Jump to content


Photo

The Innovation of the Tapout in Pro Wrestling


  • Please log in to reply
19 replies to this topic

#1 SomethingSavage

SomethingSavage
  • Members
  • 1208 posts

Posted 23 May 2018 - 02:21 PM

So I've been going back and filling in the gaps, listening to older episodes of podcasts I may have missed before. P2B, Austin, Jericho, etc.

In listening to some older Jericho interviews, I've hit several episodes where he's talking a lot to various guests about the Performance Center. Terry Taylor's name has come up several times, and Jericho specifically told a story of Taylor helping him back in WCW - suggesting his heel turn and the acquisition of a submission finisher.

Jericho then goes on to credit Taylor with bringing the concept of the tap out to the North American wrestling scene. Jericho states how he never saw it being used before that period, and it only became popular after Taylor insisted that Jericho, Benoit, etc. use it for a greater visual effect in their finishes.

Are there any corroborating comments from other WCW guys to support this story? I've never heard it credited to Taylor before, but I'm not knowledgeable enough to call bullshit right away either. The timeline isn't that far off. I definitely remember when the frantic nodding and head-shaking indicated a submission, and I even remember the first time *I* personally saw/heard about tap out submissions. It was in the thick of the Psicosis-Ultimo-Sonny Onoo stuff in WCW circa '97, and Mike Tenay was on the call - illustrating the history and informing the audience of how the tap out was a universal declaration of submission, crossing all cultural boundaries and understood in all languages. It's something that made total sense & stuck with me at the time.

Do you guys remember earlier instances of the tap out being used here in North America? Over the years in shoot interviews, I know I've heard some people talk up the idea of Taz opening that door. I've even heard some say that the first time it was shown was in early '97 in the Shamrock/Billy Gunn exhibition segment. But that never sounded quite right to me.

I admittedly haven't done a deep dive to find out or anything, but I figured I could just leapfrog the leg work & ask you guys instead. :D

#2 Boss Rock

Boss Rock
  • Members
  • 717 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 23 May 2018 - 02:39 PM

I always thought it started with Shamrock to play up his MMA career.



#3 NintendoLogic

NintendoLogic

    Grim and frostbitten

  • Members
  • 3083 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 23 May 2018 - 03:06 PM

Taz may have done it first, but I'm pretty sure Shamrock was responsible for popularizing it in mainstream American wrestling. In addition to the Billy Gunn segment, he made Vader tap out in his first WWF match. And I distinctly remember Brian Pillman mocking him in the Canadian Stampede ten-man by slamming his hand against the mat and yelling "He's tapping out!" during a pin attempt.



#4 Eduardo

Eduardo
  • Members
  • 769 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Pharr, TX

Posted 23 May 2018 - 03:09 PM

First time I’m hearing this about Terry Taylor. Earliest guys I can remember were Ken Shamrock and Taz. Especially remember Shamrock tapping out people in the Spring of 1997. I remember a Shamrock ‘shootfighting’ exhibition segment on RAW, and the May 1997 PPV match with Vader ending via tap out. 
 
Even in early 1997, and in 1996, verbal submissions were the norm, and tapping your hand on the mat was a way to sell the pain of the hold. 
 
But curious, when was the Ultimo Dragon vs Psicosis match since maybe it does predate Shamrock's WWF arrival?


#5 peachchaos

peachchaos
  • Members
  • 1104 posts

Posted 23 May 2018 - 03:27 PM

Paul Varleans taps out to Taz in their "shoot fight" at Hardcore Heaven, the June 1996 ECW Arena show. Or at least Joey Styles says he tapped out, you don't really see it visually. Either way it's interesting since Jericho worked "shoots" with Taz a few months earlier but they didn't use the tap gimmick. I don't think it's far off to think Taylor suggested they use it in WCW around the same time WWF started doing it with Shamrock. 



#6 PeteF3

PeteF3
  • Members
  • 9577 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 23 May 2018 - 03:51 PM

I can confirm that I absolutely read about Terry Taylor being responsible for the tapout in WCW at the time, in the low-level sheet I subscribed to. It had less to do with MMA and more to do with it being the "international sign for submission," convenient with all the international talent in the company--he also wanted more submission finishes in general. I really don't remember "tapping out" being a thing in the WWF until late '97, well after WCW was really pounding it. Did they really say Vader "tapped out" to Shamrock, or did they just call it a submission (regardless of what Vader actually did)?

 

Of course, "tapping out" as a gesture if not a term is about as old as wrestling itself. There's a Lou Thesz-Vic Christy match out there where Christy quite clearly taps to signify a submission, and I'm pretty sure I've read of turn-of-the-century accounts where a submission is signalled in such a way.



