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#WTFWednesday (2/3/16): The Science of 'Don't Try This At Home'




So picture this: you've just watched any pro wrestling show and you're pumped. Like kid-who-hasn't-started-to-hate-but-still-watch-WWE kind of pumped. You're playing around with your friends and you decide to try some of the moves that you just saw. There are no ladders around you. You see a monobloc chair. You kick your friend in the gut, and he plays along. You pretend to climb to "the top rope." Cue in obligatory crotch chop, and you launch yourself ala Kane (Dude, you're drunk. It doesn't matter if it doesn't make sense) to deliver a clothesline. You imagine yourself gracefully flying through the air, ready to layeth the smacketh downeth on your friend's candy ass.

Instead, the chair slides back and you fall face first on the cold, hard concrete. Your friend laughs at you for a few seconds until he realizes that you're unconscious and bleeding. Good job, dumbass.

So what the heck just happened? As I was thinking of this week's topic while at church, it dawned on me that people in general have a poor grasp of physics, especially when it comes to pro wrestling. There's a reason why pro wrestlers train. It's so that the chance of fucking up a move and injuring someone is decreased. They understand how things work because when it all boils down to it, physics reigns supreme.

And this brings us tooooo....

1) Submissions Are A Dry Hump Away From The ER

We'll be breaking a bit of kayfabe around here, if it isn't already obvious. Still, it's better than explaining to your doctor that you didn't know submissions really hurt. As we've seen, there are actually two types of submissions, you have your joint-manipulation moves (armbars, leg locks, body locks, key locks, etc), and you have your chokes that cut blood circulation leading to oxygen deprivation of your brain (rear naked chokes, triangle chokes, guillotines, etc). In layman's terms, one is supposed to hurt, the other is supposed to make you pass out. When properly applied, these moves require very little effort to actually achieve its desired effect.


Okay, time to drop some science.

The joint submissions work on a fulcrum basis, using a focal point to apply pressure to a joint. In essence, the objective is to make it move the way it's not supposed to. Think of it as a seesaw where you jump on both ends, Eventually, that thing will break. So before you go Hard Gay humping your friend while you have him in an arm bar, don't. You WILL put some serious hurt on his elbow joint...and your balls. It requires a minimal amount of pressure before your elbow joint or any other affected areas can be damaged, and it is often noted that when these moves are taught in Judo or BJJ classes, you NEVER snap back the arm, but instead gently increase the pressure until the opponent taps.

So you and your friend decide to do the smart thing and not perform any Ankle Locks or Camel Clutches on each other.

Too bad, because you're drunk enough to need more convincing because...

2) Powerbombs Can Definitely Eff Up Your Neck.




Whodathunk that a move that seems so simple on TV be so much more complicated than it looks like? The go-to move of the more muscular wrestlers may appear to be a pretty straightforward technique, but it requires a whole lot more of the thought process to execute properly and safely. Thankfully, veteran indie wrestler Robi Vio was able to give his take on the intricacies of the powerbomb.


 "Powerbombs are the most fucked up move the most often. . . .not getting the motions lead to dropping them from lack of pull up, too much pull up and both go backwards, too much force lands brutal, too little breaks necks. . .it's a mess."

So to glean from that, for a move that screams "Bro, check out all DEEZ GAINZZZZZZ!!!!", there's a whole lot more of careful force management that goes on behind it. Too much or too little of certain factors can spell the difference between a memorable finish and a prolonged leave.

Ryback keeps a calculator in one of his pecs.

3) Ladders Are Not Your Friend

As someone who grew up in the interior decorating industry, I have been around ladders all my life. When I was but a wee child, I dreamt of being one of the high flying rasslers I saw on TV (I watched waaaay too much TV when I was a kid). When no one was looking, I climbed on top of one of our wooden ladders. Mind you, as someone who could barely run for a 20 meters without tripping myself, I had the balance of 20-year old me after a few drinks. So there I was, seemingly on top of the world, looking down at the measly throw pillow that I put to break my fall.... and the thing starts wobbling like crazy. So I did what any other sensible kid my age would do. I cried. Cried until someone could get me off that damn death trap.

So tell me now, when I'm arguably 3 times heavier than I used to be (conservatively), that climbing a ladder considerably taller than my childhood nightmare, is a good idea. Because, dammit, I went to school and I listened to my physics teacher. You take an object whose height is considerably more than its width and has the weight of my leg will in no doubt in my mind that that aluminum fucker will betray me the moment I apply force in the opposite direction. Don't believe me?


The problem lies in its foundation. 10 times out of 10, I bet you would not consider how stable the ladder will be when you choose to launch yourself from the top. To begin with, the ladders that are often used are made from lightweight material. They're strong, but they weren't built as launchpads of 200 lb men. Take Sir Isaac Newton's Third Law of motion:

"For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

It means, that when you try to relive that Shawn Michaels WrestleMania 22 moment, there's a reason why he propped up one side of the ladder against the turnbuckle. It's not just to keep the action in the center, but also to stabilize the ladder when he prepares to perform throat surgery on Vince McMahon. Notice how he also didn't jump from the topmost step, but instead 2 rungs below for a more stable and controlled descent. A mistake at that height could be very costly, so he took precautions to make decrease the likelihood of a botch at this spot, not just for his safety, but also for Mr. McMahon. 


Got any more reality breaks down fantasy ideas? Let us know in the comments section below!


*****

George Pastor writes our weekly #WTFWednesday column. He got into judo because it was the closest sport available where it was perfectly fine to slam someone without getting expelled. His girlfriend is not amused.

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