Pro Wrestling

Transition holds

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Some holds are meant neither to pin an opponent, nor weaken them or force them to submit, but are intended to set up the opponent for another attack.

Arm trap

This is when a wrestler holds both the opponent's arms under his own, from here the opponent is left prone and unable to counter or move away from the wrestler. Al Snow was known to deliver a series of headbutts from this position, while other wrestlers use this to secure a suplex.


Technically known as a double underhook. The wrestler and the opponent begin facing one another, with the opponent bent over. The wrestler approaches the opponent and reaches under the opponent's shoulders, then threads their arms up and around the opponent's torso, with their hands meeting in the middle of the opponent's back or neck (essentially an inverted full nelson hold). The hold in itself is not a submission move, and is more commonly a set up for various throws, drops or slams, but it can be applied from various positions that cause it to become one. Mick Foley would commonly use the butterfly to execute a DDT.

When the opponent is seated on the mat while the wrestler applies the butterfly hold it is known as a butterfly lock. Matt Hardy uses a variation called the Scar where he applies the double underhook and then wraps his legs around the torso of the opponent, in a body scissors.

Collar-and-elbow tie up

This is a stand-up grappling position where both wrestlers have a collar tie, and hold the opponent's other arm at the elbow. The collar-and-elbow is generally a neutral position, but by pushing the hand on the elbow up and towards the inside of the opponent's arms, a controlling wrestler can turn an opponent into a belly-to-back position. Alternatively, if a controlling wrestler pushes forward while releasing the collar tie they can wrap their extended arm around the head of their opponent back round to their own other arm to sinch in a side headlock.


The wrestler stands in front of and facing a bent over opponent and places them in a gutwrench waistlock. The wrestler then flips the opponent up and over so the opponent is lying face up on the back of the wrestler. The wrestler then moves his hands to the upper arm or wrists of the opponent, holding them in position, and spreading the arms of the opponent (as though they were being crucified). This is mainly often a set-up for a Crucifix Powerbomb.

Reverse crucifix

The wrestler stands in front of and with their back to a standing opponent. The wrestler then leans backwards and seizes the opponent around the waist, pulling them forward and upwards so they are lying across the shoulder of the opponent, facing downwards. The wrestler then takes hold of the upper arms or wrists of the opponent and spreads them, holding the opponent in place.

Electric chair

A transitional hold in which an attacking wrestler hoists an opponent up onto their shoulders so that they are both facing in the same direction

It is often used to set up various drops and slams in singles competition. However it is more often used in double team maneuver, in which another wrestler uses flying attacks to knock opponents off the shoulders of the wrestler. (See Doomsday Device.)

Like many transition holds, the defensive wrestler often uses the position to perform a variety of counter moves, most notably the Victory roll.

Fireman's carry

The wrestler bends over with the opponent standing to the side of the wrestler. The wrestler then pulls the opponent's arm over his/her farthest shoulder and distributes the wrestler's body over his/her shoulders while having the other hand between and holding onto one of the opponent's legs and stands up. The opponent is draped face-down across the wrestler's shoulders, with the wrestler's arms wrapped around from behind. It is a key component of several throws, drops and slams.

There is also a variation,in which the opponent is held diagonally across the wrestlers back with their legs across one shoulder and head under the opposite shoulder (usually held in place with a facelock). There is a third variation in which a wrestler lift his opponent across his shoulders and then proceeds to slam his opponent to the mat.

Gorilla press

A transition lift many throws, drops and slams can be performed. It became a popular technique for larger and stronger wrestlers as the lift is seen to emphasize their height and power.


A set up for many throws and slams, this sees the attacking wrestler put a bent at the waist opponent to one side of him, reach the near hand around and lock his hands around the waist. A common move out of this transition can be a powerbomb.

