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    Friday, January 18, 2019

    #FinisherFriday (1/18/19): Revisiting the Spear

    Welcome to another edition of #FinisherFriday! This is Wreddit_Regal bringing to you an analysis of one of the most iconic power moves in professional wrestling.

    In the WWE, it could be argued that if a wrestler has the Spear in his/her arsenal, then they are destined to gain championship gold, or have already held gold at some point in their career. Well, it's not really the move that guarantees victory, but if you look at the list of people who have used the spear, the statement becomes truer than ever: Jim Duggan, Goldberg, Big Show, Rhyno, Edge, Batista, Roman Reigns, and Charlotte have utilized the Spear to their favor, and thus rose to the top of the food chain.

    Well, if you watched enough wrestling, then you can deduce that when someone regularly uses the Spear, then it must mean that they are big, fast, and able to deal explosive power with their strikes. True enough, the wrestlers listed above all fit with these criteria, and thus could use the maneuver to its full potential. With that being said, we'll spend the remainder of this article learning about the ups and downs of the Spear.

    The Spear in itself is a sub-type of your typical shoulder block, albeit done in an explosive, high-impact way. Most critics and analysts argue about the main defining factors that differentiate a Spear from other similar moves, but this is how I would classify things:

    The classic spear consists of the attacker rushing forward and hitting the opponent's midsection using their shoulder, tackling them and forcing them down to the mat. This version is employed by most wrestlers like Goldberg, Roman Reigns, Batista, etc.

    Some wrestlers do a version where they stop moving forward at the moment of impact and not follow through; as a result, both wrestlers fall to the canvas in place with barely any inertia or forward momentum. Perhaps the most famous example is Edge's way of performing the spear.

    There's also what they call the "striking spear" (or what I'd call the pure spear). It begins with the typical spear setup, but instead of performing a double-leg takedown, the attacker relies purely on his/her momentum to drive the opponent to the canvas. Rhyno's Gore fits into this category of spears.

    A sub-type of the striking spear is what I would like to call the "bulldozing spear", which consists of the attacker just running like he's the Juggernaut bitch, not trying to force the opponent to a takedown but instead just runs through the impact and ragdolling the opponent in the process. The most famous example is Keith Lee's version of The Pounce (although in most instances he uses his forearms instead of the usual shoulder tackle), and Mil Muertes's Reaper's Trident.

    Now that we have seen the different types of spears. we move on to how the spear deals damage.

    All spears (with the exception of Edge's variation) are a form of what most fighters call a "pushing strike." Simply put, a pushing strike is done by driving the impacting part through the target to cause maximum damage. Edge's spear somewhat falls into the category of what fighters call a "snapping strike." This means that instead of pushing through, the striking part quickly retracts in order to minimize contact time with the target (Edge doesn't really retract or step back, but he stops further motion once he makes contact with the opponent).

    Damage-wise, pushing strikes are the best. The attacker puts a lot of effort into increasing his/her acceleration, putting the whole weight of their body as they launch forward, finally hitting the poor victim with blunt trauma that could result in broken ribs, internal bleeding, bruising, ruptured organs, and the like. Since Edge doesn't really launch both of his legs forward (adding the entirety of his weight into the attack), damage output is somewhat reduced.

    Tactic-wise, Edge's spear is the go-to choice. Although it doesn't deal as much damage like its counterparts, Edge has great control on how he performs his move. Since both of his legs don't leave the floor, Edge can somewhat change his direction, changing where his shoulder will make contact. In most cases, he prefers hitting the opponent's side, which results in him turning sideways upon impact.

    Also, being able to change direction and to stop has its defensive advantages, since the attacker would be less likely to have their Spear countered to a move detrimental to their victory:

    And there you have it chaps, the Spear deconstructed! In your opinion, who does the best Spear inside and outside of the WWE? 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 manoeuvres, 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 (1/18/19): Revisiting the Spear Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Wreddit_Regal
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