Today I’m going to pick out another bug bear of mine that I see far too often in training, on shows and even up towards the higher levels of professional wrestling.
The place I noticed it last was in a singles match where one wrestler had the other in a standard armbar on the ground, the type you end up in after an arm drag or firemans carry takedown. The wrestler on the floor then rolled up to get onto their knees and after that too their feet and pushed the other wrestler back to the ropes to send them off for the next move.
Sounds pretty standard doesn’t it. I’m sure you can think of a number of matches that have had a sequence like this or something very similar used in them. My issue isn’t the set of movements themselves but something more fundamental that I think can often be overlooked; how they are performed.
In this case if you imagine the most basic version of performing this moveset I described then you wouldn’t be far off what happened. The opponent simply came up to their feet from the floor and then walked the other wrestler back to the ropes, looking almost exactly like this was what was supposed to happen next when, for me, there were several places where more could have been done to give everything more meaning and help set out the story of the match a little more.
Firstly there is the work from the floor to standing. This should look like work! This armbar, whilst not the most joint wrenchingly devestating hold, is still a position of control and one you shouldn’t be OK with giving up. The wrestler with the hold on could have made their opponent do more to get out of it and then find leverage to get back up to their feet.
Then there is the work from standing to the rope. Even when you get back to your feet whilst locked in this hold you still aren’t in the position of strength (size and weight being roughly equal) so getting your opponent back to the ropes isn’t going to be easy and they aren’t going to want to go there as they could either be sent off of them or will at the very least need to release their hold.
If you are going to take someone back to the ropes, and you don’t always need to (there’s another blog in that statement), then you should need to find some leverage and your opponent should be trying to fight it.
You can apply this thinking to headlock send offs, and even simple Irish whips if you think about it enough. Make it seem real rather than like you planned it all in the back.