The Rock Bottom
Updated: Apr 27
The manoeuvre is sometimes miss-referred to as a ura-nage, however it is thought that this is a incorrect Americanisation of the Japanese term ura-nage, which directly translates to “throw to behind”, to the American English form of “reverse side throw”.
In Japan it was invented as Ura Nage (裏投) one of the original 40 throws of Judo, which was developed and adapted by famed Jigoro Kano. It is still used as part of the 67 throws of Kodokan Judo to this day where is classified under the grouping of Gokyo (no waza) and a rear sacrifice technique also known as Ma-sutemi.
The side slam has been used in pro-wrestling since it’s inception with no clear innovator who brought the move across from martial arts.
Pro Wrestling Wiki states:
“To perform it, the wrestler begins standing face to face with the opponent slightly to their side. Then, the wrestler tucks their own head under the opponent's near arm, reaches across the opponent's chest and around their neck with their near arm, and places the other arm against their back. The wrestler then falls forward, either flat on their chest or into a kneeling position, and forces the opponent back-first onto the mat. In another variation, the wrestler can also stay standing and body slam the opponent onto the mat, this is typically called a standing side slam. “
This wrestling behemoth’s character was firmly routed in Japanese culture, his aid and manager Mr. Fuji being the clearest reference to this.
Yokozuna (the word itself a reference to the highest rank of sumo in Japan)
He would trudge to the ring, surrounded at the time by foreign mysticism, ceremonial clouds of talc and the jeers of fans in attendance.
The enormity of this monster was evident. Before you ever stepped into the ring opposed to Yokozuna, you knew you were already done for.
As he picks you up with one arm to his side, you fly face up into the air. For a brief moment you are comforted by his softness and his warmth. You drop quickly and are slammed deep into the mat, covered in a heavy Ham Hock of a man and out for the 1,2,3.
Match this with the fact of his true lineage. Wrestling fans will hear the name Rodney Agatupu Anoaʻi & immediately understand just the heritage of the illustrious Samoan-American name.
As for those less aquated with the deeper roots of wrestling past, may still recognise names such as Roman Reigns of Shield & big dog fame & Rikishi from 2 Cool.
But that is by far where the wrestling pedigree stops on this family tree. Rosey most notably as super hero with the hurricane and in stable 3 minute warning,
Umaga the Samoan with his horrific taped thumb spike attack who has a great run.
One of the most acclaimed tag-teams in the modern era, twin brothers Jimmy & Jay the Usos are a key part of the family.
They had a lot to learn from Afa & Sika who played the Wild Samoans and were well respected for their ferocity and brutality.
Speaking of brothers, The head of the family historically was Reverend Amituana’I Ano’I, his brother high-chief Peter Maiva, had a wrestling son-in-law Rocky Johnson, who’s son is the most famous of the family. Dwayne The Rock Johnson.
Billed at 6 foot 5, The Rock from a young age showed athletic promise in American football before making the transition into the family business, where he immediately shone as a bright talent among his young peers.
He was powerful, fast, handsome and had a great work ethic, however his initial run in WWE didn’t see him gain the notoriety he has today straight away.
Presented as the out and out good guy, smiley and jumping colourfully to the ring Rocky Maivia was in The Rock’s own word a flop.
But after some reconsideration, and a change of pace, the egotistical, silver tongued and extremely quick-witted Rock was born. Gaining immediate love from the fans for his outrageous sense of humour, his smooth-talking jibes at opponents which were always backed up by strong showings between the ropes.
Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold, Triple H, Jerry Lawler, Owen Hart, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle and The Undertaker all lost to the Rock’s famed Rock Bottom variant.
Easily the most famous wrestler of all time, his universal success and appeal outside of wrestling is unmatched and his wallet is surely rather pleased.
ROCK BOTTOM VS MANKIND, IN YOUR HOUSE 1998
The move even had a pay=per-view names after it, when The Rock was coming into the start of his mass-popularity in WWE.
Rock Bottom: In Your House aired on 13th December 1998 from Vancouver, Canada with the main event featuring Undertaker and Stone Cold attempting to bury one another, literally. For a spot at the next Royal Rumble.
The Rock & Mankind featured on the mid-card and regardless of the use of the Rock’s move for the pay-per-view, he lost to Mankind in a submission match, which saw the Rock fall unconscious due to severe pain induced by Mankind.
However Vince Mcmahon reversed the decision to make Mankind the World Champion as The Rock hadn’t technically said “I quit”. A real screw you moment for young fans like me who had so hoped for a Mankind victory.
MOVIE STAR SENSATION
The highest paid actor in the entire world. From his stumbling start in smaller productions and with smaller roles, over the past decade Dwayne The Rock Johnson has made huge strides in consistently starring in huge, money-making blockbusters such as Jumanji, Pixar’s Moana and the world-conquering Fast & Furious Series.
Aswell as several credits on production as a producer on films such as 2019’s Fighting With My Family.
In the world of professional wrestling, not many are held in the same light, or with the same esteem as the likes of film stars suck as Dwayne The Rock & Dave Batista. One position that may surpass these is royalty. And for that truly regal flourish we need look no further than…
His Book End variant of the manoeuvre saw him become arguably the most successful black performer of all time and certainly in the upper-echelons of all time in the wrestling business as part of a tag-team with his brother and world champion (if only briefly) in WCW, through his tenure as King Booker after winning King of the Ring in ____ & overall 5 time (enter audio 5 time) World Champion throughout his career in WWE & TNA.
Booker T used the Book End throughout lots of his career, beating the esteemed list of oppoents over a generation spaning career.
From there, many wrestlers have used an adapted version of the side slam. From Matt Hardy & his sit-out variant the ‘Side Effect’ winning him titles in both TNA & WWE. Hardy’s innovated version sees him wrap his hands behind the opponents back whilst lifting them up, simultaneously swinging himself forward into a sitting position whilst pulling his opponent towards the mat.
Another innovated version came from Takeshi Rikio, who’s high-elevated variant with his arms wrapped around the opponents thigh and waist was called the Musou. Mu-soh translated directly from Japanes means “without parallel”.
And although in today’s wrestling climate of high-flying, doubly intensity matches every week it may seem like a fairly simple move. The Side Slam, The Book End, The Rock Bottom are high on the list of most iconic moves in wrestling’s history.