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Wrestling / Dan Severn

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Dan "The Beast" Severn, pictured with the NWA World Heavyweight Championship (right shoulder), the UFC 5 Superfight Championship (left shoulder)note , the UFC World Superfight Championship (waist)note , and the second deadliest moustache in the history of man (face).

"I'm here to release the beast!"
Dan Severn on what he was gonna do in UFC 5

"I dreamed that I was being raped by Freddie Mercury."
Tank Abbott after losing to Dan Severn

Daniel DeWayne Severn (born June 8, 1958) is a retired American professional wrestler and mixed martial artist best known for his work in the National Wrestling Alliance affiliates, World Wrestling Federation and Ultimate Fighting Championship. He started his career as a decorated amateur wrestler, being an All-American, alternate for the Olympic team in three Summer Olympics and winner of both national and international competitions. However, after his dream of being an Olympian got turned down too many times, he focused his attention in the rising MMA scene, working for the UWF International, then applying for the UFC as a the promotion's first wrestling representative. He trunced his way through the fourth UFC tournament, but lost to the eventual winner Royce Gracie. Despite the defeat, he would become a mainstay of the promotion, winning the fifth event, the special Ultimate Ultimate tournament and the UFC Superfight Championship.

After a passing the torch-like defeat to fellow wrestler Mark Coleman, he exited UFC and roamed the MMA world, winning the Elite-1 MMA Heavyweight Title belt, Continental Freefighting Alliance Super Heavyweight Title, Gladiator Challenge Superfight Heavyweight title and amassing a record of 101–19–7 before retiring (which wasn't, as he recently announced his intentions to return). As a pro wrestler he boasts one reign as National Wrestling Alliance United Kingdom Champion and two as its World Heavyweight Champion, the first of which lasted four years. He's also been the Price Of Glory champion, Great American Mat Endeavors Heavyweight Champion and has worked for All American Pro Wrestling, Border City Wrestling, Canada's ECCW, the Universal Wrestling Federation, New Japan Pro-Wrestling, IWA Japan, IWA Mid-South, IWA East Coast and Pro Wrestling ZERO1 among many others.

"The Beast's Tropes":

