Professional wrestling holds

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Professional wrestling holds include a number of set moves and pins used by performers to immobilize their opponents or lead to a submission. This article covers the various pins, stretches and transition holds used in the ring. Some wrestlers use these holds as their finishing maneuvers, often nicknaming them to reflect their character or persona. Moves are listed under general categories whenever possible.

Contents

Stretches[edit]

An element borrowed from professional wrestling's catch wrestling origins, stretches (or submission holds) are techniques in which a wrestler holds another in a position that puts stress on the opponent's body. Stretches are usually employed to weaken an opponent or to force them to submit, either vocally or by tapping out: slapping the mat, floor, or opponent with a free hand three times. Many of these holds, when applied vigorously, stretch the opponent's muscles or twist their joints uncomfortably, hence the name. Chokes, although not in general stress positions like the other stretches, are usually grouped with stretches as they serve the same tactical purposes. In public performance, for safety's sake, stretches are usually not performed to the point where the opponent must submit or risk injury. Likewise, chokes are usually not applied to the point where they cut off the oxygen supply to the opponent's brain.

Head, face, chin and shoulder stretches[edit]

¾ Facelock[edit]

The wrestler stands in front of the opponent while both people are facing the same direction, with some space in between the two. Then, the wrestler moves slightly to the left while still positioned in front of the opponent. The wrestler then uses the near hand to reach back and grab the opponent from behind the head, thus pulling the opponent's head above the wrestler's shoulder. Sometimes the free arm is placed at the top of the opponent's head. The move is also referred to as a "European headlock", due to its prominence in European wrestling. The two-handed version sees the wrestler use both hands, and is sometimes referred to as a "¾ chancery", "side head chancery" and, most often, a "cravat". This hold is a staple of European style wrestling and technical wrestling influenced by European wrestling. An inverted version of the cravate is used by Chris Hero as part of his "hangman's clutch" submissions in which the hand positioning is the same as a normal cravate but the facelock is connected around the face of the opponent, not from behind the opponent's head, thus pulling the opponents head backwards rather than forwards putting significant pressure on the neck by stretching it backwards and in other directions toward which the neck would not normally bend.

Camel clutch[edit]

Yoshihiro Tajiri applying a camel clutch to Rene Bonaparte

The wrestler begins the hold by standing over a face-down opponent. He reaches down to pull the opposing wrestler up slightly, sits on his back, and places both of his opponents' arms across his thighs, usually locking at least one by placing the arm in the crook of his knee.[1] Once the wrestler has the opponent's arms where he wants them, he reaches forward, cups his hands in a manner so that his fingers are interlocking, then grabs the opponent's chin in his cupped hands and leans back, pulling on the opponent's chin and applying pressure to his back.[1] A camel clutch can also refer simply to a rear chinlock while seated on the back of an opponent, without placing the arms on the thighs.[2] The move was invented by Gory Guerrero in Mexico, where it was called la de a caballo (Horse-mounting choke), but got its more common name from Ed Farhat, who wrestled as "The Sheik" and used it as his finisher.[1] Rusev performs a variation he calls "The Accolade", where he stomps on his opponent's back before applying the hold. A standing variation of the camel clutch is also used, with this variation popularized by Scott Steiner in the late 1990s as he used it as his finisher dubbed the "Steiner Recliner".

Leg trap camel clutch[edit]

The attacking wrestler stands over a face down opponent, facing the same direction. The wrestler first hooks each of the opponent's legs underneath his own armpits as if performing a reverse Boston crab, the wrestler then reaches down and underneath the opponent's chin with both hands applying a chinlock, finally leaning back to pull up the opponent's head and neck.

Another version of the move is similar to a wheelbarrow facebuster but instead illegally pulls the hair of the opponent while leaning back to pull up the opponent's head and neck.

Stepover armlock camel clutch[edit]

The attacking wrestler stands over a face down opponent, facing the same direction. The wrestler then grabs one of the opponent's arms in a stepover armlock, turning 360° so the opponent's arm is bent around the leg of the attacking wrestler, the wrestler will then sandwich the arm between his own leg and the side of the opponent's body. The wrestler then reaches forwards and applies a chinlock as in a standard camel clutch, leaning backwards to apply pressure to the upper back and arm.

Dog Lock[edit]

Dog Lock is a lock in which a wrestler will sit on the back of a crawling or a recovering opponent, lock his or her right leg on the chest and lock the left leg on the back behind the neck of the opponent and force it down to the mat, the wrestler would pull the opponent's chin up so that it will cause look like the wrestler locking a dog. This is a very dangerous lock since it can injure the wrestler's neck and body.

Chinlock[edit]

Also known as a rear chinlock, the attacking wrestler crouches down behind a sitting opponent and places their knee into the opponent's upper back, they then reach forward and grasp the opponent's chin with both hands. The attacker then either pulls straight back on the chin or wrenches it to the side.

Reverse chinlock[edit]

This move sees the attacker kneel behind a sitting opponent and wrap around one arm under the opponent's chin and lock their hands. As with a sleeper hold, this move can also be performed from a standing position. Another variation of this hold, referred to as a bridging reverse chinlock, sees the attacking wrestler crouch before a face down opponent and wrap around one arm under the opponent's chin and locking their hands before applying a bridge.

Clawhold[edit]

Also known as the "iron claw", the claw involves the attacker gripping the top of the head of the opponent with one hand and squeezing the tips of their fingers into the opponent's skull, thereby applying five different points of pressure. This can be transitioned into a clawhold STO. There is also double-handed version sometimes known as a head vise, the wrestler performing the hold approaches their opponent from behind and grip their head with both hands. While in the vise, the wrestler can control their opponent by squeezing the temples and bring them down to a seated position where more pressure can be exerted. It was innovated and used by Baron von Raschke as well as many members of the Von Erich family.

Shoulder claw[edit]

Similar to a clawhold, the attacking wrestler applies a nerve lock onto the opponent's shoulder by using their hands and fingers to dig in and compress the top of the shoulder. Usually performed with the attacking wrestler standing behind a seated opponent, it can also be executed to an opponent on their back enabling a pinfall. Other variations include squeezing either the side of the neck or the muscle in the front of the armpit, with the four fingers dug into the armpit and the thumb pressing into the front of the shoulder.

Stomach claw[edit]

Just like the original clawhold, the attacker applies a painful nerve hold to the adversary's abdomen, forcing them to submit or pass out.[3]

Cobra clutch[edit]

Summer Rae applying the cobra clutch on Sasha Banks

Also known as an "arm-trap half nelson sleeper", the wrestler stands behind the opponent and uses one arm to place the opponent in a half nelson. The wrestler then uses his free arm to pull the opponent's arm (the same arm to which the wrestler is applying the half nelson) across the face of the opponent. The wrestler then locks his hand to his wrist behind the opponent's neck to make the opponent submit or lose consciousness as the carotid artery is cut off. This submission was used as a "finishing" maneuver by a number of wrestlers over the years, including Sgt. Slaughter and Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, who called it the Anvilizer.

Bridging cobra clutch[edit]

With the opponent lying face down, the wrestler sits beside the opponent, facing the same way, locks on the cobra clutch, and then arches his legs and back, bending the opponent's torso and neck upwards.

Crossface[edit]

Chris Benoit applying the crippler crossface to Montel Vontavious Porter

This neck crank sees the wrestler wrap both hands around the opponent's face and pull back, which applies pressure to the neck and shoulder area. The move is performed in several ways, usually involving the wrestler trapping one of the opponent's arms. Chris Benoit's Crippler Crossface was a variation that involved the arm trap; in the adjacent picture, he has pulled so far back that he finished the hold seated, which he did not always do. Daniel Bryan's Yes Lock is performed from the omoplata position, which also puts pressure on the trapped arm. A third variant is performed in combination with an armbar; an example of this is former WWE wrestler Batista's Batista Bite, where he uses a scissored armbar hold to secure the opponent's arm, also known as a double underhook crossface. Batista's positioning requires him to perform the move from a prone position, much like Bryan's requires him to be seated; Benoit, as noted above, performed his variation from both positions. Another variation is performed in a bridging position where the wrestler wraps both hands around the opponent's neck and pulls back, which applies pressure to the neck and bridges on the opponent's back for added leverage. This variation is used as a submission finisher by Sasha Banks as the Bank Statement, and by Taka Michinoku as the Just Facelock.

