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The Rules!


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I shared this little gem with Lister some years back, and have just stumbled across them again. It's somewhat geeky, but it's an interesting topic for discussion - these are the National Wrestling Association (Which is pre-Alliance) rules. I particularly like the costume rules, and the weight divisions should be applied in the UK...






These rules have not been drafted to interfere in any way with the various state wrestling laws but rather to clarify the situation and give the various Commissions a clear, concise and workable set of rules, emphasizing honest wrestling, sportsmanship and ability.

However, these rules as officially adopted by the National Wrestling Association are to be adhered to in their entirety when not in conflict with state law. When conflict does exist, these rules shall be construed to be applicable to all wrestling except the specific provisions contravened by the state regulations in question.









Light heavyweight 175 lbs. Heavyweight All Over.

The following limitations of weights are put on all wrestling bouts:

112 lbs. 118 lbs. 126 lbs.

135 lbs. 147 lbs. 160 lbs.

Between Flyweights

Between Bantamweights

Between Featherweights

Between Lightweights

Between Welterweights

Between Middleweights

Heavyweights - All over 175 lbs. - No limitation.

For example, a flyweight weighing 110 lbs. could not wrestle an opponent weighing over 116 lbs. If he weighs 112 lbs. his opponent could not exceed 118 lbs., etc.



The contestants in all contests and exhibitions shall weigh-in stripped no later than 2 o'clock of the day of the match in the presence of a representative of the Commission, club representative and the Commission physician, who will make physical examination of the contestants at that tine. In case the contest is held in the afternoon, the contestants shall weigh-in no later than 9 A.M. and the weights shall be announced from the ringside. This rule must be observed regardless of private agreement concerning the match.



The ring must be not less then 16 by 16 and not more than 20 by 20 feet square; to be built on a smooth platform.

The mats shall be not less than 11⁄2" thick end must he stuffed with hair, felt or cotton and shall extend beyond the ropes not less than 1".

The ropes shall be three in number and not less than 1" in diameter, tightly stretched and not more than 2', 3' and 4' above mat. The ropes shall be extended out from the supporting posts not less than 1' and shall be wrapped in soft material.

It shall also be permissible to use 2 vertical ropes on each side of the ring, said ropes to be spliced to the horizontal ropes equal distances apart for the purpose of preventing the contestants from going through the ropes during the contest.

(112 lbs.) 6 lbs. (118 lbs.) 8 lbs.

(126 lbs.) 9 lbs.

(135 lbs.) (147 lbs.) (160 lbs.)

12 lbs. 13 lbs. 15 lbs.

Over the mat proper, a cover of double faced canvas or flannel, soft side up, well tacked or laced with the rope to the edge of the ring floor. Such covers must be laundered after each using and must be free and clean of any sort of grit, dirt or resin.



In order to prevent delays and annoyance to spectators resulting from disputes arising between contestants and between contestants and clubs after bouts have begun, it is required that all contracts between an organization and persons agreeing to be contestants shall be in writing and signed by the parties thereto or their authorized agents, and filed with the Commission at least five days before the bout, before any sanction for such a bout will be issued by the Commission. In case any such contract shall provide for the payment by the organization to any contestant of any stipulated sum or guaranteed amount, a certified check, or deposit, or draft of said amount payable to bearer, shall be deposited with the Commission at the time of signing contract.

In case any such contract shall provide for any such guarantee by any contestant, or some person authorized on his behalf, shall deposit with the Commission at the time of making the contract, a certified check, certificate of deposit or accepted draft, payable to bearer, for the amount of any forfeit agreed in said contract to be posted by such contestant to secure his appearance, his making the agreed weight, if any, and the good faith performances by him of said contract on his part, the amount of said forfeit to be in no case less than twenty-five percent of the amount of the guarantee. In case any contract shall provide for compensation to the contestant on a percentage basis of the receipts only, such forfeit shall nevertheless be so deposited by the contestant in each instance, and the amount thereof shall be fixed by the Commission and named in the sanction issued by the Commission for such bout. If the contestant, by or on whose behalf such check, certificate of deposit or draft will be deposited with the Commission, shall duly appear and in good faith perform all the terms and conditions of said contract, except as he may be prevented from doing by default of the organization or of his agreed opponent, then said cluck, certificate of deposit or draft will be delivered by the Commission personally, or by registered mail, to the person by whom the same was deposited with the Commission promptly after the close of the bout. If the organization, by written notice first serviced on the Commission, shall claim said deposit as forfeited by such contestant, such deposit will be held by the Commission until the parties can be heard and their rights in the matter be determined by the Commission, unless the parties, or either of them, shall appeal to a court of law, in which case the Commission will deliver such check, certificate of deposit, or draft in court, or such action to be awarded by the court to party entitled thereto.

