Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Punishment Round! What about it?

The agony of defeat -- literally!  Let's talk about the Punishment Round!

First off: 

What is the Punishment Round?  

I hope most of you readers may know, but if by some chance you're not quite sure, I will enlighten you!

The Punishment Round is a special "bonus round" that we added to the ends of our competitive matches, as of November 2016.  This special round takes place after the match winner has been declared, and it is a chance for the winner to punish and torment the defeated opponent for losing.  The punishment usually takes the form of the winner's favorite wrestling holds, which the winner can now apply on the loser, unresisted, as hard or as long as she or he desires.

Sometimes the punishment-administering winners will lock on their holds and squeeze/crank until the loser taps out due to the pain.  The winner may tighten the same hold again and again to make the loser submit over and over.  Sometimes the winner locks on a hold and uses it as a chance to pose with the loser, or to enjoy the view of the loser's discomfort, or even to contort the loser into a humiliating position that doesn't necessarily cause a tap-out.

It's freedom of choice for the winner!  She can choose whatever suits her mood: classic "underground wrestling" style holds (ex: scissors and facesitting), competitive-style submission holds (ex: arm locks, triangles, etc), pro-style wrestling holds (ex: Camel Clutch, Lotus Lock, etc), or something unusually creative.

Why a Punishment Round?

The original concept for our Punishment Round was part of a special commission request from a patron.  This patron had sponsored a competitive match between VeVe Lane and Miss Scorpion in November 2016.  However, he had requested that instead of the usual 20-minute long wrestling match that, rather, the ladies have a 15-minute match with a 5-minute "Punishment Round."

The reason for including the Punishment Round was that the patron wanted to see a truly competitive match, but he also wanted to see certain holds being applied flawlessly and in a prolonged fashion.  He knew that in a competitive bout, the submission holds could be unpredictable or applied too quickly to get a good look at.  And so, enter the Punishment Round: a chance for the winner, who competitively fought her way to victory, to savor the moment and take her sweet time applying "picture perfect" holds on her defeated rival.  It was like an extended victory posing session... except that it wasn't just posing; indeed, the holds here were intended to make the loser submit.

Other fans saw this Punishment Round and were so pleased by the idea that they requested we include Punishment Rounds in every competitive match, both F/F and mixed, going forward.  And we were glad to add the Punishment Round in as a new fixture!

(granted, if a visiting wrestler is opposed to having a Punishment Round in a competitive bout, we can also waive it.  However, almost every competitive match since the initial introduction has had a Punishment Round)

Who's the Most Punishing?

It does certainly seem that wrestlers with the most experience administering Punishment Rounds are the most punishing!  

I've found it amusing to watch how wrestlers develop as "punishers," from their very first time administering a Punishment Round and onward to their subsequent instances.  I really took note of this when a fan requested a compilation of Ursa's Punishment Rounds.  I dove in to pull together the footage for a compilation, and I was struck by Ursa's style development between her first Punishment Round and her most recent.  As her confidence and experience increased, so did her comfort with sitting harder into the holds and toying more with her opponents.

So, do people with more wins deal out more punishing Punishment Rounds?  Maybe!  For the most part, you can say yes.  Take VeVe for example: lots of wins to gain her lots of chances to administer Punishment Rounds... and her Punishment Rounds can be brutal with tight holds, hard squeezing, repeated squeezing, making losers count out their submissions, bullying, taunting, and general unpleasantness for the defeated opponents!

Granted, there are exceptions.  For instance, inexperienced punishers who impressed me include Queen Beth and Rachel DD.  

Queen Beth got to administer her very first Punishment Round in her second video match ever.  She'd suffered through punishment from VeVe only days before she got to turn things around and dish out the punishment to Taylor.  

Beth doesn't yet have a wide vocabulary of the classic "underground wrestling" holds or pro-style holds that are commonly used to display or humiliate one's defeated opponent, so she instead improvised to suitably flaunt her victory.  She used a mixture of competitive-style holds combined with strutting, smack talking, gloating, making her opponent massage her, and making her opponent into her throne.  Quite queenly!

Rachel DD also ran a nice, though somewhat atypical, Punishment Round in her victory over Kim Chi (aka Michi).  Rachel is a wrestler who doesn't get many opportunities to savor Punishment Rounds; rather, she's more often the one on the receiving end of them!

Now, this instance with Rachel was unusual in that it too place *before* we started doing Punishment Rounds!  This match was in July 2016.  It was a particular custom commission that had request a victory round for the winner.  Rachel pulled out the hard-fought win and then impressed us with a nicely-done Punishment Round involving foot domination, tickling, and lovely taunting.  She hasn't had very many other opportunities since then, but this one did strike me as both impressive and surprising!

Where do Punishment Rounds go from here?

I'm personally fond of the Punishment Rounds, as they have been developing.  I am especially fond of Punishment Rounds where the victor is satisfied and confident and knows what she wants!  

It's also amusing when fans suggest or request certain holds be incorporated into Punishment Rounds and then the victorious wrestler picks up on the suggestion.  It's almost like an unspoken shout-out.  Aralia's Camel Clutch is a good example of this.  It was a fan suggestion that really stuck with her.  And the Camel Clutch has now becoming one of her signature punishing moves.

Aside from fan suggestions, we tend to let the victorious wrestlers have total free reign during their Punishment Rounds.  They choose their own holds, their own personal tone.  They decide in the moment how they want to interact with their defeated opponent, whether they will use long holds or many holds.

In a way, the Punishment Round is as much a test for the winner as it is for the loser!  The winner gets a chance to show off her dominating abilities, or perhaps to try them out for the first time, or to develop them with each new Punishment Round.  She's on the spot after a bout of competitive physical exertion.  She was just priorly showing her stuff in the fight, and now she gets to show her stuff, in a different mode, in the bonus round.

But anyway...

Punishment Rounds are here to stay!  A victory lap, a bonus round, a chance to show-off, a chance to hit the bull's eye with fans' hold suggestions, a extended victory posing session, a chance to make you opponent regret whatever mistakes she or he made during the match.  The Punishment Round: it's not just the thrill of victory; it's what you do with that victory that counts!

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