Chickenwing over the shoulder crossface[edit]

The wrestler goes to a fallen opponent and places the opponent's nearest arm over the wrestler's nearest shoulder before applying the crossface, where the attacking wrestler locks his hands around the opponent's chin (or lower face), then pulls back, stretching the opponent's neck and shoulder. Former WWE superstar and current TNA wrestler Drew Galloway uses this hold as a signature submission move calling it the Iron Maiden.

Straightjacket crossface[edit]

Similar to a crossface this move sees a wrestler standing above a facedown opponent. The wrestler then crosses their opponent's arms, keeping them in place with the legs before applying the crossface.

Front chancery[edit]

Also known as "Neck Wrench", the wrestler faces his opponent who is bent over. The attacking wrestler tucks their opponent's head underneath his armpit and wraps his arm around the neck so that the forearm is pressed against the throat. The wrestler then grabs his own arm with his free hand to lock in the hold and compress the opponent's neck. The attacking wrestler can then arch backwards, pulling the opponent's head forward and thus applying extra pressure on the neck.[4]

Angelina Love performing an inverted facelock on Sarita

Front facelock[edit]

The wrestler faces his opponent who is bent over. The attacking wrestler tucks the opponent's head underneath his armpit and wraps his arm around the head so that the forearm is pressed against the face. The wrestler then grabs his own arm with his free hand to lock in the hold and compress the opponent's face. Similar in execution to a front chancery, the front facelock is often used as a setup for a suplex throw.

Inverted facelock[edit]

The wrestler stands behind his opponent and bends him backwards. The wrestler tucks the opponent's head face-up under his armpit, and wraps his arm around the head so that his forearm is pressed against the back of the opponent's neck. The wrestler then pulls the opponent's head backwards and up, wrenching the opponent's neck.

Bite of the dragon[edit]

This move sees the attacking wrestler behind a standing opponent, pulling them backwards into an inverted facelock and wrapping their legs around the opponent's body with a body scissors. The attacker then arches backwards, putting pressure on the opponents neck and spine. This move is often used on an opponent trapped within the ring ropes, but this makes the move illegal under most match rules.

Stretch plum[edit]

The wrestler applies an inverted facelock to a seated opponent and places his far leg between the opponent's legs and pushes his near leg's knee against the opponent's back. The wrestler then pulls the opponent's head backwards with their arms and the opponent's far leg outwards with their leg.

Headscissors[edit]

Also referred to as a neckscissors, this hold sees a wrestler approach a supine opponent and sit next to them before turning onto their side towards the opponent and wrapping their legs around either side of the opponent's head, crossing the top leg after it has gone around the opponent's chin. The wrestler then tightens his grip to choke an opponent by compressing their throat.

Standing headscissors[edit]

The wrestler tucks a bent over opponent's head in between her legs or thighs. In professional wrestling this move is used to set up powerbombs or piledrivers, in mma this can be used to get a tapout depending on the strength of the person's legs.

Mandible claw[edit]

The mandible claw is a maneuver which, when applied correctly against an individual, is purported to cause intense, legitimate pain. The hold is applied when the aggressor places his middle and ring fingers into the opponent's mouth, sliding them under the tongue and jabbing into the soft tissue found at the bottom of the mouth. The thumb (and sometimes palm) of the same hand is placed under the jaw, and pressure is applied downward by the middle and ring fingers while the thumb/palm forces the jaw upwards, which is purported to compress the nerves in the jaw and thus render the opponent's jaw paralyzed; this, therefore, prevents the opponent from breaking the hold by biting the wrestler's fingers, as Mick Foley explained to Vince McMahon when questioned about it during his interviews prior to joining the WWF in 1996.[5] Although Foley popularized the move, it was invented by Sam Sheppard, the former physician who was the inspiration for The Fugitive; after his conviction was overturned, Sheppard took up professional wrestling and was said to have derived the move from his knowledge of the human anatomy.[6]

Nelson hold[edit]

Chris Masters applies the Master Lock (wrenching full nelson) to René Duprée
Main article: Nelson hold

The nelson hold in professional wrestling usually takes the form of the full nelson, half nelson, or three-quarter nelson. In all three variations, from behind his opponent, the wrestler slips either one or both arms underneath the opponent's armpits and locks his hands behind his neck, pushing the opponent's head forward against his chest. The half and three-quarter nelsons are usually transition holds, as they are in amateur wrestling. The full nelson, which is illegal in amateur wrestling, is often used as a submission maneuver by certain wrestlers, such as Chris Masters as shown in the accompanying picture. Ken Patera performed a variation he called the "Swinging Neckbreaker" (not to be confused with the neckbreaker variation), where he would lock the hold on and lift the opponent off the ground, then swing him in the air. There is also an inverted version where instead of performing the move from behind the opponent, the wrestler stands in front of the opponent and uses the move in the same way as the normal full nelson.

Sugar hold[edit]

A variant of a nelson hold in which the wrestler applying the hold forces the opponent prone on the mat and drives their knees into the opponent's upper back.[7]

Side headlock[edit]

Chris Masters applies a standing side headlock to Shawn Michaels

In this hold a wrestler who is facing away from an opponent wraps their arm around the neck of an opponent. This is also called a "reverse chancery". Though this is an often used rest hold, it is also sometimes the beginning of a standard bulldog move.

STF[edit]

John Cena applying an STF to Mark Henry

Short for "stepover toehold facelock". This hold is performed on an opponent who is lying face down on the mat. A wrestler grabs one of the opponent's legs, and places the opponent's ankle between their thighs. The wrestler then lies on top of the opponent's back and locks his arms around the opponent's head. The wrestler then pulls back stretching the opponent's back, neck, and knee. The move was innovated by Lou Thesz[8] and popularized by Masahiro Chono and John Cena.

Cross-legged STF[edit]

Starting in the same position as a regular STF, the attacker takes both the opponent's legs, bends them at the knees, and crosses them, placing one ankle in the other leg's knee-pit. The wrestler then grabs the free ankle and places that ankle between his thighs. He then lies on top of the opponent's back and locks his arms around the opponent's face. The wrestler then pulls back stretching the opponent's back, neck, and knees. An arm-trap variation of this move was innovated by WWE wrestler William Regal and is currently known as a "Regal stretch".

Muta lock[edit]
Emma performing the Emma Lock (Muta lock) on Summer Rae

The inverted Indian deathlock facelock, or a "Muta lock". The wrestler first takes the opponent's legs then, bends them at the knees, and crosses them, placing one ankle in the other leg's knee-pit before then turning around so that they are facing away from the opponent and places one of their feet into the triangle created by the opponent's crossed legs. The wrestler then places the opponent's free ankle under their knee-pit and bridges backwards to reach over their head and locks their arms around the opponent's head. Innovated by The Great Muta.,[9][10] this move has been adapted and performed by various wrestlers as both finishing moves and setups to finishers.

STS[edit]

Short for "stepover toehold sleeper", this hold is a modified version of an STF in which the wrestler wraps his arm around the neck of the opponent in a sleeper hold instead of pulling back on the head of the opponent. Innovated by Masahiro Chono.

Armlocks[edit]

Further information: Armlock

Figure-four armlock[edit]

Also known as a keylock. This armlock sees the wrestler grappling the opponent's wrist with his similar hand (for example, if he uses the right arm, he would grab the opponent's right wrist), and with the opponent's wrist still clutched, the wrestler bend the opponent's arm (of the grappled wrist) it towards or behind the opponent's head (both variations are possible). Then, the wrestler passes his other free arm through the "hole" formed by the opponent's bent arm under the biceps, and then catches the opponent's grappled wrist. This would result in the opponent's arm to be shaped into a 4. As the opponent's wrist is grabbed by both opponent's hands, along with the bent arm, this applies effective pressure into the opponent. The maneuver can be executed on a standing or a downed (facing upwards) opponent. Triple H popularized this move.

Rope-hung figure-four armlock[edit]

The wrestler approaches an opponent lying groggy against any set of ropes, grabs one of the opponent's wrists with his similar arm. The wrestler then pins the arm with the grappled wrist against the second or top rope to the outside of the ring, and passes his other arm from under the opponent's biceps, and grapples the opponent's wrist. The whole maneuver would force the opponent's arm to be bent in the number "4" shape, applying more pressure as the arm is trapped between the second or top rope. The rope-hung figure-four armlock can be also grappled through the bottom rope, if the opponent is lying against it.

