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The 411 Wrestling Top 5 11.28.12: Week 197 – Top 5 Submission Finishers

November 28, 2012 | Posted by Larry Csonka

Hello everyone and welcome to 411 Wrestling’s Top 5 List. What we are going to is take a topic each week and all the writers here on 411 wrestling will have the ability to give us their Top 5 on said topic, plus up to three honorable mentions.

So, on to this week’s topic…


Jack Bramma
5. Liontamer – The Liontamer starts off my list with a trend that will continue throughout which is that my list is biased toward moves that are legitimately painful, have won major matches, and aren’t countered all the time. That last qualification is a particular reason why the Sleeper and Ankle lock didn’t make the cut and why this happens to be Liontamer instead of Walls of Jericho. The true Liontamer (in my mind) is Jericho dropping down to one knee, twisting his opponent, and driving his down knee into his opponent’s back. He’s only used it sporadically in the last several years mostly due to working with taller opponents, but when it was really locked in, the match was over. I always love when Jericho will break this out in recent matches against someone like Mysterio or Punk.

4. Torture Rack – It pains me not to be able to put this higher, but I couldn’t in good conscience put this higher than any of the top 3. The Torture Rack is wrestling move perfection: it’s a big, tall, strong man putting you on his shoulders and jumping up and down and tearing your back and ribs apart in the process. It’s a testament to the hold’s difficulty to perform that only Lex Luger really consistently used it (other than MAYBE Zeke Jackson if you want to stretch). Give it to Ryback as an alternate finisher to the Shell Shock since the set up is basically identical and watch it get over yet again.

3. Figure Four – I hate how the Figure Four has basically become a transition/resthold at this point. Even Flair at his peak rarely won matches with it and constantly had it reversed, but its legendary status is secure even with those caveats. The F4 is one of the only holds that can be applied by any wrestler at any time in any match and you know it’s a threat if not end the match, at least turn the tide.

2. Crippler Crossface – A personal favorite. When applied correctly (mostly by Chris Benoit), it looked like it was legitimately crippling a man from whiplash to the neck, head, jaw, back, face. Almost everyone at some point laid down to this hold including Triple H and Shawn Michaels in title matches in 2004. I especially loved how after the tragedy with Benoit and his family, HBK and Triple H both made a concerted effort to make sure the great move wasn’t lost to wrestling lore. CM Punk followed the trend by using the move at Night of Champions to try and get Cena to tap out.

1. Sharpshooter/Scorpion Deathlock – Can there really be any other clear choice for number 1? A move that was so universally respected by fans and wrestlers alike that two different top stars used it at the same time and both got over with it and numerous signature wins with the hold. When HBK needed a hold to screw over Bret at Survivor Series, he went with it. When Rock needed a submission, he went with it. When Benoit needed a second submission, he went with it. When Rock needed a hold to screw over Mankind at Survivor Series, he went with it. When Sting needed a hold to beat Hogan at Starrcade, he went with it. When Austin knew he was bleeding out at Wrestlemania XIII, it was to this hold. When Bret finally got revenge on Vince after over 10 years, it was with this hold. It’s been involved in the finish to more epic, significant wrestling matches than perhaps any other submission hold ever, but definitely any hold in recent history.

Francisco Ramirez

5. La Atlantida – Atlantis has won matches, titles, and masks with this variation of the Torture Rack. While Lex Luger would basically hold his opponents up and stretch them down, La Atlantida showed more finesse. The opponents legs would be crossed and locked, Atlantis would stretch down his opponent while spinning. If the need was there, Atlantis would drop to his knees while applying the hold. Earning him numerous titles and masks ranging from Mano Negra to Villano III.

4. Nudo Lagunero – This one is just visually pleasing, while the video included is not the best application of the hold, Blue Panther’s finisher El Nudo Lagunero is a personal favorite because it has a little of everything, technicality, and power. Technical in the way he ties up his opponents, and power in the way he lifts them up. Surely not applicable against all opponents, but when he lands it perfectly, it’s a thing of beauty.

