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Marcus Blair




Here's a question for everybody: If you were a wrestler, what moves would you want in your arsenal?

a) A few power moves that could be used in succession to let the fans get to know your style
b) A few flying moves that would guarantee pops each time they are used
c) Traditional mat holds and one "patented" signature move
d) Every freakin' move you could learn

I would hope you answered "d," but I could be wrong. To me, it only makes sense to be able to execute as many holds and maneuvers as you could possible know. But I would imagine as you read the four options, wrestlers came to your mind who fall into the categories.

1. Take "a" for example. Does it not describe The Rock perfectly? I mean, you have punch, punch, punch...DDT...spinebuster...people's elbow...sharpshooter... and rock bottom (we've also seen the dreaded dragon screw once from this guy). It looks like you're playing a game of Street Fighter II and you want to use Zangief, but you can't figure out how to do the spinning piledriver, so you punch people. The Rock is so over, he could grab a mic and say "I love mayonnaise!" and still get a huge pop from the marks. What's the deal? Have we lost all respect for guys who know how to do a few holds? I have to give the guy props for TRYING to do the sharpshooter, but really, he makes a mockery of it. How painful would it be to lie on your face while a guy squeezes your ankles together? Come on, Rock, work for us.

2. Then you have the "b" category. Hardy Boyz, anyone? We never see anything new from these guys. Every stinkin' match we are treated to the poetry in motion, the swanton bomb, the yodeling legdrop, the twist of fate and the Litacanrana, all of which have become stale. My question is why don't the Hardyz, who are always getting praise for their love of the sport, learn a couple of new moves? Surely they have enough time in the gym. Surely it wouldn't be that freakin' difficult for good wrestlers to pick up new moves. Wouldn't it be cool if the Hardyz would learn a tandem submission hold? Sure, it would be illegal in all but hardcore matches, and sure, they're not exactly poster boys for submission-move usage, but wouldn't it be cool? Think back to the Jericho/Benoit/Austin triple threat match. Remember when they slapped the walls of Jericho and the crippler crossface on AT THE SAME TIME? Austin tapped out, if that tells you anything. Okay, forget the tandem submission hold, and the Hardyz still need to learn some new moves. For an example of how awesome it is when a tag team busts out a new move, see the Dudleyz vs. RVD match from Raw. Didn't you just want to DIE when D-Von gave RVD a super hangman's neckbreaker (that's what CRZ called it, anyway) from the second rope? WOW! If you're like me, you said something close to "AAHAHHAGHGGHAH!" when it happened. Wudis said, "I thought RVD was dead. I thought the Dudleyz broke his head in half." That's what the Hardyz (and other stale acts) need. I'm not an industry insider, just an everyday smart viewer, so I don't know if the WWF has some kind of move-execution policy. Is there a rule that doesn't allow wrestlers to learn more than 10-12 moves? Do they limit your arsenal so you don't encroach on other wrestlers' territories? Are they more intent on perpetuating the commonly-held belief that some guys are brawlers, some guys are flyers, some guys are martial artists, etc. than they are intent on providing us with better sports entertainment? It's a question that needs to be asked.

3. Then take category "c." Kurt Angle, who is a vastly improved wrestler, probably knows every traditional mat hold in the book, but doesn't bust out very many of them. In the RSPW awards, I nominated Kurt Angle for best brawler because in a lot of his matches this year (with exceptions, I know) he has been bloodied and has spent most of the match tossing people into the steps and the barricade. He'll probably win best technical wrestler, but why? We don't get much out of the guy. Is it because fans are bored with mat holds? What do you think? Of all the cool stuff Angle knows how to do, we are forced to believe that the Angle slam is a devastating finishing maneuver, when its impact is no more than the average body slam. It's like a death valley driver (awesome move, BTW) but without the impact. Then he uses the ankle lock, which is cool, but couldn't he come up with a better finishing move? I also like how the announce team refers to moves like the Angle slam as "patented" moves. Someone tell me: are they really patented, or is that a Gorilla Monsoon throwback expression? Is there some piece of paper on file in the U.S. Patent Office that demonstrates the move and precludes other wrestlers from using it? If so, shouldn't Austin and Angle be fined about a million dollars by now for using each others' moves? How about Jericho using the rock bottom? The point: can't we mix it up a little bit? I love signature moves, but should wrestlers rely on them?

4. Finally, category "d." Wouldn't it be easy for wrestlers to revitalize their careers by learning new moves? Take Edge, for example. He seems to know very few moves. As one columnist pointed out, the fans are totally into him during his entrance and during his promos, but then the match always falls short of expectations. He does the spear. He does the impaler, which is just a freakin' DDT. Everyone has Christian pegged to be "the next Marty Jannetty," but at least he has one good move, the unprettier, to work with. Shouldn't Edge learn some new stuff? Think about his boring match with Test: what if Edge had put him in the figure four, or given him Vampiro's "patented" nail in the coffin or SOMETHNG. Wouldn't you have popped huge? I would have. Rob Van Dam has really gotten over for his (to quote JR) "unorthodox style." He has some thrilling maneuvers in his arsenal, but how many times can we see the split-legged moonsault, rolling thunder and five star frog splash in every match before we get tired of them? Yes, even RVD will eventually have to come up with some new moves. Remember how cool the Hardy Boyz' matches were when they first debuted? Now, the same moves (see "b" above) that we loved are getting boring. There's an endless list of guys who could benefit from learning more moves: Undertaker, Kane, Jericho, Test, even Scotty 2 Hotty. But will the WWF let them? Do they even want to learn more moves? Are they too lazy to plan technical matches?

Marcus Blair
Man of 1005 Holds

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