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Here’s what we know about Louisiana’s ‘banned moves’ list and WrestleMania weekend

We first covered it more than a month ago, but with WrestleMania week almost upon us, it’s re-entered the conversation. The state of Louisiana and their Boxing & Wrestling Commission have a number of rules and regulation concerning pro wrestling shows held there, and since ‘Mania and the long-list of shows around WWE’s signature event are in New Orleans, the ramifications of those restrictions are being realistically considered by a lot of folks this week.

A story by David Bixenspan over at Deadspin has re-focused the discussion, so I’d encourage folks to check out his piece. Here’s what we know, from that story, the initial interview John Pollock did with a commission official for POST Wrestling, and other coverage:

  • While many states have laws on the books for regulating pro wrestling, the reason Louisiana takes its banned move list seriously stems from a 1996 incident where a wrestler (Aldus Gene Bergeron, working as “Gino Van Dam”) was paralyzed by a botched piledriver, and he was awarded “several million dollars” in a judgement against the Commission for not enforcing their own rules.
  • Speaking to Bixenspan, commission lawyer John Green Jr. provided what looks to be a work-in-progress version of the ”rules and regulations” document discussed with Pollock by the commission’s Russell Naquin.
  • That document provides examples of banned moves like:
  1. All variations of the Pile Driver;
  2. All variations of the Power Bomb;
  3. The “Moonsault”, “Shooting Star”, or “450 Splash” or any variation thereof which involves one wrestler, leaping or flipping off the ropes or turnbuckles to contact the head or neck of the opponent with any part of his body;
  4. The “Stungun” of any variation thereof which results in the one fighter’s head or neck being dragged, draped or “closelined” [sic] across the ropes;
  5. The striking of a wrestler’s head with any object, chair, trashcan [sic] lid, etc., and
  6. No wrestler shall throw, push, shove or force another out of the ring or over the top rope.
  • While many have focused on the “head or neck” stipulation as a way around the bans, since a properly executed version of most moves like the piledriver means those areas of the body don’t come into contact with the ring, it does appear certain things are enforced regardless. Local promoter Luke Hawx of Wildkat Sports told Bixenspan: “We’ve never had any problems with doing 450s or moonsaults or anything like that. Our rules are fighting in the crowd, piledrivers, and bleeding. As long as you stay away from that stuff, you’re good to go.”
  • The other big exemption is for “major league” promotions, which don’t have to abide by the banned move list. WWE and Ring of Honor (ROH) are the two companies with shows next weekend designated as “major league”.
  • Commission officials, one of whom should be on-site for each show per their own rules and regulations, will determine if wrestlers working those shows qualify as “well-trained professionals”, making them exempt able to perform the moves.
  • When Bixenspan attempted to get clarification from Green on how the commission would determine who was a “well-trained”, he deferred to Naquin... who is no longer talking to the media after the Pollock interview.

Overall, there’s definitely no reason to be concerned police are going to run into the Superdome to stop the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. There’s probably not much of a reason to worry if Keith Lee will be powerbombing people at Thurs. - Sat.’s WWN shows.

But don’t expect piledrivers outside Smoothie King Center, UNO Lakefront Arena and the Superdome.

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