It’s back to school season, and I usually like to try to do some sort of silly post revolving around that topic in some fashion.
In the past, I’ve discussed the different teacher characters like Matt Striker and Dean Douglas and talked about different lessons the current roster and WWE as a whole should learn.
This year, I found myself drawn to a particular anomaly that has happened in 2019: the resurgence of the pinning maneuver known as the schoolboy.
For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, a schoolboy is the type of pinfall attempt when a wrestler comes up from behind their opponent, puts one arm between their legs, pulls them backward and leans on top of them for the count.
More often than not—especially over the past few decades—it fails. For the most part, it’s been a do-nothing transition maneuver to make it seem as though someone is trying to win a match while allowing for a relatively easy kick out.
Every once in a while, someone will score a surprise victory with this, although its cousin, the inside cradle/small package, tends to be used even more in that spot.
Perhaps the most famous of these wasn’t planned and is one of the absolute worst pinfalls in wrestling history, which was the finish for Steve Austin vs. Owen Hart from SummerSlam 1997. This is the infamous match where Hart accidentally dropped Austin on his head with a piledriver, giving him temporary paralysis that forced everyone to call an audible on the finish. Check it out here at the 20:43 mark:
Terrible, but given the circumstances, that was the best they could do.
For the life of me, I can’t really think of any noteworthy or particularly interesting schoolboy pins that have happened over the years since then, because it’s just not a maneuver that stands out. If it’s a surprise pin, people remember the win, not the move. (If I’m wrong and you have any memories, leave a comment below!)
But this year, the schoolboy has seen a MASSIVE surge due to the 24/7 Championship to the point that this easily goes down as the best time to pull off that maneuver, as it is winning titles left and right.
Since the title was created on May 20th, there have been 45 title reigns. I didn’t go back and count every single one of them, but I’d wager a good half of those title changes have gone down due to a schoolboy.
At the very least, most of the time when someone is trying to win the title, they’re trying to do so with a schoolboy attempt, due to its track record recently of being a fast, snappy way to catch someone off guard and steal the title from the current champion.
It doesn’t always work, as evidenced by The Hurricane’s attempt to win the title here:
But plenty of people have been able to win the 24/7 Championship with this maneuver, making it one of the most effective moves/finishers of 2019, which is just insane.
Case in point, here’s another image of Jinder Mahal capturing the 24/7 Championship on a golf course with a surprise schoolboy:
How did R-Truth immediately win the title back? You guessed it, with another schoolboy.
Eventually, this gimmick is going to wear thin. There are some people who thought it wasn’t entertaining from the very beginning and others who have slowly gotten tired of it, or are starting to get annoyed by the repetition.
I don’t blame them, but I’m also of the camp that still finds this overall shtick funny. It’s a pointless championship that has no real meaning behind it, so it isn’t as though it’s degrading the credibility of the Intercontinental Championship or anything we should actually care about. And when push comes to shove, a comedy title being passed around like this, where people are suddenly super weak to one of the most inadequate pinfalls out there makes me laugh.
Last year, The McMahon Family went on television and promised big changes to come. After many months of random things like the Wild Card rule, the third hour of Raw being “grittier” for maybe a week and all sorts of nonsense, the one thing with the most staying power has been schoolboy finishes for 24/7 title changes. Who in the hell would have thought this time last year that that would be the case?
In 1998, the Austin Era began. In 2019, it has been the year of the schoolboy, so let’s all take a moment to laugh at how ridiculous this has all been, and here’s to all those kids starting a new school year.