A suplex is an offensive move used in professional sport wrestling. The move consists of one wrestler picking up his or her opponent off the ground (or mat) and then using a large portion of his or her own body weight to drive the opponent down on the mat. Nearly all suplexes have the attacker going down to the mat with the opponent landing on his or her back. For example, common in professional wrestling is the vertical suplex, which has the wrestlers begin face-to-face, then the attacker forces the opponent's head down and locks the opponent's arm around it. The attacker then places his or her opponent's arm around the opponent's own head, to force opponent up and over. At the zenith the opponent's body is upside-down and vertical above the attacker. The attacker falls backwards onto his or her own back, using his or her body weight to slam the opponent down onto his or her back.
In Olympic and amateur wrestling there exists a move called a suplay, a Greco-Roman wrestling term. This is probably the origin of the 'suplex term' since amateur wrestling is much older than professional wrestling. During his career, pro wrestling commentator Gordon Solie used the soo-play pronunciation (as has the AWA's Rod Trongard and Terry Taylor), but almost all other pro wrestling talent pronounces it sue-plex; this suggests the two names define the same kind of move. The origin of the word "suplex" is the French word "souplesse" (flexibility).
Professional wrestling features many different varieties of suplexes. The following are among the most common, but many more exist, particularly as the signature techniques of individual wrestlers.
Front facelock variantsEdit
In these suplexes, the wrestlers begin by facing each other, the attacking wrestler then applies a Front facelock to the opponent before executing a throw. In most cases, the opponent is suspended upside-down during part of the move. The most common front facelock suplex is the vertical suplex.
Also spelled as a fisherman's suplex and also known as a cradle suplex. This move has been more recently used by Beth Phoenix, with a stalling version instead of a pin. With their opponent in a front facelock with the near arm draped over the attacker's shoulder, the wrestler hooks the opponent's near leg behind the opponent's knee with his/her free arm and falls backwards, flipping the opponent onto his/her back. The attacker usually keeps the leg hooked and bridges to pin the opponent in a cradle-like position, or applies a leglock submission hold.
Swinging fisherman suplexEdit
Also known as Swinging Fisherman Neckbreaker and the Golden Gate Swing. A swinging variation of the normal fisherman suplex, this move sees a wrestler, with their opponent in a front facelock with the near arm draped over their shoulder, hook the opponent's near leg with their free arm and roll over to one side, flipping the opponent over onto their back.
Rolling release suplexEdit
This suplex starts with the attacking wrestler applying a front face lock to his/her opponent and draping the opponent's near arm over his/her shoulder, then lifting him/her up in the vertical position, at this point the face lock is partly released as the attacker falls forward, the momentum of the attacker forces the opponent to roll out of the face lock and drop back-first down to the mat.
The attacker faces a standing opponent with one side of the ring immediately behind the opponent. The attacker applies a front facelock to the opponent, takes hold of the opponent with his/her free hand, then lifts the opponent until he/she is nearly vertical. The attacker then falls forward so that the torso of the opponent bounces off the top ring rope, and uses this momentum to quickly lift the opponent overhead once more and falls backwards, driving the back and shoulders of the opponent into the ground.
A front facelock suplex, which sees the attacker apply a frontface lock to his/her opponent, draping the opponent's near arm over his/her shoulder, while the giver falls on to his back and the opponent does a quick front flip bump. Bret Hart and The Dynamite Kid used this move as one of their signature moves. Dynamite would frequently twist his hips as he took his opponent over so as to add impact to the maneuver. It was later adopted as a signature move by Chris Benoit, who trained under Bret's father Stu Hart, and idolized The Dynamite Kid.
Modified Snap SuplexEdit
A varaition of the Snap Suplex, innovated by John Soulmetal, sees the attacker apply a front facelock to his/her opponent, then, lifts the opponent upwards (as in a Snap suplex) then as the opponent is in mid-air the attacker drapes the opponent's near arm over his/her shoulder, then falls backwards (without any stalling or thatrics, and no stoppoing in the lift, even when the wrestler drapes the arm over his/her shoulder). This move can be described simply as a Snap Suplex, but drapes the arm over his/her shoulder while lifting the opponent.
