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Hoist Hero over Head

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His overhead press max must be amazing.

"[T]he boy from 7. He had fought bravely, wildly. There were hundreds of waterfalls in the arena, it was that year's theme, and Ares caught him at the peak of one. They had fought there as the Pack cheered and whooped, and finally Ares picked him up, held him over his head and threw him over the rushing water with a roar of triumph."

A classic villain pose. To show that he has defeated the hero, the villain lifts him over his head.

As a pose, this has lots of benefits: It's visually compelling, it shows off the villain's strength, and it's a shocking way for the villain to brag about beating the hero, showcasing the hero's vulnerability. Think of it as shadow-Pietà Plagiarism — instead of a loved one gently cradling a fallen hero, an enemy is holding his conquest up for the world to see. The followup action is usually to drop or throw him back to earth, perhaps with some force. Ouch.

This is also the standard position for preparing to toss a guy off something, which is done by both heroes and villains.

The hero (or villain) is usually facing the sky or ceiling while being lifted, though occasionally the defeated opponent is facing the ground.

The heroic variants use it as a statement that to get to this person you will have to go through the hero.

A step above the Neck Lift in terms of villainous grandstanding (yet also ironically more realistic to perform), and a sister trope to Touch of the Monster (though usually with slightly less innuendo. Usually). Compare Load-Bearing Hero and people lifting other things over their heads as a show of Super-Strength. Contrast Victory Pose On Person, which is done by both heroes and villains and which sees the defeated laying on the ground with the victorious putting one foot on their body as part of their Victory Pose. Commonly invokes the Wrestler in All of Us.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Berserk, villain to villain example Zodd does this to Wyald before impaling him on his horns.
  • Dragon Ball:
  • My Hero Academia: In the final battle after depleting all of All Might's equipment and having him at the brink of death, All For One hoists him above his head to show the world as he prepares to finish him off. Just before he finishes, Bakugo rejoins the fight and with a Gear Shift powered throw from Deku saves All Might from All For One's hands.
  • One Piece:
    • Arlong does to Luffy in Arlong Park, Luffy however responses in kind and bites Arlong's arm; Arlong annoyed throws Luffy into the water.
    • Hero doing this to another hero example as Sanji hoists Nami above his head in Thriller Bark, to protect her from Absalom’s barrage of attacks.
  • Deathmask Cancer does this to Dragon Shiryu in Saint Seiya; for extra points, he's doing it one-handed (palm in the small of Shiryu's back. Then he makes the mistake of telekinetically dumping Shiryu's love interest Shunrei off a cliff, at which point Shiryu finds his true power and proceeds to kick Deathmask's ASS.
  • Sailor Moon: Makoto/Lita, right before she learns she's Sailor Jupiter. It happens to her again by a monster-of-the-week in a flashback in "People Who Need People".

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Bring Me to Life: In chapter 37, the First, in a very Bane-style move, lifts Buffy over its head and slams her down on its knee, breaking her back.
    The First: Like little porcelain people. You all break so easily. Like this.
  • During a gladiatorial match in Power Girl story A Force of Four, Kryptonian outlaw U-Ban lifts Power Girl and slams her down.
    "Rao is good to us, sometimes," said U-Ban as he grabbed Power Girl by the neck, pulling her up from the arena wall against which Mala had blown her and the other women. She tried to punch him, but he blocked the blow. She tried for a kick, but he grabbed her ankle.
    Then, holding her by throat and ankle, he lifted her high over his head...
    "No!" cried Fury, trying to hurl herself at him. But Kizo grabbed her cape and then her arm to hold her back.
    ...and slammed her hard, back-first, across his outstretched knee.
    White light filled Kara's skull.
  • In Supergirl story Hellsister Trilogy, Satan Girl lifts Kara when she's about to hurl her into a star.
    Then she lifted her overhead and threw her with all her force.
  • Inverted in Chapter 16 of My Hero Academia: Unchained Predator, the Slayer lifts Mummy over his head and slams him down on his knee hard enough to tear him in half.