Every such check, certificate of deposit, or draft, so deposited with the Commission by any organization as a guarantee, or by or on the behalf of any contestant us a forfeit, the delivery of which shall be contested before the Commission, will, be held by the Commission a reasonable time, not less than ten days after service, on the parties interest, of notice of the Commission's ruling or order for delivery of such deposit to enable any party dissatisfied with such ruling or order to institute such legal proceedings us he or it may be advised for the possession of such deposit. Unless notice of such legal proceedings is served on the Commission within the time named in the order, such deposit will be delivered by the Commission as provided in its said ruling or order.

The promoter shall cause to be filed with the Commission an affidavit of agreement properly sworn to and signed by the managers and contestants, together with the promoter, club or association, releasing the Commission from all liability for payment of any such contest where the payment of the contestants shall he on a percentage basis. This requirement shall apply only to cases where in the total guarantee posted with the Commission shall not be sufficient to cover the payment of the purses and

ring expense to all contestants and officials.

Any contestant making a contract with an organization and failing to deposit his forfeit money at the time of making contract will, be liable to suspension for such time as the Commission may determine.

If for any reason a bout is stopped or declared no contest for an infraction of the rules of the Commission, or for violation of the provisions, the Commission shall hold all forfeit money and purses of such bout, pending a hearing of the facts, and a decision of the Commission thereon.

All organizations and contestants must enter into written contracts, which contracts shall be executed in triplicate, one of which shall be filed with the Commission. Contract blanks, which must be used for all bouts, will be furnished by the Commission.

Any organization which shall, without sufficient reason, violate or break any contract entered into with the contestant, or contestants, may have its license cancelled or suspended.

Contestants must not willingly violate or break contracts properly consummated between the contestants and organization, and by so doing are liable to temporary or permanent suspension.

Any contestant, or manager for contestant, who has entered into a contract with any organization to participate in a bout, who shall find that for any reason or cause he will not be able to fully carry out his contract, and does not notify the organization and Commission of his incapability to do so, and the reason or cause therefor, may be penalized by the Commission by suspension for a period of not less than sixty days nor more than six months.



There shall be prominently displayed in at least four places in every hail or auditorium of any person, club, corporation or association acting under these rules, the following notice: "NO BETTING ALLOWED" All those holding licenses and permits issued by the Commission will strictly enforce compliance with such notice.

"NO SMOKING ALLOWED" Failure to enforce this regulation will result in the revocation of the license and permit.

Minors under eighteen years of age will not be admitted to any bout or exhibition unless accompanied by parents and guardians.

All individuals, clubs or organizations promoting exhibitions shall furnish a reasonable number of fireman for the enforcement of the "No Smoking" sign, together with adequate policy for protection of the public and shall be responsible therefor.



Every applicant for permission to wrestle must furnish positive proof that he is the person represented and give a true record of all matches engaged in by him, including wins, draws and losses, for at least two years past in which he participates actively in the sport.

If for any reason the Commission be in doubt as to the contestant's physical condition and fitness to cope with a proposed opponent, said Commission may at its option order a private try-out with a proposed opponent such as it may appoint for the task, and also to determine the length of the try-out.

Contestants in all matches must be properly trained and in fit physical condition to wrestle at their best. The Commission and attending physician are to be the sole

judges of such condition. If not physically fit and not trained properly the Commission shall refuse to sanction such a bout as he proposes to participate in.

Every wrestler holding a championship will be required to defend his title at least once every twelve months in the heavyweight division and once every eight months in all other divisions, providing a suitable purse can be found and a logical contender for the title appears. Failure to comply with this rule will result in immediate suspension of the offender unless for some valid reason satisfactory to the Commission a championship match cannot be consummated. If under these conditions the Commission deems it advisable an extension of time may be granted.

No license will be granted to any wrestler who is over forty-five years of age.

Should a contestant during the course of a match, quit or intimate his desire to concede defeat, or his authorized second throw the sponge or towel into the ring as a signal to the referee denoting the fact that his charge is unable to continue and is willing to concede the match to his opponent, it then shall be solely in the judgement of the said referee whether or not the act is justified or authorized, and it may be at his option whether or not to order the contest continued.

The referee has the right to stop a bout at any time because of injury or the weak physical condition of one of the contestants.