A superplex is a name that comes from the term "super suplex" and refers to any suplex performed by an attacker standing on the second or third rope against an opponent sitting on the top rope or top turnbuckle. It was innovated by The Dynamite Kid. The most common suplex used for this top rope move is the standard vertical suplex variation (known as the suicide-plex), in which the attackers apply a front face lock to the opponent, draping the opponent's near arm over their respective shoulders, at this point the wrestler falls backwards and flips the opponent over them so they both land on their backs. There is a variant where the wrestler does a belly-to-back suplex instead of the conventional suplex. It is called a Super Back Suplex or Back Superplex. Yet another version is known as the "Uberplex" which is a superplex of the top of a cage or ladder. The Superplex can be started several ways. Another variation is where the attacking wrestler grabs the opponent (who is leaning against the corner turnbuckle, facing the attacking wrestler) in a collar tie then in this position, the wrestler pushes the opponent slighty upward, causing the opponent to slide up the corner turnbuckles, causing the opponent to sit on the top turnbuckle, still facing the attacking wrestler. Then, the attacking wrestler climbs onto the third rope of the corner turnbuckle (still inside the ring) then drapes his opponent's arm over his/her shoulder then the wrestler then jumps backwards, using the ring ropes for extra height, and whilst in mid-air continues to end in a vertical suplex in mid-air, this variation is commonly used by Cruiserweights and Light Heavyweights, this variation is known as a Hop Superplex. Another variation, which sees the attacking wrestler, grab an opponent in an front facelock, then drape the opponent's near arm over his/her shoulder, then lifts his/her opponent (as in a normal Vertical Suplex) so that the opponent is held a above the wrestler and upside down, as in a stalling vertical supelx, then places the oppoonent on the top turnbuckle from this position then climbs onto the turnbuckle and continues to perform the Superplex (without jumping from the ropes). Most wrestlers hurt their back area from the Superplex, due to improper usage. A Superplex is usually used once per match.
This move is similar to most suplexes and starts with the attacker applying a front face lock to his/her opponent and draping the opponent's near arm over his/her shoulder, then lifting him/her up and holding the opponent in the vertical position. This is where the move differs from most of its counterparts with the attacker not falling with the opponent, but rather shifting themselves slightly and throwing their opponent to the mat. Sometimes this involves the wrestler turning the opponent in midair and slamming the opponent down to the mat in front of him/her onto their back, similar to a high-angled body slam.
Sitout suplex slamEdit
Also called a suplex driver or a falcon arrow, this sees an attacker apply a front facelock to the opponent and drapes the opponent's near arm over their shoulder. The attacker then takes hold of the opponent's torso with their free arm and lifts the opponent to a vertical position. The facelock is loosened so the opponent can be twisted slightly, then the attacker falls to a sitting position and the victim's back and shoulders are driven into the mat. The opponent lands between the attacker's legs with their head toward them.
Another variation sees the wrestler perform a Vertical suplex, but instead of twisting the upside down opponent to face them, the wrestler turns 180° to face the opponent before sitting down and driving them back first between their legs.
Inverted suplex slamEdit
The attacker applies a front face lock to the opponent and drapes the opponent's near arm over his/her shoulder. The attacker then lifts the opponent into a vertical position, then he falls forward, driving the opponents face into the ground.
Sitout inverted suplex slamEdit
The attacker applies a front face lock to the opponent and drapes the opponent's near arm over his/her shoulder. The attacker then lifts the opponent into a vertical position, and falls into a sit-out position, driving the face of the opponent into the ground. This move is known as a sitout gourdbuster or an inverted falcon arrow. In another variation, the wrestler releases the hold just prior to the sitout position letting his opponents own momentum to force them down head first.
