PW2C: Calling the Moves! (Part 1)

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Hello and welcome back to the 2nd installment of the Pro Wrestling Culture Cloud (PW2C)! Throughout this blog, you will be introduced to several aspects of the wrestling business, ranging from mainstream topics to the trivial, little known facts. Our only goal is to help you discover and refine your knowledge in pro wrestling while having fun and sharing your passion with other fans… You’re welcome!!!

Note: I spent quite some time wondering if I should use any pro wrestling terms so that casual fans of the sport sports entertainment can enjoy my entries as much as anybody else. That’s when I remembered this nice Wikipedia pro wrestling glossary that I recommend everybody to read so that you get more familiar with the jargon. With that being said, let’s get started.


Air Bourne or Shooting Star Press?

It has been quite some time now that WWE commentators have stopped calling the wrestling holds by their names for the sake of showcasing ‘sports entertainment’ at the expense of actual wrestling. As a result, several fans -including myself- got a little upset even though other organizations such as Ring of Honor (ROH) are still doing it the right way. On the other hand, there has also been a tendency to rename the wrestlers’ signature moves in order to better fit their gimmick (e.g. Jumping Roundhouse Kick to “Trouble in Paradise”, Fireman’s Carry Slam to FU/Attitude Adjustment), some of which actually stuck to this day at the expense of the real technical names. For these two reasons, I thought it was necessary to dedicate a few entries to the names of pro wrestling’s most famous moves, citing their origins -if available-, their best variants as well as the wrestlers that use them as signatures or finishers. Hopefully, this will become a regular section. RING THE BELL!!


1. Double Axe Handle (or the Double Axe Hammer)

Let’s start with a simple strike. Its name obviously describes its motion, as the attacking wrestler joins both hands and smashes his opponent in the head or the chest as if he was holding an axe or a sledgehammer. Recently, the Double Axe Handle name is more commonly restricted to the vertical attacks. As for the horizontal ones, they are generally labeled The Polish Hammer as it was made famous in wrestling matches by 70s and 80s Polish wrestler Ivan Putski. A notable example is Chris Masters’ WWE debut where he broke Stevie Richards’ nose.

2. Irish Whip (or Hammer Throw)

For some reason, I always found it strange that a normal throw to the ropes, turnbuckle or anywhere else would be given such a name. The meaning behind Irish Whip remains unclear although it is assumed that the Irish wrestler Danno O’Mahony, a former NWA World Heavyweight Champion in the 1930s, was the first to throw his opponents in a wrestling match… as a finisher! Don’t ask me how effective that was, but remember that the moves can evolve quickly and the actual Irish Whip may have consisted of more than a mere throw.

3. Clothesline

This is one of the basic, yet most famous strikes in pro wrestling. Instead of explaining the origin of the name, I will let the “Tom & Jerry” fan in you remember that scene where Tom ran after the mouse and got caught by the clothes line; literally (was that PG enough?). Unfortunately, there is no precision as to who might have imported it to the sport, which would have probably taken us back to earlier centuries. The Clothesline is often confused with the Lariat due to their similarity, and commentators do make that mistake as well. The difference (watch here) is that the Clothesline just needs the wrestler to extend his arm and wait for the opponent, whereas he actually moves the arm in order to connect with a Lariat. Several variants were established with time, including the Springboard Clothesline and the Flying Clothesline… and to anyone who thinks about Kane here, Daniel Bryan says “NO! NO! NO!”, it’s a Flying Lariat.

4. Shooting Star Press

If top-rope dives are the most impressive moves in pro wrestling, then the Shooting Star Press (SSP) has to be the most spectacular one. Just like many other aerial moves, it was invented by the Japanese legend Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger early in his career, before he even started his famous Japanese superhero gimmick. Nonetheless, he was never able to improve its execution as other wrestlers do nowadays. As if the highlights were not amazing enough, innovation carried on with spectacular but risky dives such as the 360 Shooting Star Press and the Shooting Star Leg Drop. One last thing, before Brock Lesnar’s botched SSP at Wrestlemania XIX is brought up, let’s share footage of his first SSP in a WWE dark match back in 2001. Now go ahead and “show the man some respect!” (CM Punk 2012)

5. Sharpshooter

Perhaps one of the most popular submission moves (at least before Cena’s STF debut, but you already know that). This hold has been used by a huge number of wrestlers during the last two decades. It might be surprising to fans who never watched programs aside from the WWE, but the original English name is the Scorpion Deathlock, which is derived from the Japanese name Sasori Gatame (Scorpion Hold). In fact, while 80s Japanese wrestler Riki Chōshū is credited for its invention, it was Sting who made it popular in America. As for the name Sharpshooter, Bret Hart claims that it simply related to his nickname the “Hitman”. The Sharphooter was also the move that was applied on Bret Hart during the infamous Montreal screwjob.


OK the Sharpshooter was enough for me to tap out and end this bout… I mean list. Hopefully, this is just the first of several move lists to come. Of course, you are encouraged to leave a comment and suggest a move that you feel has an unusual name or that you simply appreciate. In order for you to learn more wrestling moves in the meanwhile, I now leave the floor to “The Man of 1,004 Holds” Chris Jericho!



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