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Archive for December 23rd, 2009

Chapter 15: Match Structure By Matt Murphy

Posted by flairwhoooooo on December 23, 2009

The Basics

Learn the basic match structure before you try to deviate from it. It pains me to see guys in the ring who don’t know how to work even a basic match. It’s like watching two guys play Raw vs. Smackdown on PlayStation—just a series of moves with no rhyme or reason.

Here is are the bare bones of a match: entrances, shine, heat, comeback, and finish.
Before a match begins, the wrestlers must obviously enter the ring. Music typically plays during the entrances, and it should be chosen wisely. Make sure it isn’t obscene (unless you’re in an environment that allows it) and that it matches your character. If you walk slowly to the ring, then “Push It” by Static-X isn’t the best one to choose (Guilty … hindsight’s — well, you know.). Entrances are usually when fans are shown which wrestlers they should expect to cheer and to boo in the match.

The babyface should shine early, giving the fans a reason to support him when the going gets tough. The heel stops the “shine” — often with an underhanded tactic — and begins his “heat”, the part of the match where he has the advantage of the babyface. The babyface exploits a mistake, hitting a move on the heel to give himself some recuperative time. This leads into the “comeback”, which is the babyface’s chance to give the heel his comeuppance. Out of the comeback, the heel cuts off the babyface and they go directly into the “finish” before the crowd catches its breath from the comeback.

That’s your basic singles match.

Before I break down the bell-to-bell components of a match, it’s important to note that neither the babyface nor the heel should look finished (figuratively, die) before the finish except when selling a false-finish, so it’s important to show that each wrestler still has some fight left in him. When a wrestler dead-sells, it looks stupid when he comes back to life ten seconds later to reverse an Irish whip and hit a backdrop.
During the “shine”, the heel tries to counter the babyface’s offense, but the babyface is one step ahead of the heel. The shine doesn’t consist of the babyface strictly kicking the heel’s ass for the first half of the match. There should be short cutoffs by the heel, then a spot to put the babyface back in control.

During the “heat”, the fans must have hope that the babyface will come back and win the match, so it is important to give the babyface hope spots (moves or sequences of moves where the babyface tries to regain the advantage). Hope spots should not end with the babyface in control with a hold for more than a quick moment before being cut off. The heel cuts off the babyface hope spot and goes back into his heat. A babyface shouldn’t be afraid to throw some shots while selling the heat—it shows the crowd he’s still alive without overusing hope spots.

The “comeback” is a late-match offensive burst from the babyface, his second wind. This is no place for wrestling holds. During the comeback, the heel should bump and sell while feeding the babyface for the next comeback maneuver. As a babyface, my biggest annoyance was when the heel didn’t feed me for my comeback. I was always there for every move and I sold my butt off for the heel during the heat, so I expected the same from him when it was time for me to come back. As a heel, my biggest annoyance was a babyface forgetting his own comeback.

While a babyface shouldn’t Superman up, forgetting the ass-kicking he’s taken throughout the match, the comeback is the fourth-quarter adrenaline rush a defensive back would get stepping in front of an under-thrown pass and running it back 80 yards for the score. It can be hard for those without a background in competitive sports to grasp this.

Babyface, remember what you’ve selling and register it between moves, showing you’re hurt but game for the fight. If you’ve been selling the back and you body slam your opponent, sell the back with one hand and pump your fist or challenge your opponent to get up with the other, for instance.

A comeback is all about momentum. Covering your opponent too early kills that momentum, so make sure you don’t cover the heel too soon. A little tip for the heel: if the babyface covers you too soon, kick out, feed to a corner, and call a spot to continue the comeback while he gives you a couple shots. This keeps the action going and the crowd up.

The comeback ends with a cutoff before the “finish”. It can be as simple as the babyface missing a splash in the corner. Usually, wrestlers like to go into some false-finishes before the actual finish, and we will go into those later. For now I will just say that too many false-finishes during one show often leaves the crowd flat for them when they matter.

In the basic match, the finish comes straight out of the cutoff: the babyface makes his comeback, misses a splash in the corner and feeds into a spine-buster for the pin, or feeds to the center of the ring, ducks a clothesline, and gets the pin with an O’Connor roll.

That’s your basic match.

The Story

Not every match must tell a different or complex story. Until you are completely comfortable and successful with a basic good-versus-evil match, don’t stray too far away from it. Once you have the basics down, you can start deviating from the basics a bit and start telling a different story in your match. As with most scenarios in wrestling that require thought, be creative but don’t over-think. Keep the story simple so the fans can understand it.

