SLAM! WRESTLING: And Nothing but the Truth

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Eric Benner is SLAM! Wrestling's regular Friday columnist.

Friday, November 24, 2000

How to win at wrestling

Eric Benner
Special to SLAM! Sports

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If you're to be a wrestling fan in this day and age, there are a few things you've got to know first. See, wrestling doesn't work quite the same way as real life. The laws of physics are suspended, general reason is suspended, and cartoon logic reigns. Ten punches don't hurt as much as one throw, for example, whereas I bet you'd rather I hip tossed you than punched you in the face ten times straight, as hard as I could. Especially if I stomped while I punched, because then it would hurt.

As a student of not only the laws of physics but also the loony laws of wrestling physics, I feel I have a unique advantage to offer to fans and wrestlers alike so here's Eric Benner's guide to winning at wrestling.

Some of these tricks have already been done, though by only the smartest of wrestlers. Now, for the first time ever, they've been assembled in one place for you to take advantage and learn from. Use them wisely.

The first thing you're going to want to do, I think, is go out and get yourself a mask. Most opponents will obsess about removing your mask whenever they've got you in some sort of vulnerable position, and if you wear it tight enough, you'll get a breather and maybe a second wind. Masks can also help to protect against unsightly pyro burn.

The next thing I'd do is learn everyone's finishers. I don't see why people waste their time - especially dupes like Chris Benoit or Lance Storm - learning all these moves and holds. If they just alternated between superkicks and spears and uranages (Rock Bottoms) and figure fours and scorpion death drops, then I don't think they'd have much trouble beating just about anyone. Having all the finishing moves at your disposal means there will almost always be one you can execute. Imagine every match ending in your favour, decisively and in under thirty seconds, only you don't have be Goldberg!

Whichever federation you want to wrestle in, be sure to work for another one first. That way, you'll have momentum behind you when you leave, disgruntled or lured away, to go to your first choice federation, and people will whine and moan when you don't get the push you 'deserve'. (I confess, I'm as guilty of that as anyone.)

Take a cue from La Parka and just carry around a chair. Why bother leaving the ring to go get one every time you need one, when you can just leave it in the corner and use it whenever you like.

Form a tag team with someone way worse than you, then watch the fans rally behind you like never before, waiting and praying for your eventual heel turn at the expense of your partner and subsequent singles career.

When your opponent throws you against the ropes, for goodness sakes, don't bounce off them and run back. Slide outside the ring, a la Dean Malenko, or just stop. If you insist on pretending you can't stop, at least follow Rey Mysterio's lead and bounce off the ropes into some kind of crazy move.

Get to the arena on time. With the latest fad among top tier players being to arrive an hour and a half late so they can pan for the cameras as they walk in, you can score some major brownie points by actually showing up before the show begins.

Don't team up with Lex Luger. He'll turn on you. Don't team up with Triple H. He'll steal your heat. Don't team with Steve Blackman - that's just not good for business.

Pick a title you'd like to own. Challenge its current holder. Make it a ladder match. Take advantage of just about every wrestler's inability to climb ladders at even normal speed and win quickly. Then only defend your title in ladder matches. You'll be set for life. Note: this only works if you, yourself are not a victim of SLC disease (slow ladder climbing).

If you're going to showboat, don't do it on the top rope while your opponent is briefly winded. Come on, that's just common sense.

If you're a face, get a manager. They'll be responsible for all of your wins. If you're a face, and you get a manager, you're just begging to have him or her turn on you at a crucial time, probably costing you a title.

Don't challenge people to retirement matches. If you lose, you've got to retire, and no matter how much you hate your opponent, you may still lose.

If you must challenge your opponent to a retirement match, make the stipulation that if they lose, they must retire. Don't even mention the possibility of your own loss. For some reason, wrestlers are poor gamblers and don't seem to mind one-sided bets.

If you still challenge someone to a two-way retirement match and lose, just ignore the stipulation. I don't think it holds up in court or something, because only about two people in the wrestling business have actually retired in the past decade at all, let alone because of a match.

Efficiently move to pin any opponent you've just slammed to the ground - they'll be expecting some sort of stupid follow-up move or some showing off. You'll take them by surprise and probably win a few matches that way.

Try to be nice to everyone. Just wrestle a clean match each week against a random opponent. That way, you can avoid feuds of all kinds and have a safe, happy wrestling career.

The best weapons to use in hardcore matches tend to be those things which are flat, have little or no mass, are hollow, are overly large and unwieldy, and make some sort of smacking sound when coming into contact with human skin. Avoid these and just bring a hockey stick or something.

Wrestlers seem to have a high success rate of avoiding prosecution for even the most heinous crimes. At worst, they spend a night in jail or are removed from an arena. Take advantage of this and steal large sums of money during Raw or Nitro. Just be sure to have a television cameraman follow you, and to be arrested by fake police.

If it's fake anyway, just pay off officials to award you the matches. Call them 'screwjobs' and no one will know the difference.

Since there's no disqualification in hardcore matches and people can interfere freely, form a large team and beat down one guy for the hardcore title. Avoid the pretense and defend the title as a group. If you think about it, it's really the gang warfare title.

Well, that's it. Twenty keys to a successful wrestling career. Money, titles, a really big winning streak and all these can be yours!

Here's the mail.

Kory Wielenga, from, writes:

Hey Eric,
Just wanted to say, I liked the column on the Survivor series Screw-jobs. I don't think anyone but Bret Hart and Vince Macmahon really know what happened that night, but the truth is, they both went their seperate ways and Vince certainly didn't lose any respect from me.

Kory, it's nice to see that someone doesn't hate Vince McMahon for what happened that night. Not that he was right, necessarily, but given the complexity of what was involved in Bret's contract (the details of his creative control and exactly what was being breached), the WCW offer, who initiated it, and so on and the fact that we're not privy to many of those details, it may be unfair to really blame either party.

Kevin, from, writes:


. Unless I am much mistaken, you are incorrect in saying that 1997 Survivors Series was to be Bret Hart's last match in the WWF. I believe that although it was going to be his last PPV for the company he still had a number of dates to work before going to WCW and was more than happy to lose the title at one of them. He simply did not want to lose in front of a Canadian audience. Taking this into account somewhat weakens the point you make about Vince McMahon not wanting the title dropped in the trash on Nitro (as if this was his last opportunity to ensure that didn't happen).

Having gotten that of my chest I'd just like to add that in my humble opinion SLAM! Wrestling provides the best wrestling coverage on the Internet.

With LOVE for all

I believe you are, in fact, mistaken. Bret didn't wrestle any matches after his Survivor Series fight with Michaels, and I think both Bret and Vince McMahon acknowledged that it was his last match. As I recall, Bret offered to appear on Raw and vacate the title the following night, but that he wasn't willing to lose it then, either. That Raw was in Ontario, too, as I recall, which is also home territory for Hart. To his credit, I believe Hart may have offered McMahon other candidates to lose the title to, basically guys he didn't despise as he did Michaels. This is where fact gets fuzzy and becomes speculation, though. Thanks for tuning in this week, and for writing in too. Happy wrestling!

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