Wrestling / Ken Shamrock
The World's Most Dangerous Man.
"I will get my respect or I will die."
Kenneth Wayne "Ken" Shamrock (b. Ken Kilpatrick in 1964) is a retired American Professional Wrestler
and Mixed Martial Artist
best known for his work in WWE
and the UFC
. He actually started as a pro wrestler, debuting in the South Atlantic Pro Wrestling promotion in 1989, under the name "Mr. Wrestling" Vince Torelli. This led him to All Japan Pro Wrestling
, and he would go back and forth between SAPW and Japanese "shoot-style" promotions such as Universal Wrestling Federation
and PWFG until he walked away from wrestling for MMA. He competed for Pancrase and was on the first UFC event and would compete regularly for them until he returned to wrestling in 1997, this time for WWE. Over his time in WWE, he would hold the WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Title
once, the WWE World Tag Team Title
once with the Big Bossman
and win the 1998 King of the Ring
Tournament. He returned to MMA in 2000 and went back and forth between the two. In 2002, he signed with the new NWA
promotion, and was crowned the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion
at NWA TNA #1
. He has also been a trainer and was a coach on The Ultimate Fighter
. His achievements in MMA include winning the UFC Superfight Title
, the King of Pancrasists Open-weight Title
and, along with Royce Gracie, being one of the first inductees into the UFC Hall of Fame.
As usual, you can find the basics at The Other Wiki
"Ultimate, Dangerous Tropes":
- Aborted Arc: Shamrock was going to fight Mark Hall in the PRIDE Grand Prix tournament capitalizing on their storyline together (see Bullying a Dragon below), but negotiations fell short and he faced Alexander Otsuka instead.
- The Ace: He was inhumanly strong, skilled in grappling and no slouch in striking, ripped to the gills, and over all this, an American. This naturally made him extremely marketable both in Japan and United States.
- Arch-Enemy: Dan "The Beast" Severn, both in MMA and in WWF. In MMA, Royce Gracie, Tito Ortiz and Mark Hall.
- Audience Surrogate: Type 3. For the early era of UFC, Ken was the audience's most familiar figure. Not only he was American and had a action film hero build, he was the only fighter who knew what he was doing aside from the weird Brazilian guys who had came to break the ground of traditional martial arts. To increase the mystic value, Shamrock even came accompanied by an inscrutable Japanese mentor who had taught him mysterious fighting techniques just like Mr. Miyagi, and he soon got involved in a real life martial arts feud motivated by revenge against the Brazilian fighters. Shamrock was basically the American Ninja.
- Badass Teacher: He owns the Lion's Den MMA Gyms and has trained fighters like Vernon "Tiger" White, Guy Mezger, Frank Shamrock, Maurice Smith, Jerry Bohlander, Tra Telligman, Pete Williams, Mikey Burnett, Oleg Taktarov, Mark Coleman, Jason Delucia, Roy Nelson, Joe Hurley and many others.
- Balls of Steel: Literally. Dan Severn tried to get out of a guillotine choke by low blowing Ken, but under his purple speedos Shamrock wore a muay thai metal cup, and all Dan did was hurting his hand. Felix Mitchell was supposedly more Genre Savvy and tried to stuck his hand in Ken's tights and remove the cup, but Ken didn't let him.
- The Big Guy
- Boisterous Bruiser
- Blood Knight: He loved to fight, since the first minute on his fight with Don Nakaya Nielsen to the last minute of the post-prime fight he should not have taken.
- The Brute: As a heel.
- Bullying a Dragon:
- During his match against Vader at the WWF in Your house 15: A Cold Day in Hell PPV in May 1997, Shamrock (who hadn't wrestled in a while) came out really stiff against Vader, laying into his legs with brutal kicks then cornering him and delivering blows and knees to the head. Eventually Vader (no gentle touch himself) had enough of this abuse, wound up a big one, and hit Shamrock so hard his face nearly ended up on the back of his skull.
- Back when they were in PWFG, Kazuo Takahashi broke the script in a match and shot on Shamrock. Perhaps predictably, the matter ended in ninety seconds with a soccer kick to the face of the Japanese. Ironically, they turned into Vitriolic Best Buds when they later became sparring partners in Pancrase.
