In all types of wrestling, there are different ways to win a match, all of which involve scoring based on specific movement patterns. Some of these movements are somewhat simplistic from a viewing standpoint, while others are quite complicated. Wrestlers can win matches several ways, including:
The most straightforward way to score is to pin your opponent's shoulders to the ground for 1-2 seconds. If this situation occurs, then the match is over and the pinner is deemed the winner automatically. Because this is essentially the goal of a wrestling match, there is no exact point value associated with the movement. Some of the most common pins are half nelsons, cross-face cradles, and chicken wings. For all of these potential scenarios, the evaluation of whether or not the pin has taken place is up to the on-site referee.
Most casual fans can recognize when a pin has taken place, and because it awards an immediate victory, there is little to no discussion about exact point totals. However, in matches that do not end in a pin, much of the scoring comes in the form of technical points. A technical point is a broad term used to describe the score accompanied with any number of wrestling moves, pin, or breakaways that do not result in an immediate win or loss.
A few examples of movements that would gain technical points are takedowns, escapes, and reversals. A takedown occurs when a player gains control of their opponent while attempting to pin them on the mat. Conversely, escapes and reversals involve getting out of a weak position on the mat, while simultaneously repositioning themselves in a neutral (escape) or strong (reversal) position. The exact point total associated with these moves can vary based on the governing body, but generally speaking, takedowns and reversals are worth 2 points, escapes are worth 1 point, and near falls can be anywhere from 2-4 depending on the severity.
In addition to pin victories and technical points, there are a number of illegal moves, holds, and styles that can result in points for the opposing team if a referee deems a violation has taken place. A few common misconduct violations that are caused for punishment include forcing your opponent off the mat, performing an illegal hold, or grabbing his or her headgear.
Most of these illegal moves give the other player/team 1-2 points; however, some of the more severe infractions (eye gouging, biting, poking nose/mouth) can result in immediate disqualification. Penalty points are somewhat rare, but if a player is caught breaking the rules at the wrong time, the consequences can easily be the difference between winning and losing a match.
Similar to boxing, there are referees and judges that both stand by to evaluate the performance of the competitors during play. The referees are usually on the playing surface, moving around while watching player interactions closely in order to keep the game running smoothly. These referees have the power to score a pin or passivity violation if appropriate; however, they do not keep track of technical points. This evaluation of technical scoring is left up to a series of judges that station themselves to the side of the playing surface. Both the referee and the judges work together to score the match appropriately, each serving their own purpose.
Back points, also known as near fall points, are awarded to a player who comes close to pinning their opponent on the ground, but fails to do so by a slim margin. This type of scoring method is awarded with 2-3 points in favor of the pinner, depending on the exact amount of time the pin took place. One scenario when back points would be awarded would be when one player is in full control of their opponent, but his or her shoulder's are resting a few inches above the mat. Another would be when one player fully pins one shoulder to the ground, but the other shoulder is angled upward.
In collegiate wrestling tournaments, there are a few different ways that teams can be awarded points and move up the leaderboard in the overall standings. The first and least confusing come in the form of placement points. Placement points are awarded to the team that scores the highest over a given series of matches. In many tournaments, the winning team is given 16 points, the second place team 12, 3rd place 10, and so on and so forth all the way down the list. These points go toward the teams overall total for the season, Another way for a team to score points would be through advancement points. Advancement points are awarded at the completion of each and every winning watch, meaning that team points are awarded not only on a tournament by tournament basis, but a match by match basis as well.