The Art of the Finish(er): Submission Edition

When I submitted my last write-up to Cageside Seats, I figured that that was probably good enough to establish a pattern. There are many different types of finishers out there, and there is little doubt that a fully-educated smark like myself (as opposed to my noob-like tendencies earlier on) could mine that topic endlessly until it got as tiring as listening to Cena's attempts to ape the Rock's promo style. Because there are a ton of finishers out there, and plenty of adjectives to work with as well. But then an astute reader wondered whether there would be a submission edition to this (hopefully) series, and that got me thinking.

Originally? No, there wasn't. And my thought process worked something like this: because each submission hold might be different in execution and limb targeting, the end result is the same, and that is to get your opponent to taptaptap like a little girl. It's essentially this, except in front of an audience of millions instead of just your terrified friends.

But then I realized that that logic is stupid. Because if I were to follow that train of thought, that would cancel out literally everything I wrote for my last post (down to the punctuation). Because, after all, aren't all finishers designed to get that 1-2-3, and in a wide variety of ways? Of course they are. And because I love you all so much, I've compiled another list of finishers that cover a variety of subjective categories, which each of these finishers understandably being my personal choice of best finisher for that category. As always, just because I say that a submission is the best submission does not in any way make your own choice less worthwhile than mine. With that said, let's begin.


Look, nobody wants to suffer the indignity of tapping out. Even it is a case of you clearly being bested by a better combatant, the tough-guy (or girl, mind you) mentality in all of us would rather drink Undertaker's spit than tap that mat. But sometimes we have to man up (or girl up), and admit that we've been defeated, and that we will try again at another time and place.

Of course, it really doesn't help matters when you've been stretched into this position.

Let's see: bent over backwards? Check. Opponent clearly in a domineering position? Check. Quite frankly, being put in the elevated Boston Crab (the Walls of Jericho for you Y2J marks like me) is a damn embarrassing position for to be caught in. It doesn't help matters that Chris Jericho is usually screaming like a lunatic while he does it, giving the thing some creepy Deliverance-sorta vibe. Why? Why does he feel the need to do that? There's also one last bit of little known trivia that I have discovered from personal experience (disclaimer: I don't wrestle, but I do practice judo and jiujitsu and every now and then we've learned a submission like this one): When you're properly locked into this position, you can't breathe. The point of pressure is on your lower back, but the attacker is gonna make damn sure that your face is pressed against the ground as well so that you can't even whimper, much less scream like Cena in the video above.


You know, I really don't like this guy. Like, really, really don't like this guy. I feel I need to include that disclaimer, because this is the second time that I've included him in one of my posts. But gosh darn it, as big of a prima donna as he comes off as in his country-boy kinda way, he deserves a spot on this list for this move.

Brock Lesnar is a video game character, really. He looks like a guy that you've loaded all of your skill points into the "Brawn" category, yet when the game begins your poor foes realize that you've also added in maximum points to the speed and agility categories as well despite that blatantly breaking the game's physics engine. And when your opponents scream HAXORZ! (I don't play online computer games, I'm admittedly a little behind on the lingo), you're too busy pressing buttons to make him rip peoples' arms off and then slap them with them to care or hear their cries. (Maybe I'd better not give Paul Heyman any ideas...)

Anyway, the Kimura lock is one of the most popular moves in UFC and mixed martial arts, so I guess it's no surprise that Brock decided to bring it with him back to WWE after spending a short yet incredibly effective career of hitting people so hard they became cartoon characters. Having learned how to perform this move as well (clumsily, might I add), I think there's something that needs to be pointed out. As one would expect, the Kimura is targeting not one but two points of pressure: the shoulder joint and the elbow. Second, do you know how much pressure it takes to torque someone's arm into dislocation if you've applied a kimura from open guard? Not fucking much. I gently turned a sparring partner's arm about half an inch and he was howling with pain (thankfully, I hadn't broken anything like the stupid caveman I can be on the mat; just scared him...and myself, frankly). And that's me the meek regular person applying a Kimura. I'm gonna go out on a limb (no pun intended) and say that Brock Lesnar doesn't have that same moral qualm that I do.

It's a move that can come from anywhere as long as you can grab your opponent's arm, and is incredibly dangerous. Don't believe me? Ask Kurt Angle, who nearly had his arm ripped off by some kid who thought he'd be cool and embarrass the professional wrestler without telling him what was coming. Looking back and watching that video, I'm amazed that Kurt didn't straight up kill the guy. Though admittedly, perhaps he had it coming.


*Sigh*...I'm gonna be totally honest with you guys. As entertaining as I find wrestling, it absolutely boggles my mind as to the sheer quantity of gimmicks or characters or story lines that have absolutely flopped. That being said, this next submission finisher made me sit and stare at the rough draft version of this post for a good five minutes before I could think of something to write about it that didn't make me want to take an unprotected gore from Rhyno. I mean...

