Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
huntandfishISU

The Evolution of Wrestling

Recommended Posts

Athletes are improving in all sports both physically and technically. Wrestling is no different. However I honestly think we overstate how far behind old timers were based on the old tapes we have. Watching a match on high quality video makes the athletes look a lot better.

 

I wish there were more 12-10 type matches nowadays. Aggressive stalling rules are a blunt and non-optimal solution but they do make guys open up. Look what happened internationally. For years we said everyone was just too good defensively to give up big points. FILA put in some heavy handed stalling rules and incentives to score and guys started lighting it up again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would love to see some of the old timers reactions to a Bubba J super duck...I feel like that move was created or at least gained popularity within the last 5 years or so. If Bubba or Joey Dance traveled back to the 70's and pulled one I could see people have the reaction like they did in the movie Semi-Pro when the first alley-oop is unveiled. Here is a link to what I am talking about if you aren't familiar.

 

Start watching at the 2:00 mark.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you brought Dan Gable c. '72 into 2014, modern collegiate wrestlers would blow through his whizzer defense and high stance. Some things are constant, though; a young Gable in 2014 would still have the eye for technique to learn our "modern" style and the iron will power to plow through anyone.

 

Even with all of the modern advantages in training and technique that Grajales or Alton have, Gable would break either of them if he made it into the late minutes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm, I thought Angle made the super duck popular in the 80's. One common thing through the years that may be overlooked. New techniques come around every few years and revolutionize the current trend in wrestling. Once everyone figures it out, it slowly disappears only to reappear a few decades later. Not always, but that's often the case. Ex. Granby rolls, Stieber arm bar, Mills half, Roll through tilt. Arm bar tilt *Steiner, etc. With that said, you can't master everything, and the current trendy techniques and strategies, would cause the old guys trouble. You only have time to master so many aspects of the sport, and by increasing the positional awareness like the new generation has done, they eliminate having to defend many techniques that worked before them. The lower stance and stronger positions you reference would be good in any era. I watched the Gable/Kemp match on youtube and you are correct. Those stances would not end good for us old guys against the men of today...except possibly the fact that those guys lived in those scoring opportunities both offensively and defensively. They might be able to create enough action that it would eventually pay off at the end of a longer match, but not so sure 7 minutes is enough time to wear out an opponent like the olden days. The sport has changed so much, it's a shame we could never find a set of rules and correctly officiated matches to the point that we could keep the sport the same forever, but that is never going to happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the input guy. I agree with a lot of what was said.

I think if you put some of the 80s wrestlers in a time machine but gave them say 6 months or so to train; I think that they would be great with the new technique but old philosophy. A couple things I'd note

- wrestlers from old would be up 1-2 weight classes.

- this scenario is impossible to test and impossible to know what the truth is. It's strictly opinion so nobody get too worked up

- look at a sport like track and power lifting that are clear on have we made progressions ( times, weight lifted, etc) and some have weight classes. From an objective point of view it's hard for me to believe that wrestling hasn't evolved at that rate as well.

- drug testing in the 80s/70s isn't near as strict as now. Some guys might've been roidingand probably couldn't get away w it now.

-I never thought that the rule changes would have an effect but that is a good point. I guess I didn't realize stalling was once called so aggressively. Stalling is always a grey area however because it's really a judgement call.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

generally speaking, two things contribute to the rise in talent levels in any given sport: technology and numbers.

 

technology translates to an improvement in training, technique and equipment. numbers is just having a larger talent pool to draw from. the larger the talent pool, the better the talent.

 

we know technology has advanced and made wrestling better, but wrestlers of past eras would benefit equally from that were they wrestling today's generation. i'm not very knowledgeable about historical participation rates so im also not a very good judge about how past athletes would do today. a wild guess would be the talent pool hasn't gotten much bigger and the best wrestlers of previous generations would do pretty well against wrestlers of today. but thats just a W.A.G.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So the other day i got into a big argument with my dad about how wrestlers nowadays would smoke wrestlers from the past. Not saying if they were in the same time era training or had equal oppurtunities; but if you put an NCAA champion from the 1980s in a time machine today to wrestle a match, they would not be very good wrestlers compared to wrestlers of now a days.

 

My thought was that just watch an old match and tell me the wrestlers arent in worse shape, moving WAYYYY slower, and using different less effective technique. Dan Gable dominated college wrestling with a bar arm. How many guys do you see take a wrist, and a bar and run it over for a fall now a days. How many fireman carries do you see work in college wrestling?

