SLAM! Sports SLAM! Wrestling
   Sat, November 29, 2003



News & Rumours
Bios
Obits
Canadian Hall of Fame
WrestleMania 30
WrestleMania 30 photos
Video
Movie Database
Minority Mat Report
Columnists
Features
Results Archive
PPV Reviews
SLAM! Wrestling store
On Facebook
On Twitter
Send Feedback




Photo Galleries

Heroes & Legends IV fan fest


NXT Takeover: Fatal 4 Way


ROH All Star Extravaganza VI


PWG Battle of L.A.: Night 2


PWG Battle of L.A.: Night 1


SummerSlam


Kevin Steen







SCOREBOARD
PHOTO GALLERY
VIDEO GALLERY
COMMENT




RECENT PHOTO GALLERIES: Heroes & Legends IV
NXT Takeover: Fatal 4 Way | ROH All Star Extravaganza
PWG Battle of L.A.: Night 1 | Night 2 | SummerSlam | Kevin Steen

THE SCOOP: Visit our News & Rumours page.


The chair
Wrestlers risk life and limb with shots from furniture


I\'ve always wondered what it feels like to take an unprotected chair shot. Not that I\'d ever actually consider trying it -- although I\'m sure there are plenty of wrestlers of whom I\'ve given negative reviews who\'d be more than happy to help me out -- but I have this nagging (probably unhealthy) sense of curiosity about what exactly goes through a man\'s mind when a sharp metal object comes crashing down on his skull. I got punched by a wrestler once. It happened back when I was just starting out as a writer, during a conversation with a particularly enthusiastic Teddy Hart.

Ted apparently felt the urge to physically demonstrate the highlights of a recent match -- a habit he probably picked up from his legendary grandfather -- because he stopped mid-sentence and threw a full-force punch right at my jaw.

His fist came hurtling towards my face and, before I had time to react, I actually felt it connect. I fully expected to be staring at the ceiling after a blow from a guy his size, but funnily enough, I was still standing. In fact, it didn\'t even hurt.

I had just been educated on the incredible amount of talent it takes to create the appearance of reality in the world of pro wrestling -- to actually hit full-contact but with a level of skill and control that allows the other guy to go home on his feet instead of in an ambulance.

Obviously, the danger and pain increases as the moves get bigger but from punches all the way up to piledrivers and planchas, wrestlers are trained to draw the maximum effect with the minimal chance of actual injury.

Mick Foley once described his style as high-impact low-risk and I think that description rings true for most of today\'s grapplers. Even the most dangerous manoeuvres are somewhat safer than they appear because one guy is always controlling the movement, ensuring his opponent isn\'t injured.

An unprotected chair shot is different because, as the name implies, the person on the receiving end has no way to shield the blow. The chair-wielder has even less control, apart from ensuring the chair hits flat instead of slicing the forehead. This pretty much leaves the receiver at the mercy of the wrestling gods, making it one of the rare wrestling spots that can be (and often is) even MORE painful than it looks.

Just ask Kurt Angle. The 34-year-old Olympic gold medallist was due to have minor surgery on his neck this week to shave a vertebrae bone spur putting pressure on his spinal cord.

When he arrived in Pittsburgh for the operation, Dr. Hae-Dong Jho quickly discovered the spur didn\'t need to be shaved anymore. Due to the impact of a chair shot from Brock Lesnar at the Oct. 28 Smackdown taping, the disc exploded. To make matters worse, it partially shattered into Angle\'s spinal cord, which complicated the surgery.

Angle originally hoped to be back on TV by the end of the month. He\'s now looking at an early 2004 return, hopefully in time for the Royal Rumble.

The situation led some writers to cry for unprotected chair shots to be outlawed but I\'m not sure if I agree with that line of thinking. When used sparingly, chair shots create an awesome visual and serve as an extremely effective high-impact move. But when wrestlers are clobbered on a weekly basis, it desensitizes fans to the potency of the move, making it about as noteworthy as a headlock.

Unprotected chair shots need to be reserved for the big defining moments, instead of being used as a tool to get easy crowd pops. Otherwise, with WWE bosses clamping down on moves that jolt the neck and spine, it\'s possible the chair shot will eventually join the belly-to-belly suplex, the vertebreaker and the tombstone piledriver on the banned list.

As a fan, that\'s something I don\'t necessarily want to see but I guess it\'s easy to say that when you\'re cheering from the sidelines.