#7 sek69

sek69

    Winnipeg Arena's gonna be on fire

  • Members
  • 11169 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Pittsburgh, PA

Posted 23 May 2018 - 03:55 PM

I just assumed it was used in MMA *because* it was the international sign for submission and there were people from all over the world competing. Makes sense to have a uniform gesture than risk someone getting hurt by verbally submitting in a language that might not be understood.



#8 SomethingSavage

SomethingSavage
  • Members
  • 1208 posts

Posted 23 May 2018 - 04:38 PM

First time I’m hearing this about Terry Taylor. Earliest guys I can remember were Ken Shamrock and Taz. Especially remember Shamrock tapping out people in the Spring of 1997. I remember a Shamrock ‘shootfighting’ exhibition segment on RAW, and the May 1997 PPV match with Vader ending via tap out. 
 
Even in early 1997, and in 1996, verbal submissions were the norm, and tapping your hand on the mat was a way to sell the pain of the hold. 
 
But curious, when was the Ultimo Dragon vs Psicosis match since maybe it does predate Shamrock's WWF arrival?


The Psicosis-Ultimo program was running sometime in the spring & early summer of '97. They had a Respect Match, which was basically just a submission match, at some point as the blow-off on PPV.

All of that was happening around the same time as Shamrock in the WWF. The Billy Gunn segment was a bit earlier - either right before or after Mania. I'm only going off memory here, but I'm sure someone knows specific dates & timeframes for that.

I can confirm that I absolutely read about Terry Taylor being responsible for the tapout in WCW at the time, in the low-level sheet I subscribed to. It had less to do with MMA and more to do with it being the "international sign for submission," convenient with all the international talent in the company--he also wanted more submission finishes in general. I really don't remember "tapping out" being a thing in the WWF until late '97, well after WCW was really pounding it. Did they really say Vader "tapped out" to Shamrock, or did they just call it a submission (regardless of what Vader actually did)?
 
Of course, "tapping out" as a gesture if not a term is about as old as wrestling itself. There's a Lou Thesz-Vic Christy match out there where Christy quite clearly taps to signify a submission, and I'm pretty sure I've read of turn-of-the-century accounts where a submission is signalled in such a way.


That's pretty much how Jericho spelled it out, too. Taylor suggested the cruisers and mid-card guys start using it, because it made for a better visual on television AND was something universally understood in English, Japanese, and Spanish.

It's just so interesting to me, because - while I'd heard Taz and Shamrock mentioned in the discussion before - I'd never heard Taylor in that conversation. It's not often you hear a new version of events or a brand new side of a story, so I was definitely intrigued by the idea.

#9 sek69

sek69

    Winnipeg Arena's gonna be on fire

  • Members
  • 11169 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Pittsburgh, PA

Posted 23 May 2018 - 04:44 PM

I have quite a case of swiss-cheese brain when it comes to WCW mid to late 90s, but I don't ever recall seeing tapouts happen prior to Shamrock and Tazz making it popular elsewhere. 

 

To me it always was an interesting parallel that tapping out was seen as the smart, injury saving option in MMA while in pro wrestling it makes you a weakling. I recall there being a debate when tapping out became standard where it was thought that it was bad to have babyfaces tap out since it was showing potentially character damaging weakness.



#10 SomethingSavage

SomethingSavage
  • Members
  • 1208 posts

Posted 23 May 2018 - 05:57 PM

The Shamrock deal is really close in the timeline. Shamrock shows up in time for Mania, and I'm pretty sure the first instance of tapping out is that Billy Gunn segment sometime right before the guest ref deal at 13.

Psicosis and Ultimo have their Respect Match at the Great American Bash in June of that year, which is obviously later - but their feud began sometime back in February or March, so there's some flexible room in the timeline there.

I wasn't following the WWF religiously week to week. I mostly saw the closing segment and/or beginning of Raw. WCW felt hotter at that point in 1997, and it was still priority viewing over the WWF at that point in my household. So that may explain why I remember the Psi-Ultimo feud as the instance that introduced me to the tap out concept. I don't think I saw the Shamrock-Gunn segment until later, when I became obsessed with going back & seeing everything in its entirety.

The Taz thing is interesting to me though. Was he really having opponents tap out as early as '96? Because that's earlier by a definitive margin. It *seems* like I've heard Taz talk about it before on a podcast, but I'm not 100% sure what it is I'm remembering. Maybe that early episode of the Austin podcast? I definitely remember him touching on his upbringing and training there.

#11 peachchaos

peachchaos
  • Members
  • 1104 posts

Posted 23 May 2018 - 08:00 PM

Taz returns to ECW and debuts his new shoot fighter gimmick at November to Remember 1995. I'd imagine the tap out debuts soon after.



#12 Laz

Laz
  • Members
  • 581 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 23 May 2018 - 08:32 PM

According to this review of ECW TV 10/10/95, Taz started tapping folks out in 1995.

