The Problem With Chekhov’s Table

In professional wrestling, it is rare to see something introduced into the story of a match and have it not be used. It is almost a spoiler on every pinfall or submission attempt that occurs in a match while the previously mentioned item isn’t used. This is viewed by many as a Chekhov’s Gun.

Chekhov’s Gun simply refers to any seemingly unimportant element that becomes significant later on in the story. “Remove everything that has no relevance to the story,” Chekhov wrote. “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off.”

In the same vein, if a table is introduced into a wrestling match, it must have someone put through it before the match concludes. We’ve seen this in many matches, where a table is set up in the early stages of a stipulation match (or in WWE, the announce table gets pulled a part), and is not used till the closing stages of a match.

While sometimes the table is broken soon after being set up, you can almost guarantee a match will not end until that table is broken. An example of this would be Cody Rhodes vs Seth Rollins back at Hell In A Cell. Rollins would set up a table in the corner and attempt to powerbomb Cody through the table. Instead, Cody slid out of it and hit his finisher, Cross Rhodes. However, with the table being untouched, the crowd did not prey into the near fall. The table would be destroyed minutes later but the damage had been done as it had made the near fall undisputedly predictable.

The easiest way to fix this issue would be to bring weapons into matches that won’t be used. Set up a table in the ring, but have a finish that doesn’t involve it. In the short term, many fans would likely criticize the move, wondering why the table or weapon is not used in matches. However, in the long term, it would begin to remove the spoiler involvement of the trope. What do you think? Do you think having a table setup spoils aspects of wrestling matches? Let us know in the comments.

Follow Corey at @CoreyBrennanBS on Twitter

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