In a set up similar to a snap suplex, the attacking wrestler applies a front face lock to his/her opponent, draping the opponent's near arm over his/her shoulder, when the opponent is in position he/she is lifted up to an upside-down position before the attacking wrestler falls backwards slamming the opponents back into the mat. Eddie Guerrero used the move as one of his signature maneuvers in which, after falling to the ground with his opponent, he swung his legs and flipped himself over while maintaining his hold, pulled the opponent back into the original position, and performed two more vertical suplexes.
Delayed vertical suplexEdit
This variation of a vertical suplex, also known as the hanging suplex, standing suplex or stalling suplex, sees the attacking wrestler holds an opponent in the upside-down position at the peak of the arc for several seconds before completing the maneuver, thereby (in kayfabe) causing blood to pool into the head of the opponent. This move is a staple of larger and powerful wrestlers as it gives an aura of dominance over their opponents who can do nothing but wait to drop in the suplex.
Rotating vertical suplexEdit
This variation of a vertical suplex, is also sometimes known as the rotation suplex, twisting suplex and rotary suplex, sees the attacking wrestler lift the opponent as in a normal vertical suplex, but turn around as he or she falls back to twist the opponent into the mat.
Also known as a half-hatch suplex. The wrestler applies a Front facelock with one arm and underhooks one of the opponent's arms with his other, placing his hand palm down on the back of the opponent. The wrestler then lifts the opponent up while bridging backwards and slightly twisting, bringing the opponent over him and onto their back. The wrestler bridges their back and legs to hold the opponent's shoulders against the mat.
There is a bridging variation sometimes known as a Bridging hammerlock suplex, which was innovated by Junji Hirata.
Belly to back variantsEdit
In these variants, the attacker stands behind his opponent and applies a hold before falling backwards, dropping the opponent on his or her upper back. The most common belly to back variants are the German suplex and the back suplex.
Belly to back suplexEdit
Sometimes shortened to back suplex, the wrestler stands behind his opponent and puts his head under the arm of the opponent. He then lifts the opponent up using both of his arms wrapped around the torso of the opponent. The wrestler finally falls backwards and drops the opponent flat on his back. This move is referred to as a backdrop in Japan. The backdrop name is also used in the western world, usually by people who follow Japanese wrestling, although they sometimes use the name Greco-Roman backdrop. This is not to be confused with a back body drop.
Another variation sees the attacking wrestler turn as they deliver the suplex. Many wrestlers perform the back suplex into a bridging position, simultaneously arching their own back and legs to elevate themselves, gaining leverage and pinning their opponent. In Mexico, this bridging version is known as a "Puente Griego" or Greek Bridge in English.
High angle belly to back suplexEdit
Better known as a backdrop driver and lesser known as a belly to back brainbuster. The attacker stands behind his/her opponent and puts his/her head under the arm of the opponent. He/she then lifts the opponent up using both of his arms wrapped around the torso of the opponent. The attacker finally falls backwards to drive the opponent to the mat on their neck and shoulders.
Leg hook belly to back suplexEdit
Sometimes referred to as a leg lift back suplex or leg lift backdrop, it is applied just as a back suplex would be, except that the wrestler only may wrap only near arm around the torso of their opponent, or use no arm at all. With the free arm(s), the wrestler then hoists their opponent's knees or thighs and throws them backwards in that manner.
Bridging leg hook belly to back suplexEdit
The attacking wrestler begins this move by standing to one side of, and slightly behind, a standing opponent. The wrestler then drapes the near arm of the opponent over their neck and uses their own near arm to encircle the waist of the opponent. The attacker then reaches under one of the opponents legs with their free arm, and lifts, forcing the opponent to bend into a right angle. Finally, the attacker falls backwards, driving the neck and shoulders of the opponent into the ground, simultaneously arching their own back and legs to elevate themselves, gaining leverage and placing the opponent in a pinning predicament. This move was innovated by William Regal.
Spinning leg hook belly to back suplexEdit
The attacker stands behind his opponent and puts his head under the arm of the opponent. He then lifts the opponent up using one arm around the waist of the opponent and another under one of his legs. The attacker then turns 180 degrees while falling backwards, slamming the opponent flat on his back.