 

Of course i do think that all the same wrestlers would be successful in todays world. I think what made them champions before would make them champions now. I just think wrestling and all sports really have evolved at a very fast rate.

 

Am i the only one who thinks this?

 

Im sure the old timers are really going to love this thread .....

You are fortunate to have such a wise man as a father and I suggest you heed his counsel.

 

When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.

.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would love to see some of the old timers reactions to a Bubba J super duck...I feel like that move was created or at least gained popularity within the last 5 years or so.

On the whole, the skill level of the average wrestler is higher today, but folks are so quick to forget the past, or in many cases, they were never even alive to witness it so they discount it. Bubba J didn't invent the super-duck within the last 5 years any more than Jordan Burroughs invented the blast double. In terms of wowing the crowd with explosive moves, Nate Carr was doing the same thing back in the 80s. And yet when he wrestled Dave Schultz at the U.S. Open, Dave made him scream like a girl and pinned him.

 

Whenever these questions come up though, it's unclear how far back we're going in our time machine. 20 years? 30 years? 50 years? Going back 20 years not much has changed. You think that if you brought back the Brands brothers in a time machine they wouldn't crush guys? I mean, Metcalf crushed guys just a few years ago and he wasn't quite as good as the Brands. Kolat? Ironside? McIlravy? So going back 15-20 years does nothing. How about 30? If Dave or Mark Schultz were transported from 1984 to 2014, they would need about 30 min to go over the current rules, and then they would be good to go. But those guys are perhaps the exceptions. I do think you have more depth today, which is interesting, because there are far fewer programs. I think the loss of programs has consolidated the highest level of skill into the remaining programs. There aren't as many "pretty good" high school wrestlers that wrestle at the D1 level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I definitely think it's better today, overall, but I have watched it for almost 50 years, and every single generation has thought they were better than the others, and possibly they are correct. The rub is, we hear this all the time and see it with our own eyes in football and basketball, but again, size is a non factor in wrestling. I know there is a difference in a 7% body fat 165 pound athlete trained today and a 7% body fat 165 pound guy trained 30 years ago, but not like in football where it's a 6'2, 230 pound lineman that is now a 6'7" 330 pound lineman that can outrun his predecessor. In football it would be comical to see 6'2" lineman of the 60's playing against running backs bigger faster and stronger than them. The real difference I see in wrestling is not in the athletes, but in the rules and officiating of those rules. Just 20 years ago, the NBA guys thought it ruined your shooting touch to lift weights. In the 1800's George Hackensmidt invented the hack squat. Strength has always been developed in wrestling more than practically any other sport.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would love to see some of the old timers reactions to a Bubba J super duck...I feel like that move was created or at least gained popularity within the last 5 years or so.

On the whole, the skill level of the average wrestler is higher today, but folks are so quick to forget the past, or in many cases, they were never even alive to witness it so they discount it. Bubba J didn't invent the super-duck within the last 5 years any more than Jordan Burroughs invented the blast double. In terms of wowing the crowd with explosive moves, Nate Carr was doing the same thing back in the 80s. And yet when he wrestled Dave Schultz at the U.S. Open, Dave made him scream like a girl and pinned him.

 

Whenever these questions come up though, it's unclear how far back we're going in our time machine. 20 years? 30 years? 50 years? Going back 20 years not much has changed. You think that if you brought back the Brands brothers in a time machine they wouldn't crush guys? I mean, Metcalf crushed guys just a few years ago and he wasn't quite as good as the Brands. Kolat? Ironside? McIlravy? So going back 15-20 years does nothing. How about 30? If Dave or Mark Schultz were transported from 1984 to 2014, they would need about 30 min to go over the current rules, and then they would be good to go. But those guys are perhaps the exceptions. I do think you have more depth today, which is interesting, because there are far fewer programs. I think the loss of programs has consolidated the highest level of skill into the remaining programs. There aren't as many "pretty good" high school wrestlers that wrestle at the D1 level.

 

Oh I know bubba didnt invent the move he just has one of my favorite ones i've seen so i threw his name in there...Of course I could be wrong but would you agree with me the "super duck" has been used a lot more frequently and by more wrestlers as of late though?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wrestling has evolved, not all for the better but there can be no argument about it. I generally believe athletes today, in all sports, are now more physically advanced due to the nature of how overall knowledge on nutrition, training, and recovery has grown (Of course there are some anomalies, see Mark Schultz). I think kids on average are wrestling younger and year round so they are better wrestlers at a younger age than ever before. I think this is true about all sports. See NFL today vs yesterdays, basketball players today vs yesterdays, etc. I would say that on average wrestling as a whole is better today.

