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#FinisherFriday: The Camel Clutch

What makes a heel wrestler?

Easy! Just make everyone hate you!

Display a boorish attitude matched with despicable deeds and you got your viewer’s tender emotions on a string. The science may be easy, but not everyone gets over as a convincing heel. To achieve effective wrestling villainy, there are multiple factors to consider: charisma, timing, and luck. But one could also argue that an integral part of the character of a heel is a brutally effective finisher.

Yup, that Stratusfaction finisher is lame.

Although there are quite a few exceptions, being the ideal rogue in the wrestling world isn’t just about gaining heat from his wares and ways. It’s also about how he uses his moves, especially the most dangerous weapon in his arsenal.

Finishers are the oft-missed out exclamation point for building well-rounded wrestlers. Think of how the Stone Cold Stunner is for Stone Cold Steve Austin, or the Sharpshooter for Bret Hart, and the 619 for Rey Mysterio.

When Attitude Era-Rock was gaining ground as a heat magnet, he rolled out an equally cocky move in the People’s Elbow, which we all now know to this day. A wrestler’s finishing move is and should be tantamount to his character.

Annoying, right?
And it takes great heel instinct to integrate these skills to stomp their presence in the viewers’ minds, both literally and figuratively. A heel does what he does to further define himself as a heel, in all aspects of his “appeal.”

And as the theme of #FinisherFriday goes, we look into one of the very few holds that all throughout wrestling canon has been almost synonymous to heels leaving countless bodies crumpled and hurt: THE CAMEL CLUTCH.

What is it?

Originally called La De A Caballo (the horse-mounting choke), the move was invented by the patriarch of the Guerrero wrestling family, the late Gory Guerrero. It acquired its current name from Ed Farhat, a.k.a. "The Original Sheik," and was popularized by Khosrow Vaziri, better known as “The Iron Sheik.”

The Camel Clutch is one of the few moves that both looks and feels excruciatingly painful. It ultimately makes the clutcher look dominant while he has his clutchee literally under him squirming in pain. Not only does it leave him hurting, it also degrades and breaks a wrestler's will and spirit, which is the point of a finisher, right?

How do you set it up?
Pretty much a modified rear chinlock, this classic hold would have the executor sit on a prone opponent’s back, place his opponent’s arms on his thighs, reach around his face and pull back his opponent’s head to apply pressure on the neck and the spine. Think of a villainous rider cranking on a horse’s neck incessantly--or literally, someone humping your back.
Yup, it looks like it doesn’t hurt.
Photo from WikiHow

Famous users
Interestingly enough, the wrestlers who have used the Camel Clutch are few and far between, but they all share a common denominator: they’re all physically imposing foreign (Middle Eastern) bullies.

Possibly the most associated with the hold is the proud Iranian, the Iron Sheik, who was one of the greatest heels in his era and got there by using the Camel Clutch to “humble” his opponents into submission. With all that heat that the Iron Sheik got from his run, you have to give credit to him for building up the Camel Clutch as the American spirit breaker—a formula that the WWE has adopted with various Arab wrestlers to this day, but that’s a story for another day.

Some of his key clutch moments involved tangling with the Cobra Clutch, winning the then-WWF Championship by putting an injured Bob Backlund to sleep and being the villainous move that kickstarted the legend of Hulkamania.

Last few moments of The Iron Sheik’s glory..From
The infamous Arab-American, Muhammad Hassan, arguably one of the truest heels of the decade, used his version of the Camel Clutch in his quest for respect and equality for Middle Easterners. Despite a short career of shoving his views down everyone’s throats, he has clutched the necks of the likes of Sgt. Slaughter, Jerry Lawler, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels.

Spit it out, ‘Taker
With a career spanning countless jumps from face to heel, “Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner has had better work as a heel with his signature two-toned goatee and mind-bending promos. Despite having an array of finishers in his long career, Scott Steiner has been cranking necks with his Steiner Recliner, a standing variation to the camel clutch.

How ‘bout we call this the Bulldog Clutch?
More recently, the Bulgarian Brute, Rusev, has been terrorizing the WWE with his version called the Accolade, which is set up by a vicious lower back stomp that has been putting people to sleep (though it does not make them quit).
Is this what you do, Mr. WSM?

How do you counter it?
Once your opponent’s hands are clasped and locked under your chin, you only have two ways to go: either up or on your sides. It’s easier said than done, as getting leverage to stand or roll on your side from this position is difficult with your opponent sitting on the small of your back. You can try to wriggle an arm out for support, but you have to be quick and strong enough to budge that weight on top of you.

Reliable sources say you just need to take your vitamins and never give up.
1 Missisippi... 2 Mississipi..
From Uproxx


Do you think the Camel Clutch is an effective finishing hold? With Seth Rollins moving on to the Pedigree, do you think he should also start locking on the Camel Clutch? Should “Classical” Bryan Leo adopt a royal version of the Camel Clutch? Let us know along with what other finishers you would like to be featured on #FinisherFriday.


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