  • The Ace: His world heavyweight title run was unprecedented in post territorial NWA. Only Dory Funk Jr and Lou Thesz himself had longer runs with the belt by the time Naoya Ogawa managed to take it from Severn.
  • Always Someone Better:
    • Lost his qualifying match to the Olympics to Lou Banach, though Severn stated that it was more due to biased refereeing than to Banach being actually "better."
    • Don Frye when comparing their mustaches, which they both acknowledge.
    • Mark Coleman when it went to who was the dominant wrestler in UFC.
  • The Apprentice: After UFC 4, Severn began training with Mark Tripp (brother of Ron Tripp, who beat Rickson Gracie in a sambo match).
  • Arch-Enemy: Ken Shamrock. He also wanted a rematch with Royce Gracie and Mark Coleman before his retirement.
  • Author Avatar: In Price Of Glory, he rarely actually wrestles on the shows and often puts people over, so he can be forgiven for making himself champion once.
  • Badass Teacher: He had a hand in training Don Fyre in amateur wrestling and introduced him to MMA and helped to train guys like Rashad Evans, Luke Zachrich, Sean Sherk, and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. He also owns Michigan Sports Camps where he teaches mixed martial arts, boxing, kickboxing, amateur wrestling and professional wrestling.
  • Big Guy Rodeo: Subverted in that his opponent wasn't heavier than him, but Severn featured an old school one when Tank Abbot tried to escape from under him and ended keeping Severn on his back while standing up against the fence.
  • Blood Knight: He stated before his UFC debut that he was graceful for the fence in the octagon because his opponents would want badly want to escape.
  • Boring, but Practical: His style of fighting in mostly involves the lay and pray, though if he gets superior positioning he will go to ground and pound then to submissions.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The WWE tended to conveniently forget his accomplishments in wrestling and MMA during Lesnar's build towards Summerslam 2018, where Lesnar vowed to be the first dual-sport champion in history. Made worse by WWE actually acknowledging him as NWA and UFC champion in his WWE run.
  • Cool Old Guy: In his MMA career.
  • Crippling Over Specialization: Had no real experience in striking or submissions when he went into MMA and depended solely on his wrestling. It did serve him well until he faced Royce Gracie, though. Thankfully he added more striking and submissions in his training.
  • David Versus Goliath: His match with Royce Gracie where he was Goliath.
  • The Dreaded: Because of his real fighting experience when he first came to the WWE the entire lockeroom was scared of him, calling him Mr. Severn and generally trying to avoid him. Dan thought this was a joke or some kind of hazing ritual till he asked someone what that was all about.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In early 1994, instead of his mustache, he had a beard.
  • Expy: Goldberg once met with Dan to thank him for inspiring his gimmick based on Dan's UFC 5 performance.
  • Future Badass: He was a mid-carder in his time in UWF. Compare that to his MMA career.
  • Gimmick Matches
    • Defeated Daikokubo Benkei in a "UFC Rules" match on day one of IWA Japan Welcome the World Champion Tour 97
    • Wrestled, uh, fought Sabu to no contest in a death match held by National Wrestling Conference.
    • Beat Keith Crème in a submission match toward the end of 2008 at POG Merry Massacre
  • Glass Jaw Referee: Thankfully only once in the WWF during a match in the Hart Dungeon.
  • Groin Attack: Deconstructed. In their first fight he tried to get out of a guillotine choke by low blowing Ken Shamrock, but under his purple speedos Shamrock wore a Muay Thai metal cup, and all Dan did was hurting his hand.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Don Frye.
  • Honor Before Reason: He claims this is his reason for losing to Royce Gracie.
    Dan Severn: In that fight with Royce, I was forced to tap out primarily because I wasn’t willing to do what I needed to do to another human being in order to win. In wrestling, you’re already learning how to inflict legalized pain. When you roll someone, you can’t just lift them up and move them; you have to inflict pain to get them to move. By the time I got in the cage, I had 26 years worth of rules floating around in my head telling me it was wrong to hit someone. Before my next fight, I took 32 days and trained myself to do everything except biting and eye gouging, and from UFC 5 onward, I had no problem throwing hammer strikes down at someone's face.
  • Hope Spot: He bruted his way out of the first triangle choke attempt Royce threw at him, but was caught at the second and submitted.
  • I Know Karate: An accomplished wrestler, he also knows Judo, jujutsu and sambo.
  • I Let You Win: He didn't exactly say it, but hints that this is what he feels about his match with Royce Gracie, as he was submitted after refusing to do ground and pound. In any case, he desperately wanted a rematch, which he never received.
  • Manly Facial Hair: The original mustache-wearer in MMA before Don Fyre, it became a trademark look of his, to the point one opponent infamously compared losing to him to being raped by Freddie Mercury.
  • The Mentor: Helped take Davey Richards back to the top of Ring of Honor after Rocky Romero entered the No Remorse Corps and destroyed his confidence and credibility with Roderick Strong.
  • Mighty Glacier: Was not as fast as in his amateur wrestling prime when he started MMA but was still strong enough to dominate people with his wrestling.
