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#FinisherFriday (9/14/18): Splash or Senton - A Comparison


Welcome to another edition of #FinisherFriday! This is Wreddit_Regal bringing to you a beginner's guide on what diving maneuver should you do.

Frog Splash, Swanton Bomb, Phoenix Splash, 630, Red Arrow, Spiral Tap—all of us have been enamored at how wrestlers position an opponent's motionless body near the corner, climb on top of the turnbuckle, bask at the glory the upcoming moment is about to bring, do their trademark dive, crash on top of the opponent, and pin them for the victory. Over the years, the art of wrestling has made more aesthetically-pleasing variations, but all of these flippy shit that Drew Gulak hates originate from two humble aerial maneuvers: the splash and the senton.

The diving splash involves a wrestler jumping forward from a raised platform, landing stomach first horizontally across an opponent lying on the ground below:



While the senton sees the wrestler landing back-first on the opponent's stomach or chest:


But the real question now is: If a novice wrestler wants to have a dive as a finishing move, should he/she choose a splash or a senton?

Let's cover the pros and cons of both moves.

1. What part of the body do both moves deal damage with?

With the splash, the torso/stomach comes in contact with the opponent. With the senton, the upper (thoracic) back / lower (lumbar) back / tailbone (sacrum/coccyx) comes in contact with the opponent.

2. On what move can I gauge better distance before jumping?

The splash offers better distance and depth judgment because the opponent is in your field of vision the whole time before and after jumping. With the senton, you only get to judge the distance before jumping and from that moment thereafter you just have to pray that you hit home.

3. Which deals more damage to the opponent?

The splash deals a reduced amount of damage upon impact, since both your arms and legs hit the canvas first before your torso/stomach. With the senton, there are no limbs to cushion your fall, and thus no damage reduction occurs.

But there is a catch: the amount of damage dealt depends on what part of the back comes in contact with the opponent. Thoracic back deals the least damage and sacral/coccyx area deals the most damage simply because the bulk of a person's body weight resides in the lower parts, and the center of gravity would shift towards the lumbar spine/tailbone in a supine crouching position.



4. What would happen to me if I fail to do these maneuvers safely?

With the splash, both arms and legs protect the head from bouncing onto the canvas. Should you fail to buckle up before landing, your head receives a blow that can rock your brain (concussion) and knock you out (remember Brock Lesnar’s failed SSP against Kurt Angle). With the senton, the performer needs to tuck his/her chin (and protect the head using the hands as in the case of Akira Tozawa) before landing. Should a wrestler fail to do so, there is a great danger of either a) sustaining a concussion, or b) suffering a whiplash injury (upon landing, the unprotected head and neck will violently hyperextend and hyperflex since there is a gap made by the opponent's body). Also, due to poor depth and distance gauging, senton performers are prone to missing their targets, and subsequently landing unprotected on the canvas.



5. Are there any adverse effects for me, should I do these moves long-term?

For splash users, their elbows and knees get messed up over time (in the extreme, think of the time Rikishi performed a splash on top of a steel cage). For senton users, chronic back pain becomes a part of their daily regimen (think of Jeff Hardy - the guy couldn't even walk properly nowadays).


Aaaand there you have it chaps, a breakdown of a splash and a senton. In summary, if you want to be safe, go for a splash. If you want to deal maximum damage, go for a senton.

Photo from WWE
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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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