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Blacula: In the chemical plant, Blacula grabs one of the cops who finds him, lifts him above his head, and tosses him down the stairs into two over cops who are coming up.
  • The Bride: After learning that Bela was responsible for Rinaldo's death, Viktor grabs him bodily, lifts him above his head and hurls him at the lion's cage.
  • Brute Force: At the the end of their brutal fight, Joe lifts the unconscious Munsey over his head before hurling him from the watchtower into the prison yard.
  • In The Chronicles of Riddick, Lord Vaako does this to The Guv, slamming his back onto his knee and killing him.
  • In Circus, Moose hoists Roscoe over his head before tossing him over the roof of the van.
  • The Dark Knight Rises reinterprets the above image as largely unchanged, Bane smashing Batman's back upon his knee.
  • At the end of the final fight in D-Tox, Malloy hoists the villain above his head (which is quite impressive given he had been stabbed through the forearm during the battle).
  • Gunnar does this to Yang in The Expendables, in an attempt to impale him.
  • In Hatchet, Victor does this to Jenna before driving her down on to the handle of a shovel.
  • In Kick-Ass 2, Hit Girl tries to jump over Mother Russia, only for the Russian to catch and lift her before slamming her through a glass table.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In a reversal of roles, Thor does this to Loki in The Avengers.
    • Hero-to-hero example in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Drax lifts Mantis over his head to prevent her from getting sucked into the core of Ego, the Living Planet.
    • Played more realistically in Black Panther; just like in the comics Erik Killmonger does to the defeated T'challa. However in this version it's closer to firemen's lift since Killmonger doesn't have Super-Strength... at that point.
    • Played straight in Avengers: Infinity War, where Thanos does this to The Hulk after beating him senseless, effectively establishing Thanos's unmatched strength to the heroes and the audience before finishing him off with a body slam.
  • The Malay Chronicles: Bloodlines have the hero Merong's Establishing Character Moment, where he's introduced facing a gigantic brute some five times his size in a public brawl. At one point the brute managed to grab Merong, lift him overhead and swing Merong in circles before slamming him down, but Merong recovers almost instantly and gets back up.
  • In The Peanut Butter Falcon, Zak loves watching his favorite wrestler, the Salt Water Redneck, do the Atomic Throw, which involves lifting your opponent over your head and throwing him out of the ring. When he finally meets the Salt Water Redneck, Salt Water explains that the move was created with Camera Tricks. Zak still pulls it off when he gets to wrestle for real.
  • In Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge, Eric lifts Mayor Karen Wilton over his head before hurling her through the office window into the atrium of the mall where she falls to her death.
  • Hero/villain reversed: a Heel Face Turning Darth Vader does this to the Emperor in the climax of Return of the Jedi (shot from a different angle).
  • In Rocky III, during their "fight", Thunderlips gorilla presses Rocky above his head, struts around the ring, delivers a Badass Boast, and then chucks the Italian Stallion over the top rope and into the crowd.
  • In The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power, Chancara does this to Valina before slamming her onto the ground.
  • Today We Kill... Tomorrow We Die!: During the fight in the trading post, O'Bannion hoists one of the Comancheros over his head and hurls him out through the window.
  • In A View to a Kill, May Day hoists Gogol's bodyguard Venz over her head and throws him down the stairs of the grandstand at the racetrack.

  • Forest Kingdom: In the Hawk & Fisher spinoff series' book 1, legendary warrior Adam Stalker holds a werewolf over his head in this fashion, as this is the only way he can safely restrain the snarling, clawing monster long enough for others to fetch a silver weapon.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Inverted on Angel. The title character finishes off a demon sent after his son this way. For context, this is after a season and a half's worth of trauma led to Angel having Connor's memories changed so he could have a normal life.
    Connor: Oh my god!
    Angel: Connor, listen to me—
    Connor: You almost broke that guy in half! [beat] That was AWESOME! [act break] Seriously, that was the coolest thing I've ever seen!
    Angel: Well, it's... it's not a big deal. I mean, I do stuff like that a lot.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: In "The Bitter Suite", Xena, who is pissed because Gabrielle's mistake in the previous episode led to the death of Xena's son Solan, beats Gabrielle up and presses her over her head to try to hurl her off a cliff. Before Xena can throw her, Gabrielle kicks her in the face and is dropped.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Classical Mythology:
    • Heracles (also known as Hercules) defeats one of his opponents with this move. The giant Antaeus challenges everyone he meets to a wrestling match, kills them, and collects their skulls. He seems to be unbeatable because he's infinitely strong, but Heracles figures out his secret: Antaeus is only strong as long as he is in contact with the earth. When Heracles lifts him overhead, he becomes as weak as any ordinary man, and is easily defeated by a crushing bear hug.
    • Theseus once faced Cercyon of Eleusis, who also challenges everyone he meets to wrestling matches and kills them. Theseus pressed Cercyon overhead and hurled him to the ground hard enough to kill him.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The Gorilla/Military Press. For bonus points, bend at the elbows for a few reps, just to show how badass you are/how helpless they are. Followed by either a drop(on their face!) or transitioning to some other move. Sometimes done to one's own partner, shortly before throwing their mass onto several opponents at once.
  • If you feel the need to re-enact the act of breaking the Bat, the over-the-knee Backbreaker is as close as you can get...
    • Go To Sleep is another way.
    • Come to think of it, almost any variation of the Backbreaker requires you to do this.

