West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker, National Wrestling Hall of Famer
and Rick Welker

"The Technical Violation Rule"

by Dr. Bill Welker

Today, I want to share with you something that might surprise you regarding technical violations in wrestling. We're going to take a look at three of wrestling's technical violations: Forcing One's Opponent off the Mat to Avoid Wrestling, Grabbing the Headgear, and Locking Hands. Consider the following scenarios for each of these violations.

Forcing One's Opponent off the Mat to Avoiding Wrestling
Wrestler A forces Wrestler B out of bounds and the referee signals the technical violation, awarding Wrestler B a match point for the infraction. Simultaneously, Wrestler B trips and hits the floor, injuring his elbow. Wrestler B can not continue the match. Who wins?

Grabbing the Headgear
Wrestler A grabs Wrestler B's headgear, while trying to score a reversal. The referee stops the match and awards Wrestler B a match point for the technical violation. In the meantime, Wrestler B wrenched his neck when Wrestler A pulled on his headgear, and can not complete the match. Who wins?

Locking Hands
Wrestler B, on the bottom, executes a switch. Wrestler A immediately and forcefully locks hands around Wrestler B's chest and pulls him to his stomach. The referee stops the match and awards Wrestler B a match point for this technical violation. Meanwhile, Wrestler B can not continue due to a bruised rib. Who wins the match?

Believe it or not, in all three instances, Wrestler A would win the match. You're probably wondering how this can be since Wrestler A committed the technical violations. And most likely, even though the referee was right, he would receive a lot of heat from the fans, accusing him of cheating.

Here's the bottom line.

Technical violations are not infractions that involve "recovery time," where the wrestler wins if he can't continue do to an illegal hold, unsportsmanlike conduct, or unnecessary roughness. Thus, a wrestler who commits a technical violation can't lose the match if his opponent is injured, and can't go on after his "injury time" is depleted.

Personally, I feel that any violation that involves a physical act in which a contestant can't continue - then that participant should win due to the infraction. Wouldn't you agree?

Unnecessary Roughness

Any intentional act that is hazardous to an opponent's physical well being is considered unnecessary roughness. Furthermore, if a hold is utilized for the sole purpose of punishment alone, the referee may see fit to declare unnecessary roughness.

Such offenses as striking, pushing, shoving, a swinging crossface, elbowing, and forceful tripping are just some examples of this infraction.

The normal progression of penalties is as follows:
" First Offense: One match point for the opponent
" Second Offense: One match point for the opponent
" Third Offense: Two Match points for the opponent
" Fourth Offense: Disqualification

Please note, if an official believes the infraction to be totally inexcusable, he can invoke the "flagrant misconduct" rule.

The flagrant misconduct results in the immediate and automatic disqualification of the wrestler. He is penalized three team points and if it is in a tournament, he losses all team points scored in the event, including placement points.

Certainly, a sucker punch to the jaw or head butt would come under the flagrant misconduct category.

Mini-Mat Quiz

Q: Wrestler A shoots a hard double-leg, causing Wrestler B to hit his head on the mat forcefully when taken down. The match had to be stopped to check on Wrestler B's physical well being. Would this be considered unnecessary roughness on the part of Wrestler A?

A: Wrestler A would not be penalized for unnecessary roughness. A hard double-leg takedown is a perfectly legal maneuver, similar to a hard tackle in football.

Mat Message

"You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do."
-- Henry Ford

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