There are many things about professional wrestling that are widely held beliefs that are not necessarily true, but because they’ve been talked about or mentioned over and over, they become ingrained in wrestling fans.

The wrestling fans I’m talking about in particular are Internet fans, but some of the myths can “affect” more casual fans as well. This column will take a look at some of the wrestling myths and the truth behind the myths.

Myth #1: 1999 was a great year for WWE programming

Truth: The truth is that while the ratings were at record peaks for WWE, the style of “sports entertainment” that was promoted is not a lasting style. To put another way, in 2009, there is no way that the type of skits and matches that were produced by WWE at that time would be accepted today. Especially when one considers that the ratings war is over and even the”trainwreck” segments that could draw ratings even now just hurt the companies ability to draw money in the long run. Bra and Panties matches, transvestites doing sexual favors, matches that last less than three minutes and human sacrifices are among the types of segments that made waves back then, which would draw groans now.

WWE was successful because of Steve Austin, the Rock, Degeneration X and Vince McMahon for the most part. That is not to say the idea of the content on WWE programming wasn’t the right idea at the right time when one considers Jerry Springer and South Park both reached major levels of popularity around the time of the WWE attitude era. The bottom line is that the type of content WWE delivered is the least sustainable of any of the successful eras in wrestling history. To put it another way, even though ratings were a bit down in 2000, 2000 was much better in terms of drawing money because there was more of a focus on wrestling and not just in-ring action, but promos designed not just to entertain but to build matches as well. If 1999 drew better on Pay per View, then that would be something else altogether and it would be difficult to say that 1999 was not strong programming. Another thing that got better as time went on is the work in the mid-card. There are no more three-minute matches with the Godfather and the Blue Meanie. In 2000 there were 10-15 minute matches with Eddie Guerrero and today there are 10-15 minute matches with CM Punk or Matt Hardy.

Myth #2: Moves make the wrestler

Truth: There is nothing wrong with having a lot of moves. There is something wrong with trying to use them all in a five minute match which is often seen in the independents and even in TNA. There are many wrestlers that do a lot without using a lot of moves. Of course in WWE, wrestlers have to know how to put on good matches without doing too much, but it is an effective style of wrestling and storytelling.

Finlay is one of the best workers in the world and it is not because of his “moveset”, it’s because of his selling and his snug work in terms of strikes and clotheslines. For example Finlay is a better worker than someone like Petey Williams or Sonjay Dutt because he is smarter and he knows how to make less mean more. MVP and Matt Hardy are two more examples of wrestlers that put on quality matches on a weekly basis without using many moves. The most important qualities of a wrestler are selling (99 percent of the time-there are exceptions like Hulk Hogan) and timing.

Myth #3: The divas are all interchangeable

Truth: The truth is that while many of the divas have similar characters, there are distinguishing characteristics that would be noticeable if one actually pays attention to the shows. Marsye is the cocky girl that thinks she is better than everyone because of her looks. Michelle McCool is the jock that thinks she is better than all of the models that are surrounding her on Smackdown. Beth Phoenix is the powerhouse that can beat up her boyfriend. Mickie James is the bubbly girl who can wrestle. Kelly Kelly is the girl next door type (she’s obviously the girl next door who models on the side, but still). Alicia Fox is the dancer. So as stated above, people have to pay attention and then they will see the differences.

Myth #4: HHH is a mediocre performer that is only in his position because of his family connections

Truth: Is HHH always in the title picture because of his marriage? Yes. With that said he does he deserve to have a top spot. He is a solid interview and usually puts on good matches. Not only that, but after being on top for five or six years he still drew big money with an unproven draw at the time in Batista. Is it too much at times? Of course and new stars do need to be created, but WWE trusts HHH as a family member and as a holdover of the last major successful period of WWE.

Myth #5: WWE doesn’t care about wrestling

Truth: At times it may seem WWE doesn’t care about quality wrestling with the pushes of Vladimir Koslov and Great Khali. At the same time it is smart to take a look at the main eventers of WWE. John Cena is a very good wrestler (and obviously underrated). Randy Orton is good. The Undertaker has actually improved with age. Edge, Shawn Michaels, Jeff Hardy, HHH, and Chris Jericho are all strong workers and Batista is certainly capable of having good matches with the right opponent.

