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    Friday, April 3, 2020

    #FinisherFriday (4/3/20): What Makes A Good Neckbreaker?

    Welcome to another episode of #FinisherFriday! This week, I won't be highlighting any specific move, but will instead start a discussion about move efficiency.

    All seasoned veterans of the squared circle have at least mastered the basic throws, grapples, and bumps needed to give the audience a stellar performance in the ring. One of those staple moves is the humble neckbreaker. It was a go-to move after Rick Rude popularized it, until it slowly faded to being just another move, like the DDT.

    Although most wrestlers will now prefer to throw superkick parties and Canadian Destroyers to end matches, there is no doubt that when a wrestler understands the mechanics of a neckbreaker, he/she can use it to their advantage and win matches with it.

    Now the question arises: What makes a neckbreaker a move that breaks necks?

    Most wrestling connoisseurs and enthusiasts will agree that the standard neckbreaker attempts to hyperextend the neck beyond the comfortable limits of the human anatomy. Most wrestlers attempt to do this by putting their arm under the opponent's nape as they both land back-first onto the canvas, as with the examples below:

    You didn't even do it properly, Dolph

    This doesn't exactly work the way they intended it to be, as it only does the bare minimum of neck hyperextension. Imagine putting one hard pillow under your head when you are about to sleep. You might wake up with a stiff neck, but that's about the maximum damage you'd get. Plus, since the opponent also lands horizontally, the point of impact is not on the neck anymore; the rest of the body takes the force equally, leaving the neck relatively safe.

    The most effective ways of breaking the neck within the limits of professional wrestling are as follows:

    1. Twist the neck sideways, in quick fashion. With this, the opponent has no choice but to match the attacker's timing when rotating, which most of the time he/she fails to do:

    2. The simplest trick is to not let the opponent land horizontally. With this, you are actually recreating the mechanics of breaking a ruler (not a leader ruler, a ruler ruler. I'll save the political undertones for another article. )

    There are two forces on both ends of a ruler when you try to break it. When you apply that to your neckbreaker, one bending force is you holding the opponent's head secure, while the other bending force is the opponent's own body as it lands on the canvas. The bending action happens when you prevent the opponent from landing like they just took a vertical suplex. Come to think of it, aren't all neckbreaker slams just fancy vertical suplexes?

    From what I've observed in wrestling so far, the only neckbreakers to follow this standard are:

    Rick Rude's "Rude Awakening"
    Victoria's "Widow's Peak"

    Cara Noir's hangman neckbreaker

    With this setup, the "bending force" is concentrated on the neck, which hyperextends it in quick fashion, to a very uncomfortable degree. This can easily cause fractures to the cervical spine and tears in the neck muscles and ligaments, when done with murderous intent.

    And there you have it chaps, my personal criteria of what a neckbreaker needs to be truly devastating in the ring! Do you have your own set of criteria, or have I missed some good neckbreakers that are worthy of mention? Let us know in the comment section below!

    Wreddit_Regal is the resident sports kinesiologist of Reddit's wrestling forum, r/squaredcircle. From the most basic of punches to the most intricate double-team maneuvers, he can explain them within the realm of human anatomy and physics, because when doing absolutely nothing wrestling-related, he also happens to work as an operating room nurse.

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    Item Reviewed: #FinisherFriday (4/3/20): What Makes A Good Neckbreaker? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Wreddit_Regal
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