Here’s one simple story I loved, told in the ring by two late WWE stars, The Big Boss Man and Crash Holly: Holly, the small babyface doing the “super heavyweight” gimmick, was determined to body slam Boss Man, the monster heel. They started the match with Holly trying to slam Boss Man twice, but both times Boss Man pie-faced Holly and shoved him to the mat. Holly changed his strategy, using his quickness to gain a short advantage until he again tried unsuccessfully to slam Boss Man, which led into the heat. Holly tried a fourth time during a hope spot, but could not do it. Finally, during his comeback, Holly got Boss Man up for a slam and the Savvis Center in St. Louis went nuts. This was a match taped for Sunday Night Heat, but that one move got a bigger pop than just about everything done during Raw that night. The entire story was built around one move: when they delivered, the crowd erupted.

It usually requires doing television or regular events at the same arena to establish your finishing move, but once you have it over as the definitive end of the match, it can really help you tell your story. C.M. Punk has the Go To Sleep over as his finisher and, because he protects it by not using it as a false-finish: people know that when he hits it, the only thing left is the referee’s three-count. That makes it easy for him to tell that side of the story—he wants to hit his finisher so he can win the match—and he can attempt it a few of times during the match before hitting it.

Tag-Team Matches

My favorite kind of match as a kid was the tag-team match. I love the conventional team-wrestling wisdom, that two mid-carders that are a regular tag team can beat two superstars who are just thrown together because of the experienced tag team’s chemistry and teamwork. Sadly, that wisdom has suffered a quiet death in recent years. A duo established as the best tag team in the business will be cast aside and lose the titles to two stars together whom the bookers want to pair briefly to begin, advance, or add a twist to a storyline.

The structure of a tag team match is different because it consists of four or more wrestlers. The babyface tag team uses teamwork to gain the early advantage. They use frequent tags to control the match. Usually with an underhanded tactic, the heels take the advantage, cutting the ring in half (keeping the babyface who is taking the heat close to their corner) and drawing in the illegal babyface, distracting the referee and allowing the heels to double-team illegally. The babyface gets several hope spots, always trying to get to his corner. When the babyface finally tags his partner, this is called the “hot tag”. This is the equivalent of the comeback in a singles match. One or both of the heels feed the babyface until he makes a cover. The illegal heel breaks up the pin attempt, drawing in the other babyface (the one who took the heat) for a four-way brawl. The babyfaces end up on top, one wrestler from each side spills out of the ring, and the legal wrestlers go into the finish. If the babyfaces are going over (winning), then the finish happens right away. If the heels are winning, then the referee may be attempting to order the illegal babyface back into his corner while the heels cheat or use their double-team finish to secure their victory.

That’s your basic tag team match. Once you have the structure down and have had some good tag matches, you can deviate from it.

The illegal babyface should not be drawn into the ring too much. The fans will eventually get mad at him for not keeping his cool and for causing his partner an even worse beating. Respect the referee’s authority and the fans’ intelligence. It sucks to see the referee miss the babyface tag and order the fresh babyface out of the ring while the heels switch illegally behind his back and the ref allows it. This gets heat on the referee, not the heels, and heat on the referee doesn’t draw money. I was guilty of this at times when I worked but it’s easier to see the light when you’re not standing beneath it.

Though some veterans insist that the only legal tag is hand-to-hand, it’s generally accepted that the outside man can tag any body part above the waist on his legal partner. If you make an illegal tag and the referee does not let it slide, listen to his instructions. If he says to get out of the ring, do it. Work into a situation where you can be legally tagged in. Never short-arm your partner when he isn’t supposed to make the tag. The fans see through this and it kills every ounce of heat you’ve built.
When on the outside of the ring, sell for your partner. You are his voice to the fans: when he takes a big bump, register it, when he is fighting for the tag, be on your toes and eager to get in. If you look like you don’t care what’s happening to your partner, why would the fans care?

Remember that this is a tag team match, not two singles matches. There should be numerous tags, and except when one babyface is taking the heat, there is no reason for one wrestler to be in the ring for five consecutive minutes.