Stepover armlock[edit]

Also known as a spinning armlock. The standing attacking wrestler grabs the wrist of a face down opponent, pulling it towards themselves, the attacker then steps over the opponents outstretched arm placing one leg either side. From this point, the wrestler would turn 360 degrees, simultaneously bending the arm of the opponent around the attacker's own leg. The wrestler can over-rotate or turn again to apply more pressure on the arm.

The stepover armlock is similar in execution to the spinning toe hold, except that the wrist is held instead of the foot.

Armbar[edit]

Hardcore Holly applying a locked armbar on Mr. Kennedy

The wrestler takes hold of the opponent's arm and twists it, putting pressure on the shoulder and elbow. This may sometimes be preceded by an arm wrench.

Cross armbar[edit]

Also known as a cross armbreaker. The wrestler sits on either side of an opponent who is lying either prone or supine on the mat, with the wrestler's legs scissoring one of the opponent's arms. The wrestler then grabs hold of the wrist of that arm and pulls it upwards, causing hyper extension of the shoulder and elbow. WWE wrestler Alberto Del Rio performs this move as his finisher. Former WWE wrestler Daniel Bryan popularized and innovated a variation whereby he would flip his opponent with a butterfly move and then lock in the cross armbar, this now called Danielson Special.

Flying cross armbar[edit]

This variation begins with the wrestler standing on either side of the bent-over opponent. The wrestler then steps over one of the opponent's arms while holding that arm's wrist and then rolls or twists his body in mid-air while holding the wrist, forcing the opponent down to his back and ending in a cross armbar.

Crucifix armbar[edit]

The wrestler holds an opponent's arm with his arms, pulling the arm across his chest. He is situated perpendicular to and behind the opponent. The wrestler then holds the other arm with his legs, stretching the shoulders back in a crucifying position and hyperextending the arm.

Fujiwara armbar[edit]
Mark Haskins applying his Bridging Fujiwara arm bar on Tarik.

Innovated by Yoshiaki Fujiwara it is also known as a short "armbar". With the opponent lying on his belly, the wrestler lies on the opponent's back, at a 90° angle to him, putting some or all of his weight on the opponent to prevent him from moving. The opponent's arm is then hooked and pulled back into his body, stretching the forearms, biceps and pectoral muscles. Variations of this can include clasping the opponent's hand instead of hooking the upper arm, for extra leverage and bridging out, while performing the move to increase leverage and immobilize the opponent. A seated variation also exists as Becky Lynch uses it as the Dis-arm-her, where the attacking wrestler takes a facedown opponent's arm in a kneeling position adding pressure by pulling back on the arm.

Hammerlock[edit]

The wrestler grabs the wrist of the opponent so that the arm is held bent against their back, and their hand forced upwards towards the neck, thereby applying pressure to the shoulder joint.

Headscissors armbar[edit]

Also known as an "iron octopus". The wrestler wraps his legs around the opponent's head in a headscissors, facing towards the opponent. He then grabs one of the opponent's arms and wrenches in backwards, causing pressure on the shoulder and elbow of the opponent. This can often be performed on a standing wrestler when preceded by a tilt-a-whirl.

Scissored armbar[edit]

The wrestler approaches a prone, face down opponent from the side. The wrestler then "scissors" (clasps) the near arm of the opponent with their legs and takes hold of the far arm of the opponent with both hands, forcing the opponent onto their side and placing stress on both shoulder joints, as well as making it harder for the opponent to breathe. It can cause serious injury to your opponent if held for long.

Short arm scissors[edit]

The opponent is on their back with the attacker sitting besides him and grabbing the nearest arm. The attacker bends his opponent's arm and reaches through with one of his own. The attacker places one of their legs across the wrist of his opponent, grabbing his own ankle to lock the hold. The attacker pulls up with their arm while forcing the victim's wrist down with their leg, and applying pressure to the victim's elbow. Known in combat sport as the "bicep slicer".[11][12]

Tiger feint crucifix armbar[edit]

The opponent begins supine, lying with their back on the bottom or second rope and facing into the ring. The wrestler runs towards the opponent and jumps through the second and top rope while holding on to the ropes, then swings around and grapevines the opponent's arms, applying a crucifix armbar.

Barely legal[edit]

From behind a seated opponent, the wrestler grabs one of the opponent's elbows and pulls it up and backward toward himself. He then bends the wrist and forces the open palm of the opponent's hand into his chest, putting pressure on the wrist. The maneuver's invention is credited to Barry Darsow, who was the person who gave it its name.

Chickenwing[edit]

The wrestler grabs their opponent's arm, pulling it around behind the opponent's back. This stretches the pectorals and shoulder joint, and immobilizes the arm. This is a legitimate controlling or debilitating hold, and is commonly used by police officers in the United States to subdue uncooperative persons for arrest.

Bridging chickenwing[edit]

Also known as a bridging wrist lock. The wrestler approaches a prone opponent facing down, lying down on his stomach. The wrestler grabs any of the opponent's arms, and pulls it to his back (this would result the arm to be bent behind the opponent's back). The wrestler then rolls or flips forward into a bridge, applying pressure on the wrist and elbow.

Triple H traps Daniel Bryan in a crossface chickenwing at WrestleMania XXX
Crossface chickenwing[edit]

In this variation, the wrestler first performs the chickenwing to one of the opponent's arms. He then takes his other arms, wraps it around the opponent's neck, and then either pulls the wrestler's head to the side which puts pressure on the neck and shoulders or leaves the arm tucked under the chin as in a one-armed sleeper hold. Depending on the wrestler's preference, he may clasp his hands together to secure the hold as Triple H shows in the adjacent picture. In many cases, the wrestler will drop to the mat and lock the opponent in a bodyscissor lock to make escape even more difficult. The crossface chickenwing is mostly identified with Bob Backlund, who used the hold as a finishing maneuver following his comeback to the WWF in the mid-1990s and won his second world championship using the hold. Backlund's version of the hold incorporates the bodyscissors portion. WWE wrestler Asuka also uses this variation as a submission finisher calling it the Asuka Lock.

Double chickenwing[edit]

Bryan Danielson applying his cattle mutilation finishing hold, a bridging grounded double chickenwing

This hold sees the wrestler standing behind the opponent facing the same direction, and then hooking both the opponent's arms under his armpits. The move is known for being used for the tiger suplex.

Bridging double chickenwing[edit]

Also referred to as a "bridging grounded double chickenwing" or a "cattle mutilation". The wrestler approaches a prone opponent facing down, lying on his stomach. The wrestler then stands over his back, tucks the opponent's arms under his armpits. From this point, the wrestler then rolls or flips into a bridge, pulling the opponent's arms and applying pressure on them. This move was innovated by Atsuo Sawada and was made famous by Bryan Danielson before he went on to greater fame as Daniel Bryan.

Elevated double chickenwing[edit]

This variation of the double chickenwing sees the wrestler wrenching the wrestler up while still holding the opponent in the double chickenwing. The hold is usually transitioned into a chickenwing facebuster.

Kimura lock[edit]

This technique is also known as a single chickenwing hammerlock or a double wrist lock. A judo submission named the reverse ude-garami, and popularly named after Masahiko Kimura who broke Hélio Gracie's arm with it. It is a commonly used submission in Judo, BJJ and MMA. The move is performed when a wrestler grasps the opponent's left wrist with their right hand. The wrestler then places their left arm over and around the opponent's arm while grasping their own wrist. This move is ambidextrous and can be performed either from a standing position, or a grounded position where the attacker applies a variation of body scissors. This move was popularized in WWE by Brock Lesnar, where he would use it often to (kayfabe) break his opponent's arm.

William Regal immobilizes Cody Rhodes with a standing wrist lock

Wrist lock[edit]

Sometimes preceded by an arm wrench, the wrestler grasps the opponent's hand and twists backwards, placing pressure on the wrist. While this can inflict pain on its own, it is most often used as a transition hold, leading into either a hammer lock, an elbow to the held arm, or kicks to the opponent's abdominal area. Another form of wrist lock sometimes known as a figure four wristlock involves the wrestler (after applying the initial wrist lock with the left hand) threading their right arm through the gap the two arms provide, forming a 4, and providing leverage on the wristlock.

