The Somewhat Deep History Of Dentistry And The Mandible Claw In Wrestling

Of all of the things that don’t seem like they would go together, but actually do go together like peanut butter and jelly is actual dentistry and professional wrestling. Over the years, wrestling has had all sorts of occupational gimmicks, and plenty of superstars used to have entirely different careers before getting in the squared circle, such as soldiers and other sports stars.

But for some strange reason, several superstars have had some sort of history with prying teeth out of patients’ mouths when they’re not putting on underwear and having choreographed fights that we all love.


The Mayor And Mankind

A lot of wrestling fans who grew up during The New Generation Era would have been introduced to wrestling dentistry at a young age. Terrible gimmick wrestling dentistry, but dentistry nonetheless. First in the form of Jerry Lawler’s personal dentist, Isaac Yankem DDS, aka the future Kane. He spent a good year in this role and had a few hilariously bad vignettes that featured the dentist with horrible teeth. When Mick Foley debuted as Mankind about a year after Yankem, he also operated on his opponents’ mouths. No, Mankind wasn’t a dentist, but The Mandible Claw is a finishing move approved by wrestling dentists past and future.

The Doctor Will See You Now

Hailing from the birthplace of Punxsutawney Phil, Britt Baker is currently living out both of her dreams. One is a professional wrestler and is one of AEW’s top stars. She is definitely the top female heel in the company and perhaps the industry in a lot of ways.

Early on, she adopted The Mandible Claw as her finish to complement her second dream that lives out when not on our television screens. She is the world’s first dual-profession dentist/wrestler. Practicing out of her current home state of Florida, the Pittsburgh native’s office is closed on the days she’s wrestling. As plenty of old-timers will preach, you have to have a backup plan, DMD’s backup plan is happening at the same time as her wrestling dreams are being realized.

Your Fugitive’s Name Is Dr. Richard Kimble

Those were the words uttered by Tommy Lee Jones’ Deputy US Marshal Sam Gerard in the classic film, The Fugitive. The film was not only based on the television show of the same name but also loosely based on the events of Sam Sheppard. Sheppard was once accused of murdering his pregnant wife but was eventually acquitted. Sheppard was an osteopath, a practice that manipulates the patient’s muscles and bone tissue. This is where The Mandible Claw comes into play. Through Sheppard’s third wife, Colleen Strickland he was introduced to professional wrestling (her father was wrestler George Strickland). He wrestled a handful of matches before his death in 1970 but used his knowledge of joint manipulation to invent the nasty submission hold, The Mandible Claw.

Despite being one of the nastiest looking moves of all time due to its realness factor (we all can envision how much this might hurt), the move lay dormant for over 25 years until Foley adopted it as his own when he became Mankind. Bray Wyatt as The Fiend would co-opt it as his own. But it took nearly another 25 years for another real-life wrestler/doctor to use the hold when Britt Baker began using it with a combination of Rings Of Saturn.

Thanks to a few real physicians, a Kayfabe one, and a mutilated freak, The Mandible Claw was able to get over as one of the most devastating moves in wrestling. It also showed that dentists and doctors both Kayfabe and real have also made a huge impact as well.

This content was originally published here.

Author: topline

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