...It speaks for itself, really.

Lex Luger is a big, big man. He looks and speaks like a walking cartoon character, and if at least half of that muscle mass isn't attributable to steroid usage, then someone has got to be kidding me. He's damn lucky that he had his career during the 80's and 90's, because if he tried...that move in 2014, he'd be laughed out of the building.

I mean, I understand in Kayfabe that the idea is he's smashing your back onto his gleaming, rock-hard muscles, but that description relies on two things to make it believable: one, that a move a father would give to their children as a form of kiddie-entertainment is in fact a deadly submission move that could break their backs if left unchecked, and two, that that description proves wrestlers have no sense of irony about their choice of words.

See? Even in the realm of "logic" professional wrestling uses, it barely makes sense! Which is a damn shame, because Lex Luger coulda been Kurt Angle before Kurt Angle was Kurt Angle. Speaking of whom...


Hm, based on the writing of the last post, this choice of word deserves some clarification. When I say domineering, I want an attacker who is in a position of absolute power, with no chance of the move being countered (except by the desperate grabbing of the ropes), and targets a very sensitive area of the body AND looks damn awesome while he does it.

Kurt Angle is the Monet of making people tap, the Picasso of pulling peoples' ankles off. There are few better visuals to describe one wrestler clearly asserting his utter dominance over his opponent than Kurt Angle wrenching his foe's ankle in an effort to make their foot do a 180, whilst the poor sap lies on the ground screaming and crying like a little girl. And it's one thing to get people to look bad, but it enters another dimension entirely when you can get them to look bad AND get them to admit defeat. It is literally adding insult to injury. Plus, lest we forget, during his heyday Kurt Angle got everyone to tap to the Ankle Lock. Mick Foley. Stone Cold Steve Austin. Shawn Michaels. Kane. John Cena. Hulk Hogan. Brock Lesnar. Randy Orton. I could literally go on and on.

Sometimes I just wish he'd come back just to make everyone on the current roster tap out. I know I'd pay money to see him do it to Jack Swagger.


C'mon. What move did you think it was gonna be?

Long before Tazz popularized the concept of "tapping out" to submission moves, Bret Hart was making people scream uncle like little girls. And somehow, some way, he managed to make the move exciting. Anyone can get a pop from the crowd with a standard 1-2-3 finisher, but The Hitman was getting people psyching out from the Sharpshooter like it was the Tombstone.

It's got everything. It looks painful, and the way that Hart reeeeeally sits back into it means you know the opponent isn't just playing that his lower back is getting pulled in half. It's actually about to snap like a twig. It has a kickass name, too. The Sharpshooter. Sweet Mick Foley, that is incredibly badass. That's like being named Max Fightmaster or something.

And? There must be something in the water where the Hart Family comes from, because though many, many people have tried this move, no one has done it better than The Hitman and the Hart Dynasty.

Take the most electrifying sharpshooter, for example...

Pssh. Lookin' awfully loose there, Rocky. I betcha The Miz is getting a nice back-stretch out of the deal!

Now let's look at Natayla's Sharpshooter...

Good God Almighty, I didn't know that human beings could bend that far. In fact, I'm pretty sure that they can't, and Melina is currently pursuing a second career as a human slinky at this point. At least she won't have to waste any money on a chiropractor in the future.

I guess I was wrong after all. There are countless forms of submission finishers out there, and each is unique in their own way. Though, as awesome as they all are, I think at the end of the day the best one has got to the be arguably the most famous submission hold of all time. It's both the move that remains etched in as the catalyst for the most infamous moment in the history of professional wrestling, and it's part of the send-off of one of the most amazing careers in professional wrestling history. It's the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.

...for now, anyway.


I have to say (Woooo!) that this is a move that originally I wasn't going to (Wooooo!) include because I figured that the Sharpshooter is slightly more imitated than (Wooooooo!) this move. But any wrestling fan worth his salt needs to include (WOOO!) a move by a man that is synonymous with (WOOOOOOO!) -All right, all right!!

Here's the finisher of the limousine-ridin', jet-flyin', wheelin' dealin' kiss-stealin' sunavagun, Mr. Ric Flair.


Once again, here's where you Cagesiders come in. Think there's any moves that I missed, or mischaracterized, or are better for the categories I've created? Let me know in the comments below. Tune in next time!


No pressure, right? Thanks for reading, everyone.


Once again, I'm not gonna say anything about this move other than it take place at a CHIKARA match, and that I personally have wondered why no one has thought to try this. Because damn if it isn't a clever set-up by Dasher Hatfield.

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.