Body locks[edit]

Bear hug[edit]

Chris Masters applying a bear hug on Shawn Michaels
Further information: Bear hug

A wrestler stands in front of an opponent and locks his hands around the opponent, squeezing him. Often he will shake his body from side to side, in order to generate more pain around the ribs and spine. Frequently used by powerhouse style wrestlers, this rather simple to apply hold was used by heels and faces alike. An inverted variation is also possible, which was commonly used by Big John Studd.

Waist lock[edit]

A wrestler stands behind the opponent and then wraps both of their arms around them in a reverse bear hug, sometimes clutching their hands together by the wrist for added pressure. This usually sets up a German suplex or a front mat slam.

Layla applying a body scissors submission on Natalya

Body scissors[edit]

A wrestler approaches a sitting opponent from in front, behind, or either sides. The attacking wrestler then sits next to the opponent and wraps her legs around the opponent, crossing her ankles and then tightening her grip by squeezing together her thighs or straightening her legs to choke the wrestler by compressing his torso. This hold is often used in conjunction with a hold applied to the head or the arms in order to restrain the opponent. This was popularized by the former WWE Diva, Layla.

Back and torso stretches[edit]

Abdominal stretch[edit]

Natalya locks Layla in an abdominal stretch

Also known as a "cobra twist", this hold begins with a wrestler facing his opponent's side. The wrestler first straddles one of the opponent's legs, then reaches over the opponent's near arm with the arm close to the opponent's back and locks it. Squatting and twisting to the side, flexes the opponent's back and stretches their abdomen. This move can also be applied to a seated opponent. The amateur wrestling analogue is the guillotine also known as a "twister".

Boston crab[edit]

Main article: Boston crab

This typically starts with the opponent on his back, and the wrestler standing and facing him. The wrestler hooks each of the opponent's legs in one of his arms, and then turns the opponent face-down, stepping over him in the process. The final position has the wrestler in a semi-sitting position and facing away from his opponent, with the opponent's back and legs bent back toward his face. Chris Jericho uses this move in a high angle version, calling it the "Walls of Jericho". Lance Storm also performs this move with both versions including the regular boston crab and single-leg boston crab. He sets it up usually from a single-leg takedown or a roll-thru. Calling it the "Calgary crab".

Bow and arrow hold[edit]

The wrestler kneels on his opponent's back with both knees, hooking the head with one arm and the legs with the other. He then rolls back so that his opponent is suspended on his knees above him, facing up. The wrestler pulls down with both arms while pushing up with the knees to bend the opponent's back.

Gory special[edit]

Robbie Reckless (bottom) locks Alessandro Del Bruno in a Gory special

The Gory special is a back-to-back backbreaker submission hold.[13] It was invented by Gory Guerrero in Mexico.[13] The wrestler, while behind the opponent, facing away from him in the opposing direction, hooks his arms under the opponent's. From this position, the wrestler lifts the opponent up, usually by bending. This move can be used as a submission hold or can be used for a neckbreaker slam, or a facebuster takedown.

Octopus hold[edit]

AJ Lee performing the Black Widow (Octopus hold) on Paige at Night of Champions in 2014

Also known as an "Octopus stretch", "Flying Dragon" or "Black Widow", the wrestler stands behind the opponent and hooks a leg over the opponent's opposite leg. The wrestler then forces the opponent to one side, traps one of the opponent's arms with their own arm, and drapes their free leg over the neck of the opponent, forcing it downward. This elevates the wrestler and places all the weight of the wrestler on the opponent. The wrestler has one arm free, which can be used for balance.[14]

Surfboard[edit]

Daniel Bryan (bottom) performing a surfboard on Dean Ambrose

Also known as a "Romero special". The surfboard hold first sees a wrestler stand behind a fallen opponent, who is lying stomach first to the floor. The wrestler places one foot down just above each of the opponent's knees and bends their legs up, hooking them around their own knees; at this point the wrestler grasps both of their opponent's wrists (usually slapping the opponent's back in an attempt to bring the arms in reach), and falls backwards while compressing the opponent's shoulder-blades and lifting them off the ground. This can see the wrestler fall to a seated position or go onto their back, lifting the opponent skyward, which will increase pressure on the opponent but put the wrestler in risk of pinning their own shoulders to the mat. It is mostly performed by Jushin Thunder Liger and Daniel Bryan as a signature and by Rito Romero as a finisher.

Seated surfboard[edit]

Another version of a surfboard which is known as a "seated surfboard stretch" but referred to as a "modified surfboard stretch", most often applied by a standing wrestler against a prone opponent—but may also be applied by a seated wrestler or against a seated or kneeling opponent—sees the wrestler grasp both of his opponent's wrists, while placing their foot or knee on the opponent's upper back, pulling back on the arms to compress the opponent's shoulder blades.

Cross-armed surfboard[edit]

This version of a surfboard sees a standing or kneeling wrestler take hold of both of a kneeling or seated opponent's wrists and cross their arms over, applying pressure to both the opponent's arms and shoulders. Sometimes the wrestler may place his foot or knee on the opponent's upper back in order to exert even more pressure.

Lotus lock[edit]

The wrestler grabs the opponent's arms and wraps their legs on the outside of them, so the wrestler's feet meet at the back of the neck of the opponent and exert a downward pressure, akin to applying a full nelson but by using the legs.

Rocking chair[edit]

Known as "la mecedora" in Mexico. The opponent is face down on the mat, with the attacker bending both of their legs up and tucking their ankles against his armpits. He then reaches down and grabs both of the opponent's arms before sitting down, "rocking" back and forth and stretching the back.

Leglocks[edit]

Ankle lock[edit]

Kurt Angle applying ankle lock on Samoa Joe

In this toe hold maneuver, a wrestler will grab the opponent's foot and lift their leg off the ground. With one hand the wrestler will grab either the toes or the outside of the foot, then with the other wrap the ankle to create a "hole" for the joint. A grapevine variation sees the wrestler applying the ankle lock hold and then falling to the mat and scissoring the leg of the opponent. This stops the opponent from rolling out of the move and makes it harder for them to crawl to the ropes but lessens the pressure that can be applied. The move can be executed from a kneeling position or a standing position, depending on the wrestler's preference. Ken Shamrock was the first to popularize the use of this move in professional wrestling, doing his from a kneeling position. Years later, Kurt Angle adopted the ankle lock as his finisher, but would often do it from a standing position.

Argentine leglock[edit]

Ty Colton (right) performs a stretch muffler on Rip Impact

Technically known as an "over-the-shoulder single leg Boston crab" and commonly known as a "stretch muffler", the wrestler stands over a face-down opponent lying on the ground and lifts one leg of the opponent and drapes it over his neck. He then uses his arms to force the shin and thigh of the opponent down, thereby placing pressure on the opponent's knee. An arm-trap version of this move exists, where the wrestler locks one of the opponent's arms between his legs and performs the move either sitting or kneeling on the ring mat the whole time as opposed to standing. For a short amount of time in 2003, Brock Lesnar would use this hold, calling it the "Brock Lock", as well as the technical styled wrestler, Chavo Guerrero Jr. A modified version was executed by Gail Kim as a submission finisher during her 2002-2004 run in the WWE known as the "Still Life" which had a neck scissor-arm trap combination while sitting on the mat.

Cloverleaf[edit]

Application of the cloverleaf hold

Also popularly known as a "Texas cloverleaf", the wrestler stands at the feet of his supine opponent, grabs the opponent's legs and lifts them up. The wrestler then bends one leg so that the shin is behind the knee of the straight leg and places the ankle of the straight leg in their armpit. With the same arm, they reach around the ankle and through the opening formed by the legs, and lock their hands together. The wrestler then steps over his opponent, turning the opponent over as in a sharpshooter and Boston crab and proceeds to squat and lean back. The hold compresses the legs, flexes the spine, and stretches the abdomen. The move was innovated by Dory Funk, Jr.[15] and popularized by Dean Malenko.[16] A variation of the cloverleaf performed by Eddie Guerrero saw the wrestler perform the maneuver from a standing position, which enabled him to pull the opponent's legs up high enough to where he could add pressure to the hold by sticking one of his knees into the other wrestler's back. Guerrero referred to the move as the "Lasso from El Paso", making reference to his hometown.