3. Sharpshooter/Scorpion Deathlock – Bret Hart and Sting, these two are living legends and are as different as night and day. The one thing they did have in common, their finisher. Granted Sting used it first and it took Konnan to teach Bret Hart how to apply it, once mastered though, Bret Hart made that move his. Both competitors have won World Championships with that maneuver, and if you think about it, this move is associated more so with Bret Hart than with anybody else, yet Japanese star Riki Choshu is credited with creating the move, Sting and Ronnie Garvin were both known to use the hold before Bret, but the Sharpshooter name stuck instead of the alternates like the Scorpion Hold, Scorpion Deathlock and the Standing Reverse Figure-Four. Now the move has been utilized by numerous people, Owen Hart, Tyson Kidd, Natalya, but what many can agree on is the worst application of the Sharpshooter, the Rock.

2. Cross-Arm Breaker – I love the simplicity of this submission move. Alberto Del Rio chose wisely when he decided to use this maneuver. An Arm Breaker, how simple can you get? The edge that the Cross Arm-Breaker holds over many other submission holds is that it’s a legit move. In this day and age where MMA is a huge sport, an Arm Bar or Arm Breaker is commonplace. I can recall Matt Hughes defeating GSP in their first encounter with such a hold. So Del Rio, a person who has participated in MMA, has all the legitimacy in the world to apply such a hold, yet this is wrestling. So the crossup adds the extra sizzle to make an MMA hold, a Pro Wrestling submission finisher, how much more simple can you get?

1. Figure-Four Leg Lock – As classic as you can get! Sure, the move isn’t held as high as it once was, but neither is the DDT. A who’s who list of Hall of Famers have utilized the move. Greg Valentine, Jeff Jarrett, Ted Dibiase before the Million Dollar man gimmick, even Dusty Rhodes at some point. Yet this move belongs to two men, Ric Flair and Buddy Rogers. Buddy Rogers was the innovator of the Figure-Four Leglock, and Ric Flair immortalized it. By no means is this submission maneuver the flashiest, or the most devastating, yet it is commonplace in wrestling now. The list of wins, including championship wins and list of people to have submitted to this move is enormous. Easily my number 1 pick for the best submission hold ever.

Robert S. Leighty Jr
5. Mandible Claw – Not a truly historic move as the others on my list, but I wanted to give the move a mention. For some reason I thought the move was coolest thing in 96 when Mankind debuted in the WWF. The Undertaker selling the move like crazy when Mankind debuted only helped get the move over as a killer with the fans.

4. Crossface Chickenwing – Crazy Bob Backlund was a great character and this move was perfect for him. This move was all the rage when I was in junior high and high school as we would sneak up on a friend and catch them off guard. Soon we realized how much it actually hurt and decided it wasn’t best move to use.

3. Ankle Lock – Ken Shamrock made the move famous during the attitude era, but it became deadly when Kurt Angle started using it after he debuted. His version was absolutely vicious, and still one of my favorite moments is him applying the hold at No Way Out on the Rock and screaming “tap or I will break your fucking ankle.”

2. Scorpion Deathlock/Sharpshooter – Sting brought the move to mainstream homes and then Bret used it as a finisher as well. The move is quite possibly the most infamous submission move ever thanks to the Montreal Screwjob. That one incident has made the move an easy heat getter in Canada. The move has been used by the greats of this industry: Hart, Sting, Owen, The Rock, Benoit, and yes even Shawn Michaels here and there to piss off a crowd when needed.

1. Figure 4 – Who hasn’t tried to apply this move on their friend and turned it over to see if it really didn’t reverse the pressure? The move was made super famous by Ric Flair, and has been used by many others as well.

List your Top Five for this week’s topic in the comment section using the following format:

5. CHOICE: Explanation
4. CHOICE: Explanation
3. CHOICE: Explanation
2. CHOICE: Explanation
1. CHOICE: Explanation


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Larry Csonka