Over the years, American pro wrestling's catch-as-catch-can roots have been supplanted by a newer, faster, flashier methodology that derides "rest holds" and thrives on the big pops of high spots.
This type of wrestling, WWE Style, follows a compressed (time-sensitive) scripting formula (trademark-trademark-trademark-finisher) that shares very little with old school storytelling and match psychology.
Thus, wrestlers have turned away from "working the arm" and submissions to more TV-friendly finishers like the 619, Brogue Kick and RKO.
I'm a traditionalist. I believe in Broadway matches and TV time limits, and I feel like something has been lost in a world without Stu Hart and enhancement talent who can tap like they fear for their lives without diminishing their "brand."
With that in mind, here's a list of five submission finishers that could change WWE's mind about what does and does not make for good ratings.
Six Seconds of Magic is an armbar variation where the victim is standing and the aggressor applies an armbar while hanging upside down.
It looks insanely cool in a video game but doesn't translate well to real life. The move suffers from physics limitations, primarily the fact that a guy isn't going to stay standing if he's about to submit.
More importantly, Six Seconds looks fake, and I hate (beyond hate) moves that look staged. I realize that professional wrestling is a choreographed dance posing as a legitimate sport, but obviously fake moves (such as the Slingshot or Orton's Drop DDT) wreck my suspension of disbelief.
The move isn't entirely lost, however, and could be saved using a little Eastern philosophy.
Placing the victim in a quasi-abdominal stretch through the middle and top ropes, then applying the hanging armbar across the top, solves everything. The top rope holds the victim in place, not unlike Tajiri's Tarantula, and neither physics nor a man's ability to stand comes into question.
The move is illegal, of course, like a Figure Four around a ring post, but that's a perfect fit for someone like Alberto Del Rio. He has been more aggressive lately, already uses arm psychology and is no stranger to Street Fights (where Six Seconds would shine).
Prior to his days in WWE (and once in a while thereafter), one of Daniel Bryan's signature maneuvers was a Bridging Reverse Butterfly submission he called the Cattle Mutilation.
It's unique, athletic and technical, looks legitimately painful and can put both wrestlers in perfect position to call the next series of spots.
I can't tell you why Bryan stopped using the Cattle Mutilation—aside from the name—but I can tell you that fans want it back.
Everyone who's anyone has used the Japanese Sleeper popularized by Sgt. Slaughter as "the Cobra Clutch." Ted DiBiase and Steve Austin called it the Million Dollar Dream. Ted Jr. does a slam variation known as Dream Street.
If there's one guy in WWE with a connection to Legends, who benefits from "snake" moves and has the ability to get absolutely everything over, it's Randy "The Viper" Orton. He was born to use the Clutch and could add nicely to the maneuver's rich heritage.
Book him on the short end of a "Loser's Finisher is Banned" match (not forever), add the Cobra Clutch to his arsenal and watch the WWE Universe suddenly remember why standing submissions are awesome.
Creative could have Ted Jr. take offense to Randy "stealing" his family's move, start using the RKO in retaliation and use that powder keg to launch a make-it-or-break-it feud between DiBiase and Orton (that could see both their dads come back to join the fun).
There's a certain fluidity to the Trapped Half Crab that Konnan used to call the "Tequila Sunrise," though, to my knowledge, the maneuver has laid dormant in America since WCW folded and Konnan went back to Mexico.
It would be fitting, then, for Rey Mysterio to borrow his compatriot's signature hold and introduce it to a new generation starving for classic lucha moves. Fans may even learn to appreciate its simple versatility, and Mysterio's ability to be more than an aging spot monkey.
(Some may argue that Eddie's "Lasso from El Paso" is a better choice for Rey but I'm hoping that move gets passed down to Guerrero's daughter Shaul, currently signed to a developmental deal in Florida Championship Wrestling.)
WWE wasted this move on Ezekial Jackson.
He is a big man, for sure, and the Torture Rack is a big man's move, but you can't slap a main-event finisher on an untested talent and pray that it gets him over. The Rack is, at times, the only reason to watch Big Zeke matches.
Mark Henry, a force to be reckoned with, is about to come back, and the Rack is a good way for Henry to induct guys into the Hall of Pain. The move's not going to help Zeke anymore, and Sexual Chocolate could use a submission that's not a Bear Hug.
Plus, he's got just as much or more strength than Jackson, and Henry's more than capable of proving that John Cena and Ryback aren't the only ones who can get two guys up in the Fireman's Carry position.
Jeremiah Allan is a sometime comic book writer, 2009 graduate of Ottawa University (Ottawa, KS), and senior staff writer at Wormwood: A Serialized Mystery. Check the article archive for previous installments of Undercard Overhaul.