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Have you noticed that wrestlers started "tapping out" in 1997

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I could be wrong, but prior to Ken Shamrock's debut, wrestlers would just give up

When he began applying the ankle lock, "tapping out" was incorporated I guess to legitimize the sport
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The OP is correct. "Tapping out" was first introduced in the WWF on an October 1997 episode of RAW when Ken Shamrock applied the ankle lock on Bret Hart when the ref was knocked out. Bret tapped out, but, the referee didn't see it. Prior to that, submissions were generally only acknowledged when someone verbally told the referee they'd had enough.
 

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The OP is correct. "Tapping out" was first introduced in the WWF on an October 1997 episode of RAW when Ken Shamrock applied the ankle lock on Bret Hart when the ref was knocked out. Bret tapped out, but, the referee didn't see it. Prior to that, submissions were generally only acknowledged when someone verbally told the referee they'd had enough.
I'm going through WWF 1997 and I'm at the second quarter of it now. People are already tapping out to Shamrock here, including Vader in Cold Day in Hell.
 

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Actually tapping out originated in Japan around the 1994 when Koji Kanemoto (the first wrestler to innovate the use the Ankle Lock in wrestling, 3 years before Ken Shamrock), changed his style from a high flying junior heavyweight to that a shoot style fighter.

Give credit where credit is due at least people.

Volk Han has been rumored to have tapped people out earlier than that in Japan using his Cross Heel Hook.
 

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Actually tapping out originated in Japan around the 1994 when Koji Kanemoto (the first wrestler to innovate the use the Ankle Lock in wrestling, 3 years before Ken Shamrock), changed his style from a high flying junior heavyweight to that a shoot style fighter.

Give credit where credit is due at least people.

Volk Han has been rumored to have tapped people out earlier than that in Japan using his Cross Heel Hook.
Hasn't the UFC been around since 1993? Give some credit!

But seriously, I think the OP is talkinga about mainstream US wrestling and yes, it was around 1997 when UFC star Shamrock came in.

On another note, I've always thought that it's extremely unrealistic when guys stay in a submission hold "figting it off". I guess it's to make them look tougher but to me it makes it look like they don't know how to apply a submission. I've been in martial arts for about 20 years and nobody is staying in a properly applied arm bar for 30 seconds.
 
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