Continuing the latest insight into popular Japanese wrestling moves comes the Muta Lock, a submission hold that is both painful and good-looking. It sees the wrestler locks the opponent’s legs before bridging their body back into a facelock hold.

For a wrestler to pull it off, they need to be athletic and flexible, especially to hit the bridging part of the move. It is also known as an Inverted STF, although many fans argue it is only similar thanks to the facelock involved. As far as US exposure of the move, WWE superstar Melina used the move as a submission finisher for a short while, naming it the ‘California Dream‘. However, to see a great version of the move, look no further than Great Muta’s variation in the video below; after all, he did invent the move back in Japan decades ago.

The move pays attention to stretching out the opponent’s entire body. In order for the move to begin, the opponent will usually be lying on the floor face down. The wrestler will walk over to the opponent’s legs, and step in between them. From there, they will then reach down and cross the opponent’s legs so that they are trapping the wrestler’s leg. This is known as an Indian Deathlock position.

Now in this position, the standing wrestler will begin to bridge backwards. This means that, in a flexible motion, they fall backwards so that their head is literally pointed on the mat, pretty much next to the wrestler’s upper body/head. From there, the wrestler will then use their hands and wrench them over the opponent’s face.

Once that has been done, the wrestler will bridge their body further and pull on the opponent’s face/chin, causing the opponent to arch their body slightly. This will work over the opponent’s back and neck, and could even lead to the opponent tapping out from the pain.


  • Also known as: Inverted STF/ California Dream/ Bridging Indian Deathlock Facelock
  • Famous users: The Great Muta, Melina, AJ Styles, Manami Toyota, MsChif
  • Finished off: Beth Phoenix, Low Ki, Riki Chusu
  • H&B Rating: 7


Watch more variations:

Melina’s California Dream– Melina’s flexibility makes the move look slightly different. She crosses the legs, and then bridges back before wrenching the opponent’s neck.
AJ Style’s Muta Lock variation– AJ starts the move off as a traditional Muta Lock hold, but uses Jack Evans’ flexibility against him. After wrenching the face with the hands, he then moves onto wrenching the neck with his arm, almost snapping Jack in two.
Manami Toyota’s Muta Lock variation– Instead of wrenching the face, Toyota hooks the upper body of the opponent with the arms trapped underneath. This further wrenches the opponent’s body.
MsChif’s Double Leg Muta Lock– Instead of crossing the legs, MsChif traps the opponent’s legs before bridging her body back and applying the facelock. A very flexible variation which only MsChif could probably pull off.


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