Don’t overdo things like the double-down. While dramatic, it loses its effect when a double-clothesline precedes the hot tag every time a fan watches a tag match.
You have to know how to work a tag match because you will be in them at times. However, I don’t suggest planning a future as a tag team wrestler for two reasons. First, you’re almost certain to fail if you hope to become a successful tag team wrestler in WWE in this era. Second, you’re screwing yourself out of bookings once your run at the top is over because you mean much less without your partner; you’re part of a package deal. If you had a chance to go see Ronnie Dunn in concert, would you? Probably not, but if you’re a country music fan, you’d pay to see him with Kix Brooks as Brooks & Dunn.

Title Matches

The structure of a title match is different from a basic match. I’ll use World League Wrestling as my example in explaining why since I was working with them while I wrote the first edition of this book. “Dangerous” Derek McQuinn was the WLW champion. There were maybe four guys on the regular roster who could have been put in the challenger’s role and looked like they had a chance of leaving the arena with his title. Nobody wants to see a title match when they know the challenger has no chance, so we were limited to just those four opponents. You could argue that we could bring in a name (a well-known wrestler) to challenge for the title, but I think it trivializes the Top Ten rankings to have an outsider come in and leapfrog all contenders to get a title shot without earning it by beating anybody ranked.

If we needed Derek to carry the belt for at least one year, that meant that we needed to have thirteen weeks of mileage out of each challenger before the next challenger moved into the top-contender’s spot. Otherwise, we’d have needed to recycle challengers.

Let’s say Superstar Steve was a babyface and Derek’s first challenger. What would’ve happened if, three weeks into the angle, Derek squashed Steve or if Steve just didn’t look like he could have won the belt? He wouldn’t have mattered as the challenger again. The championship match draws based on the fans’ belief that the babyface challenger can win the belt at any time and he just needs the stars to align right for it to happen. So if Derek squashed Steve, we’d have had to figure out how to filter Steve out of the title picture and make up the extra ten weeks’ worth of TV out of the next three title angles.

As a champion, your job is to build stars, wrestlers capable of drawing near the top of the card based on the credibility you’ve given them by making them look strong in your previous bouts.

I believe that fans pay to see the babyface pursue the title, not the babyface defend the title. Because of this, I believe the heel should be champion 90 percent of the time and I refer to title-match structure with a heel champion.

Training and working under a former NWA World Heavyweight Champion, I learned a lot about what it meant to carry that title 30 years ago. It was the biggest prize in wrestling and Harley defended the championship in each NWA territory against a star from that territory. He showed the fans that his opponent was a big star who would have become World Champion if time wouldn’t have expired or if something else beyond that star’s control wouldn’t have occurred. That regional star became a superstar who drew money for the territory and sold out arenas the next time Harley came to town to defend the World Title.

The heel champion should let the challenger have 60 percent or more of the match. The challenger will come inches from winning the title, only to have the rug pulled from beneath his feet. The challenger should make frequent strong covers and the champion should kick out as if to say, “Holy crap! This man is trying to take away the most meaningful thing in my career!”

Gimmick Matches

During a long feud, my opponent and I wrestled in a host of gimmick matches. That was the problem: we wrestled. We were supposed to hate each other and have all kinds of heat between us, but we started a first-blood match with a tackle, drop-down, hip-toss. The most important thing to get over in a gimmick match is the gimmick. If you really hate somebody, will you try to put him in a hammerlock or punch a hole through his face?

Anticipation is key to gimmick matches. A cage match doesn’t call for blood in the first two minutes. Tease running your opponent’s head into the cage, then have him cut you off before you can execute it. Get the crowd excited to see it before you give them their payoff and remember: you always have to deliver the payoff in the gimmick match. If people pay to see a cage match but they see a technical wrestling contest with a cage limiting their view, they won’t likely pay to see the next one.

The hair-versus-hair match is the most important to deliver. If the losing wrestler runs away before getting his hair cut, the promotion — not the wrestler — gets the heat for cheating fans out of their money.

Japanese vs. American Structure

Japanese and American wrestling are very different. Many American fans, mostly Internet fans and tape traders, like the Japanese style. I’ll try not to say either is superior to be fair (I don’t agree with the Japanese psychology, especially with no-selling big moves in big matches), but here are some of the differences.

False-finishes in a Japanese match are commonplace. They admire a wrestler for his fighting spirit and believe that a losing wrestler still looks strong if he hits a few big moves and kicks out of a few big moves before being pinned. The problem is it becomes really predictable. In America, the crowd grows tired of the “one…two…ooh!” near-fall.
Babyfaces and heels are rare in Japan. The biggest heel heat I witnessed in person was when Jushin Liger and other junior-heavyweights from New Japan Pro Wrestling “invaded” a Pro-Wrestling NOAH event and attacked the Pro-Wrestling NOAH juniors. Japanese fans care more about each wrestler’s fighting spirit than they do about good-versus-evil.