#13 SomethingSavage

SomethingSavage
  • Members
  • 1208 posts

Posted 23 May 2018 - 08:40 PM

I've been at work tonight/this evening. But, with a little research, it looks like there was already a tap out in WCW in May of '96. That's nearly a full year before Shamrock landed in the WWF and started to popularize it.

I mean, sure. All I've got is Dean Malenko making Ohtani tap out in a Cruiserweight Title match. I have no idea if this was a one-off or part of any suggestion from Terry Taylor whatsoever. Regardless, it's still neat to know in sorting out the timeline of this stuff.

Also, there's a result of Taz beating Jason in October 1995(!) ECW. So you may be right, man. It just might be Taz.

EDIT: Didn't see your post until after I'd finished mine, but yeah. Looks like we found the same result.

#14 sek69

sek69

    Winnipeg Arena's gonna be on fire

  • Members
  • 11169 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Pittsburgh, PA

Posted 23 May 2018 - 09:00 PM

Sounds like this might be a case of "X invented a thing, but Y popularized it".



#15 C.S.

C.S.
  • Members
  • 2530 posts

Posted 23 May 2018 - 09:17 PM

Tapping out may have existed in wrestling before, but it definitely wasn't commonplace until Ken Shamrock popularized it. Suddenly, every submission match - at least in the WWF - ended with a tapout.

#16 Eduardo

Eduardo
  • Members
  • 769 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Pharr, TX

Posted 23 May 2018 - 10:17 PM

From History of the WWE website. look up all the Ultimo Dragon matches for 1997: 

 

Great American Bash 97 - Moline, IL - Mark of the Quad - June 15, 1997 (9,613)

 

"The Ultimo Dragon defeated Psychosis (w/ Sonny Onoo) via submission with the Dragon Sleeper at 14:22 after Onoo accidentally kicked Psychosis in the head; Mike Tenay did guest commentary for the bout, subbing for Dusty Rhodes; the commentary team made note that Psychosis' tap out was understood as a submission."


#17 Blehschmidt

Blehschmidt
  • Members
  • 869 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Morgantown, West Virginia

Posted 24 May 2018 - 06:50 AM

There is a match between Sting and Kane (Bruiser Mastino) from the 3/6/93 WCW Saturday Night on the WWE Network Hidden Gems section, and it certainly appears that Jacobs taps to the Scorpion Deathlock.

#18 fxnj

fxnj
  • Members
  • 662 posts

Posted 25 May 2018 - 04:20 PM

Pretty entertaining anecdote from the first UFC related to this. Jimmerson was a pretty highly ranked boxer at the time who did the tournament to help pay for his house and was terrified of facing Royce Gracie in the first round.

 

 

"Big John said, 'you know what he's going to do to you right?'" McLaren said, re-telling the story he only recently became privy to. "Jimmerson said, ‘what's he going to do?' and he was dancing around and doing boxing moves. Big John said, ‘You ever get in a clinch in a boxing match?' Jimmerson said, ‘yeah, the ref breaks it up.' Big John goes," In this they're not going to break it up when he grabs you. He's going to have his arms on you. They're not going to break that up. The ref doesn't break that up in this fight.' Jimmerson goes, ‘what?' Big John said, "He's going to shoot in. He's going to grab you. You are going to get one chance to hit him, and if you miss, he's going to be all over you.' Jimmerson said, ‘He's going to break my arm isn't he?' Big John said, ‘Yeah, he's going to break your arm.'

"That's when he decided to wear the one glove," McLaren revealed. "To make sure we could see him tapping with the other hand. Walking with him to the Octagon, he said, 'If I tap with my glove hand, is it a still a tap?' That's when I knew it wasn't going to work out."

https://www.mmamania...oxing-glove-mma

 

Seriously, if a pro boxer seems unfamiliar with the practice, it seems it really wasn't all that well known at least up to the point of the first UFC. Given that it was guys working shoot fighting gimmicks who popularized tapping out in ECW and WWF, it seems a fair bet that it was the early UFC's that popularized the practice to American audiences. Just gonna assume the WCW international talents tapping was its own thing and didn't really have much influence outside of cruiserweights. Even today, it is mostly shoot holds that lead to tapouts due to the aforementioned stigma in pro wrestling against giving up. Pretty rare to see guys tap to figure fours or bear hugs.



#19 Slasher

Slasher
  • Members
  • 1844 posts

Posted 25 May 2018 - 04:37 PM

Pretty rare to see guys tap to figure fours or bear hugs.


To be fair, it's pretty rare to see a submission for the figure four, however way it is done.

#20 Eduardo

Eduardo
  • Members
  • 769 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Pharr, TX

Posted 25 May 2018 - 04:41 PM

As both a boxing and MMA fan for decades, can't remember ever hearing Jimmerson referred to as a "highly ranked boxer".




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users