Sharpshooter (professional wrestling)

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Edge, applying on CM Punk

The Sharpshooter, originally named Sasori-gatame, Scorpion Hold in English,[1][2] is a professional wrestling submission hold. The move is also known by several other names: cloverleaf leg-lace Boston crab, standing reverse figure-four leglock, and, the most commonly known alternative, Scorpion Deathlock. The move was invented by Japanese professional wrestler Riki Chōshū,[3] and it was popularized by Sting, but it is generally associated with Bret Hart, who used the move and gave it the now most commonly used name, the Sharpshooter. The Sharpshooter hold begins with the opponent supine on the mat with the applying wrestler stepping between the opponent's legs with his/her left leg and wraps the opponent's legs at shin level around that leg. If the applier decides to cross the opponent's legs around his right leg, he has to cross the opponent's right leg over their left, or, otherwise, he has to cross his opponent's left leg over their right. Holding the opponent's legs in place, the wrestler then grabs the opponent's leg which he has crossed over the other and steps over him, flipping him over into a prone position before leaning back to compress his lower back. WWE Diva Natalya adopted the move and uses it as a finishing move.

History and variations[edit]

Natalya using the Sharpshooter on Ariel at a Shimmer Women Athletes show.
Natalya putting the Sharpshooter on AJ

While Bret "The Hitman" Hart is the wrestler with whom the Sharpshooter is most often associated, Ronnie Garvin and Sting were the first wrestlers to prolifically use the hold in North America, during which time it was called the Scorpion Deathlock, deriving from the original Japanese name.[4] In Hart's autobiography, he noted that prior to his first major singles push, Pat Patterson asked if he could do a "Scorpion Death Lock", which he did not know at the time. Hart revealed that the only person in the locker room who knew about the move was Konnan, who taught the move to Hart.[5] Its name was based on Hart's "Hit Man" nickname (from the underworld slang hit, murder). In WWF publications of the era, Bret's father Stu Hart, long known as a trainer in the game, was generally given credit for devising the move.

Hart alone has demonstrated various methods of performing the Sharpshooter - when an attacking wrestler performs a leg drop to the chest which Hart will block, cross their legs and flips them onto their stomach while he stands up, thus completing the move.

The use of the move spread to other Hart family members. Bret's niece Natalya Neidhart performs a slight variation where she crosses her opponents legs differently, putting more pressure on the knees. Bret's brother Owen also used the Sharpshooter as his finishing move but he would always lead with his right leg where Bret always favored his left. He also varied the maneuver; he would feed one of his hands through the opponent's legs and grip his other hand. This would apply more torque and stability to the hold. David Hart Smith, nephew of Bret and Owen, also uses the Sharpshooter but with an added ankle lock with his free hand. Tyson Kidd, who was trained by the Hart family, also uses the move.

Associates and occasionally rivals of the Hart family - among them The Rock, Trish Stratus, Shawn Michaels, Terry Taylor, Chris Benoit, Edge and Stone Cold Steve Austin during his feud with Bret Hart and Owen Hart - have adapted the move in tribute to them.

The Sharpshooter was infamously used in the Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series in 1997. Shawn Michaels applied Hart's own Sharpshooter on him. Vince McMahon double-crossed Hart by ordering referee Earl Hebner to ring the bell and award the match to Michaels, despite Hart never having submitted. This moment would be referenced within kayfabe through various future events; McMahon repeated the action at the next year's Survivor Series in 1998, as part of a storyline, during the "Deadly Games" tournament final between The Rock and Mankind. Another occurred on the March 18, 2006 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, during a Street Fight between Shawn Michaels and Shane McMahon.

The use of this move by heels especially during pay-per-view events usually garners heat from the audience. This is most notably the case for events held in Canada.

Inverted Sharpshooter[edit]

Edge used a kneeling variation which he dubbed the Edgecator, where instead of stepping over an opponent, he would simply kneel to the side and apply pressure on the lower back and legs. He also used the regular sharpshooter. The kneeling inverted Sharpshooter is now used by Damien Sandow, and is called The Royal Arch. WWE Diva Paige currently uses this variation as part of her PTO - Paige Tap Out submission hold which also involves a double chickenwing.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chris Benoit (applying), Great Sasuke (receiving), Tazz (commentating) (2004). Hard Knocks: The Chris Benoit Story (DVD). World Wrestling Entertainment. 
  2. ^ Who invented the Sharpshooter?
  3. ^ Heard, Robert (2007-11-27). "Japanese Wrestling Moves". Wrestling 101. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  4. ^ Ross, Jim (2009-07-05). "Sting used the Scorpion Deathlock before Bret Hart". JR's BBQ. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  5. ^ The Pink & Black attacks Inbox - WWE Inbox - Episode 71