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    Friday, February 5, 2021

    #FinisherFriday (2/5/21): Wrestling Logic 101—Finishers and Back Bumps

    Welcome to another edition of #FinisherFriday! This is Wreddit_Regal attempting to demystify one minor thing in a wrestling match that you may or may have not noticed.

    Finishers have gone a long way since old times, when a random punch, kick, hold, or slam ended a match. Today, audiences have their tension and excitement slowly build up until one wrestler performs their unique strike, slam, or submission, rendering the opponent unable to continue the match. Such moves require the attacker to perform a maneuver that deals more damage than a regular wrestling move, which is the reason why many of them experiment with ways to deal the most amount of incapacitating damage to an opponent, with good results:

    But sometimes, you see some moves which seem like the attackers deal damage to themselves. Take a look at some finishers that make the attacker take a 'back bump' during the move's execution:

    While you don't see the move performers wincing a bit after the self-inflicted bump, you could notice wrestlers who do top-rope splashes and sentons actually writhe in pain after the move connects:

    This leads to many of us asking questions like:

    1. Don't wrestlers feel any pain while doing a back bump on themselves?
    2. Is the bump worth the output when doing such finishers?

    All persons who have trained in the ring will tell you that taking a back bump is the most painful spot to take when practicing, more so in an actual match. Although there are ways to minimize the fall's impact (like spreading both arms out to provide more surface area) one cannot simply disregard the amount of pain a wrestler feels when taking such an innocent move, even when bracing themselves for impact.

    The act of wrestlers no-selling a back bump, even if self-inflicted, goes against the tide of wrestling's already messed-up logic. Even wrestling enthusiasts who have watched the product for a long time will develop the awareness to question the actual logic in matches, asking, "If those wrestlers seemingly don't take any damage performing back bumps with their finishers, then why do guys still writhe in pain when taking the back body drop and Biel toss?"

    To answer within the realm of wrestling logic, performers tend to not feel pain when executing these types of finishers due to:

    1. The rush of adrenaline. Remember those nostalgic times when you'd watch Hulk Hogan get beaten up, only to reach that trademark "hulking up" period where he seems to be impervious to pain? That is adrenaline at work, chap.

    Adrenaline triggers the body's fight-or-flight response, which initiates a lot of changes inside the body to provide the human anatomy with:

    • a noticeable increase in strength and performance
    • heightened awareness
    • and a noticeable decrease in the ability to feel pain

    2. The opponent's initial resistance to falling along with the attacker breaks the fall, taking some of the kinetic energy. But the attacker's pulling motion "adds" momentum in the upper back and scapular region, which concentrates the damage taken in that area instead of having it evenly distributed on the whole back area.

    This may seem like a saving grace to those back bumps, but in reality, having one specific area taking damage repeatedly with every finisher takes its toll. Randy Orton carries the most risk because he has hypermobile shoulders. Surely you have heard the news of him dislocating his shoulders while taking out the trash, and that one match where he dislocated his shoulders while performing the taunt for his RKO:

    To answer the second question, it could be considered worth it when you deal more damage to the opponent than to yourself. If wrestlers can deal damage like this to their opponents every single time they hit the move, then I'll give them a pass (in the three GIFs below, you'll notice that none of the receivers' legs touch the mat. This ensures that the kinetic force transferred from the attacker to the receiver stays in that specified area of damage):

    This way of thinking should suffice in the short-term, but when we are talking three, five, or 10 years into a wrestler's career, things start to go downhill.

    Take into consideration the grueling schedule that an active wrestler has (especially the notorious WWE schedule before COVID), and you'll realize soon enough why the athletic guys and so-called "spot monkeys" have shorter careers inside the squared circle: hundreds of repeated back bumps per month will break down the human body, no matter how technically sound you are in your wrestling fundamentals and body mechanics. As DDP once said regarding the powerbomb that ruptured his lumbar vertebrae:

    "It wasn't that move. That move was the straw that broke the camel's back."

    So, my suggestion for wrestlers to have a longer in-ring career, they should start to look for finishers that deal roughly the same damage while posing a lesser risk to themselves:

    No bump, traps opponent's arms for that 100% facebuster damage

    No bump, just the pure joy of legally attempting to break another person's back

    Whoever knew that you can simply put a knee into a person's face without falling on your back?

    And that's it chaps, my short take on finishers and back bumps! Do you agree or disagree with my takes, or have a point in mind that I missed? 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 (2/5/21): Wrestling Logic 101—Finishers and Back Bumps Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Wreddit_Regal
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