Chris Adonis: The Master Lock Was Successful Because It Was A Legitimate Hold, Anyone Could Do It

Chris Adonis discusses the success of the Master Lock.

Adonis signed with WWE and started in the developmental system in 2003. He moved to the main roster in 2005, and under the name Chris Masters, he memorably held the Master Lock Challenge, where his opponent would have to try to break the Full Nelson submission hold. Masters rose to prominence and feuded with top stars like Shawn Michaels and John Cena. He continued to work for WWE until he was released in 2007. Masters returned to the company in 2009 before he left again in 2011. In recent years, he has been wrestling for the National Wrestling Alliance, among other promotions.

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Speaking with Stephanie Chase, Adonis discussed the Master Luck and why fans continue to remember it. He described how the introduction of the hold came at a time when WWE was somewhat going back to the basics by featuring legitimate submissions.Adonis stated that, in order to succeed, the hold needed to be built up and presented on television.

“I think it was at a point in time where it was like a back-to-basics thing, and I think a lot of people resisted at first, even including myself, because it was so basic. It's like, ‘Oh my god, a Full Nelson?’ But the whole idea of it was to kind of recondition the fans. Not with any kind of BS or anything like that, but that holds are legitimate. The Full Nelson, for instance, is a basic hold, but it is legitimate, and if you have the right person applying it, there really is no escaping it. When I say the right person I’m talking about a Chris Masters, a Bobby Lashley, Hercules Hernandez. [WWE] pushed the bar very far in the three years before that. I think it was like 2002 to 2005, where there was a of ton of injuries and they reached the point, when I came in, where they adopted that philosophy and they wanted it to start, kind of, with me. It didn’t start with me but it was around then, not just with me but other people too. It's a legitimate hold it, it just needed to be presented on television every week and you needed to see it built, and when you partner that with the fact that, it is legitimate, anybody can do it to anybody," Adonis said.

Adonis also highlighted the simplicity of the hold and described how that made it more popular among fans. He noted how he could imagine himself using the Master Lock when he was a kid because he would have have seen it on TV, and it looked easy to do. Adonis emphasized that the amount of television time that the hold got, along with its simplicity, helped make it popular.

"I think one of the things that really made it catch on, when I've talked to guys who are now in their 20s, is the simplicity of it. It's the fact that you don't have to tie a guy down on the floor and lift up his legs and turn them over. If you're at school like, I could imagine, if I was an eight-year-old at school and I was watching wrestling at that time at some point, I would have snuck up behind one of my friends and applied a Full Nelson out of nowhere, without them even seeing it coming, just because I saw Chris Masters do it. I think, if anything sums up its popularity, it would be, obviously the television time but then, what I just pointed out, the fact that you could do it and be like, ‘Try to break this, try to break this,'" Adonis said.

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Thanks to Stephanie Chase for sharing these quotes.

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