Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nerve Holds in Wrestling #SU4SW

The most famous nerve hold in history?
Photo Credit: Online World of Wrestling
Usually, submission holds in wrestling center around working a body part in preparation for a wrenching or twisting submission hold and then finishing with a move that targets the area that's been worked. This is a good strategy concerning submission wrestling, and it is something that can be missing at times from various feds, mainstream or indie, depending on what the storyline focus of the company is. However, to have that as the sole focus of submission wrestling in an in-ring repertoire is shortsighted and one-dimensional. How do you vary the submission game up? Well, how about focusing on something that I feel is greatly underutilized in pro wrestling, attacking the pressure points and going for instant submission cred by utilizing nerve holds.

The only real nerve hold that I really see utilized the way it could be used is the Asiatic Spike. It comes out of nowhere and needs no build to be an effective finishing submission. Even then, it had been sort of dummied down and turned into a strike, Umaga's Samoan Spike. Other than that, there was Mick Foley's Mandible Claw and not a whole lot else. There are a bunch of pressure points on the body, some of them that can be easily manipulated for a submission hold and some that are better left alone. Why aren't spots on the body like the seat of the neck (Vulcan neck pinch), the knee and elbow joints (in non-traditional ways that don't require working the body part) or the collarbone targets for nerve holds? They could add a lot of flavor to matches and to different characters' movesets with just small amounts of build, both in the match itself and by the announcers.

Pressure points aren't foreign concepts to most wrestling fans. Martial arts that utilize taking out an opponent by using the pressure points have been around for years, and everyone knows that you can take a guy way bigger than you down if you hit the right spots. This goes for strikes and submissions. The former can set up the latter, and the latter can provide avenues for huge underdog stories to unfold. For example, if Kaval were to wrestle the Big Show, you could book him to win credibly in a few ways. One is through castigo excesivo, with Show brutally maiming Kaval in the ring while ignoring the ref's instruction. That doesn't put him over all that much. A knockout kick to the head might work, but then again, how does Kaval get Show off his feet to a point where such a kick would work without Kaval having to fly? To do that, he'd need to work Show's joints. A kick to the head might work after that, and it would be a great way to put Kaval over Show in a believable manner. However, making show submit to undeniable nerve pain? Having a giant tap out to a little guy? That's how you'd make a bona-fide superstar. Traditional submission holds wouldn't work by Kaval, so you have him dig into Show's neck, or sell that a spiking move to the back of Show's knee shoots so much pain up his leg that the strength in both his legs is completely neutralized. It doesn't take much.

Of course, this kind of storytelling wouldn't be exclusive to David-vs.-Goliath matches either. It would add another in-ring archetype to a world of staged combat that could stand to add a few more unique styles of offense. It would also bring up the profile of submission wrestling and bring a "sudden" quality to it that it lacks in its best form.

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