Sharpshooter (professional wrestling)

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Sting initially popularised the move in the United States as the "Scorpion Deathlock"

The sharpshooter, originally named sasori-gatame, scorpion hold in English,[1][2] is a professional wrestling submission hold. It is similar to several other holds: cloverleaf leg-lace, Boston crab, standing reverse figure-four leglock. It is also known by several alternative names, the most common being Scorpion Death-Lock. The move was invented by Japanese professional wrestler Riki Choshu,[3] and was popularized by Sting, who mostly does the standing variation rather than the sitting variation. However, it is most widely associated with Bret "Hitman" Hart, who used it extensively in his WWF career, and who dubbed it the Sharpshooter.[4]

The hold begins with the opponent supine on the mat. The applying wrestler (A) steps between the opponent's (O) legs with their own left leg and wraps O's legs at shin level around that leg. If A decides to cross O's legs around A's own right leg, A has to cross O's right leg over O's left or the left leg over the right. Holding O's legs in place, A then grabs O's leg which they have crossed over the other and steps over O, flipping O over into a prone position before leaning back to compress O's lower back. This move is used more commonly by Canadian wrestlers, typically in Canada, to get a bigger crowd reaction, since it is associated with Bret Hart and the Hart family; Canadian wrestlers Edge and Chris Benoit were also notable users of the move.[5][6][7]

History and variations[edit]

Edge, applying the variation of a kneeling sharpshooter on CM Punk.
Natalya applying a double sharpshooter on Eve Torres and Layla.

While Bret "Hitman" Hart is the wrestler with whom the Sharpshooter is most often associated, Ronnie Garvin and Sting were the first wrestlers to prolifically use the hold in North America, during which time it was called the "scorpion death-lock", deriving from the original Japanese name.[8] In Hart's autobiography, he noted that prior to his first major singles push, Pat Patterson asked if he could do a "Scorpion Death Lock", which he was familiar with from Japan, but did not know how to execute. Hart revealed that the only person in the locker room who knew how to execute the move was Konnan, who taught it to Hart.[9] Its name was based on Hart's "Hit Man" nickname (from the underworld slang hit, murder). In WWF publications of the era, Bret's father Stu Hart, long known as a trainer in the game, was generally given credit for devising the move. Edge innovated an inverse variation, which he has dubbed the Edgecator, where he would apply the hold normally, only to face the opposite direction and kneel on the opponent's legs.

The Sharpshooter was infamously used in the Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series in 1997. Shawn Michaels applied Hart's own Sharpshooter on him. Vince McMahon double-crossed Hart by ordering referee Earl Hebner to ring the bell and award the match to Michaels, despite Hart never having submitted. This moment would be referenced within kayfabe through various future events; McMahon repeated the action at the next year's Survivor Series in 1998, as part of a storyline, during the "Deadly Game" tournament final between The Rock and Mankind. Another occurred on Saturday Night's Main Event XXXII, during a Street Fight between Shawn Michaels and Shane McMahon.

Scorpion cross lock[edit]

Also known as an inverted sharpshooter combined with a double chickenwing, this hold sets up the same as the sharpshooter, with the opponent supine on the mat with the applying wrestler stepping between the opponent's legs with their right leg, and wrapping the opponent's legs at shin level around that leg. However, instead of stepping over the opponent to flip them, the applying wrestler flips the opponent over from left-to-right, keeping the opponent in front of them. The applying wrestler then leans over the opponent and grabs their arms, applying a double chicken wing to the opponent. The applying wrestler then squats back, lifting the opponent's torso into the air. The move was used by Bull Nakano and formerly used by the former SmackDown general manager Paige as the PTO.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chris Benoit (applying), The Great Sasuke (receiving), Tazz (commentating) (2004). Hard Knocks: The Chris Benoit Story (DVD). World Wrestling Entertainment.
  2. ^ Archived 2015-10-16 at the Wayback Machine Who invented the Sharpshooter?
  3. ^ Heard, Robert (2007-11-27). "Japanese Wrestling Moves". Wrestling 101. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
  4. ^ "The 20 Most Iconic Finishing Moves in Wrestling History". Complex Networks.
  5. ^ "WWE/TNA: The Rock and the Top 5 Sharpshooter Masters of All Time". Bleacher Report.
  6. ^ "Why Cesaro Uses the Sharpshooter". 22 February 2018.
  7. ^ "Masa Saito passes away after long battle with Parkinson's disease". 16 July 2018.
  8. ^ Ross, Jim (2009-07-05). "Sting used the Scorpion Deathlock before Bret Hart". JR's BBQ. Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
  9. ^ The Pink & Black attacks Inbox - WWE Inbox - Episode 71