With the World Cup fever going around, FOX Sports Asia gets one-half of the SPW Southeast Asian Tag Team Champions, The Eurasian Dragon to lightheartedly share how the two great sports of football and wrestling can benefit learning from each other.
With the rest of Southeast Asia staying up late to watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the lads at Singapore Pro Wrestling (SPW) and myself are no different – having been swept away with the pomp, pageantry and drama of the football extravaganza.
However, as a learned sportsman and pensive wrestler, I begun to form certain observations and opinions along my World Cup viewing journey.
Hence, a light bulb lit up in my mind as I detail what sporting lessons that football can learn from us, and what wrestling can learn from football.
A Taste for the Theatrics
The water-cooler talk of late has centred around Brazil’s golden boy, Neymar Jr being both a brilliant player AND actor as he aided his country to a quarter-final showdown against Belgium Saturday morning.
While Neymar’s play-acting skills are impressive to seasoned wrestlers, he will win more fouls (and penalties) if he masters the wrestling move, the ‘Kitchen Sink’.
As demonstrated in the Santino Bros Wrestling Academy video above, receiving the move while being tackled by a raised knee causes one to front flip and land on their back.
This practical skill might come in handy should Neymar and Brazil go the distance to the Grand Final. Needless to say, it will add to the brilliance and more importantly, the legend that is the 26-year-old footballing superstar.
Gimmick Battle Royale
Move over mascots! If you want to effectively brand your football team and maximise audience participation, why not take a leaf out of the pro wrestling playbook?
Adopt a central gimmick and stick with it; your team can be anything you want – pirates, aliens, cowboys or etc. What matters most is that the team management makes the effort to release supplementary content that is in line with the chosen branding.
Bonus features, behind-the-scenes videos, promotional interviews and even a catchy anthem are some of the great ways to make your team more memorable! After all, sports and entertainment go hand in hand!
Referees are human too, and as licensed match officials, they definitely deserve more respect.
In football, it is not uncommon to see a horde of players swarming round a referee in the hopes of getting a decision go their way.
In wrestling, the referee gets it worse! He sometimes gets knocked down and out; staying that way for a long time. Sometimes, an unconscious referee can drastically affect a match.
Case in point, just check out the time Senior SPW Referee Sodiq was accidentally manhandled in the Southeast Asian singles title match between Singapore’s homegrown wrestling hero, The Statement and reigning champ Lokomotiv.
So, if you are a footballing ref, perhaps you should follow your wrestling counterparts. Next time a prima donna player shoves you, why not take a tumble and nap?
In a perfect world, the play will continue while the referee is down with both teams enjoying a grace period of ‘anything goes’ during this period. Although, the referee in question might be joining former FIFA President Sepp Blatter in exile after the match.
Red & Yellow
What if the penalty cards system from football is used in wrestling? A yellow for a warning, and a red for an outright disqualification.
It definitely will not work in the long run, but an one-off football themed show can do well to utilise this rule. Of course, managers and accompanying young wrestlers at ringside will also be subjected to card penalties and arena ejections!
The above image is something that could happen if the cards system is introduced; Onslaught group members, The Statement and Trexxus were ejected from the Gatoh Move Pro Wrestling arena only for the fans to sing the chorus of pop-rock band, Steam’s one-hit-wonder, Na Na Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.
The chorus is very popular at sporting events, and will be sung more often if cards are introduced in wrestling – like how Onslaught got sent off in Thailand.
With this World Cup, Video Assistant Referee (VAR) has entered our modern lexicon. Footballers have pleaded for its use (especially whenever it suited their team), so why not professional wrestlers and our referees too?
As a result of VAR, more penalties have been given in this World Cup than any before it. Can you imagine the added drama in pro wrestling if VAR is introduced in the sport?
Case in point; the Saigon Hunters, pictured above, may have lost their tag team championships shot against Mighty Mighty and myself at the SPW Triple Thrill 3 show, but they were indeed correct to point out that my partner had his hands on the ropes illegally when he pinned them.
If our Senior Referee Sodiq had the chance to review with VAR, perhaps our titles would have been in further jeopardy…
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Editorial Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in this article do not necessarily reflect the views or official policies of Fox Network Group Singapore Pte. Ltd. or any entity that directly or indirectly controls, is controlled by or is under common control of Twenty First Century Fox Inc. (collectively, “FNG”). FNG makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information or opinions within this article. FNG will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information or opinions or for any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its publication.