On the subject of Koslov and Khali, Khali is out of main events and Koslov looks to be someone who is getting phased out in the next several weeks and months. You have to be able to put on quality main events to get a push in WWE. Is being a good wrestler the number one thing as opposed to look and other factors that the McMahons care about? No, but being a capable wrestler is number 1-A in especially the last few years. Many of the wrestlers in the middle of the card such as the Miz, John Morrison, the Colons, Matt Hardy, Shelton Benjamin, Evan Bourne, Rey Mysterio and Finlay among others are asked to fill 8-10 minutes of television time on a regular basis and of course it would be better if they were actually good wrestlers.

Myth #6: The brand-split should end.

Truth: The brand-split is the reason that the new stars that have been created were created as quickly as they were. Even the “chosen ones” such as Cena, Batista and Orton would have taken more time to become major stars if they had to share the spotlight with Michaels, HHH, Undertaker and each other all at the same time. It also allows for two different touring “companies” and when one considers that WWE Pay per Views have been basically the same even when combining all the brands, the potential is there if WWE gets really hot again to sell out arenas on both brands. Think of wrestlers such as CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Cody Rhodes, Ted Dibase, MVP and both of the Hardys, all of those wrestlers would have had trouble getting even a steady position in the mid-card under the old system. There is no way WWE should even consider getting rid of ECW because it is a good way to get a few veterans in many wrestlers who have potential. As has been stated by many wrestling experts/journalists, ECW is a glorified developmental system and should stay as such.

First of all, it should be noted that wrestling is not like the fake (and dangerous) world of professional televised wrestling matches that most people think of when they think of wrestling.

It is still possible to get hurt in wrestling but put aside any notion of your child being head butted or pile-driven into the mat. That will not happen in real wrestling matches.

Wrestling Teaches Self-Defense Techniques

You may be looking into how to keep your child safe after seeing the recent news coverage of child murders. It seems every week there is another innocent child being victimized and murdered. If we can’t trust our church Sunday school teachers, who can we trust around our kids?

Don’t expect wrestling to teach your child how to tackle an adult female or male, they won’t be able to do that due to the size and weight difference. What they will be able to do is hopefully to get away quickly before the kidnapper has a chance to harm them. So basically while your child will not be able to do a half nelson or take-down on an adult individual out to harm her, she could learn to defend herself by using a duck-under maneuver and other moves to escape.

Girls will learn how to get out of an adult’s grasp by taking wrestling. Wrestling moves don’t just include offensive moves, but also defensive. It will teach stamina in the face of an opponent who is relentless at trying to take them down. Girls will learn how to move their bodies to escape many wrestling holds or moves. Learn how to get out from under an opponent on the ground as well as escape from a bear hug grasp standing up. This will give them tools to utilize in the case of kidnapping or psychotic kidnappers bent on harming them.

Think of a wrestling match. Watch a wrestling match and see how each opponent repeatedly has to grapple his way out of holds to keep from losing points and ultimately being pinned down on the mat. It may not look like the wrestlers are doing much but they are. Each wrestling hold has a defensive move to get out of it. Children learn to do these offensive and defensive moves which can enable them to get away in case of trouble in real life, not just in a wrestling match.

Many wrestling programs in schools do allow girls and boys as well to compete and learn wrestling. You might see more resistance from parents than coaches who probably have seen girls wrestling in other school districts. Girls and boys wrestling each other? Yes, wrestling is a great choice of sport for a mix of boys and girls as opponents are chosen due to size and weight. So girls won’t be put up against a boy much bigger than she is. It will be an even match.

Isn’t it an unsafe and potentially dangerous sport? If you consider softball “safe”, then wrestling is a piece of cake! Parents may scoff at having girls straddling boys and boys laying atop girls but there is nothing sexual in nature about it. Each opponent is focused on one thing, pinning the other person. It might take a minute to get over that but if you think of it, boys on boys in wrestling looks exactly the same!

Wrestling Builds Strength and Endurance

This is a physical activity which will build up your daughter’s muscles and make her strong. Take advantage of your child’s young age to enroll her into many physical activities before she gets to the don’t-want-to-get-out-of-bed-itis that seems to hit during adolescence. Teach her that keeping active is good for mental and physical health. She will be stronger to fend off attacks of illness and predators.