 

That being said, I can assure you of this... The great wrestlers 'back in the day' would have been great wrestlers today. Greatness is something that transcends wrestling moves and training techniques. These old school athletes did more with less and would have used this knowledge to be great today, just as they used their previous resources to be great back then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a young guy (mid 20's) and wrestled D1, yet I have always been on the old-timer side of this debate. Maybe it is because my dad wrestled in the 70's and I grew up watching film of those guys. I just don't think wrestling is as different as some people make it out to be. I think just a couple of things (among others) that make it seem so different to some are 1) the way it is officiated (which some have mentioned) and 2) the film quality of old matches.

 

Refs back in the day called stalling way more, thus guys opened up a lot more. I think the bad film quality of older match footage causes people to perceive, maybe subconsciously, the wrestling as lesser quality. I will concede that older guys were much more lax in their stance positioning, which probably just goes back to the notion that they opened up more and took more risks.

 

But I have always thought that the argument that certain basic techniques don't work anymore is ridiculous. Someone mentioned arm-bars and fireman's carries not working today. I'll argue that...Stieber uses arm-bars almost every match...he's pretty successful...Robert Kokesh hits fireman's carries pretty regularly, as well as double arm-bars. As some other poster stated, this is a debate that can never really be settled definitively, but I think saying that the greats of yesteryear would have no chance today is silly and not accurate IMO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think the bad film quality of older match footage causes people to perceive, maybe subconsciously, the wrestling as lesser quality.

This is an interesting point, and probably true. Anything filmed in black and white and 2-3 frames per second looks like a cheesy B movie, so yeah, it's hard to come away with a positive feel for those matches. Even matches filmed in the 1980 often look horrible because they are filmed from far away and the film has deteriorated and looks grainy. Compare that to the HD film we get today from NCAAs, where you can clearly see striations in guys muscles. It does change perception. The other problem with old footage is there just isn't much of it. Everyone talks about how terrible Gable looks in his match against Owings (and he does), but we don't have a pile of HD quality videos of Gable destroying guys to compare it to. If you showed somebody the Metcalf-Caldwell match from the 2009 NCAA finals, they would say that Metcalf looks fairly sloppy and not in great shape (kind of like Gable looked in his most infamous video). If that was the only video we had of Metcalf, guys 40 years from now would say he was overrated and would get destroyed by average AAs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am a young guy (mid 20's) and wrestled D1, yet I have always been on the old-timer side of this debate. Maybe it is because my dad wrestled in the 70's and I grew up watching film of those guys. I just don't think wrestling is as different as some people make it out to be. I think just a couple of things (among others) that make it seem so different to some are 1) the way it is officiated (which some have mentioned) and 2) the film quality of old matches.

 

Refs back in the day called stalling way more, thus guys opened up a lot more. I think the bad film quality of older match footage causes people to perceive, maybe subconsciously, the wrestling as lesser quality. I will concede that older guys were much more lax in their stance positioning, which probably just goes back to the notion that they opened up more and took more risks.

 

But I have always thought that the argument that certain basic techniques don't work anymore is ridiculous. Someone mentioned arm-bars and fireman's carries not working today. I'll argue that...Stieber uses arm-bars almost every match...he's pretty successful...Robert Kokesh hits fireman's carries pretty regularly, as well as double arm-bars. As some other poster stated, this is a debate that can never really be settled definitively, but I think saying that the greats of yesteryear would have no chance today is silly and not accurate IMO.

 

I think you're pretty much spot on. Anyone who says a wrestler can't dominate with armbars anymore isn't watching Logan Stieber or David Taylor very much.

 

I think a lot of people judge the quality of '70's college wrestling by the Owings-Gable NCAA final. It is the ICONIC college wrestling match. And it's also a terrible wrestling match. Sizing up '70's college wrestling (and Gable) by that match alone is like sizing up '90's college wrestling (and Lincoln McIlravy) by the Marianetti-McIlravy NCAA final.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would love to see some of the old timers reactions to a Bubba J super duck...I feel like that move was created or at least gained popularity within the last 5 years or so.

On the whole, the skill level of the average wrestler is higher today, but folks are so quick to forget the past, or in many cases, they were never even alive to witness it so they discount it. Bubba J didn't invent the super-duck within the last 5 years any more than Jordan Burroughs invented the blast double. In terms of wowing the crowd with explosive moves, Nate Carr was doing the same thing back in the 80s. And yet when he wrestled Dave Schultz at the U.S. Open, Dave made him scream like a girl and pinned him.