    Video Games 
  • Bane, being one of Batman: Arkham Asylum's Game Over Men, naturally breaks Batman's back if you die in his boss fight, as a tribute to Knightfall. At the end of his boss battle, he attempts to break Batman's back, only for a remote-controlled Batmobile to ram him.
    • He does it again in cut-scenes in Batman: Arkham Origins as well. The first time he does it, he throws Batman out the window. When he does it during the second fight, he does bring Batman down over his knee. It doesn't break his back, but it does effectively end the fight for a while. He can also do it during the fights themselves, though these can be countered. If you fail to counter, he'll naturally bring you down on his knee. While damaging, it isn't necessarily fatal.
  • Nu, Lambda and Mu's throws and Tager's Astral Heat in the BlazBlue series.
  • Destiny 2: When a treacherous Psion attempts to assassinate Commander Zavala during a peace conference, Empress Caiatl lays down the law by hefting the would-be assassin over her head and slamming him into the ground hard. Given that Caiatl is a Cabal (a species that can be adequately described as humanoid rhinoceroses), the unlucky Psion does not survive the experience.
  • The Raider from For Honor gets to do this with their "Viking Press Backbreaker" finishing move, sheathing their axe so they can lift the victim over head before breaking their spines over their knee.
  • In Halo 5: Guardians, Spartans now gain a plethora of Assassination moves to use on each other, which includes:
    • Backbreaker: The assassination target is hoisted over the initiator's head, and then takes an over-the-knee backbreaker that would make Bane proud.
    • Lawndart: The assassination target is lifted from behind, flipped around, and has their head smashed into the ground breaking their neck.
  • Marvel's Spider-Man Kingpin does this to Spider-Man.
  • From Mortal Kombat:
    • A heroic variant comes in one of Sub-Zero's fatalities in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. He grabs the opponent and holds them over his head, freezes them, and smashes them to pieces.
    • Mortal Kombat X
      • Kotal Khan’s god ray move involves him lifting his opponent above his head and blasting them with a sun beam. If it’s a Brutality their victim body will explode.
      • Guest Fighter Jason Voorhees has this as part of his moveset in order to deliver a Backbreaker. If it's a Brutality, it literally breaks them in half.
  • The gorilla press variant is one of Darth Vader's grapple moves in Soulcalibur IV.
  • In One Must Fall 2097, this is Jaguar's "Scrap move" (part one of the Finishing Move), complete with dropping the enemy robot on the ground. The "Destruction move" (part two) is continued from that position, as Jaguar leaps into the air and smashes the opponent into the ground so hard that it explodes into pieces.
  • In Rumble Roses both the Substance and Subsistance version of Lady X can perform a one armed version on the girls.
  • Cargo Throw, Donkey Kong's forward throw in every Super Smash Bros. game, has Donkey Kong lift his opponent over his head in a pose somewhere between a Gorilla Press and a Fireman's Carry, then carry them around the stage before throwing them. Ultimate turns this move into an Over-the-Shoulder Carry, though the mechanics are the same.
  • Tekken:
    • Jack and Jack 2 had the Gorilla Press as one of their standard throws, and all Jacks have had the Backbreaker.
    • King 1, King 2, and Armor King all have throw chains that involve this. Depending on the character and button input, it ended with a Backfall Suplex, Piledriver, or Argentina Backbreaker (breaking the target's back over their shoulders instead of their knee).

