The 10 most dangerous submission holds in WWE right now
Submissions have been a key part of the mat game since way back when Ed "Strangler" Lewis was dropping guys with a headlock, but never in sports-entertainment history has the WWE roster been as loaded with shooters so adept at manipulating joints. MMA fighters, world-traveled grapplers and even an honest to god Olympic gold medalist are all prowling the locker room, looking for a vulnerable limb to grab onto and rend into oblivion. But which maneuver designed to make an opponent cry uncle is the most effective?
Submitted for your approval, here are the 10 most dangerous submission holds in WWE right now.
Becky Lynch's Dis-arm-her
Becky Lynch’s Dis-arm-her is one of those holds where you either tap out or suffer an injury that will put you on the sidelines. Not only does Lynch bend her victim’s arm at an impossible angle, but she sits squarely on their back and shoulder, applying leverage and an increased amount of pressure on the joints. If an opponent doesn’t buckle under the intense force of Lynch’s patented hold, they risk suffering severe and permanent damage to their limbs. And not only is the Dis-arm-her one of the most dangerous holds in WWE right now, but its name is the best pun going. — KEVIN POWERS
Kurt Angle's Ankle Lock
There have been many imitations, but there is only one genuine Ankle Lock perfectly executed by WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle. Triple H, John Cena and even The Undertaker have all tapped out to the legendary hold. Sure, a few Superstars have been lucky enough to escape it, but the Ankle Lock invariably neutralizes their speed and makes them vulnerable to the rest of The Olympic Hero’s dangerous arsenal. He may not get the opportunity to break it out as much as he used to, but every WWE Superstar knows that if Angle gets ahold of their ankle, their days of walking comfortably are over. — KEVIN POWERS
Shayna Baszler's Kirifuda Clutch
As we’ve already illustrated, most submissions offer their victims two options: Tap or snap. Shayna Baszler’s Kirifuda Clutch is a little different. A vice-like rear-naked choke that’s near-impossible to escape, The Queen of Spades’ signature hold is an MMA staple that has already become a feared maneuver within the yellow ropes of NXT. It may not have the panache of an Indian Deathlock or a Figure-Four, but its success comes from its simplicity, and the ferocity of Baszler that offers her opponents a slight variation on those options we presented up top: Tap or nap. — ANTHONY BENIGNO
Johnny Gargano's Gargano Escape
Wanna know the last thing you want to feel near the end of a grueling catch-as-catch-can classic? A brutal submission with virtually no room to wiggle out of. Enter the Gargano Escape.
Johnny Gargano’s Gargano Escape — get it? — totally neutralizes one of the target’s arms while implementing a neck wrenching crossface. It has proven to be the perfect closer for Johnny Wrestling. When a match is ultra-competitive, the Gargano Escape is Johnny’s ace in the hole — and it’s a hole no one can climb out of. — RYAN PAPPOLLA
Samoa Joe's Coquina Clutch
Samoa Joe showed the entire WWE roster why they should fear the Coquina Clutch when he made his Raw debut. The submission specialist trapped Seth Rollins in a rear-naked choke, then brought him to the mat, injuring his knee and putting him on the shelf.
Joe has used the move to incapacitate even the most powerful Superstars, putting Roman Reigns to sleep and turning Brock Lesnar purple. No matter how much a Superstar struggles, the Coquina Clutch only becomes tighter and tighter. — JEFF LABOON
Charlotte Flair's Figure-Eight Leglock
Combine the pure athleticism of Charlotte Flair with the pinpoint precision of her old man, Ric, and you get the Figure-Eight Leglock, a modified version of The Nature Boy’s signature hold that takes away the time-honored, “just roll over” counter to the move. By bridging up on her hands, Charlotte inverts the hold to a 90-degree angle, combing the painful effects of the lock with a contorting position that’s near impossible to escape. Asuka was undefeated until she found herself trapped in this move. ‘Nuff said. — ANTHONY BENIGNO
Daniel Bryan's "Yes!" Lock
Before Daniel Bryan started blanking dudes with a running knee to the face, he was primarily known for his skills on the mat. This maneuver, innovated by the legendary grappler and Ronda Rousey mentor Gene LeBell, was the crown jewel of The Beard’s deep arsenal. This omoplata-crossface hybrid puts equal pressure on the nose and shoulder, contorting its recipient to the point that a submission is all but guaranteed. That Bryan re-named it the “Yes!” Lock was an initial sign of his growing hubris, but as his popularity crested into The “Yes!” Movement, it’s taken on a different meaning altogether: Now, he’s tapping out guys for us. — ANTHONY BENIGNO
Asuka's Asuka Lock
When Asuka cinches in her eponymous Asuka Lock, it’s only of time before her opponent screams for the bell.
The Empress of Tomorrow traps her opponents in a Crossface Chicken Wing, then drags them to the mat by clenching her legs around their body. Even if the opponent can somehow free themselves from Asuka’s body scissors, there’s no escape from the twisting and torqueing she applies to the head and neck with the crossface. Any attempts to reach for the ropes are futile. With nowhere to go, panic sets in and it’s only a matter of seconds before they’re tapping. — JEFF LABOON
AJ Styles' Calf Crusher
If the Styles Clash doesn’t get you, and if you don’t find yourself seeing cartoon birds after eating a Phenomenal Forearm, AJ Styles can still beat you on the mat with the Calf Crusher. Another MMA gem finding its foothold (no pun) thanks to The Phenomenal One’s amateur know-how, the move essentially sees AJ put maximum pressure on his opponent’s calf by driving it as hard as possible into his own shin bone. Sounds relatively innocuous, true, but it’s brutal, and a testament to Styles’ skill that he can defeat you with any one of his limbs. — ANTHONY BENIGNO
Ronda Rousey's Armbar
She don’t give a damn ’bout her reputation… nor does she care in the slightest about ripping her opponent’s arm out of its socket.
Ronda Rousey’s Armbar is arguably the most devastating submission not just in WWE, but in all of combat sports. It’s won Ronda titles and set records in MMA and has now earned her a victory at WrestleMania.
With “Rowdy” Ronda able to apply the hold out of virtually any exchange, opponents can never expect when they’re going to be in danger of feeling its excruciating impact. Try to charge at Ronda, and you’ll be in trouble. Try to strike Rousey, and you’re probably gonna get caught. The Armbar will get you coming and going before it lands you squarely in a local medical facility. — RYAN PAPPOLLA