The structure of the tag team match is the biggest difference I noticed. Unlike in America, where the wrestler taking the heat is usually not the one being pinned, that is usually the case in Japan. They feel that he is the wrestler who has taken the most punishment, making him the most prone to being pinned. I don’t disagree, but it’s not typically done that way over here when the babyfaces lose.

Much of the match in Japan is called in the back. A body slam is still called a body slam, and it isn’t hard to understand what you’re doing in the match most of the time.
I don’t know what it’s like for guys wrestling for other Japanese promotions, but wrestling for Pro-Wrestling NOAH made me a semi-celebrity in Japan. I wasn’t a megastar like Brad Pitt, but I may have had the star power of Janitor from “Scrubs”. Many people recognized me and wanted autographs and pictures, even away from the arena. That means that a lot of eyes were on me. If you go over there, a lot of eyes will be on you, too, so consider that every time you go out in public.

Here are some more things to remember:

1. Keep a low profile when you’re over there. I was liked by most of the Japanese, but I rubbed some of them the wrong way because I drank and chased women too much.

2. Even though the money doesn’t look like the U.S. dollar to which we’ve grown accustomed, it is still real money. If you receive a $200 draw (payment advance) and spend it, that means you will have $200 less when you’re paid the lump remainder of your guarantee at the end of the tour. I treated it like Monopoly money and returned home with about half of my guarantee because I took too many draws and spent like an idiot.

3. Wrestling in Japan can be a great experience, so make the most of it. Ask if you can get in the ring before the shows while the young boys (dojo students and non-veteran wrestlers) are training. Participate and learn what they are doing.

4. Try to pick up on some of the Japanese language. Learning it fluently may be the difference between one tour and a long career in Japan. The Japanese appreciate efforts to embrace their culture.

5. If a couple of cute Japanese girls ask you if you want a massage, they’re not just trying to be nice. They are working girls. They might try to bait you into their massage parlor and you may have to forcefully exit. And that parlor may have Yakuza money running through it. And you may need Scorpio to save your ass. And he might tell you to sleep in one of the boys’ hotel rooms instead of your own that night. And knowing you may have become a Yakuza target equals sleepless nights.

The Hierarchy

There is a pecking order when it comes to your responsibilities in wrestling. This applies to match structure, professionalism, and just about everything else.

Your first loyalty should be to professional wrestling. Obviously, the business is why we’re all here. For example, you shouldn’t expose the business by no-selling a finishing move to get a big rise out of the crowd. It might get you over and get a big pop, but what does it say about our business when you’re dancing around seconds after taking a power bomb?

Of course, the fans feed our business and deserve your second-most loyalty. I’m not saying you have to kiss babies if you’re a heel, but you should strive to do your part in making the fan want to continue being a fan. A fan is not a mark and should not be referred to as such, but he is a paying customer that deserves your respect and gratitude for supporting the business. As a heel, it’s good to interact with them to get heat, but there’s no need to take deep digs at people like making fun of the mentally challenged kid sitting with his parents.

Third, you should be loyal to the promotion for which you are booked. Don’t do anything that is going to damage their business, like throwing a chair through a window. The promoter will have to pay for it and may never get to run an event in that building again.

Your fourth loyalty should lie with the event on which you are booked. Do your part to make the event successful. If you are in the opening match, don’t do everything under the sun so that no match can follow you. If the crowd burns out and the show goes downhill after your match, then you haven’t done your job.

Your fifth-most loyalty should be to the other workers, especially to the guy with whom you’re working. That means it’s more important for you to labor to make your opponent look good than to make sure you hit all of your big moves during the match.
Last, and least, you should remain loyal to yourself. As you should be able to gather by now, selfishness has no place in wrestling.

Know Your Role

The two most important matches on the card are the opener and the main event. The opener sets the tempo for the evening, while the main event determines what kind of taste is left in the fans’ mouths.

I have some pet peeves relating to opening matches. The first is when two babyfaces open the show against one another. To me, the event should begin with a simple, classic good-versus-evil match with the crowd responding accordingly. I don’t like to see anything other than a definitive finish to the opener. I loathe the run-in during the first match: if a match needs one to set the table for a match later in the card, it should be booked as the second match. However, if the winner of the opening match is challenging for a title in the main event, let him hit his finisher in the opener so it can be the focal point of the title match (If he hits the tornado DDT, he’ll win the title). Last, I hate a spot-fest to open the show. There is a time and place for the matches with dives, multiple high-spots, and breath-taking maneuvers, but the first match on the card is not it. A good wrestling show offers a variety of flavors, but a person has a hard time enjoying a plain old ice cream cone when he’s already had a cherry-topped waffle-cone sundae.

