Cutter (professional wrestling)

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Randy Orton performing the RKO (jumping cutter) on Kane
Matt Hardy performing a Twist of Fate on Sheamus.

In professional wrestling, a cutter is a three-quarter facelock front face bulldog[1] maneuver. This move sees an attacking wrestler first apply a three-quarter facelock (reaching back and grabbing the head of an opponent, thus pulling the opponent's jaw above the wrestler's shoulder) before falling backwards (sometimes after running forwards first) to force the opponent face-first to the mat below.

The cutter was innovated by Johnny Ace, who called it the Ace Crusher.[2] It was later popularized by Diamond Dallas Page, who called it the Diamond Cutter, which is where the move got its name. The cutter also formed the base for the later development of another professional wrestling move known as the stunner.


Argentine cutter[edit]

The attacking wrestler gets his opponent in the Argentine backbreaker position as to execute the Argentine Backbreaker drop. The attacking wrestler then pushes his opponents legs so that he flips horizontally 180 degrees. As his opponents weight is being shifted to one side, the attacking wrestler applies the three-quarter facelock and drops his opponent.

Back suplex cutter[edit]

This variation sees the wrestler lift an opponent from behind as with a belly to back suplex. Then, instead of falling backwards, the wrestler pushes the opponent's legs so that the opponent turns over in mid-air so that they are now face down and parallel to the ground. As the opponent falls, the wrestler reaches back and seizes opponent's head in order perform the cutter.

Crucifix cutter[edit]

In this version, the wrestler first lifts the opponent up in a crucifix hold before rotating them into the cutter. Another variation involves the opponent lifted in a reverse crucifix and dropped into the cutter. This particular version was innovated and popularized in America by Tommy Dreamer, who called it the TommyHawk.

Elevated cutter[edit]

With an opponent placed on an elevated surface, a wrestler applies a three-quarter facelock and then draws the opponent away, leaving only the opponent's feet over the elevated surface. The wrestler then falls backwards so that the opponent is forced to dive forward onto the top of their head due to the angle of which they are dropped. The elevated cutter can also be performed as a double team maneuver including several variations including the doomsday-style elevated cutter or the 3D.

Fireman's carry cutter[edit]

Also known as the TKO (short for Total Knock Out), and was innovated by Marc Mero, is another elevated cutter variation in which the opponent is first raised over the shoulders of a wrestler in the fireman's carry position. From here, the attacking wrestler twists the opposite way and quickly switches back throwing the legs of the opponent out backwards and drops down to the mat while taking hold of the opponent's head to force him to fall into a high impact cutter.

Forward somersault cutter[edit]

A standing variation of the Diamond Dust in which the attacking wrestler jumps forward into a somersault over a seated or kneeling opponent while applying an inverted facelock, landing back-first with the opponent's face driven into the mat. A stunner variation is also possible.

Inverted suplex cutter[edit]

This variation sees the attacking wrestler execute an inverted suplex lift on his opponent before bringing him down face first with the cutter. Also known as the Osaka Street Cutter.

Jumping cutter[edit]

This cutter variation sees the wrestler jumping towards the opponent and grabbing the opponent's head in a three-quarter facelock while parallel to the ground, and then slamming the opponent's face to the mat in a cutter. Randy Orton and Karl Anderson are using a one-handed variation named the RKO and the Gun Stun respectively.

Over the shoulder cutter[edit]

Also known as a powerslam cutter, this variation sees the wrestler lifting the opponent onto their shoulders as in a front powerslam. Then as the opponent is on the shoulder, the wrestler holds the head of the opponent and jumps and slams the opponent face-first to the mat in a cutter. The facebuster variation also exists.

Rolling cutter[edit]

Two men in mid-air inside a wrestling ring.
Cody Rhodes performing the Cross Rhodes (Rolling Cutter) on Justin Gabriel.

This version of a cutter sees the wrestler place an opponent in an inverted facelock then spinning under the opponent while holding the facelock, twisting him or her into the cutter position. This move has two major variants. In the first, the attacking wrestler rolls under their opponent. WWE superstar Stardust uses this variation, calling it The Queen's Crosbow. A modified version also exists which involves hoisting the opponent off their feet before beginning the spin. A second major variation sees the wrestler spin and twist the opponent in the opposite direction into the cutter.

Running cutter[edit]

Sometimes confused with the Jumping cutter[citation needed], the running cutter is a variation which the wrestler runs up to the opponent while distracted/stunned etc. And will apply a three-quarter facelock while parallel to the ground, and then slamming the opponent's face to the mat in a cutter.

Somersault cutter[edit]

This variation is precceded by the wrestler standing behind a kneeling opponent. The wrestler applies an inverted facelock, and then performs a forward somersault into a cutter. WWE Diva Charlotte uses this move as her finisher, calling it Natural Selection.

Springboard cutter[edit]

This variation of the cutter occurs when the wrestler puts his opponent in the three-quarter facelock then usually runs towards the ropes, then jumps onto the second or third rope to bounce off it, turning in the air to land the cutter.

Another variation of this cutter exists, called the springboard backflip three-quarter facelock diving bulldog. In this cutter the opponent and the attacker are in the corner, the attacker puts the opponent in the three-quarter facelock then runs up the turnbuckle, becoming vertical, then turns in mid-air to land the cutter. The move is similar to the shiranui.

Twist of Fate[edit]

This cutter variation sees the wrestler first lock his opponent in a front facelock or an inverted front facelock. The wrestler then pivots 180° and catches the opponent in a three quarter facelock with their free arm before falling down into the cutter. This move is commonly associated with Matt and Jeff Hardy, as well as Matt Hardy's former real-life girlfriend Lita.

Yokosuka cutter[edit]

Also known as an over the shoulder flip cutter/facebuster; in this variation, the wrestler first lifts the opponent, so that they are lying face up across one of the wrestler's shoulders as in a Canadian backbreaker rack, before flipping the opponent over into the cutter. It is common for the wrestler to not properly apply the three-quarter facelock and the move to end up more in a facebuster position. The move was innovated by Susumu Yokosuka and has since been used by several other wrestlers, such as Chuck Palumbo and Braun Strowman.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Melok, Bobby (2013-03-26). "Who invented the RKO? The innovators behind sports-entertainment’s best maneuvers". Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  2. ^ Melok, Bobby (2013-03-26). "Who invented the RKO? The innovators behind sports-entertainment’s best maneuvers". Retrieved 2015-11-02.