It is unknown who first used a clothesline in pro wrestling, but it has since become one of the most common maneuvers. It is even used by Hulk Hogan as part of his “3 moves of doom.”
Whether you’re talking about a lariat, a cactus clothesline, a turnbuckle clothesline or a flying clothesline, many have used it to great success. Today we’ll be looking at this most versatile of maneuvers.
Nikita Kollof had great success in the NWA/WCW winning almost every title in the company. In a short period of time, Nikita won the US, Television, National and Tag Team title just to name a few. Most of these titles were won with Nikita’s devastating finisher “The Sickle.” The Sickle was an unusual clothesline at the time as it was done with a bent arm. Nikita would whip his opponent into the ropes, run forward and strike his opponent in the chest or neck. This version of the clothesline is still being used today as “The Meat Hook” clothesline by The Big Guy (formerly Ryback)
Some argue that Stan Hansen’s version of a clothesline, The Lariat, is not a clothesline at all but deserves its own category. For the purpose of this story, we will include it, however.The Lariat is delivered with a straight arm instead of a curved arm arguably causing more impact. This is the move credited with breaking Bruno Sammartino’s neck. Although that was a work, Hansen’s Lariat made him one of the most famous wrestlers in the world
THE FLYING CLOTHESLINE:
The flying clothesline is where both the wrestler and his opponent are in motion when the move is delivered. JBL’s spin, “ The Clothesline from Hell,” is that he would whip his arm forward at the last minute increasing the impact of the blow.JBL used this move to great success even using it to win the WWE world title. Booker T is another wrestler who used the flying clothesline to great success.
THE CACTUS CLOTHESLINE:
This move, where one charges forward and clotheslines someone out of the ring, was popularized, and possibly invented, by Mick Foley (AKA Cactus Jack). This move is less about arm shape and more about making sure you have enough momentum to carry both people over the ropes and to the floor. This move is often featured on Botchamania as it is difficult to do perfectly.
THE CORNER CLOTHESLINE:
This is done with your opponent against a turnbuckle you run full tilt and clothesline them. This move has been popularized in recent times by Roman Reigns and The Miz who have different takes on the same move. Roman does a corner clothesline and then clubs his opponent again and again, with his arm, until he is down. The Miz gets a running start and does one huge corner clothesline often showing off in the corner when he’s finished.
This move is done by Irish Whipping your opponent, but instead of releasing the whip you clothesline the opponent with your other arm.This was long used by Jake Roberts to set up his infamous DDT but is still used by Sheamus and Paige.
Three-point stance clothesline: In this move, you set up in a three-point stance only to burst forward into a clothesline. This move was popularized by “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan but has been used by almost every NFL player who also wrestled.
Clotheslines are all devastating but what wrestling fans love to argue about is who’s was best? I’ll leave that up to the reader to decide.