West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on Wrestling's Delayed Calls

I once had a very interesting phone conversation with Fritz McGinness, the editor of the National Federation's Wrestling Rulebook and an authority on high school wrestling. It pertained to "delayed calls." Allow me to explain. In wrestling, there are two major situations in which wrestling is allowed to continue after an infraction has occurred. They both involve technical violations. The first is during locked hands and the second is with the figure-4 scissors in the neutral position. Consider the following.

Locked Hands

Situation #1: Wrestler A, the offensive wrestler, locks his hands around the body of Wrestler B (a technical violation) when Wrestler B attempts a switch in the bottom position. The referee indicates locked hands, but appropriately allows Wrestler B the opportunity to complete his move. In during the manuevering, Wrestler A releases locked hands and then locks his hands again immediately before Wrestler A completes the reversal.
Ruling: Wrestler B would receive 2 match points for the reversal and two more match points for locking hands twice. Though many wrestling enthusiasts thought locked hands could only be called once, such is not the case.

Situation #2: Wrestler A, the offensive wrestler, locks hands when both wrestlers are on the mat (a technical violation) as Wrestler B stands up. Again, the official is required to permit Wrestler B the chance to finish his initial move. When Wrestler B gets to his feet, Wrestler A lifts him off his feet and slams Wrestler B to the mat (an illegal move).
Ruling: Wrestler B would receive one match point for the technical violation and another match point for the illegal slam. And if Wrestler B could not continue the match, he would win the bout due to the illegal action of Wrestler A.

The Figure-4 Head Scissors in the Neutral Position

Situation #3: Wrestler A shoots a double leg takedown and Wrestler B applies a figure-4 head scissors (a technical violation). The referee correctly allows Wrestler A the opportunity to complete the takedown in this "delayed call" situation. As Wrestler A is about to finish the takedown, Wrestler B turns the figure-4 head scissors into an illegal head scissors which injures Wrestler A. The official immediately stops the match.
Ruling: Wrestler A would be awarded one match point for the figure-4 head scissors (technical violation) and another match point for the illegal head scissors. Now if Wrestler A could not continue he would win the bout due to the illegal hold. Note: Now if Wrestler A, himself, would have caused the figure-4 head scissors to become an illegal head scissors, then no penalty point would be awarded.

Though these are unusual occurrences that rarely happen, they are still important wrestling rules that every mat follower should be aware of. Now some states have modifications to the above situations. However, as far as the National Federation is concerned, this how the above situations should be handled by the referee.

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Updated January 5, 1998