WWE | Pro Wrestling

The Three Way Dance/Triple Threat Wrestling Match Is Stupid

WWE Triple Threat MatchIn my last column here on the Camel Clutch Blog, I asked the question, “Does the illusion matter anymore in pro wrestling?” By “illusion” I meant making an effort to make what you’re doing look like it’s real. I got a lot of feedback to that column, and the overwhelming consensus was, “Heck yes it matters!”

So, put that in your back pocket for a moment. I’m going to come back to it in just a bit in this column.

But first, let me tell you about another exchange I recently had with an indie pro wrestler. It was about the concept of the “Three Way Dance” or “Triple Threat” match. The wrestler I was talking with had read my book Fixing the Indies, where, among other things, I heavily criticize gimmick matches like the Three Way Dance. This worker took issue with my stance on the match, particularly to the fact that I refer to the Three Way Dance in my book as “stupid.”

“Why so bitter, Norm?” the wrestler asked me. “Why call the Three Way Dance ‘stupid’? It’s just a match! A lot of people enjoy the Three Way Dance!”

I don’t doubt that. I fully understand that some fans like the concept. But that doesn’t change the fact that I think the Three Way Dance is stupid.

Why? Well, it goes back to the notion of generating and preserving the illusion. If you truly believe that the illusion — that is, again, that wrestlers should try to make what they’re doing look real — is important, then I contend that you should agree with me that the Three Way Dance is stupid.

Bear with me here.

Let’s look at this logically. If we’re trying to present pro wrestling as a real combat sport, what sense does it make to pit three combatants against each other simultaneously? If you really think it through, such a construct could never exist in real sport. Let’s use the UFC as an example. There are no Three Way Dances in UFC because, well, it just wouldn’t work. You’d have three fighters — fighters A, B, and C — all standing in the Octagon, nervously looking backing and forth and fearful to make the first move.

Let’s say you’re fighter A. Would you be aggressive and, say, go after figther B? No, of course not, because if you did, you would totally leave your flank vulnerable to fighter C. The other two fighters would be fearful of the same thing happening to them, so no one would attack and all three guys would just stand there, frozen.

Pro wrestling “fixes” this fatal flaw with a completely phony solution — dumping one guy out of the ring.

Think about it. Every single time you watch a Three Way Dance, it happens. One guy gets dumped out of the ring and then just conveniently hangs out casually on the floor while the two remaining guys in the ring proceed with a standard singles match. Then one of those two guys jumps out of the ring and the guy who was standing idle jumps back in and a singles match proceeds between those two guys for a few minutes.

It’s all just too rehearsed, too well timed, too convenient, and…too fake. It would never happen in real life. So to “accept” the Three Way Dance is just to say, “Yeah, this is completely fake and illogical, but let’s just do it anyway.”

Illusion shattered.

There’s a reason why there are only two teams in each NFL game. Could you imagine a football game going down between three teams? Of course not. It wouldn’t make any sense. It doesn’t make any sense in wrestling, either.

The square peg doesn’t fit in the round hole, but in pro wrestling we just keep hammering the square peg into the hole until there’s nothing left of the peg but splinters.

If the illusion matters, the Three Way Dance is stupid. There’s just no denying it.

Come check out my new book, Fixing the Indies, the step-by-step guide to success in indie pro wrestling.” And then link to http://fixingtheindies.com

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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