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#FinisherFriday (11/16/18): Clotheslines and Lariats For Dummies


Welcome to another edition of #FinisherFriday! This is Wreddit_Regal giving a somewhat crude guide about clotheslines and lariats for all the spectators who have just begun enjoying the art of wrestling.

You've probably heard of these two terms many times in your career as a wrestling fan, and have seen signature maneuvers and finishers built around these two moves. But do you really know the difference between the two? Let's find out in the following paragraphs.

The term "clothesline" comes from those old gags that you saw on TV when you were a child, wherein unsuspecting victims start running and BAM! Their necks are hit by a clothesline suddenly stretched out.

Now, imagine that the rope hitting the child by the neck is a wrestler's large and muscular forearm. (That probably didn't sound right; we DO NOT promote violence against children in any way.)

The clothesline, as a wrestling maneuver, is a simple demonstration of judo's central mantra of "using the opponent's own momentum against them." An enraged wrestler charges towards his opponent without any regard for safety, only to find himself hit in the head/neck/chest by the opponent's EXTENDED forearm, who was waiting for the right opportunity to strike. And this usually happens two to three times before another big move, hence the clothesline has been the go-to setup move of many wrestlers for their next planned maneuver.


The term "lariat" comes from the Spanish word la reato, which roughly translates to "lasso." It is not to be confused with a "lauriat," which is a Chinese way of serving dishes. The lasso is a loop of rope designed to be thrown around a target and tightened, restraining the target in the process.


Translating this to wrestling, the lariat has the attacker approaching the opponent, CURLING AND WRAPPING his/her forearm around the opponent's upper chest or neck, mostly in a powerful swinging motion, forcing them onto the ground. You have probably seen a bunch of wrestlers running like madmen towards their victims, readying their arms, and proceeding to almost decapitate their opponent's heads in the process.


But to sum the whole difference up, always remember Samoa Joe's answer:

By this definition alone, we can already correctly classify some signature moves and finishers called clotheslines as actually lariats (clotheslines by themselves don't usually make for effective-looking finishers because of their stationary nature):

  • JBL's "Clothesline From Hell"
  • Ryback's "Meat Hook Clothesline"
  • Luke Harper/Austin Aries' "Discus Clothesline" (depends if the opponent is running towards him, otherwise his spinning motion counts as the running setup for a lariat)
  • Cactus Jack's "Cactus Clothesline"
  • Legion of Doom's "Doomsday Device"
  • The Hart Foundation's "Hart Attack"
  • Xavier Woods's "Honor Roll"
  • Kazuchika Okada's "Rainmaker" (while Okada pulls in his opponent towards him in a ripcord motion, he steps into the move, effectively making it a lariat)

And there you have it chaps, a short essay about clotheslines and lariats! Did I miss any key difference on these two maneuvers? Let me know in the comment section below!

*****

Wreddit_Regal is the resident sports kinesiologist of Reddit's wrestling forum, r/squaredcircle. From the most basic of punches to the most intricate double-team maneuvers, he can explain them within the realm of human anatomy and physics, because when doing absolutely nothing wrestling-related, he also happens to work as an operating room nurse.

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