Cloverleaf with armlock[edit]

An armlock variation of the cloverleaf that is similar to a single leg Boston crab with armlock. This hold begins with a supine opponent lying face up on the mat. The attacking wrestler then seizes one of the arms and proceeds to walk over the opponent while continuing to hold the arm, forcing them to turn over onto their stomach. The wrestler then kneels down on the opponents back, locking the opponent's arm behind his knee in the process. The wrestler then reaches over and bends one leg so that the shin is behind the knee of the straight leg and places the ankle of the straight leg in their armpit. With the same arm, the wrestler reaches around the ankle and through the opening formed by the legs, and locks his hands together as in a cloverleaf. The wrestler then pulls back so as to stretch the legs, back and neck of the opponent while keeping the arm trapped.

Inverted cloverleaf[edit]

In this variation of a cloverleaf instead of turning around when turning the opponent over, the wrestler faces the same direction as the opponent to squat and lean forward to apply more pressure to the legs, spine, and abdomen. Also known as the Gorilla Clutch, a body scissors version exists as well.

Leglock cloverleaf[edit]

This variation of the cloverleaf sees the wrestler, after crossing one of the opponents legs over the other in a figure four shape, lock the over leg behind their near knee before placing the straight leg under their armpit and turning over. The wrestler proceeds to lean back pulling on the leg under the armpit. This keeps the over leg, now under, locked while putting pressure on the leg and stretching the legs and back. This variation is also used by Tyler Breeze as the Figure Four Sharpshooter.

Rivera cloverleaf[edit]

Innovated by Chris Hero, this variation of the cloverleaf sees the wrestler hook the legs like a cloverleaf but weaves his hands through to clasp his other hand and also hooks the ankle sticking out with his leg (left or right) into his kneepit.

Cross kneelock[edit]

With the opponent lying face down on the mat, the wrestler grabs hold of shin of one of the opponent's legs and wraps his legs around the leg. The wrestler then twists the leg, hyperextending the knee like in a kneebar. Very similar to the grapevine ankle lock, with the only difference that the wrestler wraps his arms around the shin, and not his hands around the ankle of the opponent. Commonly used as a counter to an attack from behind. The wrestler flips forward down on to his back, placing his legs around one of the legs of the opponent on the way down, and thus using his momentum to drop the opponent forward down to the mat. The move can be also applied by running towards the opponent and then performing the flip when next to him.

Damascus head and leglock[edit]

The wrestler forces the opponent to the ground and opens up the legs of the opponent, stepping in with both legs. The wrestler then wraps his legs around the head of the opponent and crosses the opponent's legs, applying pressure on them with his hands. The wrestler next turns 180 degrees and leans back, compressing the spine. This hold applies pressure on the temples, the calves, and compresses the spine.

Figure-four leglock[edit]

The Miz applying a figure-four leglock on Antonio Cesaro

The wrestler stands over the opponent who is lying on the mat face up and grasps a leg of the opponent. The wrestler then does a spinning toe hold and grasps the other leg, crossing them into a 4 (hence the name) as he does so and falls to the mat, applying pressure to the opponent's crossed legs with his own. While the hold applies pressure to the knee, it actually can be very painful to the shin of the victim. While the move is primarily a submission move, if the opponent has his shoulders on the mat, the referee can make a three count for a pinfall. If the referee is distracted, heel wrestlers may grab onto the ropes while executing the move to gain leverage and inflict more pain. This variation is the most famous version, made famous by Ric Flair and innovated by Buddy Rogers, and is also the finisher of choice for several legends like Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, The Miz, AJ Styles, Jeff Jarrett, Tito Santana, an invented bridging variation by Charlotte (which she calls the "Figure Eight"), and a variation done by Bret Hart and Gail Kim except by using the ring post and hanging off the edge with her opponent still in the ring. A modified variation exists more recently used by Shawn Michaels where the wrestler takes one of the opponent's legs, turns 90 degrees, then grabs the opponent's other leg and crosses it with the other, puts one foot in between and the other on the other leg, and then bridges over. With enough strength and willpower, the wrestler on defense can flip himself (and also their opponent) over onto their belly, which is said to reverse the pressure to the one who initially had the hold locked in. This counter to the figure four is often called a "modified Indian deathlock" or sometimes referred to as a "sharpshooter variant".

On the Steve Austin Show Unleashed Podcast, George Scott was credited by Ric Flair as the person who came up with the idea that to reverse the Figure-four leglock, the opponent would simply turn over onto their stomach.

Haas of pain[edit]

This modified inverted reverse figure-four leglock variation sees the wrestler cross one leg of an opponent over them and stand on the crossed leg, then take hold of the free leg and lay down on his back, raising the opponent's legs up into the air and causing pain to their legs and lower back. The name is derived from Charlie and Russ, the Haas Brothers, who innovated this move.

Inverted figure-four ankle lock[edit]

This submission hold involves a combination of the figure-four leglock and the ankle lock. However, instead of locking the opponents legs in a 4 shape, the attacking wrestler crosses one of the opponent's legs over to the other leg. Then the attacking wrestler grapevines the other leg and performs an ankle lock submission hold.

Inverted three-quarter figure-four leglock[edit]

The opponent is lying face down on the ground. The wrestler kneels over the opponent's thighs with his left leg between the opponent's leg, then bends the opponent's left leg around his left thigh. After that they place the opponent's right leg over the opponent's left ankle and put their own right leg under the opponent's left ankle. Finally, they put both of their feet over the opponent's right foot and presses on it.

Kneeling figure-four leglock[edit]

The opponent is down on their back with the wrestler standing over one of their legs. The wrestler applies a spinning toehold, crosses the opponent's legs and kneels on them.

Modified figure-four leglock[edit]

This version is a variant which sees the opponent face up with the wrestler grabbing the opponent's legs, puts his own leg through it and twists them as if doing a sharpshooter, but instead puts his other leg on the foot of the opponent nearest to him, drops down to the mat and applies pressure.WWE hall of famer Shawn Michaels perform this move during his wrestling career

Reverse figure-four leglock[edit]

The wrestler using this move stands over the opponent with the opponent face up and grasps a leg of the opponent. The wrestler then turns 90 degrees and grasps the other leg, crossing them as they do so and falls to the mat, applying pressure to the opponent's crossed legs with their own.

Ringpost figure-four leglock[edit]

Sometimes called a "flying figure-four", the opponent is either downed or standing next to one of the ring corner posts. The wrestler exits the ring to the outside and drags the opponent by the legs towards the ringpost, so that the post is between the opponent's legs (similar to when somebody 'crotches' their opponent with the ringpost). The executor then stands next to the ring apron, on the outside of the turnbuckle or ropes and applies the figure four leglock with the ringpost between the opponent's legs. The performer of the hold then falls back while grabbing the opponent's legs or feet, hanging upside down from the ring apron. The ringpost assists the move, creating more damage and leverage to the opponent's knee.[17] This is an illegal hold as it both involves the attacker performing the move whilst outside the ring as well as using part of the ring (the ringpost) to execute the move. The move was innovated by Bret Hart and is now used by Gail Kim.

Standing figure-four leglock[edit]

The opponent is down on their back with the wrestler standing over one of their legs with one foot placed on either side of the leg. The wrestler plants his foot in the knee of the opponents other leg and then bends that leg at the knee over the top of the first leg forming the figure four. The wrestler then bridges back.

Indian deathlock[edit]

The wrestler lifts up a leg of a face-up opponent and wraps one of their legs around the other leg before dropping to a kneeling position, thus locking the opponent's leg behind the wrestler's knee. The wrestler then reaches over and grabs the opponent's far leg and places it on top of the trapped foot of the opponent. The wrestler then performs a forward roll while maintaining the hold. This forces the opponent onto their chest while the wrestler ends in a sitting position facing the same direction as their opponent. From here the wrestler can reach forward and perform many upper body submissions as well.[18]

A standing version can also be applied which sees a standing wrestler place one of his legs between the legs of a face-down opponent and then bends one leg behind the leg of the wrestler, placing it on top of the knee pit of the opponents other leg. The wrestler then picks up the straight leg of the opponent, bends it backwards to lock the other leg in the knee pit and places the foot in front of the shin of the standing leg in the knee pit, thus locking the leg.