Cobra clutch suplexEdit
The attacker places the opponent in a cobra clutch hold. They then proceed to lift the opponent up and fall backwards, driving the opponent to the mat on their head.
Crossface chickenwing suplexEdit
The wrestler stands behind the opponent. He locks one of the opponent's arms in a chickenwing, and wraps his other arm around the opponent's head. He then lifts the opponent up and falls backwards, driving the opponent on to the top of their head, down to the mat. It was innovated by Tiger Mask IV (Yoshihiro Yamazaki).
Electric chair suplexEdit
Also known as an electric chair slam or a Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex. The wrestler lifts the opponent on his/her shoulders in an electric chair sitting position and then bridges his back, slamming the opponent down to the mat shoulder and upper back first.
Full nelson suplexEdit
Also known as a dragon suplex, this belly to back suplex variation sees the wrestler apply a full nelson and then bridges his back, lifting the opponent over him and onto their shoulders down to the mat. The wrestler keeps his back arched and the hold applied, pinning the opponent's shoulders down to the mat.
The wrestler may also release the opponent mid-arch, throwing them down to the mat shoulders and neck first, in a variation known as release full nelson suplex.
A gutwrench suplex involves a wrestler standing on one side of an opponent locking his/her arms around the opponent's waist (near arm in front of the opponent and far arm behind) and lifting him/her up and slamming him/her over back-first down to the mat.
A gutwrench suplex which begins with the opponent laying on the mat. The wrestler locks his arms around the opponent's waist and stands up, lifting the opponent. He then throws the opponent to his side, dropping them to the mat face up on to their shoulders or face down on their chest. Named after the most famous practitioner of this maneuver, Greco-Roman wrestling legend Alexander Karelin.
Innovated by Lou Thesz, it is technically known as a belly to back waist lock suplex, the wrestler stands behind the opponent, grabs them around their waist, lifts them up, and falls backwards while bridging his back and legs, slamming the opponent down to the mat shoulder and upper back first. The wrestler keeps the waistlock and continues bridging with their back and legs, pinning the opponent's shoulders down against the mat. The regular pinning variation can be referred to as the German suplex pin. The wrestler can also release the opponent in mid arch, which is referred to as a release German suplex. Sometimes, rather than bridging for a pin, the wrestler may roll himself into another position to perform the move again, often referred to as multiple or rolling German suplexes.
Innovated by Alfonso Dantés as the Toque Tapatio and popularized by the original Tiger Mask (Satoru Sayama), this is also referred to as a double arm German suplex. Standing behind his opponent, the wrestler hooks both of his opponent's arms from the sides, and places his hands palm down flat against the opponent's upper back. He then lifts the opponent up and falls backwards, arching his back and legs, slamming the opponent down to the mat shoulder and neck first. The regular pinning variation is referred to as the Tiger suplex pin. The wrestler can also release the opponent in mid arch, which is referred to as a release tiger suplex.
This move is performed when a wrestler wraps a forward facing opponent's legs around his/her waist, in a wheelbarrow hold, from either standing behind an opponent who is laying face-first on the mat or by catching a charging opponent before then applying a gutwrench to lift the opponent up off the ground into the air, then the attacking wrestler would continue lifting the opponent over his/her while falling backwards to hit this variation of a German suplex.
A variation of the German suplex where the opponent's arms are crossed across their chest and held by the attacker. The wrestler uses the crossed arms as leverage to aid in lifting the opponent up while falling backwards, throwing the opponent like a German suplex. The move is commonly referred to as a straight jacket suplex or an Aztec suplex.
Half nelson suplexEdit
This is a version of a German suplex where the attacker stands behind the opponent, facing the same direction. The attacker reaches under one of the opponent's arms with his/her corresponding arm and places the palm of his/her hand on the neck of the opponent, thereby forcing the arm of the opponent up into the air (the Half nelson). The attacker wraps his free arm on the waist of the opponent. The attacker then lifts the opponent up and falls backwards slamming the opponent down on his/her neck and shoulders.
