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Finishing Holds and the Men Who Used Them

 - John Edwards

This month’s thoughts revolve around the variety of finishing holds used (and how matches often ended) during the "good old days" of the St. Louis NWA promotion. Of course, a discussion of finishing holds must also take into account workrate, match pacing, and match and crowd psychology. We will touch on all of these, and other topics, starting with a look at some popular St. Louis wrestlers and their signature holds.

Harley Race – A perennial St. Louis favorite, Harley used the suplex, piledriver, diving head butt (which missed just as often as it connected), and, on occasion, the Indian Death Lock, which he used to upset Terry Funk in Toronto for his first NWA title.

Ric Flair – Another icon of the St. Louis mat wars, the Nature Boy’s signature move was the figure four leglock. In addition, at one time or another, Ric used the suplex as a finisher, and the small package.

Bulldog Bob Brown – Longtime midcarder and TV fixture Bulldog used the legdrop as well as the eye poke and the throat chop. Wonder if he trained with Lou Thesz?

Pat O’Connor – Former NWA Champion and St. Louis Wrestler, Referee, and Promoter. Pat was a consumate "scientific" wrestler who used the abdominal stretch, the sleeper hold, and the small package to gain pinfalls over his opponents.

Dick The Bruiser – Roughouser style a la the Bulldog – About the only "hold" (and I use the term loosely) that I remember DTB using was the stomach claw.

Dirty Dick Murdoch (aka Captain Redneck) – The Brainbuster (like a vertical suplex, except the recipient is dropped on his head)

King Kong (Bruiser) Brody – Similar style to Bulldog and DTB. Big boot to the face (a la Hogan).

Terry and Dory Funk, Jr. – Spinning toe hold, variety of scientific holds.  More...

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