stellar like Severn or Coleman or Randleman. I view Ken as a decent enough wrestler who got by on his athleticism (and his steroid use) who learned some catch from Funaki and Suzuki and used it to dominate early. Ken would look downright amateurish to the catch wrestlers of old because the talent pool was way bigger in those times.
     
  7. Iroh

    Iroh The Dragon of the West Platinum Member

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    I love this spin.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Rebel_LioN

    Rebel_LioN Yellow Card Yellow Card

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    Josh Barnett got GoGo’d by Ben rothwell
     
  9. Muppettoker

    Muppettoker Brown Belt

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    .....and your point is?

    Ken doesn’t have submission losses?
     
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  10. chaos_36

    chaos_36 DOOM all capitals no trick spelling.

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    Yup and he was the intercontinental champion. Barnett has only managed to be a jobber in Japan.
     
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  11. Bullitt68

    Bullitt68 Senior Moderator Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Out of curiosity, who would you nominate for the title if not Ken?

    Ken's submission ability exceeded the submission abilities of those three combined and by a considerably greater margin than those three's TD abilities exceeded Ken's.



    Gorgeous sequence there with Ken going from palm strikes to Thai knees to a huge body lock TD. He hits another throw on Yanagisawa at 3:40.



    Slick little sequence with Funaki in on a single and Ken defending and then seizing an ankle pick.



    Here he controls Inagaki and brings him down hard with a powerful mat return. Incidentally, Ken's control of his opponents' upper bodies and his combination of strength and technique with body lock TDs and mat returns is virtually second-to-none, especially as far as HW fighters are concerned.



    And here he catches Mo coming forward and hits a beautiful double.

    He may not have been a decorated collegiate/Olympic wrestler, but his wrestling was legit all the same. When you add his submission game on top of that, who else could possibly challenge him for the title?

    Who are you talking about here? Who do you think would make Ken look like an amateur on the mat?
     
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  12. MessiJAH

    MessiJAH Blue Belt

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    Josh Barnett, and by a long distance.
     
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  13. Bullitt68

    Bullitt68 Senior Moderator Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    And how beastly is that move of pinning Bas' arms to the mat to give his leg clearance for the spin? In both of their fights, Ken didn't just make Bas look outmatched, he made him look utterly helpless.

    In addition to that beautiful spin to the kneebar finish in their second fight, I also love the way that Ken finished their first fight with that lightning fast RNC out of the scramble.

    [​IMG]

    Prime Ken was something else, man.
     
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  14. RDUBYA

    RDUBYA an oldie but a goodie

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  15. wilKO

    wilKO Green, White & Gold belt

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    Imagine Barnett vs Royce. Ken wasn't the best anything. He was the first.
     
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  16. TheMaster

    TheMaster Take The Road To Reality

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    Was the level of Pancrase catch really that great? Alot of Kens sub wins in pancrase were against guys who were inexperienced on the ground.
    To me it does say something about the sad state of Catch wrestling in MMA over the past 25 years if Pancrase is the best example of applied catch. Obviously no- gi BJJ seems to have just surpassed catch at this point at least in terms of numbers training it.

    Also how seriously did Ken take his catch lineage? Acknowledged masters of the style like Billy Robinson were around until recently but I dont know of Ken furthering his studies of catch under him, although Barnett I know did.
    Although Ken had to modify his style later he did not seem to really use his catch skills all that much or adapt it although he may have been limited in his ability to do so.
    Clearly if we call him the GOAT of US catch in general it would seem a disrespect to the old timers who really embodied the art when catch was more widespread and were likely far more skilled than Ken. In modern times I would have to put Barnett ahead.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
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  17. Pierced7681

    Pierced7681 Black Belt

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    If Demetrious Johnson is considered a catch wrestler (trains pankration under Matt Hume) he’s my pick for the best catch wrestler alive.

    I think Frank Shamrock eclipsed his big bro on the ground as well, being more versatile from the bottom and beating some seriously legit guys.
     
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  18. Bullitt68

    Bullitt68 Senior Moderator Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Compared to what? I stressed the "in MMA" part of your OP in an effort to signal that, as far as MMA is concerned, Pancrase was the pinnacle and Ken was the original King of Pancrase, which is as great an accomplishment as you could've hoped to achieve in this facet of the game.

    <23>

    Who in Pancrase was inexperienced on the ground besides Bas? The Pancrase crew - most notably Funaki and Suzuki but also Fuke (who'd been training with Funaki and Suzuki for years while on the pro-wrestling circuit), Inagaki (who was training Judo from the time that he was 12), Takahashi (who not only had a legit amateur wrestling career but who Funaki considered the best among the younger Japanese fighters and who he had show Ken the ropes in the pre-Pancrase Fujiwara-Gumi days), and Yamada (who'd been training with Satoru Sayama, the legendary Japanese pro-wrestler who taught Yuki Nakai and Rumina Sato and who founded Shooto among other things, since the late 1980s) - consisted of skilled Japanese grapplers. Grappling was the name of the game in Pancrase.

    I can't argue with that. It's definitely a shame that, other than the BJJ fever sparked by Royce's early UFC run, there hasn't been a comparable craze for other stuff like Judo (even with the likes of Karo and Ronda throwing people around), Sambo, or catch wrestling.

    And the innovations in leg locks from Dean Lister to the Danaher death squad guys has really kicked things into another gear.

    (Ironically, sometime in the mid-00s IIRC, Eddie Bravo said something about Ken's anachronistic grappling style and about how leg locks don't work in MMA, and Ken responded by inviting Eddie to come and train with him to learn about leg locks - which is doubly ironic considering seeing Royce at UFC 2 and studying Ken's old school instructionals inspired Eddie to start grappling. Fast-forward to today and Eddie can't stop talking about how amazing leg locks are and the EBI is the biggest platform for the evolution of grappling, which consists of the incorporation of leg locks.)

    In order to answer this, I'd have to know what constitutes taking a lineage seriously.

    Really? On what are you basing this claim?

    How so?

    As I've stressed, my concern is MMA-focused, and as far as the MMA landscape is concerned, Ken is my pick for the GOAT American catch wrestler.

    [​IMG]

    Nah. Frank developed a good defensive guard to stifle Tito, but he still had zero TDD and was getting outgrappled by people like Kiuma Kunioku and John Lober, neither of whom should've been able to get the better of him at that point in his career. Unlike Frank, Ken never lost those fights where he would've had no business losing.
     
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  19. cyrusthevyrus

    cyrusthevyrus Black Belt

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    it is important to be the first, as inspiration for others. had anderson better striking then ruas? yes, but he learned from people like ruas.

    shamrock was part of the mma creation, demetrious just took the relay.
     
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  20. cyrusthevyrus

    cyrusthevyrus Black Belt

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    shamrock was part of the mma creation, demetrious just took the relay.
     
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