Discussion in 'Pro Wrestling Discussion' started by BeardotheWeirdo, Nov 2, 2018.
Wait...Santa's not real???
He was playing some video game a glanced up at the screen. I asked him if he remembered Ken Shamrock from when he was little and he saw that headline.
Then edit your thread title.People will be sad just reading it.
You know, for a guy who brags about watching NHB back in the day like it was special, there are many basic facts from that time you don't know.
If you want a good starting resource, I recommend No Holds Barred: Ultimate Fighting and the Martial Arts Revolution by Clyde Gentry.
-Ken Shamrock began in UWF in Japan in 1990, which had a heavy emphasis on shoot (realistic) fighting. He was already training with Funaki and other legitimate fighters back then. Eventually UWF folded and Funaki, Shamrock, and others would get into Pro Wrestling Fujiwari Gumi. Almost everyone there was a legitimate fighter (to varying extents) and they trained actual submission grappling, which can be seen in the realistic nature of the worked matches, which still fool many people on Youtube to this day.
The first legitimate match Ken engaged in for Fujiwari Gumi was on October 4th, 1992, against kickboxer Don Nakaya Nielsen, which he won via submission. You will notice that is almost a full year before his debut in Pancrase. And this is assuming he had zero actual submission grappling from 1990-1992, which is almost certainly wrong.
-Royce was only about a purple belt when he was in UFC 1, yes. To be fair, back then, unlike today, getting belts was exceptionally difficult, and there were relatively few black belts in the entire world. However, he wasn't as heavily involved in the Gracie Challenge as his other relatives were, and nowhere near the level of Rickson, Royler, and Renzo back then.
I do believe that Royce eventually surpassed Renzo in terms of BJJ skill, and is a far greater MMA figure than any of his relatives from that time, but we're strictly talking about about BJJ ability in 1993 here.
Why was Royce chosen over the others? Aside from Royler being too small, Royce was simply the easiest guy for Rorion (then one of the co-owners of the UFC) to control. This is according to Big John McCarthy when he was on Rogan's podcast.
I agree. However, in this case.
-Ken Shamrock was not the greatest of his era, either in terms of skills or results.
-Consideration should be made for how incredibly primitive, and how few serious fighters there were in MMA back then when comparing that very early era to later ones.
I love old-school NHB, but we have to be honest about what we're watching. The greatest fighter of that era, Dan Severn, was a washed-up amateur wrestler in his late 30's whose body was half-crippled from injuries during his heyday in the 80's, and who didn't learn or adopt to MMA much at all. (All this per Dan's own admissions, too) Look at what happened when Severn fought Coleman. (Coleman in my opinion being a greater legend than Ken Shamrock or Dan Severn)
Furthermore, there were guys back then who had considerable success and are even called "legends" who started MMA with no almost fighting background at all. They were just big, strong dudes.
Think I'm exaggerating? Consider
-Kimo Leopoldo. A street fighter with no formal training who was big, strong, and on a ton of steroids.
-Polar Bear Paul Varelans, my username. Probably Tank Abbot's most impressive victory and a guy who made both Ultimate Ultimates. He was a huge, strong guy whose fighting background consisted of a little bit of high school wrestling.
-Gary Goodridge. A legendary arm-wrestler and insanely strong dude who had done some amateur boxing when he was in his early teens.
Again, even in this landscape, Ken Shamrock was good, but not the best. Even before Belfort, Couture, and Rizzo showed up, and Bas Rutten and Maurice Smith learned a decent amount of grappling, I would still rank
unquestionably ahead of Ken. Of course, there are many others who were on a comparable or better level, especially in terms of skill. From the standpoint of pure skill, and not Ken's size and steroid advantage (remember, most promotions didn't have weight classes then), these guys were as good as or better than him;
(I could include Ralph Gracie, Royler Gracie, and Rickson Gracie too, but they admittedly never fought serious competition.)
Again, let's be honest about what we're watching here. Rutten and Smith had just started MMA while transitioning from kick boxing. Rutten admits his entire grappling arsenal back then was limited to trying to get a guillotine on the other guy.
And the second Rutten vs. Ken Shamrock fight was a work, as noted earlier. This was not Rutten or Smith anywhere near what they would later become.
My take on Shamrock is pretty similar. Below is one of my earlier posts about him. His money issues mainly come from his bonehead decision to sue the UFC after the second two Tito fights. He made big money on those just on name value and blew it.
Separate names with a comma.