The wrestler stands behind the opponent and bends him forward. One of the opponent's arms is pulled back between his legs and held, while the opponent's other arm is hooked by the attacker maneuvering his arm around in front of the opponent's shoulder and securing it behind the head (a quarter-nelson). The attacker then lifts his opponent up over his head and falls backwards to slam the opponent against the mat back-first.
There are many variations of the pumphandle suplex, including the maintaining of the grip in order to land the opponent on the mat face-first, or inverting the opponent's body position and securing the opponent's free arm using a half-nelson grip instead of the normal quarter-nelson, etc.
The attacker places the opponent in a sleeper hold and then hooks one of the opponents arms with his free arm. The attacker then lifts the opponent up and falls backwards, driving the opponent on their head. A slight variation sees the the attacker apply a half nelson choke instead of the sleeper hold before performing the suplex.
Three-quarter nelson suplexEdit
While behind the opponent the attacker places the opponent in a three-quarter nelson, one arm in a half nelson and the other in a chickenwing, and proceeds to fall backwards while lifting the opponent overhead in the hold and driving them into the mat behind them. This move is sometimes referred to as Tiger Suplex '85 or a half and half suplex as it is a combination of a half nelson suplex and a tiger suplex. Both the Bridging and release versions were innovated by Mitsuharu Misawa.
Belly to belly variantsEdit
In these suplexes, the wrestlers begin by facing each other. The attacker then applies a bodylock before falling backwards and flipping the opponent onto his back and down on the mat.
Belly to belly suplexEdit
The attacker wraps his/her arms around his/her opponent in a waistlock or a bodylock position and flips him/her over by violently bridging his/her own body so the opponent lands on his/her back. This can be done either overhead or to the side. It can also be performed in a "snap" fashion, where the attacker stomps down hard and suplexes the opponent stiffly, resulting in a quicker throw. It is mainly used by physically built wrestlers.
Super belly to belly suplexEdit
This version of a superplex is an overhead belly to belly suplex executed on an opponent sitting or standing on the top rope, facing inward.
The attacker stands facing a standing opponent. The attacker then catches one leg of the opponent and pulls the opponent towards them so that they are face to face, with the attacker reaching under the opponent's leg and hooking it. The attacker then uses their free arm to reach behind the neck of the opponent and take hold of them. The attacker then quickly bridges backwards and releases the opponent, throwing them overhead, or turns 180° while slamming the opponent down to the mat. This move can be used to counter a kick. The move is also known as the head and leg suplex, and can be seen as a variation of the head and arm suplex. It also goes by the name Capchude, an Engrish term for "captured".
The wrestler grabs the throat of the opponent as if he was going for a chokeslam, but instead of slamming them down he simultaneously lifts them up, turns around 180° and then falls forward, similar to a ura-nage, throwing the opponent over so that they land down onto their back. Another variation has the attacker apply a two-handed choke and throw the opponent overhead while falling back.
Double underhook suplexEdit
Also known as a double arm suplex, reverse nelson suplex, double axe handle suplex, and a butterfly suplex, the wrestler and opponent face each other, the opponent bent forward. The wrestler hooks the opponent's arms back in a reverse nelson, placing his forearms in the crooks of the opponent's elbows, with his hands on top of the opponent's back in a butcher's grip. The wrestler then lifts the opponent into an upside-down vertical position and falls back, shifting the opponent to one side as the opponent flips over. The wrestler executing the suplex may release the reverse nelson hold during the throw, or can maintain the grip and attempt a bridging pin or submission hold transition upon impact.
There is also a variation invented by Dave Taylor, that is called a Floatover bridging double underhook suplex.
Also called a T-Bone suplex, the exploder suplex is a variant of a belly to belly suplex. The wrestler performing the Exploder suplex seizes the opponent in a head-and-shoulder hold as in a side slam, and takes hold of the opponent's near leg's upper thigh with his free arm, and then falls backwards and throws him/her overhead down to the mat on their shoulders and upper back, in the same motion as a belly to belly.
