Calling the Moves – Cobra Clutch, Senton and Others (Videos and Rare Facts)

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Hello and welcome back to the Pro Wrestling Culture Cloud (PW2C)! It is now time for our weekly edition of Calling the Moves, the segment where you get to know everything about pro wrestling’s huge moveset, be it the origins of the names, their use throughout history, and even their common variations. As a reminder, feel free to take a look at this pro wrestling glossary in order to get more familiar with some terms.

A Legendary Swanton Bomb by Jeff Hardy

1. Shining Wizard

Considering the fact that it appeared in 2001, the Shining Wizard has gained significant popularity in a very short amount of time. The running attack is performed on the opponent down on one knee while the other is up. The attacking wrestler uses that knee to jump and connect with a knee to the face of his opponent. It has been invented by The Great Muta (aka Keiji Mutoh) and has reached a more global audience thanks to The Hurricane (Gregory Helms), who also used a variant that replaced the standard kick with an Enzuigiri. The variant is sometimes called Shining Apprentice. Masahiro Chono’s Shining Black is another alternative where the standard knee is replaced by a Yakuza Kick.

2. Bronco Buster

This attack is performed when the opponent is sitting on the corner. The attacker runs from the opposite corner, jumps to sit on the torso of the opponent and bounces up and down. There is no accurate explanation regarding the name but here is a non-North-American personal deduction, and please take it for what it’s worth; a “bronco buster” originally refers to the person who tames wild horses. Therefore, the name may have been attributed to the move due to its similarities with the cowboy’s gesture when taming broncos. Wrestlers who use that attack generally want to “add insult to injury” rather than inflict pain. Female wrestlers on the other hand, mostly the WWE divas, use it for comical/sexual purposes. Notable wrestlers who use it as a signature move include X Pac, Rey Mysterio, ODB and Maria Kanellis.

3. Cobra Clutch

While its origin remains obscure. there is reason to believe that hall of famer and former trainer Verne Gagne had something to do with it. In fact, wrestlers such as Sgt. Slaughter and Maurice Vachon, who are among the earliest users of the hold, were trained by him. To use the Cobra Clutch, one has to wrap the opponent’s own arm around his neck, just like a snake rolls around its victim, before the attacker locks his hand with the wrist of his free arm behind the opponent’s neck. In other words, the attacker, who is standing behind the opponent, applies a Half Nelson with one arm -say the right one- and pulls the opponent’s -right- arm with the other -left arm- before he locks his -left- wrist with his -right-  hand. The hold has become associated with several other moves such as the Cobra Clutch Suplex or Cobra Clutch Backbreaker. The following video contains several of these variants.

4. Senton

The basic Senton has the attacker jump and land on his back on a downed opponent, generally from the top turnbuckle. However, it has evolved into a panoply of innovative high-flying techniques since every variant can be executed standing on the mat, from the top turnbuckle or as a springboard attack. Among them, the High-Angle Senton Bomb, often called Swanton Bomb in the WWE and TNA because of Jeff Hardy. The classic Senton Bomb is an aerial attack where the wrestler performs a Somersault (front flip) before landing on his back, whereas he keeps his body and arms straight in the High-Angle variant. The Seated Senton is most notably used by Rey Mysterio, sometimes following his signature 619 (aka Tiger Feint Kick). I know many of you are expecting a video about Jeff Hardy, so here is a compilation of several unique Swanton Bombs.

5. STF

The name STF makes the submission hold self-explanatory as it stands for Stepover Toehold Facelock. As the opponent is laying on the mat face down, the attacker bends and locks one of the legs between his own thighs. Then, he grabs the opponent’s head in a Facelock and pulls it back to put pressure on the neck, the back and the knee. The STF is very well-known nowadays because of John Cena, but a well-known variant is the Great Muta’s Inverted STF, better known as the Muta Lock. William Regal’s Regal Stretch is also a modified STF where the Facelock is applied under one of the opponent’s arms, thus applying the lock on the head sideways.


Let me wrap it up by wishing you all a happy new year. Be safe though, and make sure you come back next week for the next installment of Calling the Moves, brought to you by the Pro Wrestling Culture Cloud.

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