  • Not So Similar: Despite both having amateur, professional wrestling and MMA backgrounds, Dan hates being compared to Brock Lesnar, as he believes Lesnar is not that great to begin with. Severn pointed Lesnar had only a handful of MMA fights while Dan had been in and won over 100 fights, as well as the fact Lesnar used performance enhancers while Dan prides himself on never taking any.
  • Odd Friendship: With Al Snow. They started as opponents in Michigan's All American Pro Wrestling but Severn trained for his first UFC fights at Al's gym and had Al corner him in those fights. Besides that, Severn is much more affable, if less silly, than Snow.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. The "Beast" nickname has been used by many people in wrestling and MMA, more famously by Bob Sapp.
  • Porn Stache: The original one in MMA before Don Frye.
  • Pro Wrestling Is Real: What audiences probably thought when they were watching UFC 4 and saw Severn entering with Al Snow as his manager, carrying a NWA championship over his shoulder, and suplexing around those swanky martial artists who claimed to be the real deal.
  • Put on a Bus: In WWF, he basically jobbed out in late 1998-early 1999 after having been injured by Owen Hart. In real life too, as he simply dropped off the map after retiring and disappeared (he was actually getting his amateur MMA promotion The Danger Zone off the ground). The Bus Came Back when he defeated Shinya Hashimoto in Zero 1f to become a two time NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: Has competed in his own promotions like The Danger Zone (MMA) and Price Of Glory (pro wrestling).
  • Red Baron: "The Beast".
  • Ring Oldies: Was 36 when he started his MMA career. He retired at 54. Still does pro wrestling at 58 even though he once said he got more injuries from pro wrestling than from MMA.
  • Screaming Warrior: Only when he wins a fight. Otherwise he is mostly quiet in fights.
  • Silver Fox: Still looks good and in good shape despite have over a 100 fights in MMA in the span of nearly two decades, where most people would be troubled with injuries that never heal properly and/or addictions that nearly ruin them with only a quarter of that number of fights and time.
  • Suplex Finisher: Barely averted because he still needed a choke to finish Anthony Macias, but his suplexes against the cage's floor almost did the work.
  • Start My Own: Has a amateur MMA company called The Danger Zone. He also founded Price of Glory Wrestling with Mark Pennington.
  • Stout Strength: Pudge started to cover his muscles in his fifties but the muscles are still there and working nonetheless. Really, he's almost always had something of a gut but with the stache that's part of his appeal.
  • The Rival
    • His first was Kiyoshi Tamura in the Universal Wrestling Federation, specifically UWFi
    • Fought against The Great Kabuki in IWA Japan and over the NWA World Heavyweight Title, when they were not acting as tag team partners.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Upon his first MMA fight, he wasn't knowledgeable about submissions, but his amateur controls and especially his strength enabled him to perform rudimentary chokes which were good to tap people out. He also capitalized widely in his superior weight to smother Royce Gracie in his guard, though as everybody knows, that didn't last long.
  • Ur-Example:
    • The first world-class wrestler in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Also the first fighter to be awarded a championship belt in UFC and currently the only triple crown champion in the UFC's history.
    • Was also the first to do both pro wrestling and MMA holding both the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and his UFC titles at the same time.
    • Ground and pound as a strategy is popularly believed to have been innovated by Mark Coleman; he coined the term, and he arguably innovated the variant everybody thinks when thinking of it, the ol' beating through the guard. However, Severn was actually the first man in UFC in utilizing the strategy of wrestling opponents to dominant positions on the ground and then pound on them with strikes.
    • It is also believed that the infamous "lay and pray" term was coined by Stephen Quadros during the fight between Kazuyuki Fujita and Gilbert Yvel, after Kaz spent almost all the match on top of him not doing nothing more than some random armbar attempts. However, Dan is arguably the first man to use the lay and pray strategy in the NHB era of MMA in his fight with Royce Gracie.
  • Took a Level in Badass: From UFC 4 onwards. Lampshaded by Dan himself whenever he mentions UFC 4.
  • Use Your Head: Favoured headbutts when engaging an opponent on the ground, when that sort of thing was still allowed anyway. There is also a debate on if he was the first guy to use headbutts in the UFC.
  • The Voiceless: In WWF.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: He performed a picture perfect back suplex and an even clearer German suplex on Anthony Macias in his very debut in UFC.
  • Wrestling Doesn't Pay: Subverted. He took up pro wrestling because MMA was not paying enough.
  • Wrestling Family: Has 4 brothers that were also amateur wrestlers. His own son David (out of 5 children) is both an amateur and pro wrestler as well.
  • The Worf Effect: Lost to Mark Coleman, and later to a young Josh Barnett, both by submission.
  • Worthy Opponent: Subverted - he said in an interview that in the early days in MMA he wanted to do a tournament style MMA event with drug testing just before the event, and there were no takers. He also said only Don Fyre had the balls to say that he would win without breaking a sweat.