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So, you want to be a Wrestling Fan? An introduction to wrestling scoring rules

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What’s a takedown? What’s a pin? Are we stalling right now?

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Football season is over and your basketball team sucks? Perhaps you should become a wrestling fan*. It’s a combat sport that doesn’t carry the stigma of a high likelihood of brain trauma. The B1G is the dominant force in wrestling moreso than any other NCAA sport, but wrestling can be confusing for newbies so we’re putting together a little guide to make it more enjoyable for you. Today we’re going to talk about how scoring occurs within an individual match.

*Offer not valid for Maryland fans.

To begin with, there are three major types of wrestling. International competitions, like the Olympics, are either freestyle or Greco-Roman. High School and collegiate wrestling is called folkstyle (or scholastic). We’ll be talking folkstyle scoring today.

Let’s get to the fun part, Scoring!

Escape (1) The most basic way to score is an escape. A wrestler in the bottom position who removes himself from the grasp of his opponent and faces his opponent is awarded an escape and 1 point. Most wrestlers choose bottom when they get to choose a position because of the relative ease of scoring via an escape.

Takedown (2) There are two ways to gain a takedown, The most common way is for one wrestler to take his opponent off his feet and control him from the top position. This requires the wrestler to control both of his opponent’s legs. The wrestler being taken down doesn’t have to go all the way down to the mat, but if he places a hand (or any “third point”) on the mat, that is sufficient to score the takedown.

The second (less common but much cooler sounding) way to score a takedown is by forcing your opponent into the Danger Zone. (Kenny Loggins was obviously a wrestling fan) This is when you don’t have control of your opponent from the top position, but you expose his shoulders to the mat at a less than 90 degree angle. When a wrestler is exposed thusly, the referee starts a count and if the controlling wrestler can hold his opponent in the danger zone for a count of three, he is awarded a takedown.

Reversal (2) When a wrestler is in the bottom position is able scramble from bottom and gain top position, that is a reversal and is worth two points.

Near Fall (2 or 4) A near fall is when a wrestler exposes his opponents shoulders to the mat at a 45 degree or less. At this point, the referee will begin a count and if the count reaches four, the wrestler is awarded a four point nearfall. If the count reaches two or three, the wrestler is awarded a two point nearfall.

Feet to back (4 or 6) You’ll hear announcers say a wrestler scored 4 or 6 points for taking his opponent feet to back, but it is really just a combination of a takedown and nearfall points when a wrestler takes his opponent from his feet to his back in one movement.

Riding Time When a wrestler is in the top position, a clock is counting the time he is on top. When that wrestler is on bottom, it will count backwards until zero and then start accumulating time for the other wrestler. If at the end of the match, the riding time clock is greater than 60 seconds, that wrestler is awarded one point.

Pin/Fall/Pinfall: A pin, when you control your opponent and force both his shoulders down to the mat, ends the match right then and there and gains your team bonus points (which we’ll cover in another article) Here are the two current masters of the pinfall!

Technical Violations:

Stalling Stalling is called when a wrestler is not attempting to compete. It’s subjective and every official calls it a little different, but you are allowed one warning for the first stall call. Two additional stall calls result in one point for your opponent, and a fourth stall is worth two points. If you receive a fifth stall call, you are disqualified from the match the same as if you were pinned.

False Start/Caution Here’s a familiar one for you football fans. If a wrestler makes a move before the referee signals the start, you get a false start violation. Each wrestler gets two warnings and 1 point is assessed for each false start after those warnings.

Clasping Hands Locking your hands together while in the top position is a 1 point penalty.

Illegal Holds There are a long list of illegal holds (full nelson, headlock without an arm, choke holds, scissor the head). I don’t know what all of them are, but the wrestlers do so you rarely see these calls.

Technical Violations Grasping the headgear is the most common one, but others include unnecessary roughness, unsportsmanlike conduct, body slamming (all of which if deemed egregious can cause a DQ rather than just a point penalty), and fleeing the mat (which I don’t think gets called enough because the refs cop out and call stalling instead). All of these violations give one point to your opponent.

There you have it, folks. These are the ways to score. Well, in a wrestling match anyway. Be sure to check out our other wrestling primer articles to learn more.