Lady of the Lake

This is a move used to trick an unsuspecting opponent. The wrestler sits down, crosses his or her legs, tucks their head into their chest and wraps one arm around their ankle (so they are effectively rolled into a ball). The wrestler then extends their remaining arm between their legs and then waits. The opponent, ostensibly confused, normally takes the offered hand, at which point the wrestler rolls forward and into an arm lock. This move can be easily countered into an entanglement submission hold.

The Lady of the Lake is an old British wrestling technique where it was most useful in the context of classic rules that limited attacking a downed opponent. The move is often called the Johnny Saint Special in reference to British wrestler Johnny Saint who popularized the hold which was invented by his mentor, George Kidd.

The Matrix

This is an evasion which sees the wrestler doing a "Matrix" (bending over backwards into a standing bridge, such as when Neo does a similar move near the end of the first Matrix movie) to avoid a clothesline or any other attack. This move was popularized by Elix Skipper during his run in WCW and TNA and later Trish Stratus during her run in WWE which it was called the "MaTrish"


The wrestler sits on top of the opponent's torso, facing their head, with his legs on either side. When the opponent is facing down the position is referred to as back mount. Various strikes to the opponent's head are often performed from this position.


The wrestler stands behind his opponent and bends him forward. One of the opponent's arms is pulled back between his legs and held, while the other arm is hooked, then the wrestler lifts the opponent up over his shoulder. From here many throws, drops and slams can be performed.


Facing his opponent, the wrestler reaches between his opponent's legs with one arm and reaches around their back from the same side with his other arm. The wrestler lifts his opponent up so they are horizontal across the wrestlers body. From here many throws, drops and slams can be performed.

Skin the cat

Popularized by Ricky Steamboat, this defensive maneuver is used when a wrestler is thrown over the top rope. While being thrown over the wrestler grabs the top rope with both hands and holds on so that they end up dangling from the top rope but not landing on the apron or on the floor. The wrestler then proceeds to lift their legs over their head and rotate their body back towards the ring to go back over the top rope and into the ring, landing in the ring on their feet. WWE wrestler Shawn Michaels has been known to use this maneuver on a number of occasions, most notably using it to win the 1995 Royal Rumble, also as a reversal when he is Irish whipped to a turnbuckle, most commonly followed by a clothsline.


The wrestler stands facing the opponent. The wrestler bends the opponent down so they are bent facing in front on the wrestler's body. The wrestler reaches around the opponent's body with their arms and lifts them up, spinning the opponent in front of the wrestler's body, often to deliver a slam or most commonly a Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.

Usually performed on a charging opponent, this can also be a transition hold for counter attacks that sees the wrestler (who is being tilt-a-whirled) hit many throws and drops like a DDT or headscissors takedown. This variation was made popular by "Flyin'" Brian Pillman.

Tree of Woe

This involves a wrestler suspending an opponent upside down on a turnbuckle, with the opponent's back being up against it. To do this the opponent's legs are then hooked under the top ropes, leaving the opponent facing the attacking wrestler, upside down.

Often an attacking wrestler will choke, kick, or stomp the opponent until the referee uses up his five count. The technique is also used to trap an opponent while the attacking wrestler runs at them and delivers some form of offensive maneuver, such as a running knee attack or a baseball slide.

This term was popularized by announcer and former wrestler Kevin Sullivan and is often used by ECW Wrestler, Tommy Dreamer


This move is achieved when a wrestler wraps a forward facing opponent's legs around his waist (either by standing behind an opponent who is lying face-first on the mat or by catching a charging opponent), then the wrestler would apply a gutwrench hold and lift the opponent up off the ground into the air, then either continue lifting and fall backwards to wheelbarrow suplex, or forcing the opponent back down to the mat to hit a wheelbarrow facebuster.

This can also can be a transition hold for counter attacks that sees the wrestler (who is being wheelbarrowed) hit many throws and drops like a DDT or a bulldog and rolling pin combinations.

This move was made popularized by Trish Stratus during her run in the WWE

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