What a maneuver! 15 moves that really exist


A submission maneuver with international appeal, the Octopus Stretch is a torturous device that has ended matches in North America, Europe and Asia. The stretch dates back to the early 20th century, with its first practitioners being not-quite-household names like Clarence Eklund (“Wrestling’s Octopus”) and Kansas City, Mo., heavyweight champion Homer Wright.

An amplified abdominal stretch, the Octopus Hold owes its pain-inflicting ways entirely to leverage and technique. It’s applied by grapevining an opponent’s leg, wrapping a free leg around the neck and — in a final, painful insult — yanking back on the opponent’s arm. The result for the intended target is an overstretched pectoral muscle, a downwardly contorted neck and a scrunched-up mid-section. (WATCH)

More contemporary Octopus proponents include WWE Hall of Famers Antonio Inoki (who once used the hold to make Mil Mascaras cry “tio” in Japan) and a young Ricky Steamboat. The stretch rounded out the multifaceted arsenals of world travelers Dynamite Kid, Owen Hart and Tajiri, and it was a potent weapon for Midwestern fan favorite Luis Martinez (though Martinez struggled to lock it in against the larger Moose Cholak).

Especially effective when used by long-limbed Superstars, who’s to say the Octopus Stretch isn’t destined for a comeback? — JOHN CLAPP