- In 2000, Mark Hall supposedly accused Shamrock of trying to snatch sponsors from small shows, and even telephoned his wife and made her cry with foul language. Then, when the two met in a crowd at the King of the Cage 4 event, Hall tried to intimidate Shamrock and even attacked him. The thing was followed with Ken painting the arena red with Hall and the police arresting the latter because the 100 people of the event had saw him starting the brawl.
- A rumor has UFC champion Mark Coleman sparring with Ken and taking some liberties with him, only for Ken to get angry and knock him down quite severely.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: According to Maurice Smith, Ken was one of the strongest guys from his time, even more than orthodox wrestlers like Mark Coleman.
- Collegiate American Football: At Shasta College.
- Crazy-Prepared: He made sure to wear a steel cup for his fights in UFC, and after he lost to Royce by gi choke, he brought a judoka to the Lion's Den and equipped everybody with gis in order to prepare for the rematch.
- Dancing Is Serious Business: Shamrock's apprentice Vernon White worked as a bartender and stripper while he was training under Ken, and according to him, Shamrock sometimes joined the show.
- Dark and Troubled Past: His father left when he was five. His mother married a man who abused Ken. Ken spent time in foster homes, juvenile hall and group homes. That isn't Kayfabe, either. He was legally adopted by his foster father and took his last name.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Back in UWF, Ken once had to grapple for real with Duane Koslowski, a wrestler from the Olympic Team, in order to settle down who would win their impending worked match. After Ken made him tap out twice via heel hook, they became friends and Ken started to coach him in submission wrestling.
- The Dreaded: Back in his prime in MMA, he was feared even by his own training partners for his strength and skill.
- Fingerless Gloves
- Finishing Move: Ankle lock.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Suffered one in the WWF when Curtis Hughes kicked him stiffly in the neck, aggravating an old injury.
- Gimmick Matches: At SummerSlam 98, he defeated Owen Hart in a "Lion's Den Match," which was held in a modified UFC-style octagon. At Fully Loaded 99, he defeated Steve Blackman in an "Iron Circle Match," which was a hardcore match where they were surrounded by cars in a parking garage. Shamrock won by choking out Blackman with a chain.
- Heel–Face Revolving Door: He worked both roles in SAPW and in WWE.
- Heroic Build: In his younger days.
- Hit Me, Dammit!: During his Intercontinental Heavyweight Title match against Val Venis at WWF In Your House 27: St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Ryan Shamrock was supposed to slap him but missed her cue, with Ken attempting to salvage the situation by audibly yelling, "SLAP ME!"
- Hoist by His Own Petard: During his first fight against Royce Gracie on UFC 1, Shamrock got two iterations of the trope. The first one was that he dropped backwards to leglock Gracie without knowing he had Royce's gi wrapped around his hand, which accidentally pulled his opponent on top of him. And the second and worst one was that he insisted on locking the hold without figuring he had to look for gi chokes, which let Gracie to do exactly that and submit him.
- Honor Before Reason: His first fight with Royce Gracie ended after he tapped out and admitted it to the referee who didn't see it, instead of taking the opportunity to continue the fight.
- His second fight with Dan Severn had a special ruleset that if either man did striking they would be fined, though in reality this was announced just to allow the fight to happen and they were both told not to take it seriously and go nuts. Shamrock at the time feared he could get arrested if he broke the new rule and also because he wanted to set a good example for the troubled boys from his father's foster home as they would be watching him, which resulted in a split decision win for Severn as Ken refused to strike while Severn did.
- I Know MMA: Specifically the Japanese shoot-style MMA, which is based around catch wrestling and other martial arts.
- Initiation Ceremony: The Lion's Den's entrance exam was notoriusly savage for American standards (not for Japanese ones, as he brought it from Pancrase). Shamrock would make his students spar with him, and he would eat them up until they gave up and left or he accepted them as tough guys. After a time, as Shamrock realized it was a legally unsafe method, he changed to a marine boot camp-like exercise ritual. As Vernon White put it:
"He made me do 500 push-ups, sit-ups, leg-lifts,and squats, and then I had to clean the gym. Then I came back and had to kickbox with him, and again he made me do 500 push-ups, sit-ups, leg lifts, and squats, and after that I was in."
- Insult Backfire: Shamrock's threat to beat Tito Ortiz "into a living death" caused Tito to burst into laughter. It's one of MMA's most famous groaners.