Inverted Indian deathlock[edit]

With the opponent on his back, the wrestler standing beside him, sits with his leg over and between the opponent's legs (often using a legdrop to the knee). Then places the opponents far leg in the knee-pit of the near leg, finishing the submission by putting the opponents ankle on top of his own ankle and rolling both onto their bellies and pushing back with the wrestler's knees. Former WWE wrestler Cody Rhodes uses this as a finishing move on the independent scene, calling it the "American Nightmare".

Kneebar[edit]

Main article: Kneebar

Also called a straight legbar, the basic kneebar is performed similarly to an armbar by holding the opponent's leg in between the legs and arms so the opponent's kneecap points towards the body. The wrestler pushing the hips forward, the opponent's leg is straightened, and further leveraging hyperextends the knee.

Sharpshooter[edit]

Natalya applying a double sharpshooter on Eve Torres and Layla

Also (and originally) known as a "scorpion hold". This move is usually executed on a wrestler lying flat on their back. The wrestler executing the move will step between his opponent's legs, grab both of them, and twist them into a knot around their leg. Holding the opponent's legs in place, the wrestler then steps over the opponent and turns them over, applying pressure the whole way to cause pain to the knee and legs. While applying the pressure to the legs, the wrestler executing the move has a variety of positions he can be in; however, the two most common involve a wrestler standing and leaning back while applying the move or sitting on their opponents' back. The move was innovated by Riki Choshu but was made famous in the United States by Bret "The Hitman" Hart, who gave it the name Sharpshooter to suit his stage name. The move was also popularized in the States by Sting, who calls the hold the Scorpion Death Lock and applied the hold from a seated position. The Rock also used this move as his signature submission move by the name Sharpshooter. The only difference between Sting's "Scorpion Death Lock" and the current "Sharpshooter" is which leg the pressure is on as Sting's targets the right leg and the "Sharpshooter" targets the left leg.

Spinning toe hold[edit]

The wrestler using this move stands over the opponent who is lying on the mat, face up and grasps a leg of the opponent. The wrestler then turns 360 degrees over the leg twisting it inward. A wrestler can repeatedly step over the leg and round again to twist the knee, and ankle joint even more.[19]

Chokes[edit]

Arm-hook sleeper[edit]

Also known as a "buffalo sleeper", this choke sees the wrestler kneeling behind a seated opponent before grabbing hold of one of the opponent's arms, bending it backwards overhead, and locking the opponent's wrist into the attacker's armpit. The wrestler then wraps his free arm under the opponent's chin, like in a sleeper hold, puts his other arm through the arch created by the opponent's trapped arm, and locks his hands. He then squeezes the opponent's neck, causing pressure. The move was innovated by Hiroyoshi Tenzan.

Anaconda vise[edit]

CM Punk doing an anaconda vise on Mike Knox

The anaconda vise is a compression choke. The wrestler wraps his arms around the head and one arm of the opponent and squeezes, choking the opponent. It is considered legal in professional wrestling, although it is a chokehold. This submission hold was innovated by Hiroyoshi Tenzan.

Also known as an arm-trap triangle choke. The vise is done from a position in which the wrestler and the opponent are seated on the mat facing each other. The wrestler sits on one side of the opponent and using his near arm encircles the opponent in a headlock position and grabs the opponent's near wrist, bending the arm upwards. Then, the wrestler maneuvers their other arm through the "hole" created by the opponent's bent wrist, locks their hand upon their own wrist, and then pulls the opponent forward, causing pressure on the opponent's arm and neck. This move was popularized by CM Punk.

There are also variations of the anaconda vise that are combined with another move. The variations are also innovated by Hiroyoshi Tenzan.

Arm triangle choke[edit]

Main article: Arm triangle choke

Also called an arm triangle, this choke sees the wrestler wrapping their arm from under the opponent's nearest arm(pit) and across the chest. The maneuver can be used as an uncommon submission maneuver, such as used by Braun Strowman, or a transitioning hold, usually to fall backwards into an arm triangle reverse STO.

Corner foot choke[edit]

Dana Brooke applying a corner foot choke in a handstand position on Alexa Bliss

The wrestler pushes their standing or seated opponent into the turnbuckle and extends their leg, choking their opponent while using the top two ropes for support. This attack is illegal and results in a wrestler's disqualification, should the move not be broken by a count of five.

For some flexible wrestlers, a variation of this move can be performed while standing in the performance of a standing split. Another variant performed by WWE Superstar, Dana Brooke, is done in a handstand position while she chokes the opponent with one foot.

Double choke[edit]

The wrestler grabs his opponent's throat with both hands and throttles him.

Dragon sleeper[edit]

The attacking wrestler stands behind the opponent who is either sitting or lying face down, they pull the opponent into an inverted facelock, often hooking the opponent's near arm with their free arm. The attacker then pulls backwards and up, wrenching the opponent's neck and spine. If the opponent is sitting, the wrestler can press their knee into the opponent's back, adding pressure. Innovated by Tatsumi Fujinami and popularised in the United States by Último Dragón.[20] A standing variation of this move was used by The Undertaker calling it "Takin' Care of Business".

Figure-four necklock[edit]

This neck lock sees a wrestler sit above a fallen opponent and wrap their legs around the opponent in the form of the figure-four, with one leg crossing under the opponent's chin and under the wrestler's other leg the wrestler squeezes and chokes the opponent. In an illegal version of the hold, best described as a hanging figure-four necklock, the wrestler stands on top of the turnbuckle, wraps their legs around the head of the opponent (who has their back turned against the turnbuckle) in the figure-four and falls backwards, choking the opponent. In most matches the hold would have to be released before a five count.

Gogoplata[edit]

Main article: Gogoplata
The Undertaker uses the "Hell's Gate" (gogoplata) on Edge

Usually executed from a "rubber guard," where the legs are held very high, against the opponent's upper back. The fighter then slips one foot in front of the opponent's head and under his chin, locks his hands behind the opponent's head, and chokes the opponent by pressing his shin or instep against the opponent's trachea. Wrestlers use a modified version, where they only push the shin into the throat in exactly the same manner (instead of grabbing their toes and pulling towards themselves). The Undertaker used this as his submission finisher calling it "Hell's Gate".

Guillotine choke[edit]

Randi West traps Skyler Rose (front) in a guillotine choke
Main article: Guillotine choke

The wrestler faces his opponent who is bent over. The attacking wrestler tucks the opponent's head underneath his armpit and wraps his arm around the neck so that the forearm is pressed against the throat as in a front chancery. The attacking wrestler then wraps his legs around the opponents midsection with a body scissors and then arches backwards, pulling the opponent's head forward, stretching the torso and the neck. It can be performed from either standing, sitting or prone positions.

Half nelson choke[edit]

Also known as a kata ha jime, a term borrowed from judo, this choke sees the wrestler put the opponent in a half nelson with one arm and grab the opponent's neck the other, sometimes while adding body scissors. This move was popularized by Tazz, who dubbed it the "Tazmission" in Extreme Championship Wrestling and the "Tazzmission" in the WWE.

Hangman's choke[edit]

The wrestler wraps their arm around the opponents neck as if performing a sleeper hold, then climbs to the second rope and hangs the opponent by the neck. This move is illegal due to usage of the ring ropes, and results in a disqualification for the wrestler should they not release the hold before a count of five.

Koji clutch[edit]

The opponent lays face down on the mat. The wrestler lies face up and slightly to the side of the opponent. The wrestler then hooks their far leg across the neck of the opponent. The wrestler then hooks his hands behind the opponent's head, having one arm pass over their own leg and the other under. The wrestler then pulls backwards with his arms and pushes forward with his leg, causing pressure. The name comes from its innovator's name, Koji Kanemoto.[citation needed] This move is commonly transitioned from a reverse STO. another variation sees the attacker performing a reverse STO then locking the regular koji clutch in but crosses their legs in a modified figure four headscissors.

Leg choke[edit]

With the opponent hung over the second rope, facing the outside of the ring, the attacking wrestler hooks their left or right leg over the back of the opponent's neck. The attacking wrestler then pulls the second rope upwards, compressing the opponent's throat between the rope and attacking wrestler's leg, choking them. This move is illegal due to usage of the ring ropes, and results in a disqualification for the wrestler should they not release the hold before a count of five.

