A new “‘leaf”: Sheamus discusses his devastating submission hold

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September 09, 2012

Sheamus locks in the Cloverleaf on David Otunga

Thanks to some persuasive health and safety arguments made by Harvard-educated legal expert David Otunga on the Sept. 7 edition of SmackDown, blue brand General Manager Booker T announced that World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus’ Brogue Kick is officially prohibited from use. Although banning this incapacitating boot to the face seemingly puts The Great White at a disadvantage as his Night of Champions clash with Alberto Del Rio approaches, Sheamus has recently made an addition to his arsenal that more than levels the playing field.

On Monday Night Raw, the World Heavyweight Champion put away Jack Swagger in surprising fashion by utilizing a rarely seen Cloverleaf submission maneuver, a leglock innovated by WWE Hall of Famer Dory Funk Jr. (WATCH) Then, after Booker T handed down his shocking Brogue Kick-barring decree on SmackDown, The Celtic Warrior utilized the move once again, this time making Otunga – the very Superstar that lobbied to have Sheamus’ signature boot banned – tap out. (WATCH | PHOTOS)

It’s no secret that Sheamus owes a great deal of his success over the past year to the Brogue Kick; besides earning him an 18-second World Heavyweight Title victory over Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania XXVIII, the move has helped him retain that title for the last five months. Yet even though Sheamus’ signature pump kick has been his chosen method for finishing off his opponents, one would be unwise to underestimate the self-described “hooligan’s” technical versatility.

“No matter what, you have to keep evolving. I’ve always believed that,” the World Heavyweight Champion told WWE.com. “I’ve always tried to keep adding to my move set, and the one thing I’ve never fully utilized is a submission hold.”

Sheamus explained that WCW and WWE alumnus Dean Malenko, a competitor synonymous with the move commonly referred to as the “Texas Cloverleaf,” inspired him to master the hold.
(MORE ON DEAN MALENKO)

“Dean was one of the greatest submission experts ever, and as history has seen, he’s made hundreds and hundreds of Superstars tap out [to the Cloverleaf],” Sheamus said. “It’s one of the most agonizing and painful submission holds, and it’s also one of the most effective. Plus, being Irish, the Cloverleaf fits me well.”

By “fitting” him, The Great White is also referring to how relentlessly brutal the Cloverleaf is. Once properly applied, the move compresses an opponent’s legs while putting a strain on the spine and abdomen.

“I’m a brawler, and most of my moves impact the backs of my opponents,” Sheamus said, referring to a gamut of maneuvers that includes the notorious Irish Curse backbreaker and his punishing White Noise. “The Cloverleaf definitely capitalizes on a weaker back, especially when you lock it in and sit back on it.”

Four-leafed clovers – a rarity, as they commonly have only three – are a symbol of good luck according to Celtic lore, but this Cloverleaf could spell misfortune for Del Rio at Night of Champions on Sept. 16. For the first time in both Superstars’ tumultuous history, Sheamus has perfected a submission hold that can match up to The Mexican Aristocrat’s excruciating Cross Armbreaker.

“Del Rio’s Cross Armbreaker submission is highly effective – it just recently made Randy Orton tap out,” Sheamus said, referencing The Viper’s No. 1 Contender’s Match with The Mexican Aristocrat on the Aug. 24 edition of SmackDown. (WATCH | PHOTOS) “Alberto and I know each other very well, fella, but this will hopefully give me the edge going into Night of Champions, so I can finally put him away once and for all.”

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