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Undertaker's MMA luv


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Whether you agree with what he said completely or not, Lance Storm did a commentary about the Undertaker's new finisher and there are some interesting points made.

 

http://www.stormwrestling.com/021908.html

 

Adapting MMA

 

February 19, 2008

 

I want to debate something this week, but I’m going to have to walk gently as I do not want to offend the man that I’m going to talk about. I have a world of respect for the man I want to discuss this week and consider him one of the all time greats, but there is something that has been driving me nuts for a week or two now and I’m curious what others think, and need to speak my mind. What I want to talk about this week is the Undertakers new finishing hold, because I really don’t like it and I’m curious if I’m alone in this opinion.

 

For those of you who haven’t been watching SmackDown lately, the Undertaker is now using a Gogoplata Choke (a legit MMA choke) as his new finisher. The hold, for lack of a better description, is a variation of a triangle choke executed from your back where you wrap your one leg out and around your opponents shoulder and then back under his chin and then pull his head down across your shin with your hands. To execute the hold you have to use both legs and both hands while lying on your back.

 

I realize that MMA is getting very popular and I understand the desire to adapt that style into pro-wrestling, but I’ve always had a huge logic problem with using “choke” holds as a finish in pro-wrestling. Even back when TAZ got his Taz-mission choke over huge, I always hated it. Choking is of course illegal in pro-wrestling, and you can argue and debate the “blood choke” vs. “air choke” as much as you want, but unless there is a means by which to clearly explain the difference to your general fan base, it is just confusing to reprimand wrestlers all show about choking and then announce that someone has choked out his opponent for the win.

 

Even if we put that “choke” issue aside, this is a poor choice for a finish on so many levels. For starters, any move done from you back is likely a poor pro-wrestling finish. In MMA being on you back is not a bad thing, because you can’t be pinned, but in pro-wrestling that is the worst possible position to be in. For years, since pro-wrestling’s inception actually, fans have been educated to the fact that if you are on your back and someone is on top of you, you are in a bad position. Someone as dominant and powerful as the Undertaker should almost never be in this position, let alone put himself in it voluntarily. I remember watching the AWA as a fan and hearing a commentator joke that Nick Bockwinkle (AWA World Champ at the time) doesn’t even sleep on his back, and I remember thinking that was such a great line because staying off your back is the single most important thing in wrestling.

 

As a one-time surprise counter (provided the announcers knew what it was and could explain it) I could see this adding a new dimension to the Undertaker. When he used it to defeat Big Daddy V it made some degree of sense. Taker faced with a 500 pound opponent, found himself in a position where perhaps he could not tombstone or choke slam the 500 pounder, and after getting beat down to the ground by one of his biggest opponents yet, had to demonstrate skill rather than his more common power to get the win. This past week on SD he used the hold on Matt Striker and I found myself groaning in disapproval for the first time ever watching The Undertaker wrestle. (Actually I have groaned during other Undertaker matches but I don’t think it is fair to count matches he had with El Gigante, the man can’t work miracles).

 

In my opinion after nearly 2 decades of Destruction, The Dead Man should not have to leave his feet to lay waste to Matt Striker. This should be a brief confrontation where Taker is left standing tall while Striker lays at his feet, closing the segment with a great visual of one man up and one man down. Instead after choke slamming Striker, which has laid out many men to date, me included, he tied him up and rolled to his back for the submission, ending the segment with both men down on the mat, a far less visual image to close the segment; it just seemed so unnecessary, and in my opinion even brought he crowd down rather than up, after the choke slam.

 

It’s a poor position visually, takes a fair bit of time to hook in, and isn’t going to be easy to counter in and out of in big matches to tease false finishes. That doesn’t even take into account he fact that with Takers incredibly long legs this hold is going to be very hard to properly hook on a wide variety of people, and will likely never be as over as the Last Ride or Choke Slam. I think the old adage, “If it aint broke, don’t fix it” applies so perfectly when it comes to the Undertaker. Taker is arguably the greatest gimmick ever created as well as one of the best working big man of all time, and has two incredibly over finishes already. I don’t understand nor see the need to switch his character to that of a submission wrestler. To me The Undertaker is the Phenom, the Dead Man, or even the American Bad Ass, a guy who lays waste to those in his path, not a technically sound submission wrestler who can beat you on the ground. If you are going to play the MMA card, I see Taker as more a Chuck Liddell than a Royce Gracie.