Pentagram choke[edit]

In this variation of the triangle choke, the wrestler sits behind a seated opponent. The wrestler places one of their legs under the chin of the opponent and pushes up. The wrestler then takes hold of their ankle with their opposite arm and pulls their leg up. The wrestler then places their free leg on the instep of the leg which is already being used to choke the opponent. The wrestler finally takes their free arm, hooks the opponent's arm which is in the vise, and holds their opposite leg from the knee. The pressure is applied once the wrestler compresses their knees together. The pentagram choke creates a complete vise around the opponent's neck, and its name comes from using five sides, whereas the triangle choke only uses three.

Death star[edit]

A variation of the pentagram choke. What makes this version different is that usually the wrestler will use their free hand to hold on to their own knee before compressing their knees together to apply the pressure. However, in the death star, the wrestler uses their free hand to maneuver under the leg which is first utilized to create the choke and then take hold of the ankle of their other leg.

Rear naked choke[edit]

Main article: Rear naked choke

A grounded version of a sleeper hold with an added body scissors that is derived from martial arts and more recently mixed martial arts.

Single arm choke[edit]

The wrestler grabs his opponent's throat with one hand and squeezes tightly. A "goozle" is a single arm choke held briefly before performing a chokeslam.

Sleeper hold[edit]

See also: Blood choke
Jewells Malone locks in a sleeper hold on Beautiful Beaa

The wrestler applying the hold positions himself behind his opponent. The wrestler then wraps their arm around the opponent's neck, pressing the biceps against one side of the neck and the inner bone of the forearm against the other side. The neck is squeezed inside the arm very tightly. Additional pressure can be applied by grabbing the left shoulder with the right hand, or grabbing the biceps of the left arm near the elbow, then using the left hand to push the opponent's head towards the crook of the right elbow.

Straight jacket[edit]

Jetta using her stranglehold (right) after performing the double knee backbreaker (left)

Also known as a "Japanese stranglehold" (goku-raku gatame), "criss-cross stranglehold", "cut-throat", and "cross-armed choke". The wrestler sits on the back of an opponent who is lying face down on the mat. The wrestler then grabs hold of the opponent's wrists and crosses their arms under their chin. The wrestler then pulls back on the arms, causing pressure.

Three-quarter nelson choke[edit]

The wrestler stands behind the opponent, facing the same direction, and reaches under their armpit with one arm and around the opponent's neck with the other arm before locking hands, completing the hold. The wrestler then pulls upwards, forcing their forearm into the opponent's throat and choking them.

Thumb choke hold[edit]

The attacking wrestler stands behind an opponent and reaches around the opponent's neck with one arm. The wrestler then extends a thumb and thrusts it into the windpipe or carotid artery of the opponent, cutting off their air or blood supply. The former would not be acceptable in traditional professional wrestling, as all chokeholds that cut off the windpipe are not allowed in the sport.[3]

Tongan death grip[edit]

The wrestler darts his hand under an opponent's chin and grabs a hold of a pressure point above the throat, squeezing the nerve. This cuts off the air supply and the opponent fades out, yet this is not considered an air choke as it is not squeezing the windpipe. This hold is unique in that it can be used as a sleeper like submission or, should the "unconscious" opponent end up lying on his back, a pinfall.

Triangle choke[edit]

Main article: Triangle choke

The wrestler grabs hold of one of his opponent's arms, wraps his legs around the opponent's throat and arm in a figure four and squeezes. Different promotions have different rules regarding the legality of this maneuver. The justification for its legality is that, like a head scissors, it uses the legs rather than the hands to perform the "choke".

Two-handed chokelift[edit]

Also known as a "neck-hanging tree" a wrestler grasps an opponent's neck with both hands then lifts them up and then slams them. This is a transition hold for moves such as a two-handed chokeslam and a chokebomb.

Transition holds[edit]

Some holds are meant neither to pin an opponent, nor weaken them or force them to submit, but are intended to set up the opponent for another attack.

Arm wrench[edit]

The wrestler takes hold of the opponent's arm or wrist and turns around completely while twisting the arm over the wrestler's head, resulting in the opponent's arm being wrenched. This may lead to an armbar, a wrist lock, the wrestler pulling the opponent onto his shoulders in a fireman's carry, an Irish whip, or a short-arm maneuver, such as a clothesline.

Butterfly[edit]

Also referred to as a double underhook. The wrestler and the opponent begin facing one another, with the opponent bent over. The wrestler approaches the opponent and reaches under the opponent's shoulders, then threads their arms up and around the opponent's torso, with their hands meeting in the middle of the opponent's back or neck (essentially an inverted full nelson hold), and tucking the opponents head in their armpit. The hold itself can be and sometimes is used as a submission move, but it is more commonly used as a transition hold to set up another move such as a suplex, a DDT, a facebuster, or a powerbomb. One wrestler who does use the move as a submission is Matt Hardy; his "Ice Pick" maneuver sees him lock the double underhook on an opponent while simultaneously trapping the opponent in a bodyscissors lock.

Crucifix[edit]

The wrestler stands in front of and facing a bent over opponent and places them in a gutwrench waistlock or a standing headscissors. The wrestler then flips the opponent up and over so the opponent is lying face up on the back of the wrestler. The wrestler then moves his hands to the upper arm or wrists of the opponent, holding them in position, and spreading the arms of the opponent (as though they were being crucified), hence the name. This is mainly often a set-up for a crucifix powerbomb or a spinning crucifix toss.

Reverse crucifix[edit]

The wrestler stands in front of and with their back to a standing opponent. The wrestler then leans backwards and seizes the opponent around the waist, pulling them forward and upwards so they are lying across the shoulder of the opponent, facing downwards. The wrestler then takes hold of the upper arms or wrists of the opponent and spreads them, holding the opponent in place.

Electric chair[edit]

A transitional hold in which an attacking wrestler hoists an opponent up onto his shoulders so that they are both facing in the same direction. It is often used to set up various drops and slams in singles competition. However it is more often used in a double team maneuver, known as a "doomsday device", another wrestler uses flying attacks to knock opponents off the shoulders of the wrestler. Like many transition holds, the defensive wrestler often uses the position to perform a variety of counter moves, most notably the victory roll. Another counter of the electric chair position is the wrestler twisting over the opponent's shoulders so now they are facing the opposite direction, and from that position, the wrestler would backflip to hit a hurricanrana.

Mr. Kennedy holds Hardcore Holly in a fireman's carry, prior to executing a rolling fireman's carry slam, otherwise known as a "Green Bay plunge"

Fireman's carry[edit]

Main article: Fireman's carry

The wrestler bends over with the opponent standing to the side of the wrestler. The wrestler then pulls the opponent's arm over their far shoulder and distributes the wrestler's body over their shoulders while having the other hand between and holding onto one of the opponent's legs and stands up. The opponent is draped face-down across the wrestler's shoulders, with the wrestler's arms wrapped around from behind. It is a key component of several throws, drops and slams.

Rolling fireman's carry slam[edit]

There is also a variation, in which the opponent is held diagonally across the wrestlers back with their legs across one shoulder and head under the opposite shoulder (usually held in place with a facelock). There is a third variation in which a wrestler lift his opponent across his shoulders and then proceeds to slam his opponent to the mat.

Float over[edit]

The wrestler stands in front of his opponent facing at him, ducks, hooks one of his arms over the opponent's shoulder (if it is the opponent's left shoulder that the attacker chooses to seize, he hooks with his right, or opposite if sides are reversed), swings himself under the opponent's armpit then around and over the opponent's back so that he faces the same way as the opponent.

Gorilla press[edit]

Beth Phoenix setting up to perform a gorilla press on Eve Torres

A transition lift many throws, drops and slams can be performed. It became a popular technique for larger and stronger wrestlers as the lift is seen to emphasize their height and power.

Gutwrench[edit]

A set-up for many throws and slams, this sees the attacking wrestler put a bent at the waist opponent to one side of him, reach the near hand around and lock his hands around the waist. A common move out of this transition can be a powerbomb or a suplex.

Lady of the lake[edit]

The move used to trick an unsuspecting opponent. The wrestler sits down, crosses their legs, tucks their head into their chest and wraps one arm around their ankle (so they are effectively rolled into a ball). The wrestler then extends their remaining arm between their legs and then waits. The opponent, ostensibly confused, normally takes the offered hand, at which point the wrestler rolls forward and into an arm lock.

