FanPost

The Saturday Slam: Spears

WWE.com

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(I have absolutely nothing witty to say, this spear is atrocious and the fact that Sasha sold it like she was just steamrolled by an irritable hippopotamus is another insult. Stick to your bridge, Little Miss Flair.)

Professional wrestling and American Football have gone hand in hand in the past few decades. Wrestling bookers have always had a bit of a liking for pro football players, mostly for their size and athletic prowess. Some of wrestling's most well known names, such as Bill Goldberg (Played for the University of Georgia as well as the Atlanta Falcons), Roman Reigns (Played for the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars), Brian Pillman (Played for the Cincinnati Bengals, Calgary Stampeders, and the Buffalo BIlls), and new NXT signee Brennan Williams (Played for the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New England Patriots) have all been involved in the sport in some way.

In terms of physicality, one could argue that professional wrestling and football are on a similar plane, one doesn't necessarily trump the other. Both are very contact heavy, both result in serious injury if not protected. The key difference is in football, you don't drop people on their heads on purpose. Rather, you tackle them into oblivion and make their insides implode akin to a neutron star. Except a wrestler can do it too, and more often than not, it's a car wreck too exciting to miss. So, today on the Saturday Slam, we're talking about the move in question: The Spear.

With a name like that, you'd expect someone to get impaled, and when done right, it almost seems to be. If done wrong, it looks like a fan rushing to hug their favorite performer in the hopes of getting senpai's coveted affection.

Firstly, to talk about what makes a Spear work, we need to go over the move's roots. Specifically, the maneuver it spawned from: The Shoulder Block.

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(Come on, guys, that's NOT how you high-five. Pick your game up!)

The move itself is fairly straightforward, the attacking wrestler simply charges their opponent and rams their shoulder into them. This is a standard for many a "big guy," as it can be used to not only effectively take down an opponent, but show off a wrestler's strength and size. A common spot is for a smaller wrestler to attempt a running shoulder block on a much larger adversary, only to be either knocked to the ground or stopped dead in their tracks.

No wrestler specifically innovated the shoulder block. It was more common in American football and rugby than wrestling, or any sport that involved heavy physical contact. Bigger wrestlers, over time, adapted the move and it became commonplace in wrestling as well. The spear is a variant of a shoulder block, the difference being a spear is a more pronounced takedown. The attacking wrestler charges their opponent (Who is normally standing), bringing their body parallel to the ground driving their shoulder into their opponent's midsection, pulling their opponent's legs down to the mat with them (Akin to a double-leg takedown).

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(Roman, at the very least, can throw a convincing spear. No, this isn't the best example, but trust me, he can.)

A variant of the spear (A variant OF a variant. Getting trippy on the SS, folks) is the striking spear, which is set up the same as a regular spear, but the attacking wrestler neither pulls their opponent's legs down with them, nor do they turn horizontally. This is what's called a "Goldberg spear," as Bill Goldberg not only popularized the use of the spear in professional wrestling, but gave the move it's name. This is also what's known as Rhyno's Gore (Repeat six or seven times).

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(Rhyno's Gore compared to Goldberg's spear. Being a former pro football player, Goldberg is certainly well-versed in the art of the takedown, but Rhyno always has a vicious amount of force thrown into his.)

One of wrestling's age old debates regards who delivers the best spear in the business. It's a tough choice, because there are so many big names who have used the spear in their careers, and at such different intervals of quality. So, to wrap up this week's Saturday Slam, I'd like to offer my own takes on the best spear in wrestling, and leave the comments open to my fellow Cagesiders for debate as well.

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Big E has the added bonus of a spear through the ropes and onto the floor, just that nice touch of brutality. However, more often than not he lands on his head, so it's effective but hurts both Big E and his opponent.

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Roman Reigns, when doing it right, looks like Raiden from Mortal Kombat on his spear. As I said before, he can throw a damn fine spear, just takes the right elements.

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I recently discovered just how brutal Mil Muertes is in his spear. Lucha Underground is known for its aggressive tone, this is no exception. In his Deathmatch with King Cuerno at Ultima Lucha Dos, I was expecting Mil to spear Cuerno through that glass panel at the very top of the stairs leading to the ring.

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Former women's wrestler Kaitlyn has spoken about how Goldberg was an inspiration to her. It shows a bit in her spear, which isn't the best in terms of impact, but it isn't too often you see a female athlete using power moves, especially back when Kaitlyn still wrestled (She and AJ Lee were two of the best workers WWE had back then, on the main roster at least). so it has its own charm. It helps that AJ was great at selling it like she was struck by a roller coaster.

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I like Batista and all, and his spear is fine enough because he didn't use it too often, but the times he would use it, it looked more like a weird, incomplete Spinebuster than a full spear. It looks really awkward.

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Finally, Edge's spear was an interesting one. The build up to the move was always more iconic than the move itself. Edge never had the most spectacular spear, and some have argued it was the reason why his career ended so abruptly. I never thought it was sacrilegious to the move itself, but I do agree, it wasn't very good. Christian, Edge's best friend, would adopt the spear in tribute after Edge retired, and it was more of the same.

And that's issue nine in the books! When next we meet, on the tenth issue of The Saturday Slam (People liked this enough to make it to ten, huh?), we'll be talking about the SECOND most dangerous move in professional wrestling. Until then, Cagesiders!

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.