 

That’s my 2-cents, I’ll be curious to hear yours.

 

Lance Storm

I don't know that I'd have even really paid attention to this all that much if I hadn't been watching all the Mid South lately, simply because Bill Watts was the type of booker who put a lot of thought into things like this. Doing a wrestling submission where you can't see either guy's face is not something that would have been encouraged in wrestling in the past. But I thought we could use this thread to talk about what have been good things wrestling has incorporated from MMA, what have not really worked, and things that you'd like to see wrestling try to emulate from MMA that haven't been done.

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Not that there aren't certain valid points made in the article, but the gall of - of all people - Lance Storm to tell - of all people - THE UNDERTAKER how to get the interest of a crowd is ridiculous.

 

Anyway, I think the best things for wrestling to borrow from MMA have already been borrowed. The tap out gives a good visual indicator to a submission finish, and adds extra punch to I Quit matches. Ref stoppages from repeated strikes make sense to me, and work pretty well for dudes like Danielson. The various MMA style moves that have been incorporated into a wrestling setting have been welcome additions. And, of course, there's the always delightful Bob Sapp. Not sure what more they need to take from MMA, at least not until Kimbo Slice becomes sufficiently exposed in legit fighting.

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I remember watching the AWA as a fan and hearing a commentator joke that Nick Bockwinkle (AWA World Champ at the time) doesn’t even sleep on his back

If I ever (for whatever godforsaken reason) get back into doing commentary for wrestling, I am SO stealing that line.

 

 

One thing Lance missed is that this isn't the first time Taker has done this. I recall him using the dragon sleeper as a submission finish around Invasion, and variations on the triangle choke on many occasions, iirc he beat Big Show at Backlash 2002 with that hold.

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The gogoplata is stupid.

 

It's a move that makes him look physically old as he executes it really awkwardly and just looks like an old man struggling to move his arthritic knees.

 

The fake Liddell "Best pure striker in the sport" gimmick is amusing but Undertaker was able to make it work. Watching the poorly executed gogoplata on the other hand just made Undertaker look like the kind of giant fight mark who was regularly flying himself to England to watch Ricky Hatton practice.

 

Watching it go over like a fart in church

 

http://youtube.com/watch?v=7AaMbIE-gJU&feature=related

 

kind of is what inspired me to write Craig Pittman v Hacksaw Duggan up at segunda caida:

 

http://segundacaida.blogspot.com/2008/02/b...nth-day-12.html

 

That said Storms reasons for complaining about it are pretty wrong.

 

Even if we put that “choke” issue aside, this is a poor choice for a finish on so many levels. For starters, any move done from you back is likely a poor pro-wrestling finish. In MMA being on you back is not a bad thing, because you can’t be pinned, but in pro-wrestling that is the worst possible position to be in. For years, since pro-wrestling’s inception actually, fans have been educated to the fact that if you are on your back and someone is on top of you, you are in a bad position. Someone as dominant and powerful as the Undertaker should almost never be in this position, let alone put himself in it voluntarily. I remember watching the AWA as a fan and hearing a commentator joke that Nick Bockwinkle (AWA World Champ at the time) doesn’t even sleep on his back, and I remember thinking that was such a great line because staying off your back is the single most important thing in wrestling.

Why pin a man with a bridging suplex when it means your shoulders are likely to be down on the mat too?

 

The arguments about laying on the back are silly at this point.

 

The Hughes/Newton (slam/submission) finish is a really great addition to the repertoir of bs wrestling finishes.

 

I'll take it over "wrong shoulders down on suplex" any day.

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Not that there aren't certain valid points made in the article, but the gall of - of all people - Lance Storm to tell - of all people - THE UNDERTAKER how to get the interest of a crowd is ridiculous.

OFFENSIVE.

 

 

I see no problem with Taker's new move. I'm sure it doesn't pop the crowd like the tombstone. But you know, it's gotta hurt those knees to fall on them while holding 200-300 pound guys every match. I don't blame Taker for adopting a new finish that isn't so rough on his body.

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Meltzer makes a good point in the new WON that while it's nice Taker wants to branch out and all, the gogoplata is such a random move to pull out that even most MMA fans who watch UFC don't know what it is. He's probably literally the only guy in the building who knows what is when he does it.

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