TO O.T. OR NOT TO O.T.

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Apologies for the unwieldy blog title. I missed Bill Shagasbere’s birthday yesterday, so I wanted to give a belated shout out to his bardness.

So, the big big topic that is currently raging through the wrestling twittersphere is OVERTIME, and the merits and detriments thereof.

Rather than a lengthy review of the pros and cons, I’ll just go ahead and get to my own controversial stance on the issue: I don’t care.

Wrestling aficionados have a tendency to take presumptive stances on issues and then dig their heels in. I prefer a more protean approach. In the grand scheme of wrestling matters, overtime is besides the point. What you want is 6 minutes of nonstop hard charging action, with a brief 30 second respite in the middle. The focus should be making those 6 minutes the BEST 6 minutes.

Much more important for keeping the action going is less mat wrestling and a step out penalty. Freestyle has those and folkstyle doesn’t, and I think that is why freestyle has better action right now (another controversial topic, but let’s not get bogged down in a tangent). Freestyle gets pilloried for their old rules that included a ball grab (ie coin flip) and clinch to break ties and making each match a best 2 out 3 two minute period. But actually none of those rules were that bad, in and of themselves (I know, blasphemy!) The problem was how the rules slowed the matches to a crawl with the constant stoppages. Not to mention the asinine mime routine the refs had to go through to get the wrestlers in a proper clinch position before blowing the whistle.

But those rules are gone and the last US Open was great. Check out the proof with this outstanding video (it is the most rad, believe it).

2014 US Open Highlight from Geoffrey Riccio on Vimeo.

What set off the OT firestorm were two high profile, high scoring matches in the Open that ended in criteria, and this got everyone all huffy puffy, because the current criteria rules are confusing and no one could tell who was winning . So while I agree that tie breaking criteria should be simple (last man to score or first man to score sounds good), I DON’T agree that wrestling would have NECESSARILY been better with OT. I THINK it would have been basically the same. Maybe a few more minutes of good OT wrestling and a few more minutes of stalling. Basically a wash.

So make every match have unlimited sudden death overtime or don’t and keep the criteria. I think FILA has gotten the more important rules right, so whatever.

Now, if you want to start talking about adding the step out rule in folkstyle, well, then, I have some very serious AND IMMUTABLE opinions about which I am NOT about to change my mind.

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