If for any reason whatsoever it becomes necessary to temporarily stop a contest during the course of its progress, such time as may be consumed during the delay shall be added to the wrestling period and thereby complete the full time allowed for the contest.

All contestants skin must be clean and free of grease or any other sort of lotion or foreign substance. The fingernails must be trimmed well below the tips.



Wrestlers appearing in matches must be properly clothed in neat and clean athletic apparel. Trunks and tights must be well fitting and whole, with a high waist band. If short trunks only are used and limbs bare, the length of the leg of the trunk shall not be less than 3 inches below the crotch and 2 pair, one over the other must he worn. Shoes must be of soft top with soft soles and laced with eyelets only. Contestants must wear shoes in all matches.



Any hold, grip, or trip, is allowed, except as herein described:

Strangle hold, scratching, gouging, hitting, striking, pulling hair, using knuckles, kicking, butting, shutting off air by covering nose and mouth at the same time, and use of profanity shall be declared foul methods and if indulged in, after a warning from the referee, the offender shall he at once disqualified, and the match given to his opponent. The offender shall further be punished by a suspension for not less than three months and not mare than one year. The National. Wrestling Association discourages all intentional and unnecessary roughness and the referee is empowered to disqualify any wrestler for using unnecessarily rough tactics.

When wrestlers are off the mat and under, through, or over the ropes they shall be ordered to the middle of the mat end the wrestler having any obvious advantage at the time of going off the mat, or under, through or over the ropes shall be given the top position with his opponents hands and knees resting on the mat.

If no advantage exists at the time of going off the mat and under, through, or over the ropes, the wrestlers shall be brought back to the center of the mat in an erect position. At no time when parted by the referee or given an order by the referee shall wrestlers resume wrestling until so commanded by the referee, and when advantage

or a fall is obtained by disobedience of this rule, such advantage or the fall shall be forfeited by the referee and the wrestlers ordered to resume wrestling in the center of the mat standing up.



Both shoulder blades momentarily pinned to the mat shall constitute a fall; flying and rolling falls shall not count. By momentarily is meant pinned to the mat for the referee's silent count of three seconds. Conceding a fall or quitting because of receiving punishment by means of legitimate holds constitutes a fall.

The referee shall slap on the back, or the shoulders, a wrestler securing a fall so that the under man will not be strained by being held too long in a possibly painful position.

Should a wrestler claim injury and refuse to continue a contest at a referee's command and if, after a physical examination, be is found to be physically unable to continue the bout, then the referee must decide in favor of his opponent. The purse of the loser will be turned over to the Commission until such time as the Commission has secured another physical examination by its medical examiner. Such report will be the basis upon which the Commission will render its decision.

A fall with any part of the body off the mat shall be left to the discretion of the referee. The contestants or their managers mist have an understanding with the official prior to the match as to what is to be considered off the mat.

The officials are instructed not to put their hands under the shoulders of a contestant unless it is absolutely necessary in order to determine a fall.

No contestant shall be permitted to grasp or hang on to clothing, mats or ropes for support. If after being warned by the referee, the contestant repeats this practice, the contestants shall be brought to the center of the mat, the offending contestant shall then be placed underneath on the defensive.



If a wrestler persists in stalling while on his feet, after being warned by the referee, the referee is empowered to prevent the continuance of such tactics by placing the offender on his hands and knees in the center of the mat beneath his opponent.



If a wrestler is accidentally injured so that he cannot continue, he shall lose the fall and match. In the event of accidental injury the Commission shall grant a reasonable time for the injured wrestler to return to the mat and this power may be delegated to the referee. Under such circumstances the Commission may punish the loser by fine or suspension, but shall not forfeit the purse of the loser if a physical examination reveals inability of the injured wrestler to continue with the match.

No wrestler having trachoma (eye disease) shall be permitted, under any circumstances, to engage in any wrestling contest. The National Wrestling Association recommends that all wrestlers be given a rigid examination for evidence of trachoma before being allowed to enter the ring, and particular attention shall be given to the provisions of this rule.



The timekeeper shall call out the time at the end of each five minutes period. The referee shall be approved by the Commission and shall submit his qualifications to the Commission in charge. He shall be attired in a neat and clean uniform.



All contestants must be ready to enter the ring immediately upon the finish of the preceding bout. The referee may disqualify a wrestler breaking this rule. All

contestants must be in the building or arena where contest takes place at least one hour previous to their bouts.

