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#FinisherFriday (12/14/18): The Sharpshooter



Welcome to another edition of #FinisherFriday! This is Wreddit_Regal bringing you an analysis of the Hitman's choice weapon of destruction.

Hailed by many as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, Bret Hart's name has become synonymous with the term "technical wrestler." A proud product of the Hart Dungeon, he brought his extensive knowledge of throws, locks, and holds, as well as textbook-form strikes and footwork to the North American ring, leaving audiences in awe wherever he wrestled. It is no wonder that the Hitman racked up so many achievements in his career, some of which are: being a five-time WWF World Heavyweight Champion and a two-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, having the most combined days as WWF World Heavyweight Champion during the 1990s (654), being the first WCW World Heavyweight Champion born outside the United States, being the second WWF Triple Crown Champion, the fifth WCW Triple Crown Champion, the first man to win both the WWF and WCW Triple Crown Championships, being the only two-time King of the Ring, and being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2006.

Although Bret has the piledriver in his arsenal, he is best known for making opponents submit to the ever-famous Sharpshooter. The way he catches the opponent's legs, intertwines them and locking his hold in place is a sight for sore eyes in terms of smoothness and sheer technicality. There's just something about Bret's way of doing it that makes your mouth open wide in amazement, and makes the opponent writhe in pain and hastily tap out to end his agony.


So how is the Sharpshooter done by the average wrestler? Let's break it down into small chunks:

  1. The attacker steps between a supine opponent's legs with his/her left leg
  2. The attacker wraps the opponent's legs at shin level around that leg. If the attacker decides to cross the opponent's legs around his right leg, he has to cross the opponent's right leg over their left, or, otherwise, he has to cross his opponent's left leg over their right.
  3. The attacker holds the opponent's legs in place
  4. The attacker grabs the opponent's leg, which he has crossed over the other and steps over him, flipping him over into a prone position, before leaning back to compress his lower back.




So how does the Sharpshooter deal damage?

Contrary to popular belief, the main point of damage isn't the back. Heck, try performing the Sharpshooter or the Walls of Jericho with a friend (or a younger sibling) and ask them if their back hurts. (To be fair, it could deal a substantial amount of pain if you sit on them while sustaining the bend.) Those who are experienced in MMA or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, in particular, will quickly recognize that the Sharpshooter is, in fact, a theatrical version of one of the most devastating submissions in history—the calf slicer.

Bret's setup is pretty much the same concept as your usual calf slicer, except for the fact that the fulcrum is placed behind the shin instead of being near to the knee. "If the knee wouldn't be bent to a painful position, how would this damage the calf muscle?", you might ask.

The trick is in Bret's left leg: since the fulcrum (opponent's right leg) rests on Bret's left thigh, and the opponent's left leg rests on the fulcrum, the fulcrum's height is naturally doubled. This means that even though the knee isn't bent that much, a greater strain rests on the shin area and the muscles behind it.

But the Hitman is not one to take that factor for granted because he knows that the knee won't suffer much damage, he will attempt to amplify the pressure on the knee by placing his hand above the opponent's right knee and pulling it towards him. This, combined with the motion of squatting downwards (sometimes sitting on the opponent's sacrum), further bends the knee and adds more pressure to the shin and calf muscle.

To simplify this, let me show you a poorly-drawn illustration comparing the standard calf slicer and Bret's Sharpshooter (I was told that poorly-drawn pictures evoke more attention than standard drawings by allowing viewers to mock the illustration, so yeah):


And as explained in my previous article, the calf slicer literally slices your calf. By putting a limb behind the opponent's knee and bending it forcefully, the opponent's calf muscle will rupture if the hold is prolonged. If the calf muscle has ruptured and the hold is still applied, the tibia/fibula may break, or the knee joint will be dislocated.


And there you have it chaps, the Sharpshooter deconstructed. Do you have a suggestion on what finisher to cover for the next week? Let us know in the comments section below!

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