What is the most dangerous submission hold in WWE? UFC fighter Chael Sonnen weighs in!
BY Joey Styles
October 26, 2012
Unfortunately for Randy Orton, the answer to this question — what is the most dangerous submission hold in WWE — is the Cross Armbreaker.
The answer comes from a 15-year mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran who is currently the No. 1 contender to Jon Jones’ UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, the charismatic and controversial Chael Sonnen. (@sonnench on Twitter)
Sonnen, a former NCAA Division I Wrestling All-American from the University of Oregon, is familiar with Alberto’s amateur wrestling and MMA accomplishments. The Mexican Aristocrat’s record of mat mastery includes being on the Mexican National Greco Roman Wrestling Team. He would have also competed in the 2000 Olympic Games if Mexico hadn’t been forced to forego a wrestling team due to lack of funding. Wrestling professionally was in Alberto’s bloodline as the son of Dos Caras and nephew of Mil Mascaras. It’s safe to say his career choice was indeed his destiny.
With unfinished business in amateur wrestling still on his mind because of not competing in the Olympic Games, Alberto decided to juggle his professional wrestling career with MMA by competing in Mexico, Spain, Honduras and Japan, amassing a winning record of 9-5 before lacing up his wrestling boots for good. Alberto has been most successful as a WWE Superstar, winning the most prestigious title in the industry’s history, the WWE Championship, twice.
Being surprisingly familiar with WWE submissions, probably because of his friendship with WWE Champion CM Punk, the man referred to by many UFC fans as, ironically, “The People’s Champ” weighed in.
“Punk is a submission whiz who trains with former UFC fighter, Shonie Carter in Chicago. Punk even has a gym in his basement now,” Sonnen said. “He likes the Anaconda Vise. The Undertaker uses the gogoplata [known to WWE fans as Hell’s Gate]. The Figure-Four Leglock will crush a knee, but it is very intricate and difficult to set up. The standing Abdominal Stretch is applied on the ground in MMA and called a Twister. Again, it’s very difficult to set up, but brutal to be in. Alberto’s Cross Armbreaker is known as an armbar in MMA and it is a staple of every fighter’s repertoire.”
Though Alberto’s submission hold appears simple, a competitor would be naïve to underestimate any variation of an armbar.
“The armbar is very basic,” Sonnen said. “Anything that really works at high level competition is basic. It is really hard to stop somebody who is using their full body against your one joint. An armbar is one fighter using his arms, legs and hips to apply pressure on an elbow. An armbar can be applied quickly and effectively from almost any position. I tapped out to an armbar quickly twice yesterday in training. There is a point of no return with an armbar where there is only one centimeter more before the elbow breaks. You can tap out or spend six months recovering from surgery.
“The very first time I saw an armbar, it was demonstrated by 1984 Olympic Freestyle Wrestling Gold Medalist Mark Schultz,” Sonnen added. Mark and his brother Dave are the only siblings to both win Olympic Gold Medals and World Freestyle Wrestling Championships, the latter of which when they defeated the Soviet Union’s grapplers who boycotted the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles during the Cold War.
“To make a point, Mark put a two-by-four between his legs and instantly snapped it,” Sonnen said. “The point that he was making was how effective the armbar is. When you trap anything between your arms and legs and elevate your hips, you will break it. Besides being so basic and so effective, it can be applied quickly from almost any position.”
So while The Viper can strike at any time and any place with the RKO, the same can be said for the application of Alberto’s Cross Armbreaker. What this means is that no matter how long their sure-to-be-a-clinic match at Hell in a Cell lasts, the end will come suddenly for one of these two Superstars.