No contestant in any bout shall be paid for services until the same are rendered, and should it he determined by the referee of the Commission and the Commission that a contestant did not give an honest exhibition of his skill, his services shall not be remunerated except as decided by the Commission after a hearing has been given the offender. Any contestant who shall participate in any sham or fake wrestling bout shall be disqualified and shall be punished or penalized by the Commission as they may, after due consideration of the case, deem just; and any contestant who shall participate in any sham or fake wrestling bout shall be guilty of a violation of these rules.

It shall be within the province of the Commission to suspend, impose a fine, or both, on any contestant, his manager, or seconds, contesting or acting in any capacity in connection with any bout, who is guilty of unfair dealings, ungentlemanly conduct or of violating any of these rules and regulations. Such suspension or fine to be for a period or of any amount within the discretion of the Commission as justified by the facts and evidence of the case.

In case of a substitution, the substitute shall be subject to the same rules for examination by physician as the original contestant. Any contestant who participates in any unlicensed or unsanctioned bout will be barred for a period to be determined by the Commission.

Whenever a licensed wrestler, because of injury or illness, is unable to take part in a contest for which he is under contract, he or his manager must immediately report the fact to the Commission, and submit to an examination by a physician designated by the Athletic Commission to be made prior to the day set for the contest.

No wrestler shall be permitted to use as an assumed name the name of any former wrestler or a name which transpires to be given name of any boxer or wrestler who might subsequently desire to obtain a license in his given name.

At the official weighing-in of all contestants, duly accredited newspaper representatives must upon request be admitted.

No manager will be allowed to have more than two wrestlers engaged on a card of any wrestling show, unless by special permission of the Commission.

Managers of wrestlers or anyone having a financial interest in any matches to be decided by the best two out of three falls to win except as hereinafter provided. Contests and matches under the Graeco-Roman or other rules may be made subject to the approval of the Commission.

All matches shall be limited to two hours of continuous wrestling, except in cases as herein provided. Should neither contestant have a marked advantage after two hours of continuous wrestling, the referee in his discretion, following a five minute rest period, may order the contest continued for an extra thirty minutes. If at the end of the extra thirty minutes the referee is unable to decide a winner, the contest shall be declared a draw.

However, if one of the contestants wins a fall during the extra thirty minutes, that shall be the deciding fall and he shall be declared the winner.

Should there only be one fall in the two hours, the winner of that fall will be declared the winner of the contest. If each one of the contestants has gained a fall in the two hours of wrestling, then the referee may allow the match to continue, after a five minute rest period, for an added thirty minutes and if at the expiration of the thirty minutes neither of the contestants shall have gained another fall and the referee is

unable to declare a winner, he shall then declare the contest a draw.

If the contest is declared a draw, these contestants shall not be permitted to wrestle each other anywhere within a period of three months. This applies to matches wherein tie contestants wrestle for a period of two hours and thirty minutes without a winner. Should a contest last less than two hours time and neither of the contestants gain a fall, or should a contest last less than two hours time and each one of the contestants gain a fall, then in such event the referee must award a decision. Strict adherence to this rule must be observed.

Any state may reserve the right to appoint and use at least two judges in any wrestling contest under its jurisdiction. The National Wrestling Association recommends and encourages the use of judges.

The Athletic Commissions shall approve appointment of all officials.

In the short contests of thirty minutes duration or more, where the referee is unable to give a decision in a close match, he shall have the power to declare the contest a draw, if in his opinion this would be a just decision, but where judges are used the majority opinion shall govern.

The referee is given power to conduct the contest end carry out the rules and regulations of the Commission. His verdict shall be final. However, if some circumstances arise not covered by the rules, final decision shall be made by the referee, judges and Commission.



Each wrestler holding a title recognized by the National Wrestling Association shall defend the same against a logical contender in the list named by the National Wrestling Association at least once every twelve months in the heavyweight division and once every eight months in all other divisions. The right is reserved to prohibit continued meets with the same logical contender and to name the opponent for any champion when deemed necessary or advisable by the National Wrestling Association. or by any Commission, subject to the approval of the National Wrestling Association. Failure of any champion to defend the title possessed by him under the terms hereof shall automatically cause his deposit of money to insure title defense to be forfeited, the title vacated and the individual offending shall be suspended for any period deemed necessary by any Commission of the National Wrestling Association. However, any champion falling to defend his title as provided hereby may present his case to any Commission or the National Wrestling Association and, if the circumstances warrant, the punishment provided hereby may be altered to suit the situation if extenuating circumstances exist.

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