A slight variation called blizzard suplex exists in which the opponent is thrown over horizontally so that they land flat on their back instead of their shoulders. The wrestler can also keep the hold in this variation and bridge his back, pinning the opponent's shoulders down to the mat. There are also several modified versions of an exploder, such as one where the attacker would flip it into a powerslam pin rather than throwing the opponent overhead while falling back.
Head and arm suplexEdit
Also called a gargoyle suplex, the move is a variation of the traditional overhead belly to belly suplex in which the wrestler, standing face-to-face with his opponent, clutches his hands together having firmly encircled the opponent's head and one arm. This grip, as opposed to the waistlock of a normal belly-to-belly, is then used to hoist the opponent in the overhead arching throw.
A modification of this move is the machine gun suplex, in which the attacking wrestler holds the head and arm grip using just one of his own arms, and with his other grabs the opponent's free wrist and forces it behind his back to secure a hammerlock. This double grip is then used to hoist the opponent overhead in the belly to belly throw.
Northern Lights suplexEdit
The attacking wrestler puts his head under the arm of the opponent and clutches the opponent in a belly to belly suplex and flips him/her over. This suplex can be either released or bridged into a pin, the wrestler can also float over into another northern lights suplex. The Northern Lights Suplex was innovated by Hiroshi Hase.
Modifications to this suplex include hammerlocking the opponent's free arm behind his back and maintaining the hold during the impact to damage the shoulder joint, and also cradling the leg in a similar fashion to the fisherman suplex.
Table top suplexEdit
- See Fallaway slam
This is when a wrestler holds both the opponent's arms under his own (known as overhooks in mixed martial arts and amateur wrestling, as the arms loop under the opponent's arms from above) with the hands connected below the opponent's triceps, from here the opponent is left secure and unable to counter or move away from the attacker while he/she delivers a belly to belly throw flipping the opponent overhead in the normal belly to belly motion. In amateur wrestling and other contact-sports, the trapping suplex is called the suicide throw. It is done slightly differently, usually the opponent is tossed to the side and lands on their back.
In the side variants the attacker stands to the side of his or her opponent and applies a hold before falling backwards to slam the opponent to the mat. The most common is the side suplex.
This move, innovated by Chris Hero, sees a wrestler lock their opponent in a cravate and pull down with their arms so that the opponent is forced to bend over. The wrestler then positions the opponent so that they are facing across the body of the wrestler and with their head in front of the wrestlers chest. The wrestler then falls backwards and pulls upwards with the cravate, forcing the opponent off their feet and into the air and over the wrestler, landing on their neck and shoulders.
The attacker stands either facing directly one of his/her opponent's sides or slightly behind in an angle. He places the opponent's near arm over his shoulder, grabs a waistlock, and then lifts the opponent up while falling backwards, causing the opponent to land on his/her neck and shoulders. The Saito suplex was innovated by Masa Saito.
Leg hook Saito suplexEdit
The attacker stands behind and to one side of the opponent. The attacker wraps one arm around the waist of the opponent and grabs the back of the opponent's near leg with his/her other arm. The attacker then lifts the opponent on to his/her shoulder and then falls backwards, driving the opponent into the mat at a high angle.
Inverted facelock variantsEdit
In these suplexes, an attacker begins by facing the back of an opponent and applying an inverted facelock before executing a throw. In most, the opponent is suspended upside-down during part of the move.
Also known as a reverse suplex, this move sees the attacker stands behind an opponent and applies an inverted facelock with one arm, and uses the other arm to aid in elevating the opponent so that he/she is lifted up and held upside-down before the attacker falls to his back driving the opponent down to the mat face first, behind the attacker.
- The Professional Wrestlers' Workout & Instructional Guide - Harley Race, Ricky Steamboat, Les Thatcher, and Alex Marvez pg. 80-84