- King of Beasts: He has a chain of MMA schools called the Lion's Den.
- Knight Templar Big Brother: To Ryan Shamrock, who luckily didn't like to travel.
- Lightning Bruiser: Aside from a great technical worker trained by Funaki and Suzuki, Ken was incredibly strong, which made his game more dangerous than the accustomed slim grapplers of Pancrase.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Had long hair when he debuted in UWF Newborn, he cut it short before he competed in Pancrase.
- Mighty Whitey: The first one in Pancrase, his losses there were either works or under special conditions like his kickboxing match with kickboxing champion Frank Lobman and according to Shamrock his first fight with Minoru Suzuki had an agreement between the two of them that Ken wouldn't strike him as Suzuki was very injury prone.
- Military Brat: He was born at Robins Air Force Base in Macon, GA.
- MMA Family: His brother Frank.
- Noodle Incident: It was never explained why he put so much enthusiasm into beating up Billy Gunn. Granted, he put a lot of enthusiasm into everything he did, but, for some reason Gunn seemed to bring out something extra in him.
- The One Who Wears Shoes: He liked to wear wrestling shoes when possible in the cage.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: He defeated the Rock to win the 1998 King of the Ring Tournament... the same night as the Hell In A Cell II match between Mankind and The Undertaker.
- Power Stable:
- Real Song Theme Tune: For most of his UFC career, he used Reveille's "What You Got."
- Real Men Love Jesus: Is born-again Christian.
- Red Baron: "The World's Most Dangerous Man", "One Punch Shamrock" (in his toughman contest days), "The Ultimate Hero" (in Japan after his UFC fights).
- Sadist Teacher: Ken was known as a incredibly harsh teacher, always seeking to break his trainees until they learned not to fear and were fit to wage war in the ring. Mickey Burnett recalls how, if you were caught in a choke by Ken while rolling, you would get choked out completely (they eventually had to establish a rule that a trainee "only" could be choked out thrice a day).
- Screaming Warrior: "GET OUT OF MY WAY!", after the British Bulldog shoved dog food in Ken's mouth during their match at SummerSlam 97.
- Surpassed the Teacher: Defeated his mentor Funaki at the first main event in Pancrase. Shamrock recalls it as a very special match, because he had never tapped out him or merely dominated him in the gym and the victory took Ken by surprise.
- Training from Hell: Apparently, what it's like to train under him. Shamrock himself passed one under Yoshiaki Fujiwara in Japan.
- Underwear of Power
- The Unfavourite: Karl Gotch never liked Ken and Frank Shamrock, considering they were more streetfighters than wrestlers, and believed they should not have been pushed so much in Pancrase.
- Unrelated Brothers: He's unrelated to his foster brother and MMA fighter Frank Shamrock. In Kayfabe, Ryan Shamrock is his sister.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Subverted. While his technique was nowhere near the level of guys like Funaki and Suzuki, Ken was not slouch neither, but it was his very superior physique which allowed him to outmuscle everybody in Pancrase and dominate on the ground.
- Unstoppable Rage
- Ur-Example: The first King of Pancrase titleholder and the first foreign champion in a Japanese MMA promotion.
- Worked Shoot: Ken had a long career in Japanese shoot-style promotions, which mean matches designed to look like MMA fights, and eventually a longer career in Pancrase, a MMA company famous for its relaxation at the time of host worked fights to promotional purposes. Shamrock has stated he fought those predetermined fights for the business's sake.
- His famous fight against Matt Hume, which ended in a spectacular northern lights suplex dropped into a kimura, was actually an exhibition accorded among them due to Hume getting injured before the bout.
- The second fight against Masakatsu Funaki is believed to be a work in order to rebuild Funaki's reputation, which got damaged after losing to Ken at the first Pancrase event, and also to preserve Ken before his expected fights in the upcoming UFC 3.
- Ken was told to throw his second match with Minoru Suzuki in order to drop to him the King of Pancrase title, as Shamrock would compete later against Dan Severn (former UWF-i wrestler) in UFC and Pancrase could not take the risk of their champion losing to a wrestler belonging to a worked wrestling promotion.
- Wrestling Doesn't Pay: Subverted. He took up pro wrestling because MMA was not paying enough.