 

Whenever these questions come up though, it's unclear how far back we're going in our time machine. 20 years? 30 years? 50 years? Going back 20 years not much has changed. You think that if you brought back the Brands brothers in a time machine they wouldn't crush guys? I mean, Metcalf crushed guys just a few years ago and he wasn't quite as good as the Brands. Kolat? Ironside? McIlravy? So going back 15-20 years does nothing. How about 30? If Dave or Mark Schultz were transported from 1984 to 2014, they would need about 30 min to go over the current rules, and then they would be good to go. But those guys are perhaps the exceptions. I do think you have more depth today, which is interesting, because there are far fewer programs. I think the loss of programs has consolidated the highest level of skill into the remaining programs. There aren't as many "pretty good" high school wrestlers that wrestle at the D1 level.

 

Why do you believe going back 20 years does nothing? What changed so much from 1974-1984 to 1994?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2-3 frames per second is absurd, but there is point to be made for video quality nonetheless. I think readily available video in general changed wrestling a lot.

I don't know the reasons why there is so much difference, but look at the difference in matches between Gable/Kemp and Banach/Mann(posted by lewboo). Banach & Mann both look many levels better than Gable & Kemp. This difference is in just 8 years? And Gable is the one coaching Banach? What gives?

The most striking difference in scoring to me is how many points went uncontested in older match ups. You just didn't see all that many long scrambles. This has to be related to position and defense, not superior technique.

Kemp definitely was not more aggressive than contemporary wrestlers. He did not take risks and he did not get hounded for stalling.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Again, video quality makes a huge difference on perceived athlete quality.

 

Even back then international wrestling rules were constantly changing including stalling rules. Lewboo writes a really good article chronicling the changes and their impact on wrestling scores.

 

Another huge difference- in the 70s no one gut wrenched internationally. I assume they counted it as self exposure but I'm not sure. Offence looked very folk styly, while in the 80a guys like Lewis and M Schultz were gut wrenching the hell out of everyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Again, video quality makes a huge difference on perceived athlete quality.

 

Even back then international wrestling rules were constantly changing including stalling rules. Lewboo writes a really good article chronicling the changes and their impact on wrestling scores.

 

Another huge difference- in the 70s no one gut wrenched internationally. I assume they counted it as self exposure but I'm not sure. Offence looked very folk styly, while in the 80a guys like Lewis and M Schultz were gut wrenching the hell out of everyone.

 

 

Huh???

 

I reffed internationally, they gutted in the 70s. At some point there was more of a tendency to call 2-2s but they certainly gutted. I remember Jim Humphrey getting upset with me for standing him up when he was trying a gut (he wasn't getting anywhere which was very unusual for him).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In regards to refs in the old days calling stalling much more frequently...I have watched a match from an Iowa-Iowa State dual in the late 70's where a ref called stalling 7 seconds into the match!! It was absurd.

There was a time when neutral start did not have you toe the line connecting the down position hand and knees lines. Your back foot was on the ten foot circle and a step back (without contact/action causing you to) at the whistle or moving out without contact was an automatic stall. Perhaps that was the case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you please provide video of guys in the (early) 70s doing gut wrenches? I'm bit questioning your statement but in all the matches from that time period ive seen there aren't any.

 

Also I just watched Kemp vs Schultz on flowrestling. They might not be quite as fast and polished as Burroughs and Dake but definitely would be competitive. Also apparently they had criteria back the to decide ties as well! (Dumb then, dumb now.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Can you please provide video of guys in the (early) 70s doing gut wrenches? I'm bit questioning your statement but in all the matches from that time period ive seen there aren't any.

 

Also I just watched Kemp vs Schultz on flowrestling. They might not be quite as fast and polished as Burroughs and Dake but definitely would be competitive. Also apparently they had criteria back the to decide ties as well! (Dumb then, dumb now.)

 

 

Now you're talking early 70s. I started reffing late 70s.

I was there, I saw them. I don't have videos nor am I going to try to find them from an era that had few.

When I first went to junior nationals a large part of the rules clinics revolved around the gut wrench technique and the 2-2s I mentioned. The first major clinic/tourney I reffed was the Junior Nationals in 77. If they were talking about this at Juniors you can bet they were doing it at Seniors for some time.

 

Admittedly, senior Americans likely didn't gut as much and with the old out of bounds/stand up rules from that era it might have looked that way to you. Gut wrenches have always been a bit more greco oriented and we were quite weak at greco back then so it might not have carried over.

Try to find Beloglazov (both from offense and defense) or any of Joe Demeo's kids from Adirondack Three Style or some of the Oklahoma kids coached by Humphrey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...