As I’ll explain more in a few paragraphs about false-finishes, I like to limit them to a couple (at most) per event and save them for featured matches. If there has not been a “one…two…ooh!” moment before the title-match main event, the crowd is going to really bite on the false-finish.

The wrestlers should hear finishes and other instructions as a group during a single gathering. Some wrestlers don’t watch the other matches, so they end up using the same move that ended Match Two as nothing special in Match Four. Don’t hesitate to tell other wrestlers that you’re thinking about doing something and make sure nobody else isn’t also planning to do it.

The main event, obviously, is the last thing a fan in attendance sees. It’s the match that, in theory, drew the fans to the event and it often determines whether those fans buy tickets the next time you come to town. If the show ends with the fans getting the shaft in any way, they probably won’t come next time. If it ends with them eager for the next event, they will not only buy a ticket, but they might each even bring along a ticket-buying friend or two. That’s not saying that you shouldn’t end with a cliffhanger or a To Be Continued… storyline, but it has to be done wisely.

When you are instructed to be a babyface or a heel, it’s your job to work accordingly. A heel who receives a standing ovation at the end of his match didn’t do his job. Both wrestlers have to work together in the match to establish babyface and heel as well. In a six-man match once upon a time, one of the babyfaces was working against me, not with me. I tried to get some cheap heat by lying to referee John Cone, claiming that the bigger, stronger opposing wrestler pulled my hair when he bumped me for the first time. Cone asked him if he pulled my hair and he nodded, then slapped himself on the wrist. I was irritated: not only did he kill the heat for what I was doing, but he also basically said to the referee, “Yes, I cheated. What are you going to do about it?”
The problem with babyfaces and heels these days is that everybody wants to be cool. I never did. When I was a heel, I wanted heat. I didn’t want a fan to say, “Man, that’s a badass logo on his tights. I want that tattooed on my forehead.” Most of all, I didn’t want to sell pictures. I wanted to work my ass off to get the babyface over so I could get my real payoff, seeing him sell a ton of pictures at the merchandise table.
On the subject of pictures, the last time in my career that I worked as a babyface, I did something that, sadly, most guys wouldn’t even consider. I worked with a guy who was getting paid the same as me and who worked his ass off to get me over. I sold 23 pictures at $5 each, grossing $115. It cost me $1 per photo to have them made, so I netted $92 from picture sales. That wasn’t my money; it belonged to me and the guy with whom I worked. I pulled him off to the side and thanked him again for the match and for his hard work, then handed him $46: it was one half of the profits from my picture sales. If you are a babyface and you haven’t done this, you should give it some serious thought. Wrestling is a team sport, and you should share the wealth with the guy you’re working with.

In a just world, heels would be paid more than babyfaces. The heel’s job is to get babyfaces over, moving babyface merchandise in the process. It bugs me that almost everybody in wrestling wants to be a babyface because it is more profitable, but it would be different if the babyface shared the wealth. If John Cena, working a program with Kane, earns $50,000 in merchandise royalties for that period, then he should give Kane a generous monetary gift. Unfortunately, it’s a flawed system that leaves the heel on the short end of the pay scale in the long run. Regardless of your desire to work as one or the other, do what is asked of you by the promoter or booker. If you are asked to work as a heel and you are unsatisfied with the fact that you will not profit from merchandise sales but your babyface opponent will, then ask for more money before accepting the booking and tell him the reason. Again, just know that for every extra dime you ask for, you increase the risk of losing out on that booking.

False-Finishes and Finishes

What is the purpose of false-finishes? To make the crowd gasp when a wrestler unexpectedly kicks out of a pin. False-finishes should be used sparingly. You can do few things in the ring that suck as much as a false-finish that the crowd doesn’t buy.
Here are some pointers that will help avoid this reaction from the crowd.

First, a false-finish needs to have the appearance of a finish, preferably something fans have seen used as a finish in the past. A cross-body off the top rope by the babyface with the heel rolling through and pulling the tights is a great false-finish because fans have seen a babyface beaten with this cheating tactic countless times. Shawn Michaels getting to the ropes to break John Cena’s STFU at the right time in a match is a good false-finish for the same reason. A near-fall off a vertical suplex, which hasn’t ended a match in 20-plus years, is not an effective false-finish.

