December 3rd, 2008 In 10th planet police | 16 Comments

written by special guest correspondent Dave “Lo Pan” Callaham

Now, typically the modus operandi here at 10th Planet Watch, when it comes to the world-famous column “Rate My Rubber Guard,” is to post a video and then identify what is WRONG with the rubber guard therein. I will not be doing that today, because let’s be very clear about this: there is NOTHING wrong with the Undertaker’s rubber guard. It is structurally and practically PERFECT. I should know; I am a BLUE BELT IN RUBBER GUARD.

So instead, today we’ll focus on the many things that are RIGHT with the Undertaker’s rubber guard.

Let’s start on a general level. The Undertaker, as you no doubt know, is a fairly resilient corpse that was found in the deserts of Death Valley and brought to the WWF (now WWE) in 1990. Since his debut, The Undertaker has won the WWE Championship four times, which is one more time than current UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, the scariest man alive. Don’t worry, there is no conflict of hyperbole here – The Undertaker is ineligible for that title because, let’s remember, HE IS DEAD. The Undertaker has also won a handful of lesser titles, including twice holding the WWE Tag-Team Title with his brother, who used to be a dentist.

The point I’m trying to make here is that The Undertaker (AKA “The Phenom” or “The Deadman” or, more embarrassingly, “The American Bad-Ass”) is a living legend. He has won 16 straight matches at Wrestlemania, an unparalleled streak that includes a win over the Big Boss Man, who LATER DIED OF INJURIES SUSTAINED IN THE MATCH. He (The Undertaker, not the Big Boss Man [RIP]) has a litany of potent finishing maneuvers, only one of which has been banned after breaking Steve Austin’s neck. So it’s not like this guy NEEDS to be going out there every night and evolving his game. Yet, with the gogoplata, that’s exactly what he has done. In other words, The Undertaker’s use of rubber guard makes him AN INNOVATOR. You know who else is an innovator? Eddie Bravo. Coincidentally, The Undertaker only developed his Gogoplata after his previous finisher, the Triangle Choke (picture perfect, trust me) was banned by the WWE’s powers-that-be. Sound familiar? HELLO, TWISTER!

OK, enough history. Let’s break this bad boy down.

January 25, 2008. The Undertaker debuts the Gogoplata against Big Daddy V, an opponent that could charitably be labeled “grotesquely large.” As V drops into Undertaker’s guard (jiu-jitsu 101: never sit in the Undertaker’s guard), the Undertaker isolates V’s left arm using the patented “one–handed elbow control.” At the same time, he plants his left foot firmly on the mat – exactly where it should be. He swings his right leg in front of V’s throat, closes the guard, and finishes the move by heel-kicking Big Daddy V in the spine. He probably learned this at Cobra Kai. Undertaker licks his lips, game over. Royce who?

Next we get a montage of The Undertaker applying his devastating new Gogo to a slew of unfortunate victims (in order: Mark Henry, some announcer, Edge, Edge, Festus, some announcer, Edge), followed immediately by another montage of opponents rendered unconscious or near death by the maneuver (Festus, Edge, ‘Turley’ from the Adam Sandler remake of “The Longest Yard”, Edge, some announcer, Big V, Edge, Edge). This serves to demonstrate the potent nature of the submission. As Eddie always says, “No move is 100%, except for the 100% and the Undertaker’s gogoplata.”

Finally, we move on to the “main event” (a boxing term): The Undertaker defends his title against top contender Edge. Now we will see if this mythologized maneuver will work when it counts…at Backlash! After Edge reverses “The Last Ride” into a traditional sunset flip (Jerome does this a lot), he bizarrely threads his own left arm in between the Undertaker’s legs. MISTAKE! Time slows, fades to black and white, and then The Undertaker chokes Edge for seventy-five minutes. This might sound excessive, but the reality here is that, as the announcer kindly points out, Edge should have tapped when he had the chance. We all know that jiu-jitsu is not a sport where you can allow your pride to get in the way of your safety…tapping is a necessary and honorable way to succumb to a superior opponent. Remember Rubber Guard Purple Belt Cliff Seminario’s famous t-shirt slogan: “Tap, snap, or go to the bathroom in your trousers.”

ANYWAY, Edge doesn’t tap when he should, and by the time he DOES submit, the referee is nowhere to be found. One has to assume that he has been rendered unconscious somehow; this is more common than you might think. I’ve seen Epstein complain about it at tournaments before. And now Edge is tapping furiously, caught in the tightest, most secure gogoplata ever attempted, and The Undertaker is not letting go because he has been told in the pre-fight meeting to fight until the ref stops them. And I have to say: Edge has only himself to blame for his unfortunate scenario. For you may have noticed in the previous montages that this is not the first time Edge has been victimized by The Undertaker’s rubber guard. Quite the contrary; he had been a victim to the gogoplata on a number of occasions, and yet here he is, getting a shot at the title, and he hasn’t learned to defend the ONE submission move (granted, and I can’t stress this enough – it’s perfect) that has proven time and time again to be his personal kryptonite. How much does it cost to have Erik Paulsen come out and train gogo defense for a week? Do you have any idea how much money Edge makes per year? Honestly. There’s no excuse for this sort of stubbornness at THE highest level of combat sports.

So anyway, Edge is eventually spared further damage when his fiancée, Vickie Guerrero, is wheeled to the ring screaming like a banshee. On a side note, Vickie is the widow of the great Eddie Guerrero, who had a heart attack while brushing his teeth several years ago. And you know Eddie must be proud, looking down at Vickie from Heaven, watching her pretend to be the handicapped fiancée of a man who cannot defend a gogoplata.

We are left with the searing image of Vickie bemoaning the hospitalization of her new fiancée, all at the hands of a 10th Planet classic: The Gogoplata. In defeating Edge in this manner, on internationally covered Pay-Per-View, The Undertaker has not only cemented his status as one of the top jiu-jitsu players in the world, he has PROVEN BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT THAT RUBBER GUARD WORKS AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF MIXED MARTAL ARTS.

Stay tuned for my next guest appearance, in which I will break down The Undertaker’s standing gogoplata setup (seen in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_stFc08vWM) as well as the surprising science behind maintaining flexibility in the face of 18 years of rigor mortis.