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#FinisherFriday (11/25/16): It Figures



All hail the Queen!

Less than a month back, we witnessed the first women’s Hell in a Cell match in history, which featured two of our favorite female superstars, then-champion Sasha Banks and her career nemesis Charlotte. The two once again redefined women’s wrestling as they provided yet another historic match for the books.

Although fans are upset that Sasha did not walk out of her hometown as champion, in the realm of her Queen Majesty Charlotte who the hell cares. After all, she does own the distinction of being one of only two team captains to emerge victorious at the 2016 edition of Survivor Series.


Spawn of the 16-time World Champion “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, Charlotte is yet to be defeated in a pay-per-view event, has established herself as the face of the women’s division, and moreover has held the Women’s Championship title the longest during the New Era.

THE FIGURE FOUR vs. THE FIGURE EIGHT


Ric’s Figure Four is one of the most iconic moves in wrestling, and yet Charlotte has found a way to make it her own. While Charlotte has her Natural Selection (Somersault Cutter, maybe another Finisher Friday feature some other time) and sometimes the Spear, her go-to finisher will always be the Figure Eight.


Both the Figure Four and Figure Eight submission maneuvers can only be executed when an opponent is flat on their back. We all know how getting your opponent to the mat is tough, but the actual execution of this lock is the hard part.

While standing at the feet of the downed opponent, one leg—usually the right one—gets raised, and this the part where both Ric and Charlotte taunt their opponents, WOOOOOO!

They then proceed by applying a spinning toehold, where the wrestler turns 360 degrees while wrenching the raised leg inward. With the free hand, they then grab the other leg crossing it under the twisted leg (the legs of the opponent should now resemble the number four, hence the Figure Four monicker), and then falls on their back into the mat.

Finally, to apply pressure and to lock the submission, they place their free leg over their opponent’s foot.

Contrary to popular opinion, it isn't the twisted leg that's targeted by the move, but the straight one. The giver is essentially hyperextending every ligament in that knee—particularly the posterior cruciate ligament—by using the twisted leg as a fulcrum to bend it in the most anatomically-wrong way possible.


The only way to counter the Figure Four is for the opponent to flip both himself/herself and the executing wrestler onto their bellies to transfer the pressure on their opponent. Note that they cannot lie down on their backs to release the pressure, because they can be counted down for a pin.

Alternatively, if the intended victim can keep his wits around him fast enough, he can grab the giver by the back of his head as he bends over to pick up the straight leg, and wrap him up tidily into an inside cradle. This was famously the kryptonite Sting would use against Ric Flair during their legendary WCW wars.

So who does it better?

Don’t forget that Ric is also known to be the “dirtiest player in the game.” One way to add more pressure is by reaching for the ropes which actually helps because it puts more pressure on both the knee and the shin of the opponent. Of course, when Ric gets caught, the referee automatically asks for him to break the hold.

Charlotte, being the genetically-gifted wrestler that she is, removes the opportunity for a counter to happen by bridging herself, thereby raising her center of mass and making it difficult to turn over. Additionally, by raising her legs, she applies more torque on her opponent's lower limbs.


Charlotte’s bridge actually is an excellent addition to the move, and a variation that not all people can do. Given her long physique, Charlotte may actually be the only person who can add this to the Figure Four.

VERDICT: THE FLAIRS WIN BECAUSE, WELL, WOOOOOOO!


There isn’t much to separate the two. The only problem with this submission is that when executed it should look tight, but both of them have mastered the execution. The Figure Four is too associated with the Flairs that in reality it will forever be "their" move. Just ask The Miz.


BONUS: BRET HART


Bret does a variation of this hold wherein he executes the move while the ring post is in between his opponents legs. He hangs outside the ring apron while applying pressure, which actually looks pretty neat except that he can’t actually finish matches in this fashion because his opponent is technically at the ropes, and the Hitman leaves himself open to getting counted out.



*****

What do you think, Henrinites? Do you think Ric's OG Figure Four is the ultimate take on the move, or has Charlotte outdone her father in this regard? Let us know in the comments below!

*****

Gene Ferrer (@thegeneferrer) is Smark Henry's newest contributor, and the new king of finishing moves. He isn't actually a wrestler, but is pretty good at figuring out what would hurt like hell in real life.

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