WWE news: Slapping the leg when kicking is now banned

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It’s been a staple of the pro-wrestling industry since the beginning of time. Now, it seems, it is no more, at least in the world’s dominant wrestling promotion.

The WWE have banned wrestlers slapping their thighs when throwing high kicks.

The thigh slap is an old trick used by wrestlers to create a sound effect to help sell both the contact of the action and the emotional intent behind it.

Audiences’ attention is held by the kick itself, which distracts them from the secondary action - the thigh slap. Slight of hand is a classic tool used commonly by magicians, and it is also seen in some applications in pro-wrestling.

Allegedly, WWE’s owner Vince McMahon was enraged by witnessing a blatant thigh slap on SmackDown, leading to the ban.

McMahon is notoriously touchy about small details, with numerous sources testifying to witnessing him blowing up when his stars fail to keep within their confines. Signs have been seen backstage to remind stars not to slap their leg when performing high kicks. It is unclear what punishment WWE will deploy when enforcing the rule.

The signage in gorilla position now read: 'Do not slap leg when kicking.'

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In the most recent Wrestling Observer Newsletter, editor Dave Meltzer revealed: "The irony of a group where Shawn Michaels is one of the main instructors, who grew up watching (Chris) Adams, getting mad because internet trolls who hate the Young Bucks complain about thigh slapping is the ultimate in silliness.

"The only time I can recall it even being notable was once when Nikki Bella came off the top rope with a kick that missed. Because her body was so programmed on delivering a kick motion, she slapped her thigh in mid-air which was obvious on a kick that was supposed to miss. Yes, that spot should be taught not to do."

He continued: "Mr. Wrestling II was famous for hard back slaps on the kneelift for sound effects. Dating back to the 50s, there was the stomp your foot hard on the mat at the moment of connection of the punch. The thigh slap superkick dates back to Chris Adams from when he came over from the UK.

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"It’s one of the silliest things to worry about because the perfectly timed moves garner great crowd response generally. But it became a buzzword for people who are mad it’s used so frequently (as if punches weren’t far more frequent doing the same thing in the 70s and punches worked fine in those days)."

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