FanPost

Get Rid of the Stall Warning

Stalling is becoming a major issue due to a few key factors and the results are devastating to the sport. The lack of action that results from refs not enforcing stall calls creates boring first and second periods. More importantly, it cuts out the last 30 seconds of any close match. If a wrestler doesn't receive a stall warning in the first 2 periods, it means he can take a free stall call at the end of the match. In some cases, this leads to the absurdity of a wrestler literally running away (although fortunately Kokesh got what he deserved for that). The stall warning gives an added layer of safety to a wrestler with a slight lead at a time when he should be the most vulnerable.

I have to question why there's even a stall warning in the first place. You don't receive a warning for locked hands the first time you do it, or any other illegal hold for that matter. You don't receive a warning for slamming an opponent. So if all of those other things are in violation of the rules, why is stalling awarded a warning? What makes this even more dubious is that the ref will likely verbally warn the wrestler for stalling before he makes the official warning, meaning wrestlers likely get called up to 3 and 4 times before a point is actually awarded (as the ref will likely give another verbal warning before making the call to award an actual point).

Wrestling thrives on action. By refs being more involved and calling stalling, it fosters that action. Even when neither wrestler is being offensive, a double stall call can be effective (especially with the existence of stall warnings). This isn't a plea for refs to take over a match. This is a plea for refs enforcing the rules and making the wrestlers actually engage in the sport they're participating in.

But while I'm at it, PLEASE START GETTING INVOLVED! Refs are scared to make calls that they feel will impact the outcome of the match. The problem is, THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO DO! A ref that keeps "letting them wrestle" (when what they're doing is the opposite of wrestling) only ensures that the winner will win by something other than wrestling. It also means that one wrestler and possibly the entire fan base will feel cheated by a call, even if it's the right one (see: Heflin). This applies to all matches, including the Chris Perrys and Tony Nelsons of the world. This sport may be experiencing the deepest pool of talent it's ever had. We have true freshmen competing for national championships immediately while threatening the top pound-for-pound wrestlers in the country. What will promote this sport even more isn't avoiding a stall call on Nelson so that the big name wins his 3rd championship. That will come from allowing up and coming stars the opportunity to make a statement. Gabe Dean and Zain Retherford are already superstars because of their upsets earlier in the year, and you can be sure they had to fight for every point that they were awarded by the refs.

So let's start pushing the action. Let's stop allowing (and announcers advocating for) stalling. And let's stop protecting the big names in the sport. This sport is riding a resurgence in popularity. Let's capitalize on it by demonstrating the best wrestling that we can.

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