Now I might get a bit “ranty” in this article, partly because it represents one of my personal bug bears in wrestling, the notion of “giving it away”.
I’ve touched on this topic before back in this piece (If You Build It) but I’ll explain a bit more after I give you the example I saw.
The match I was watching this one in was a singles match where both guys were pretty even in size, one had slightly more muscle mass but there wasn’t a huge difference. The two had been wrestling for a bit and the slightly smaller guy had a headlock on the other guy and worked towards the corner to then use the ropes stepping on the middle then the top rope to drop down into a headlock takeover.
Now it isn’t the move itself I dislike, it’s the story they are telling, or failing to tell.
Headlock takedowns are a fairly standard move, they can be fairly legitimate too if you do them in a certain way. Looking at it from a realism point of view the move relies on leverage more than strength, if you position yourself correctly underneath someone you should be able to take most people over, unless they are a lot bigger.
The theory behind using the ropes and the corner is that it adds a bit of momentum to the movement to allow people to take others down who might be a bit bigger than them and, whilst it looks quite flashy, I think you waste it if you do it just for the sake of it.
I think it works best when used as an escalation. For example, when a smaller wrestler tries a standard headlock takedown a few times on a larger opponent but is unsuccessful. Then they do it off the ropes in the corner and finally take them down.
If the guy you’re wrestling is the same size as you, do you really want to tell the story that you can’t get him down without resorting to this? Is your wrestling so bad that you can’t take your opponent down with leverage alone?
Every time that you do a move like this without building it up you are giving it away for free, you devalue it and yourself. Sooner or later people expect it and you no longer wow them with it. And yes I appreciate the irony of this paragraph in a free blog weekly post!
Take all of that and apply it across any point in a match. As I’ve said before, there will always be exceptions, especially in this day and age, but try to use this as the rule first.