Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Dennis Hall had a wicked headlock!

Yesterday when we got home from work I had a nice suprise waiting for me. Tivo had taken the time to record some of the Greco-Roman wrestling. I like watching freestyle more, but I'll watch a good Greco match too over rowing or synchronized diving.

First I got to watch a couple of Americans get beat. Oscar Wood had the beatdown put on him, but he did have an impressive front headlock. That's been his modus operandi for some time though. Brad Vering hung a little tougher but still lost (he wrestled a guy named Mohamed Mohamed from Egypt, who had an outstanding lift on Vering). Next they showed Dennis Hall, who was quite the stud in the late 90's but hasn't performed nearly so well lately. I was rather suprised he was wrestling, since he's into his 30's now and most wrestlers don't make it much past then.

Hall's match was the first time I'd actually seen anyone in "the clinch." It's pathetic that a wrestling fan hasn't seen this, since it's been around since at least the 2000 Olympics, but what can I say. I don't get to watch much Greco wrestling. If a match is scoreless going into the second (final) period both wrestlers start by wrapping arms around each other (the one who wins the coin toss gets to lock first, a definite advantage) and then they start the period like that. If the coin toss winner doesn't score in the first minute of the period they are penalized 1 point and cautioned (allowing the other wrestler can put the cautioned in down (par terre) position and try to score some more points on the mat). Hall won the toss, made the clinch, and then he and his opponent just kind of froze. Neither one wanted to give up anything. About 15 seconds before Hall would have been penalized he executed a textbook sag headlock. It wasn't spectacular like a throw over the hip, but it was very effective and exactly what he needed. He got 3 points for it, but in the scramble got reverse for 1 point to the other wrestler.

Next came the rather nerve wracking point. He made his throw at about 3:40 (with 6:00 minutes being the whole match unless they go into overtime) into the match, and by the time they went out of bounds and needed to restart it was about 4:15 into the match. Since Hall went out of bounds with his head leading, he came back to the mat center and got put down in par terre, a disadvantage. No problem, Hall has excellent bottom defense. His opponent did turn him with a gut wrech, but only got 1 point because Hall's back wasn't close to the mat (he went hand-to-hand as we say). This made the score 3-2 in favor of Hall, quite close!

The shocking part was that he didn't manage to get out of par terre until about 5:30 into the match! He spent over 45 seconds on the bottom, and eternity in international wrestling. Fortunately he managed to avoid allowing any more points and won 3-2.

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