Mounted[edit]

The wrestler sits on top of the opponent's torso, facing their head, with his legs on either side. When the opponent head is facing the ground facing down the position is referred to as back mount. Various strikes to the opponent's head are often performed from this position.

Pumphandle[edit]

The wrestler stands behind his opponent and bends him forward. One of the opponent's arms is pulled back between his legs and held, while the other arm is hooked, then the wrestler lifts the opponent up over his shoulder. From here many throws, drops and slams can be performed. A double pumphandle exists, where the second arm isn't hooked, it is also pulled under and between the opponent's legs.

Rope-hung[edit]

A rope-hung move sees the opponent trapped either over the top rope or between the top and second rope. From that position, the wrestler could execute many moves while the opponent is hung over/between the rope(s), like for example a DDT or a neckbreaker.

Scoop[edit]

Facing his opponent, the wrestler reaches between his opponent's legs with one arm and reaches around their back from the same side with his other arm. The wrestler lifts his opponent up so they are horizontal across the wrestlers body. From here many throws, drops and slams can be performed.

Short-arm[edit]

This transitioning move sees the wrestler first grabbing one of the opponent's arms, and Irish whipping him. As the grabbed arm is fully extended, the wrestler could then go for any attack, hold or sweep. This hold is usually used to go for a clothesline.

Stepover toehold[edit]

The wrestler approaches the opponent who is lying stomach-first, facing down. The wrestler traps one of the opponent's ankles between their thighs (as seen primarily before applying an STF). From that point, the wrestler can apply other holds to the opponent, for example a fujiwara armbar or a three-quarter facelock.

Matrix[edit]

This is an evasion performed by bending over backwards into a bridging position to counter any clothesline, punch, etc. This is performed similarly to when Neo, in The Matrix movie, avoids a string of bullets. This was performed by former WWE wrestlers Trish Stratus, & Melina, and is currently performed by NXT wrestler Liv Morgan & Main Roster wrestler Alicia Fox

Tilt-a-whirl[edit]

The wrestler stands facing the opponent. The wrestler bends the opponent down so they are bent facing in front on the wrestler's body. The wrestler reaches around the opponent's body with their arms and lifts them up, spinning the opponent in front of the wrestler's body, often to deliver a slam or most commonly a "tilt-a-whirl backbreaker" or a "pendulum backbreaker". Usually performed on a charging opponent, this can also be a transition hold for counterattacks that sees the wrestler hit many throws and drops like a DDT or headscissors takedown.

Wheelbarrow[edit]

This move is achieved when a wrestler wraps a forward-facing opponent's legs around his waist (either by standing behind an opponent who is lying face-first on the mat or by catching a charging opponent), then the wrestler would apply a gutwrench hold and lift the opponent up off the ground into the air, then either continue lifting and fall backwards to wheelbarrow suplex, or forcing the opponent back down to the mat to hit a wheelbarrow facebuster. This can also can be a transition hold for counterattacks that see the wrestler (who is being wheelbarrowed) hit many throws and drops like a DDT or a bulldog and rolling pin combinations.

Miscellaneous[edit]

Collar-and-elbow tie-up[edit]

The collar-and-elbow tie-up is one of the mainstays of professional wrestling, and many matches are begun with this move. It is a neutral move, but it easily transitions for either wrestler to a position of dominance. It is performed by approaching the opponent and putting one hand on the back of the opponent's neck while holding the elbow of the opponent's arm that is holding his own neck. It can also be used to immobilize an opponent by pushing them to the ground.

Giant swing[edit]

The wrestler takes hold of a supine opponent's legs and pivots rapidly, elevating the opponent and swinging the opponent in a circle. The wrestler may release the hold in mid-air or simply slow until the back of the opponent returns to the ground.

Skin the cat[edit]

Eamon O'Neill performs a sunset flip out of the corner on Phil Powers

This defensive maneuver is used when a wrestler is thrown over the top rope. While being thrown over the wrestler grabs the top rope with both hands and holds on so that he ends up dangling from the top rope but not landing on the apron or on the floor. The wrestler then proceeds to lift his legs over his head and rotates his body back towards the ring to go back over the top rope and into the ring, landing in the ring on his feet. The wrestler can also perform a head scissor hold or a type of kick to strike an opponent on the inside to throw him over. This is a tactic that can be deployed Royal Rumble or Battle Royal matches to save themselves from being eliminated, or to set up another springboard maneuver or a top rope maneuver in a normal match. This move was made famous by Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat and Shawn Michaels.

Sunset flip[edit]

AJ Lee in the sitting pin position that results from a sunset flip

This move commonly sees an attacking wrestler dive over an opponent who is facing them, usually bent over forwards, catching the opponent in a waistlock from behind and landing back-first behind the opponent. From that position the wrestler rolls forward into a sitting position, pulling the opponent over backwards and down to the mat so that he lands on his back into a sitout pin position. While being held on the shoulders of an attacking wrestler in a position where this second wrestler is straddling the head of the attacking wrestler while facing in the other direction. This move can be used as a counter from various Powerbombs and other moves such as a Gory Bomb.

Tree of woe[edit]

Eve Torres set up in the tree of woe position by Beth Phoenix

This involves a wrestler suspending an opponent upside down on a turnbuckle, with the opponent's back being up against it. To do this the opponent's legs are then hooked under the top ropes, leaving the opponent facing the attacking wrestler, upside down. Often an attacking wrestler will choke, kick, or stomp the opponent until the referee uses up his five count. The technique is also used to trap an opponent while the attacking wrestler runs at them and delivers some form of offensive maneuver, such as a running knee attack or a baseball slide.

See also[edit]

Media related to Professional wrestling holds at Wikimedia Commons

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Guerrero, Eddie (2005). Cheating Death, Stealing Life: The Eddie Guerrero Story. Simon and Schuster. p. 9. ISBN 0-7434-9353-2. 
  2. ^ Ellison, Lillian (2003). The Fabulous Moolah: First Goddess of the Squared Circle. ReaganBooks. p. 163. ISBN 978-0-06-001258-8. 
  3. ^ a b "What a manoeuvre! 15 moves that really exist". WWE. 2012-11-30. Retrieved 2014-03-13. 
  4. ^ "The Head Chancery as taught by George Hackenscmidt in The Complete Science of Wrestling". Gnarlmaster's Catch Wrestling Site. Retrieved 2013-06-21. 
  5. ^ Foley, Mick. Mankind: Have a Nice Day. A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks, HarperCollins, 1999.
  6. ^ Sitterson, Aubrey (June 21, 2011). "Wrestling Innovators - The Origins Of Your Favorite Moves". UGO Networks. Archived from the original on February 18, 2014. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  7. ^ Linder, Zach & Melok, Bobby. "What a maneuver! 15 moves that really exist". WWE.com. WWE. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  8. ^ Who invented the powerbomb?
  9. ^ "The Great Muta WWE Profile". WWE.com. Retrieved 2014-03-13. 
  10. ^ "Professional Wrestling Moves: Part 2". Death Valley Driver.com. Retrieved 2007-11-29. [dead link]
  11. ^ "How to perform the Bicep Slicer". MMA-Training.com. 2006-11-29. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  12. ^ Breen, Jordan (2008-03-04). "Ad Santel and Catching Our History". Sherdog. Retrieved 2009-12-21. ...submitting him both times with short-arm scissors, more contemporarily known as a bicep slicer 
  13. ^ a b *Guerrero, Eddie (2005). Cheating Death, Stealing Life: The Eddie Guerrero Story. Simon and Schuster. p. 9. ISBN 0-7434-9353-2. 
  14. ^ "What a maneuver! 15 moves that really exist". WWE. 2012-11-30. Retrieved 2014-03-13. 
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-08-07. Retrieved 2013-07-29.  Who invented the Texas Cloverleaf?
  16. ^ "the 50 coolest maneuvers of all time". WWE. 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2014-05-04. 
  17. ^ "What a manoeuvre! 15 moves that really exist". WWE. 2012-11-30. Retrieved 2014-03-13. 
  18. ^ "What a manoeuvre! 15 moves that really exist". WWE. 2012-11-30. Retrieved 2014-03-13. 
  19. ^ "What a manoeuvre! 15 moves that really exist". WWE. 2012-11-30. Retrieved 2014-03-13. 
  20. ^ "the 50 coolest manoeuvres of all time". WWE. 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2014-03-13.