Consider wrestling the next time you are looking into self-defense courses for your daughter to protect her from kidnappers, rapists, and murderers. What she learns from wrestling today, could save her life in the future.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Try talking to people about Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, and you will find that most of them suffer from one or the other of the following misconceptions: the first is that Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is Capoeira; the second, more common mistake, is that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the wrestling style employed by mixed martial artists in the Ultimate Fighting Championships.

BJJ is Not Capoeira

Perhaps you went down to Rio for Carnival recently, where you saw sweaty men spinning in circles, apparently trying to kick each other, to the rhythm of bongos.

This is not Brazilian Jiu-jitso. What you saw was Capoeira, a form of African-Brazilian dance developed a few centuries ago by slaves as an artistic form of subversion. True, it looks like fighting; but it is more fine art than martial art.

Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition

Whereas Capoeira is expressed as an intricate Brazilian dance, BJJ looks more like the Spanish inquisition. The arm bar, the flying triangle and the guillotine are just a few of the techniques that BJJ stylists implement to extract confessions of defeat from opponents. It’s tap or snap: admit that you’re beaten, or face the logical extreme of the technique.

But is the fighting style employed in the UFC really Brazilian Jiu-jitsu?

Under a strict definition of style, no.

BJJ vs. Submission Wrestling

The ground-fighting style employed in the UFC is actually a hybrid style of BJJ and freestyle wrestling known variously as Submission Wrestling, Sub-Wrestling, Grappling, or Submission Grappling.

Although the two sports are very similar, there is a noteable difference in the way they are practiced.

What’s the Difference?

The main difference is the gi.

BJJ stylists wear a uniform, called either a gi or a kimono, consisting of pants, a thick jacket, and a colored belt. Submission wrestlers wear only shorts and an optional rash guard.

What difference does it make? Surprisingly, quite a lot. In fact, the opponent’s clothing is a key factor influencing a fighter’s strategic decisions.

For example, consider the difference that clothing makes in a simple choke. The rules of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu allow participants to use the gi – both their opponent’s and their own – as a weapon in the fight. In this scenario, the gi can function much like a section of rope, which a fighter can use to restrain or choke the opponent, or as a handle, which makes grappling with heavy objects much easier.

In Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, a choke can be accomplished in several ways – by wrapping one’s arms around the opponent’s neck and squeezing; by using the collar of the opponent’s jacket as a garote; or by applying a combination of one’s own arms, sleeves, and the opponent’s gi as a sort of guillotine mechanism. In submission wrestling, there is no gi, so the choice is reduced to only the first method: wrap your arms and squeeze.

In Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the fight almost always begins with the opponents standing straight up. Judo-style throws are enabled by using the gi as a handle to gain leverage and grip on your opponent. Takedowns and throws are almost always preceded by vying for control of the opponent’s upper body. In sub-wrestling, there is no gi to grab hold of, so competitors are forced to take a different strategy. Most sub-wrestling matches begin much like freestyle wrestling matches, with single- and double-leg takedowns.

At every stage of a match — the takedown, the guard pass, sweeps, and submissions — the gi influences which moves the fighter can choose.

Which Is Better?

Which style to apply depends entirely on the situation.

Submission wrestlers argue that sub-wrestling is better for application in the UFC. In the Octagon, fighters wear as little clothing as possible, so that their opponents have nothing to grab onto, and nothing with which to choke them.

But BJJ fighters are quick to point out that training with a gi is better preparation for real-life street fighting. A gi is a closer approximation to common street clothing than shorts and a rash guard, unless you plan on doing all your fighting at the beach.

In the early days of the UFC, when only BJJ practitioners knew the moves, the gi was a common sight in the ring, worn proudly by black belts as a symbol of their art. However, as more mixed martial artists mastered BJJ, wearing a gi became a big disadvantage, and sub-wrestling took hold as the dominant mode of ground fighting.

Today, most of the UFC’s mixed martial artists cross-train, wearing a gi one night, and shorts the next. By training in both styles, MMA fighters maintain fluency in both lexicons.