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The wrestler stands over the opponent who is lying on the mat face up and grasps a leg of the opponent. The wrestler then does a spinning toe hold and grasps the other leg, crossing them into a "4" (hence the name) as he does so and falls to the mat, applying pressure to the opponent's crossed legs with his own. While the hold applies pressure to the knee, it actually can be very painful to the shin of the victim. While the move is primarily a submission move, if the opponent has his shoulders on the mat, the referee can make a three count for a pinfall. If the referee is distracted, heel wrestlers may grab onto the ropes while executing the move to gain leverage and inflict more pain. This variation is the most famous version, made famous by Ric Flair and innovated by Buddy Rogers, and is also the finisher of choice for several legends like Greg Valentine, Dusty Rhodes, The Miz, AJ Styles, Jeff Jarrett, Tito Santana and a bridging variation by Charlotte (which she calls the Figure 8). A modified variation exists more recently used by Shawn Michaels where the wrestler takes one of the opponent's legs, turns 90 degrees, then grabs the opponent's other leg and crosses it with the other, puts one foot in between and the other on the other leg, and then bridges over. With enough strength and willpower, the wrestler on defense can flip himself (and also their opponent) over onto their belly, which is said to reverse the pressure to the one who initially had the hold locked in. This counter to the figure four is often called a modified Indian deathlock or sometimes referred to as a sharpshooter variant.
Haas of Pain
This modified inverted reverse figure-four leglock variation sees the wrestler cross one leg of an opponent over the and stand on the crossed leg, then take hold of the free leg and lay down on his back, raising the opponent's legs up into the air and causing pain to their legs and lower back. The name is derived from Charlie and Russ, the Haas Brothers, who innovated this move.
Inverted figure-four ankle lock
This submission hold involves a combination of the figure-four leglock and the ankle lock. However, instead of locking the opponents legs in a "4" shape, the attacking wrestler crosses one of the opponent's legs over to the other leg. Then the attacking wrestler grapevines the other leg and performs an ankle lock submission hold.
Inverted figure-four leglock
The wrestler stands over a prone opponent and takes hold of a leg of the opponent. The wrestler then does a spinning toe hold and grasps the other leg, crossing them into a "4" as they do so and falls back to the mat, applying pressure to the opponent's crossed legs with his own.
Inverted three-quarter figure-four leglock
The opponent is lying face down on the ground. The wrestler kneels over the opponent's thighs with his left leg between the opponent's leg, then bends his opponent's left leg around his left thigh. After that he places the opponent's right leg over the opponent's left ankle and puts his own right leg under the opponent's left ankle. Finally, he puts both of his feet over the opponent's right foot and presses on it.
Kneeling figure-four leglock
The opponent is down on their back with the wrestler standing over one of their legs. The wrestler applies a spinning toehold, crosses the opponent's legs and kneels on them.
Modified figure-four leglock
This version is a variant which sees the opponent face up with the wrestler grabbing the opponent's legs, puts his own leg through it and twists them as if doing a sharpshooter, but instead puts his other leg on the foot of the opponent nearest to him, drops down to the mat and applies pressure.
Reverse figure-four leglock
The wrestler using this move stands over the opponent with the opponent face up and grasps a leg of the opponent. The wrestler then turns 90 degrees and grasps the other leg, crossing them as he does so and falls to the mat, applying pressure to the opponent's crossed legs with his own.
Ringpost figure-four leglock
Sometimes called the 'Flying Figure-Four', the opponent is either downed or standing next to one of the ring corner posts. The wrestler exits the ring to the outside and drags the opponent by the legs towards the ringpost, so that the post is between the opponent's legs (similar to when somebody 'crotches' their opponent with the ringpost). The executor then stands next to the ring apron, on the outside of the turnbuckle/ropes and applies the figure four leglock with the ringpost between the opponent's legs. The performer of the hold then falls back while grabbing the opponent's legs/feet, hanging upside down from the ring apron. The ringpost assists the move, creating more damage and leverage to the opponent's knee. The move was innovated by Bret Hart.
Standing figure-four leglock
The opponent is down on their back with the wrestler standing over one of their legs with one foot placed on either side of the leg. The wrestler plants his foot in the knee of the opponents other leg and then bends that leg at the knee over the top of the first leg forming the figure four. The wrestler then bridges back.