KELLER’S TAKE: Why Al Snow is right that wrestlers should eliminate virtually all punches from wrestling matches

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


Al Snow says wrestlers shouldn’t throw punches in his latest instructional video.

I want to draw attention to this because I love what Al Snow has to say here. Not just about punches, but about referee authority and the importance of heel’s ability to get heat. This is why I think Roman Reigns’s over reliance on the Superman Punch is awful for him and the business and I’m surprised WWE’s braintrust allows and encourages it.

He says: “Why did we make this illegal? It’s because it’s the fakest thing we do? In all the years we’ve watched wrestling, have you ever seen anyone get marked up, bleed, get knocked out? Every time you throw a punch, you’re exposing the business. You can throw a forearm (instead), knees, kicks.

“When you punch another man in the face, it becomes a fight. Can you fight for ten minutes and not just fight for ten minutes, but escalate a fight and have it grow and come to an apex and have it pop where it’s bigger than it was at the start? This was made illegal so that heels could do it behind a ref’s back to make the audience want to see the babyface unload and give it back to the heel. It’s done sparingly so you can maximize and use it.

“This is done as a weapon to allow the heel to shut down a babyface or cut him off. This is used as a weapon for the babyface to get justice. It is not used as simply run across and do a move. If you whore it out, you’re buying the authority of the ref. If you bury the authority of the ref, heels can’t get heat. If heels can’t get heat, what do we not do? We don’t (tickets).”

He’s also spot on regarding the headlock. He says everyone has been in a headlock, and it hurts, and every wrestler who applies a headlock should act as if they’re trying to hurt their opponent badly, not just catch their breath or yell at fans at ringside, and wrestlers in a headlock should act like they’re in a real headlock that, you know, really hurts badly – because having your head squeezed by someone – especially with lots of muscles – hurts like hell.

If WWE wrestlers started doing everything he says on this video, and they did it this way for the next year, a year from now wrestlers wouldn’t have to do a ton of dangerous dives and invent new ways to potentially mangle their necks on complicated top rope spots (a la Charlotte and Sasha Banks) to get “This is awesome chants.”

The point isn’t to take all highspots out of matches, or to make pro wrestling matches look “as real” as MMA fights. The point is to get the most out of the least, and engage the fans by being realistic within a certain set of parameters that are consistently applied from the top to the bottom of the card every show.


(PWTorch editor Wade Keller launched the Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter in 1987. Over 1,400 weekly issues have been published and millions have been sent worldwide over the last 30 years. He hosts the PWTorch Livecast at every Monday right after Raw, every Tuesday right after Smackdown, every Wednesday for the Mid-Week episode with rotating cohosts at 1 ET, and everything Thursday at 1 ET with special interview guests, with tens of millions of downloads since 2009 and counting. He was inducted into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame with the “Jim Melby Excellence in Journalism” award, Class of 2015. Email: Twitter: @thewadekeller.)

3 Comments on KELLER’S TAKE: Why Al Snow is right that wrestlers should eliminate virtually all punches from wrestling matches

  1. snow is spot on. when i watch wrestling w/friends, i’m most embarrassed by the punching. we all know wrestling’s “fake” but the punches are clearly least believable thing wrestlers do. like big show’s WMD, reign’s superman punch is the worst finisher going. he’d have a better chance of getting over without that as a finisher.

  2. Totally agree. Watching somebody (ANYBODY) throwing a bunch of lame punches takes me right out of the match. Can I also suggest a moratorium on the big looping punch attempt that goes over the opponents head? So lame. Or at the very least, try to make it look more realistic; come closer to the head or something.

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