    Web Comics 
  • Chapter 5 of Furry Fight Chronicles has Kalita lift Muko over her head while giving the bunny a Curb-Stomp Battle in their first fight. Cookie, Muko's manager, imagines Kalita as a Combagal, realizing that the fighter has potential to become a great Combagal.
  • An amusing variation occurs in Girl Genius when the Jägermonster Minsk hoists Agatha over his head and runs off with her to "tek [her] to a party! Wheee!" just after he and his partner were discussing the merits of killing her.
  • The Order of the Stick: During a fight against a giant Pit Fiend, Durkon tries using the Thor's might spell to get bigger and fight the devil more evenly, but this just results in the Pit Fiend hoisting the giant dwarf above his head, putting him on fire, and throwing him to the ground.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman Beyond:
    • In "The Winning Edge", Mason Forrest enhances his strength with the Slappers and lifts Batman before throwing him into a stack of TV's.
    • "Out of the Past" had a hero on villain example where Bruce Wayne, after being made young again by the Lazarus Pit, lifts Carter over his head and throws him into some other mooks.
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • Bane recreates the Knightfall scene in his debut, but before he can actually break Batman's back, Batman stabs a crushed Batarang into his Venom feed, overloading his system with the drug.
    • Killer Croc demonstrates his near-superhuman strength by lifting Batman over his head before throwing him into the drink.
    • Ra's al Ghul, temporarily insane after being revived by the Lazarus Pit, lifts his own daughter Talia al Ghul over his head and attempts to throw her into the Lazarus Pit, which is toxic to healthy people. Batman snares Ra's with a Batline and yanks them back before he can throw her.
  • In Code Lyoko "Image Problem", the X.A.N.A.-Yumi lifts Jérémie above her head before throwing him into the hatch leading to the Supercomputer Room.
  • Harley Quinn: In "Bachelorette", after the evil goddess Eris is knocked out, Jennifer, who is an ordinary civilian, presses her overhead and hurls her off a balcony.
  • In the Jackie Chan Adventures episode "The J-Team", Finn, armed with the Ox Talisman which gives its holder Super-Strength, does this to Jackie and then throws him across the room. Finn then tries it on El Toro Fuerte, which hilariously backfires:
    Finn: [lifts El Toro] Who's "strong like ox" now, El Toro!?
    Viper: Not you, skinny! [snatches away the Ox Talisman]
    Finn: No! [crushed under El Toro's weight]
  • Justice League:
    • In "The Doomsday Sanction", Superman lifts Doomsday over his head and hurls him into a volcano.
    • Darkseid does this to Superman in the last episode, "Destroyer". He then brings Supes's back down on his knee, Batman-and-Bane style; it doesn't break his back, but it hurts like hell.
      Darkseid: Super or otherwise, you're merely a man. And I... am a God.
  • In Kim Possible "Mad Dogs and Aliens", Warmonga holds an unconscious Shego (who used to be a hero) above her head.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot: In the climax of "Escape from Cluster Prime", Queen Vexus lifts up a beaten-up Jenny over her head and prepared to drop her from a higher place.
  • Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: In "That's Snow Ghost," the title monster lifts Scooby over his head and tries to throw him off a ledge. Scooby frantically holds onto the Snow Ghost's hand.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series:
    • In "Duel of the Hunters", Man-Spider does this to the Punisher.
    • In "Blade, The Vampire Hunter", Morbius does this to Spider-Man.
    • In "The Black Cat", Doc Ock does this to our titular heroine.
    • In "The Return of Kraven", Kraven hoists Spider-Man overhead and nearly throws him to the lions. Luckily, Black Cat arrives to lend a hand.
    • In "The Wedding", Harry Osborn has a nightmare which had a monstrous Spider-Man lifting Mary Janne above his head and throws her into the vortex.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: The last episode, "Legacy", had an inversion where Superman did this to Darkseid while standing on top of a ruined building, then tossed Darkseid to the ground below.
  • Ragnar does this to his sister Iolande in Green Lantern: The Animated Series
  • ThunderCats:
    • In the episode "The Thunder-cutter", a ninja lifts Nayda and threatens to hurl her off a ledge unless Hachiman surrenders. Nayda breaks his grip and jumps down herself, then Lion-O saves her.
    • In the episode "Lion's Annointment Final Day: The Trial of Evil", Mumm-Ra does this to Lion-O and then throws him across the room.
  • The Transformers has Galvatron do this to Ultra Magnus in the Season 3 episode, "Webworld".

    Real Life 
  • This trope is said to have been inverted and ultimately averted by singer Paul Robeson. During tryouts for a college football game, one of the other players yelled a racial epithet at Robeson, to which he responded by lifting him in the air and preparing to break his back against his knee, but was interrupted by the coach yelling "Paul Robeson has made the team!"


Bane Breaks Batman's Back

Batman's back breaks before his spirit.

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