Texas Cloverleaf, Liontamer, Crippler Crossface, Anaconda Vice, Dragon Sleeper, Cobra Clutch, Cattle Mutilation, Sharpshooter (with or without bridge)... it seems like repetition is the norm for finisher-grade submission holds. It's a shame too, because I feel you can do so much with submission holds, a lot more than you can with regular impact finishers; you can be so much more creative. Then again, there seems to be a whole lot more in the way of impact finishers though.
Still though, to create your own, semi-unique submission doesn't take nearly as much creativity as it does to do an impact finisher in my humble opinion, so more people really should have unique submissions. To be fair, there are more than a few people out there who try to experiment with the tap-out game. In this entry, I'm going to list some of the moves I feel are standouts and rate them categorically. My six categories...
Effectiveness - How much damage does the move appear to do? In wrestling, a move's only as effective at how well it's sold, but to the ear untainted by announcer's call, some moves don't look like they'd hurt at all. This category measures how much the move "hurts."
Innovation - Is this move something that we've never seen before, be it on TV or in the e-feds? This category measures how creative the finisher is.
Mark-Out Factor - This is probably the most subjective category I have, because it's basically all about me :p Or moreover, it's the sort of "Holy shit" factor, the move's crowd-popping ability.
Ease of Application - Does the move take thirty years to apply? Or can you slap it on and have your opponent tapping in it in the time it takes to get a beer out of the fridge?
Character Fit - Does the move fit your character? Obviously, a move like Mandible Claw is going to work for Mankind better than it would blue-blood era Triple H. Stuff like that is a huge factor in how good a move is going to be for a certain wrestler.
Name - Does your move have a cool name or a highly pretentious one? Another big factor in how over a move is is the name.
All categories are ranked on a scale of 1 (worst) to 5 (best). I'll start with primarily A1E/MBE characters.
Now that that's all out of the way... the moves!
The Judas Cradle - Beast (A1E, UCW, EPW)
Move Description - "With his opponent face down on the mat, Beast steps over his opponent, facing their feet. He then sets up like a reverse figure four, but then bridges over backwards - over top of the opponent to prevent escape. The move puts unbearable pressure on the shins, knees, and quadriceps." -- From Beast's profile at The A1E site
The original mark-out submission finisher from A1E, the Cradle has been a staple in Beast's moveset for as long as Jarret's handled Beast.
Effectiveness - 4: I can definitely see this move legit ripping both ACLs. It looks a bit awkward, especially for someone of Beast's size, but I don't think this move would have a problem getting over.
Innovation - 4: It's a modification on moves like the inverted figure four or the Texas Cloverleaf, but it's still a modification that I haven't seen often if at all.
Mark-out Factor - 5: Beast has been using this since the beginning, and to me, it's the original of the crazy submissions (along with Nemesys' Wheel). It's longevity plus the relative rarity of it in terms of the rest of wrestling would make this a prime move to pop a crowd (and a regular A1E reader!).
Ease of Application - 3: For a larger wrestler such as Beast, this move may be harder to pull off. Although he specifies amazing dexterity and knowledge of submissions, any bridging move is going to take a good effort to do.
Character Fit: - 4: Beast is a self-professed submissions expert, and to be an expert, you have to know moves that the gen-pop doesn't. The only thing I don't like about this move for Beast though is his size makes it awkward looking and perhaps awkward to apply.
Name: - 5: It was a great name then because it fit Beast's dark heel nature. It's a great name now because of unmitigated nostalgia.
The Smiley Face - Chip Friendly (A1E)
Move Description - "A submission hold that works on the same theory as the Mandible Claw; while sitting on opponents back, Chip places two fingers from each hand into opponents mouth and - digging into the soft flesh behind the upper molars - pulls back, giving the mouth a weird grimace to it as he painfully pressurizes the nerves back there." -- From Chip's profile at The A1E site
It's a combination of two classic submissions: the camel clutch and the fishhook!
Effectiveness - 2: Mouth pain can be a bitch, but comparatively speaking, there's not a whole lot you can do to set this move up for its major kayfabed target area. Sure it also works like a camel clutch, but the mouth stuff is more for visual than physical effect. Plus, it can effectively be countered with a chomp.
Innovation - 2: I've had this done to me in the schoolyard, actually. I know it's not a fair way of judging the innovation, but I've seen it before. I probably should bump it up seeing no one else has it in eW, but I'm a stickler :p
Mark-out Factor - 5: This move is so old school that it's not even funny, and that's a good thing. This is the kind of move where you scream at the TV screen and say "HOLY SHITBALLS! I DO THAT TO MY FRIENDS IN THE SCHOOLYARD!"
Ease of Application - 4: The camel clutch is a pretty easy move to lock in. The fishhook part brings the easy part down, since it takes some finagling to get inside someone's mouth.
Character Fit: - 5: Your best friend makes you smile... if that's not a perfect fit of a move for a wrestler, I don't know what is.
Name: - 5: Once again, simple name, gets the effectiveness of the move across and it has a certain level of irony to it.
Double Trouble - IrishRed (A1E, UCW, EPW, MBE)
Move Description - "Knee off of the top rope to the opponent's kidney area into an ankle lock with knee still driving into the kidney area." -- From IrishRed's profile at A1Dub's Efed Smarts and Marks forum.
A high risk submission move from the original Midwestern Mafioso.
Effectiveness - 4: It's the best of two worlds, pressure on the ankle and attack on an internal organ. Anyone who's been punched in the kidneys can tell you that hurts like a mofo. Plus any move that gives an announcer the excuse to say the phrase "pissing blood" will always strike awe into any viewer who might have been questioning the move's efficacy in the past.
Innovation - 2: Both innovation points come from the actual knee drop part, which to my knowledge isn't used by anyone in e-fed or real fed. The ankle lock is garden variety. I'm gathering at least three people in any fed will have it listed in their movesets. Still, kudos for jazzing it up a bit.
Mark-out Factor - 3: It has the initial "HOLY SHIT" factor, but after that, the ankle lock has become sort of commonplace to viewers. Plus, it's not even his primary submission.
Ease of Application - 2: Each of the bookends of the move are easy to pull off, but it requires a very awkwardly contrived set up between the halves. Plus anything top-rope isn't going to be easy to apply.
Character Fit: - 4: Red is a rough and tumble road warrior, so the knee drop fights right in his "hurt you in any way possible" mentality. You'd think an ankle lock is too technical for him, but let's remember it's a fairly simple looking move and doesn't take a Kurt Angle to apply it correctly.
Name: - 3: It's part of a motif of naming signature moves after classic rock songs. The name signifies its two pronged nature, but there's something flat about it.
I'll be back with more later!