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#FinisherFriday: Why Aren't Old-School Finishers Effective With The New Generation?


It's time for another edition of #FinisherFriday! Wreddit_Regal here, not to analyze a move, but to answer a prevailing question which has plagued many a wrestling fan over the years.

Have you ever watched old wrestling videos (NJPW stuff or the NWA territorials or English catch wrestling), saw a wrestler perform a scoop slam/leg drop/single leg Boston crab and win, and saying to yourself, "How bland and simple wrestling was back in the day"? And then watching the current product and seeing those moves garner just two - or even one- count? 


I have, and with that I thought of those wrestlers who had seemingly basic finishers: Shawn Michaels with the back suplex (before using the Sweet Chin Music), Angelo Poffo's neckbreaker, Joe Savoldi's dropkick, Black Gordman/Jake Roberts with the DDT, Hulk Hogan with the Atomic Leg Drop - the list can go on if you research hard enough. But ultimately, this leads us to the question "Why are those old-school finishers only treated as normal moves with the present generation?"

1. Today's wrestlers have better body conditioning than the previous generation.


It is a well-known fact inside and outside the ring that your physical conditioning greatly contributes to strength, speed, stamina, and endurance to taking damage. Compared to the previous generation's training techniques, the modern-day training regimen, diet, and conditioning has taken great strides forward pushing the human body to its finest condition, without taking any significant injuries or damage in the long run. Hence, the average wrestler of today can withstand a back suplex which would have rendered a 1990s wrestler unable to break a pinfall.

2. Today's wrestlers train and study under the supervision of the previous generation, which also trained and studied under the generation before them.

One of the main reasons why "old" finishers won't work well with today's wrestlers is simply because they have been trained on how to receive the move without taking a substantial amount of damage. For example, one of the very first things a wrestler would learn in a modern bootcamp is how to take a "bump" (landing on your back onto the canvas, usually due to a bodyslam or suplex) safely - something the wrestlers of old have learned the hard way, and usually resulted to long-term injuries and chronic pain. 



Wrestling is an ever-evolving art, and its evolution is largely due to the past generation who sacrificed their bodies for their audiences - and for the current generation to learn and refine their craft. So for the most part, the new breed has learned to receive those particular moves without taking a substantial amount of damage.

But looking on the bright side, these "old" finishers have not reached the point of obsoleteness (insert Brother Nero pun here). In fact, the East has developed a great deal of respect for these moves. NJPW in particular implements a rule to all Young Lions, restricting their moveset to only a few headlocks, body slams, punches/kicks; most of the time their finisher would be a Boston Crab or the beloved German suplex! The reasoning behind this is for the Young Lions to realize that: a) a few effective moves practiced for a long time is better than a thousand half-assed moves, and b) to focus more on their in-ring psychology.

So there you have it, my take on why old finishers don't work with the new generation. If you have additional explanations that I may have 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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