A false-finish must be sold by both wrestlers as a finish to be effective. Following a brain-buster with a half-assed cover means nothing. Hook your opponent’s leg, really get his weight up on his shoulders, and make it look like you mean to win to effectively sell a false-finish.

Next, false-finishes need to be used while keeping things credible. Four consecutive false-finishes off a tombstone, a power bomb, and two 450 splashes leave a crowd flat. It stooges big finishers off as not really hurting and leaves the crowd tired of going “Ooh” and “Ah.”

False-finishes need to be used sparingly because it’s better to have a crowd pop big for them every time than to have the reaction taper. My rule of thumb is no more than two false-finishes per event. Yes, I’m ultra-conservative with them. That means that two times during an event may the fans see a near-fall with a kick-out at the two-and-three-quarters count.

I usually reserve them for the featured matches, unless I am using them to get a story over. If I am looking to elevate a wrestler who needs to lose to a higher-ranked opponent, I might use a false-finish to get him over: “So-and-so lost, but it took two exploder suplexes to put him away” will set him apart from the other guys who have been pinned after just one exploder.

There is a simple psychology to kicking out of a pin attempt. A wrestler who has only taken a hip-toss and body slam in a match should not stay down for a two-count. The counts should progress from instant no-counts to one-counts to two-counts. This tells the fans just how much punishment you’ve endured throughout the match.

An old-school mentality on finishes that I don’t particularly like is that a heel must cheat to win, a smaller wrestler must use a surprise finish, submitting kills a wrestler, things like that. I’d rather see a babyface lose most of the time to a heel’s finishing move, using a screw-job finish occasionally to really rile the people up, than to require a foot on the ropes or pulled tights every time a babyface loses. I don’t mind seeing a smaller wrestler use a surprise finish, like a sunset flip, to get the pin most of the time, but I also don’t mind seeing his finishing move defeat a larger wrestler on occasion, within reason. I do like the “surprise” element of roll-up finishes because it gets over quickness, elusiveness, etc.

I disagree with the “submission-equals-career-death” logic because Ultimate Fighting Championship star Forrest Griffin can tap out to a kimura — even when applied by an inferior opponent — and be just as big a star the day after as he was the day before. People understand that he needs to live to fight another day.

Of course, some of the old-school guys I disagree with will use the “How much money has Matt Murphy ever drawn?” cop-out loved so dearly by those left behind by the changing times. They resent the evolution of the business (hey, we all do at least a little, don’t we?) and they don’t understand that fans don’t buy just any bullshit any more, so they try to discredit anybody who never worked the territories. Hell, half the guys using this cop-out were curtain-jerkers most of their careers and claim to have “sold out” events they opened. Regardless, don’t let bitter traditionalists stand between you and progress. To answer the question, Matt Murphy hasn’t drawn a dime. But I busted my ass once the fans were inside the building to make sure they came back.

The “surprise” finish is a finish that comes out of nowhere at an unexpected time. It usually happens with a roll-up, but it can also be a sudden finishing move like Randy Orton’s RKO that can be very effective, the finisher that can be hit from anywhere. When the finish is a roll-up or anything else that should not leave the beaten man selling pain, the winner should roll out of the ring. This leaves the loser wondering what the hell happened but eliminates any necessity for post-match contact between the wrestlers.

Don’t sell every finisher like a knockout. Sell the move’s intended effect. If something ends in you being kneed in the face, like the Go To Sleep, it can be sold like a knockout; on the other hand, the spear should knock your wind, not your lights, out. I like it when a guy takes a spear and lies in the fetal position, clutching his abdomen and gasping for air, before his opponent hooks him for the pin.

When you beat your opponent, make him look strong by making a strong cover. Don’t lay a boot across his chest. After you’ve won, you do nothing but bury him by beating him some more after the match. Remember, you are only as strong as the guy you’re beating. If he looks like a wimp, then you don’t look as good. If you’ve beaten somebody who you’ve made look like a million bucks, then you look like two million for beating him.

NEXT WEEK: Chapter 16: Wrestling Psychology

If you’re interested in ordering a print or Kindle copy or to leave a review of The Professional Wrestler in the World of Sports-Entertainment go to Amazon.com. You can also order a print copy of my first book, The Story of a Nobody and the Pursuit to Become a Somebody, at Amazon

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