The Sharpshooter, originally named Sasori-gatame and in English Scorpion Hold, is a wrestling submission hold. The move is also known by the names reverse figure four, cloverleaf leg-lace Boston crab, grapevine Boston crab, Scorpion Deathlock, and despite its original Scorpion Hold name, the move is still commonly known by its Bret Hart-given nickname Sharpshooter. The hold was invented by Riki Chōshū.
The hold begins with the opponent supine on the mat with the applying wrestler stepping between the opponent's legs with his/her left leg and wraps the opponent's legs at shin level around that leg. If the applier 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. Holding the opponent's legs in place, the wrestler then 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.
Through the many methods of performing the Sharpshooter (other than the usual method), it has been demonstrated that the Sharpshooter can be performed from virtually anywhere.
While Bret Hart is the wrestler with whom the Sharpshooter is synonymous, it was actually Sting who first popularized the move in the United States while working for WCW. Called the Scorpion Deathlock, Sting used the move as his submission finisher throughout his career, particularly during the era when Hart was still a tag team wrestler (with the Hart Foundation) and not using the Sharpshooter in any of his matches. However, it must be remembered that Hart's wrestling career began far earlier than Sting's. In Bret's autobiography, he noted that prior to his first major singles push, Pat Patterson asked if he could do a "Scorpion Death Lock", which he didn't know at the time. Hart revealed that the only person in the locker room who knew about the move was Konnan, who taught the move to Bret.
The Rock's version of The Sharpshooter sees him cross the opponents legs at the ankles instead of at shin-level (as most users do). Then, he seizes not only one, but both of his opponent's legs under his armpit before he steps over his opponent.
Edge used an inverted version of the Sharpshooter dubbed the Edgecator. This starts off with the opponent prone. The wrestler steps between the opponent's legs with one of his own and crosses the opponent's legs so that their near leg's ankle is in the far leg's knee pit. The wrestler then does not mount the opponent, but instead remains to the side of the opponent and pushes to cause pain.
Bret Hart alone has demonstrated various methods of performing the Sharpshooter - most notably when an attacking wrestler performs a leg drop to the chest which Bret will block, cross their legs and flips them onto their stomach while he stands up, thus completing the move. Hart first used this block/reversal in his now-classic encounter with Curt Hennig at Summerslam 1991.
At SummerSlam 1992 Bret would perform this move on Davey Boy Smith while on his back. Both men were laying on the mat after a clotheslining each other. Bret would maneuver his leg over and between Smith's, while crossing them. He would then roll over and stand, pulling back.
At SummerSlam 1997 during the main event for the WWF Championship, Bret Hart performed an altered version of the Sharpshooter in which utilized the corner ringpost (tying his opponent The Undertaker's legs around the ring post and proceeding to compress his legs).
The sharpshooter has been known for its use in screwjobs during matches. The first and most notable screwjob under this move, the Montreal Screwjob, occurred at Survivor Series 1997 when Shawn Michaels applied Bret Hart's own Sharpshooter on Hart. Vince McMahon legitimately double crossed Hart by ordering Earl Hebner to ring the bell and award the match to Michaels, despite Hart never having submitted.
This moment would be referenced within kayfabe through various future events; McMahon made the same action at the next year's Survivor Series, during the "Deadly Games" tournament final between The Rock and Mankind. He ordered the referee to ring the bell as The Rock had applied the move to on Mankind, despite Mankind having not submitted. The Rock was awarded the match and the vacated WWF Championship. The most recent Sharpshooter screwjob occurred on March 18, 2006 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, during a Street Fight between Michaels and Shane McMahon. At Survivor Series, Michaels was the one who was awarded the victory by screwjob but this time Michaels was the one who lost by screwjob as Shane had applied Sharpshooter on Michaels. Michaels never submitted to the maneuver but Vince ordered the referee to award the match to Shane McMahon.
The sharpshooter was used in a more ceremonious fashion at Unforgiven 2006. In honor of fellow Canadian Bret Hart, Trish Stratus forced Lita to submit to the sharpshooter to win a record seventh WWE Women's Championship. This served as Stratus' retirement match in her hometown of Toronto, Ontario, Canada and contrasted Hart's loss in his final match for the WWF which also took place in Canada (Montreal, Quebec).
There are four main ways to counter or escape the Sharpshooter:
- Breaking out of the Sharpshooter:The opponent can break free from the Sharpshooter by pushing upward and throwing their antagonist off.
- Reversal: Performed by Bret Hart on many occasions, the opponent trapped in the Sharpshooter would twist their body and grab his opponent's foot/leg and proceed to pull him off balance. Once off balance and on the mat, they would then cross the wrestler's legs and create a Sharpshooter of their own.
- Blockage: A simple and most common method of reversing the Sharpshooter - the opponent would block the wrestler's foot when they tried to perform the sharpshooter. A variation on this is for the opponent to grab the hair of the wrestler and attempt to drag them down to the mat and into a rolling pin of some sort.
- Flip: If the wrestler who is applying the maneuver is not too close to the ground, the victim can twist and flip under the wrestler, thus going back into the second stage of the sharpshooter. There the wrestler who has reversed the maneuver can kick his adversary off.