There was a point in wrestling history when this move was one of the most feared wrestling submissions around. Bret Hart cites it as one of the most painful wrestling holds he’s ever taken. In the early nineties, watching Bob Backlund force people to pass out to the move struck fear in the eyes of children everywhere. There’s no getting round the fact that Bob came across as a genuine psychopath and seeing our heroes unconscious really got the move over as a devastating submission. It’s used relatively infrequently these days but whenever it is you always get that ‘ooooh’ moment from the audience who remember the legendary image of Bret in the move.
Backlund had dominated the top of the card in the late seventies and early eighties but it was a surprise to everyone when he came back in 1994 and defeated Bret Hart for the title. His reign would be short lived, lasting only 3 days before dropping the title to Diesel but Bret’s expert selling helped get this move over as a legitimately feared submission.Let’s fast forward now two decades to 2015. The Crossface Chickenwing was about to reclaim its place at the top for wrestling submissions. Japanese women’s wrestler Asuka would debut in WWE’s NXT brand. Immediately she was positioned as one of the toughest women’s wrestlers we have ever seen. You could genuinely see the fear in the eyes of her opponents who had never faced anyone like her before. As she said ‘No one is ready for Asuka!’ and no one was ready for the Asuka Lock, her take on the Crossface Chickenwing. Her devastating use of this submission would take her on a 914 day undefeated streak, a feat that is absolutely unheard of in the modern era and will go down in history as one of the greatest streaks in wrestling.
The move has been used infrequently by a lot of big name wrestlers in recent years, usually used in big time matches that require a bit of extra drama, pulling out a rarely used move from their arsenal. It would be great to see someone else come along and take up the Crossface Chickenwing mantle because the move still has plenty more to give to the history books of professional wrestling!