Calling the Moves – Detailing the Frog Splash, Torture Rack & More (Videos & 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.

The late Eddie Guerrero attempting his signature Frog Splash on Kurt Angle

1. Snapmare

We can consider it as a transitional move, as it has little to no impact on the opponent besides getting dizzy perhaps. The Snapmare consists of putting a Three-Quarter Facelock with the opponent standing behind, kneeling down and pulling his head to flip him and let him land on the back or on the bottom. The attacker can then follow with just about any attack, ranging from a simple kick or a Dropkick to holds like a Sleeper. The Snapmare is commonly used by female wrestlers, and even though I cannot confirm it, may have been first used by the late Fabulous Moolah. Nowadays, there exist many variants where the attacker changes the Snapmare into another move; one instance is the Snapmare Driver.

2. Tilt-A-Whirl

Ever heard of the Tilt-A-Whirl ride (or Waltzer in Europe)? Well, Tilt-A-Whirl maneuvers in wrestling are quite similar, the difference being that the ride spins on a flat surface whereas the wrestlers spin their opponents vertically. The hold is mostly used to counterattack charging opponents to anticipate running attacks. The counterattacking wrestler thus holds the attacker’s back and flips him in a 180° or 360° rotation to connect with a slam most of the time. Examples include the Tilt-A-Whirl Backbreaker and the Tilt-A-Whirl Side Slam, which are common among high-flyers. The attacker himself can take advantage of the counterattack by turning it into a DDT or a Headscissors of his own (as shown here by AJ Lee and Sin Cara).

3. Frog Splash

In kayfabe, this aerial attack gives more impact than the normal splash because of the brief condensing-stretching of the body after the leap. Originally, the Frog Splash was invented by the late Art Barr who was Eddie Guerrero’s tag team partner in his early days. His gesture when he was up in the air was close to that of a jumping frog (watch here), hence the name. After Art Barr’s death in 1994, Eddie Guerrero adopted a slight variation as his finisher to show respect. Chavo Guerrero jr. would do the same following Eddie’s death in 2005. Besides the Latino Heat, the move is often associated with Rob Van Dam as well. RVD has the ability to connect regardless of the opponent’s position in the ring and calls it the Five Star Frog Splash.

4 / 5. Torture Rack / Argentine Hold

Despite being simply known as the Backbreaker Rack, the former name was made famous by Lex Luger and refers to the similarity of the submission hold with the torture device known as the rack, in which the victim was stretched from both ankles and wrists. In pro wrestling, the Torture Rack is applied when the opponent is placed across the shoulders on his back and the attacker puts pressure on his head and leg(s). Several variations exist, a nice instance being the Backbreaker Drop where the attacker kneels or sits down to add more impact. Applying the same hold when the opponent’s body is on the attacker’s shoulder is a Canadian Backbreaker Rack.

The Torture Rack was introduced to the wrestling scene by Hall of Famer and 50s legend Antonino Rocca who, due to his Argentinian citizenship, made it known as the Argentine Backbreacker Rack. On a side note, the term Argentine has become a technical term to describe any move that implies the initial carrying across the shoulders with the opponent’s laying on his back. This video shows some of the innovated moves based on the Argentine hold.

 

That concludes this week’s edition of Calling the Moves. Feel free to share your comments in the section below. If you have any wrestling move that you want to see here, just let me know. If you also enjoyed the first entry of WWE RAW Flashbacks, come back next Monday for the second installment. Until then, have a nice weekend.


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