I’ve always gotten a kick out of the term, “on paper, we look evenly matched”. Fact is, I’m a numbers guy who actually enjoys comparing my opponents’ skills to mine. “On paper” a lot of guys look great. They may be slightly bigger. A wee bit stronger. Taller. Heavier. Quicker. Younger. Or whatever attribute you want to toss in the mix. In theory, the concept of ‘on paper’ is a great way to analyze what might happen. The problem with this theory is that sometimes, just like paper, it gets torn apart.
In a week when the Philadelphia Eagles square off against the New Orleans Saints, plenty of us know what this match up looks like on paper. Not too long ago, a 48-7 romp by the Saints made this week’s match-up highly improbable. But this game will be decided on the field. But let’s get back to wrestling. Afterall, it always comes back to wrestling. Regardless of what’s jotted down on paper to compare two guys’ skills and determination, it all matters on what goes down on those mats.
As a competitive wrestler, I often found myself researching my opponents prior to a match. I’d look at their records. View their results with specific opponents I may have wrestled. I’d size them up. And like most analysts I kept a tab. On paper, I knew what I was facing. It helped me prepare and get mentally psyched for the match. When the paper told me, I’d lose, 9 time out of 10, I proved the paper wrong. Perhaps being the underdog only propelled me to take a bigger bite of my opponent.
Fast forward to a relatively recent experience. The guy was taller. 20 pounds heavier. Backed with years of amateur wrestling experience too. Toss in that he was cocky about it and more than proud to write a novel about why he was gonna win. On paper, I will admit he had the odds stacked in his favor. But with more decades under singlet than I’d prefer to admit to, I used that paper to prove him wrong. I won. And I won fairly easily.
I know we all do it. We look at a guy. Read his credentials. Size him up and figure who the favorite is long before the match up. Some of us assume that the more muscled guy will win. Other’s cheer on the bigger man, while some love the idea of the smaller man coming out on top. I’ve seen guy who were bigger and beefier take down a gym rat with ease. I’ve watched bigger men suffer at the hands of a 5’6” expert. I love the theory of “on paper, this looks even”. But I’ve seen how paper crumbles. Hell, I’ve even been the one who got torn apart out there. Paper is a great way to determine a great match. Wrestling is the best way to determine the winner.

Last edited on 1/10/2019 4:50 PM by pinningmuscle

Comments (6)

austinwrestle (10 bronze) 1/10/2019 5:42 PM

I agree completely. I have gone up against guys who on paper should have thrashed me and yet I pinned or submitted them in a relatively short amount of time and without as much effort as I would have thought. On the other hand at 6'5 and 200, I have been easily bested by a buddy who is 5'6 and 134 lbs. - military pressed me and pinned my ass. LOL It all sorts out on the mats or in the ring.


pinningmuscle (0 silver) 1/10/2019 5:43 PM

(In reply to this)

Exactly buddy!


matchest (12 gold) 1/10/2019 9:05 PM

Hey Delaware muscleman, the article resonates with me... in a competitive match ( yes even against a bigger man or younger 👋) I find that the initial grinding and clinching tells the story of how the match follows - I go for the theory .. take em hard and early in a surprise fail-safe sequence of ground holds ... knock the wind out of him and keep him worried. Ah yes, and I never do stand up wrestling against bigger younger guys . ( But I would take you down , you biggger younger man , with the element of “ you know what “ from my cam days .. ha ha )


leotard wrestler (6 silver) 1/11/2019 12:12 PM

In this amateur world of meetfighters size and weight plays a major part of the result of the match, and the fact that a match might even take place. Reading a profile and then chatting about a potential match, and finding an opponent with similar interests is bound to have an impact on the result. And does the result even matter? Aren't we all here for fun? Who cares what the paper profile says? Chat to a potential wrestler and go from there, young, old, in shape or out of shape, we all have preferences. I'm a big guy who on paper, could hold his own, but like to be dominated and enjoy the body contact from wrestling a guy with similar interests, not stats...

Happy wrestling


pinningmuscle (0 silver) 1/11/2019 3:19 PM

(In reply to this)

Great point. It’s really more about the fun and meeting like minded guys.


vonsueno (6 platinum) 1/13/2019 7:57 AM

I live in Reno where the motto of the city---unofficially mind you---is woulda, shoulda, and coulda. I've heard at times people talking about two football teams, and how much they intend to bet on the one because, naturally, the other team doesn't stand a chance. Their assessment is based more often that not on what has either been spoken to or what they have found written in the local sports page. Still, it is amazing to hear them a day later, after the contest on the gridiron, speaking of how they lost again.

Those who have commented here, from Austinwrestle to Leotard Wrestle, and we shouldn't overlook the author and commentator, Pinningmuscle, have all made valid points. Far be it from me to take issue with them. But...

I had an almost opponent who chose to cancel our almost match because, after seeking in depth my underlying motivation for a match with him, he concluded I was not looking upon it with the same degree of focus as he was, that somehow he thought I was only going to go through the motions of wrestling, and that I had an underlying agenda. And, given my responses, I can see why he might have reached that conclusion. But, to me, it was obvious that he was quite invested in the struggle and the testing that would have occurred, both of ourselves and each other. On paper, our stats were not well lined up from a point of height, weight, age or experience. (I can't with any degree of certainty say which of us was more likely to prevail. In truth, winning or losing has never been important to me; no eye of the tiger is mine. However, I can say that wrestling to me is not something that is wrapped in such a way that one would describe it as fun.) Still we both initially were moving toward a place and time to meet one another on a mat to wrestle. In one message after another though things changed. I'd never been similarly interrogated, but I was not offended by the length and depth of my opponent's inquiry. Anyway, in the end the match didn't occur; I was not put off or greatly disappointed by the cancellation; and, I sincerely wished my opponent the best of matches in the future, and did so without guile.

So, you might ask, what is your conclusion, Vonsueno, regarding the question at hand and the assertions set forth? Well, here it is. I must admit it is not exactly original. I believe though that there is a certain carry over from a football movie I have watched and enjoyed several times. And, the title says it all: On Any Given Sunday. Drawing upon my knowledge of history and literature, I would remind the readers of a few facts:

Henry the Fifth was outnumbered five to one at the Battle of Agincourt. He didn't consult any statistician Likewise he didn't pay heed to the mutterings of a triad of witches as did Macbeth. Instead, they both moved forward and experienced the outcome. So, if we choose to engage in a match, I think the attitude of the latter Shakespearean character is how we should commence any fight. True it is that Macbeth lost, but still he committed his all, and drawing his sword he said: "Lay on Mcduff, and damned by he who cries,'Hold, enough.'"

In closing, may I suggest an additional thought: "Act well your part, there all the honor lies."