It all started with a text. While in a staff meeting, I was texting my buddy, Eric (@EricMitchell13), about this week’s RAW. After discussing several topics, including 80′s tag teams, whether you would consider the Steiner Brothers an 80′s or 90′s tag team, and if the early 90′s is still considered the 80′s, I receive this:
“Big shows finisher is illegal. No closed fists right?” (And yes, I left his non-capitalization and lack of apostrophe alone)
It was like I was hit in the face with salami while getting beat up by Stone Cold in a supermarket. How did my friends and I not notice that? Combined, we have 50 years of wrestling fandom. More importantly how did I not notice this? I’ve been an avid wrestling fan since I was a baby and one of my favorite moments in wrestling was when Ric Flair DQ’ed The Dudley Boys, specifically Bubba Ray, for using a closed fist punch in the first 30 seconds of the match. Flair invoked a little used rule of professional wrestling that closed fist punches are illegal. The official rule gives discretion to the referees to give warnings and disqualify at their discretion, similar to the rule that allows 5 counts to release submission holds when someone is holding or is outside the ropes.
As a competitor after using an illegal move if you aren’t disqualified by the referee, you are required to give the competitor a chance to recover from that breaking of the rule. In the case of Big Show’s WMD, or Knockout Punch, he shouldn’t be allowed to make a cover for a pin until after his opponent has recovered. What if in an alternate wrestling reality this rule was enforced on Big Show and in a few other key moments?
Big Show started using his punching as a finishing move around the time Knucklehead was being filmed, even though he had used it in a lesser sense before then. That means that roughly the last 2 years of Big Show’s career would be null and void. JeriShow? Doesn’t have their tag title reign leaving Chris Jericho with no momentum heading into his World Championship run. ShowMiz? Also suddenly lacking a tag title reign. Surprisingly, Mark Henry would still lose to the Big Show at TLC 2011 because it was a chairs match which means Daniel Bryan would still get his World Title run. Looking back at only 2 years of changes, suddenly Big Show doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of the WWE.
Want some giggles? John Cena’s 5 Knuckle Shuffle ends in a closed fist. Results? John Cena likely would have only 5-6 wins to his name and would be back in the indies instead of competing in the big time. His whole offense is based off of punches. Just to be fair, Stone Cold Steve Austin would have suffered a similar fate because he would be disqualified in the first 5-10 seconds of every match.
It’s been a fun couple of minutes, but enough with the “what if?” because in every match, almost every wrestler throws a punch. What should WWE do with the WMD finisher in either this current story arc or a future one? Personally, I would go for the finishing move ban, similar to the previous storylines involving the piledriver (which became a real rule in WWE) and the powerbomb.
In the current storyline you could have a heelish CM Punk point out the blatantly obvious abuse of the rules while trying to eliminate Big Show’s use of the WMD at SummerSlam in the triple threat match. Cena would support this as the resident good SuperCena to which A.J. reluctantly agrees to take away. But in a twist of fate she also bans two other moves from WWE Championship match, the 5 Knuckle Shuffle and the running knee lift into the corner turnbuckle. Immediately CM Punk would bitch her out claiming his move isn’t illegal so it shouldn’t be banned, to which A.J. reminds him that when a superstar is relying on the ropes to stand, they are allowed the opportunity to get off of them before needing to defend themselves. Once the SummerSlam main event begins, every move can be teased and used to make the normal triple threat match a little more dynamic. Of course, there would be a ref bump and Cena would hit the 5 Knuckle Shuffle on Punk, the Show would knockout Cena with the WMD. Thus, teasing a Big Show victory but with no referee for the count. From here it can go into any direction to the true finish of the match.
In the end, WWE will likely do nothing with the illegality of the finishing maneuver and we now will all just yell at our television screens every time we see the WMD used. If you don’t believe me, consider other signature or finishing moves that have been allowed in the past, William Regal’s Power of the Punch, the Lou Thesz press with punches, The Rock’s 3 punch combo, Undertaker’s Old School (depending on what year you look at the move), and Road Dogg’s Shake Ratlle ‘n Roll. Let’s also not forget about any move off of the top rope, but that’s enough of that rant.
Follow me on Twitter (@twoxtreme) and check out my other wrestling articles and now dated fantasy football articles here at The Farm Club.