Established in 1882, the Japanese martial artwork referred to as judo focuses on utilizing throws, locks, and chokes greater than strikes, and opponents in judo use pins in addition to submissions as a way to beat an opponent. In different phrases, it’s an ideal self-discipline to include into professional wrestling, the place pinfalls and submissions are thought of the decisive methods to win matches.
Over time, there have been a variety of wrestlers with judo backgrounds, lots of whom have used that affect of their in-ring performances. With out additional ado, let’s check out 10 well-known judo practitioners — or judoka — in professional wrestling, a few of whom might show stunning.
10 Gene LeBell
Extra than simply the innovator of the LeBell lock — or, because it’s recognized to WWE followers, Daniel Bryan’s YES! Lock — Gene LeBell is among the extra fascinating figures in professional wrestling, as he’s additionally a prolific stuntman and thought of one of many godfathers of blended martial arts. However LeBell can be an completed judoka, having received a number of championships within the Nineteen Fifties and finally attained the rank of tenth Diploma Pink Belt. He even skilled in Japan’s judo headquarters, the Kodokan Judo Institute.
9 Tay Conti
Previously referred to as Taynara Conti in NXT, the Brazilian star Tay Conti might be seen each week on All Elite Wrestling programming, the place her in-ring abilities get higher and higher. She’s additionally obtained a professional martial arts background, boasting a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu however proving extra completed in judo, as she’s obtained a black belt. In reality, earlier than Tay Conti signed with WWE in 2016, she truly tried out for the Brazilian judo crew within the 2016 Olympics.
8 Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe’s nickname of “The Samoan Submission Machine” isn’t only a cool phrase. Whereas he trains in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai, Joe truly studied judo in his youthful days, going so far as truly turning into a California State Judo Champion whereas in highschool
However Joe’s relationship with judo didn’t finish in highschool, as his moveset in professional wrestling incorporates many maneuvers based mostly on his martial arts coaching. Most importantly, his Coquina Clutch submission finisher is definitely a rear-naked choke, recognized in judo as a Hadaka-jime.
7 Seiji Sakaguchi
The profession of Japanese competitor Seiji Sakaguchi won’t be as well-known to Western followers. Sakaguchi wrestled for Nationwide Wrestling Alliance territories and New Japan Professional-Wrestling all through the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties.
Over the course of his profession, Sakaguchi has been a WWE North American Heavyweight Champion in addition to a tag champion alongside legends Large Baba and Antonio Inoki. However earlier than he debuted as a wrestler in 1967, Sakaguchi was a black belt in judo, and even received a bronze medal on the 1964 World Judo Championships in Brazil.
6 Santino Marella
Provided that he’s greatest referred to as the goofy WWE comedy character, it could shock followers to search out out that Santino Marella has a background in judo, having skilled within the artwork since he was nine-years-old.
After an harm sidelined his wrestling profession and he was launched from WWE in 2017, Santino took half within the Asahi judo match and ended up incomes a bronze medal. A few years later, he confirmed off his shoot abilities to tackle Simon Grimm (a.okay.a. Simon Gotch) at Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport 2.