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 hero 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 posturing, 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. Commonly invokes the Wrestler in All of Us.
- Sailor Moon: Makoto/Lita, right before she learns she's Sailor Jupiter. It happened to her again by a monster-of-the-week in a flashback in "People Who Need People".
- Berserk, villain to villain example Zodd does this to Wyald◊ before impaling him on his horns.
- 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.
- Dragon Ball Z:
- Goku does a iconic one handed inversion to Nappa after breaking his spine.
- "Hero" might be a stretch, but Super Android 13 does this to Vegeta, complete with knee-slam◊.
- In an inversion, Android 16 does this to Imperfect Cell before slamming him into the ground so hard he disappears. Not content with that, 16 follows up with a double Arm Cannon blast.
- Hilarious subversion in Dragon Ball Z: Broly Second Coming as Broly does this to little kid Trunks with the intentional with snapping him in half of top of his head... then Trunks pees on him.
- One Piece:
- Bane does this a lot, but never more strikingly than in the "Knightfall" storyline, when he hoists Batman over his head and slams him down on his knee, breaking Batman's back. In fact, it happens twice in the same story, the second time in the picture above having Bane throw Batman's broken body to the ground in view of Gotham.
- Payback!! Actually no, that doesn't happen in the comic but Batman does take vengeance on Bane in brutal fashion.
- Before Bane did it, Doomsday does this to Superman in the final part of The Death of Superman, holding the bloodied body of Superman over his head, an Oh, Crap! look on the Man of Steel's face.
- In one cover◊ of The Coming Of Atlas, the eponymous villain holds Superman's body over his head with one hand.
- Superman villain Mongul does this◊ to Batman in Batman/Superman.
- Kryptonite Nevermore, gives two examples:
- Third-rate villain Nyxly does this to Superman during their duel.
- Another super-villain later holds Superman overhead after knocking him out.
- In Supergirl Volume 2 #20 Parasite does this to Supergirl followed by slamming her into the ground.
- In Red Daughter of Krypton, Supergirl does this to a living Kryptonian suit before hurling it into the Sun.
- In the cover of "Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom" issue #1, Darkseid's minion Maelstrom is doing this to Supergirl.
- The tyrannical Superman does this to Batman in Injustice: Gods Among Us and breaks his spine◊... not too surprising as Supes had long passed his Moral Event Horizon at that point.
- In Fantastic Four evil Flying Brick Gladiator does a one handed◊ version to The Thing.
- In The Transformers generation 1 comic, Megatron did this to Optimus ( the autobots lost that one due to critical fuel shortage).
- The Incredible Hulk #142: Valkyrie holds the Hulk over her head.
Every Male Chauvinist Pig in the world will Tremble...when he sees the Hulk hurled to his Death - by a Woman!
- Nightcrawler, did once did a one handed version to Callisto.
- When the Suicide Squad end up on Apokolips, Amanda Waller finds herself staring down Granny Goodness. It's Iron Lady vs Evil Matriarch, with just one problem - as hardcore as Waller is, she's still mortal.
Granny: Tell me, little worm, do they regard you as someone strong, someone nasty, in your own world? This is not your world. This is where darkness, where cruelty and power, are all born. You aren't "nasty", little worm, you're only human. We are Gods. We don't aspire to cruelty, we are cruelty! (SLAM)
- Killmonger does this◊ to Black Panther in the comics before tossing him off a waterfall.
- Inverted in Spider-Man comics. In "Spectacular Spider-man" #193 Spidey beats up the Puma badly, and then hoists him above his head. The scene made the cover◊ of the issue.
- The Hulk did this to Wolverine in the Ultimate Marvel Universe, before ripping him in half.
- Ultimate Wolverine has no luck when it comes to this as Colossus does it as well, ripping Logans leg off.
- In Detective Comics #659, during the "Knightfall" arc, Batman goes after the Ventriloquist, only to be jumped by Amygdala, with his Berserk Button pushed by seeing his "friends" being "harassed", who does a very serious looking variation◊ of the move.
- In the cover for Ms. Marvel vol. 2 #44◊, Moonstone holds our titular heroine chained up over her head while the rest of Dark Avengers observe.
- In the cover for Wonder Woman Vol 2 # 145 "Devastating Consequences", Devastation holds Wonder Woman over her head.
- 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.
- Heroic version in Disney's Tarzan where Tarzan lifts the corpse of his slain foe, the leopard Sabor, above his head and gives his famous Signature Roar for the first time.
- An example of a hero doing this to another hero in Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame where Quasimodo lifts Esmeralda over his head after saving her from being burned at the stake by Frollo. In turn, he presents her to the crowd◊ and shouts "SANCTUARY!"
- The Mutant Leader does this to Batman before dumping him on a pile of junk during their junkyard fight in the first part of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns animated movie.
- Inverted in Superman Unbound. Sups does this to Brainiac, before throwing him into a chasm onboard his spaceship.
- Batman vs. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The mutated Bane attempts to do his infamous back breaker on Donatello (while boasting about being the Man Who Broke the Bat) and slams his back on his knee, unfortunately for Bane however, such a move is significantly less effective on a creature with a shell.
- Gunnar does this to Yang in The Expendables, in an attempt to impale him.
- Done in the prison movie Brute Force (1947) during the climactic prison riot.
- 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).
- A mook does this to Jay in Men in Black II.
- The Dark Knight Rises reinterprets the above image as largely unchanged, Bane smashing Batman's back upon his knee.
- 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 (2018), 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 bodyslam.
- In The Chronicles of Riddick, Lord Vaako does this to The Guv, slamming his back onto his knee and killing him.
- 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 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.
- 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).
- In Circus, Moose hoists Roscoe over his head before tossing him over the roof of the van.
- In Hatchet, Victor does this to Jenna before driving her down on to the handle of a shovel.
- 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.
- 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.
- In "Static", Aldar does this to several people, including Clark.
- In "Legion", Chloiac does this to Clark.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The gorilla press variant is one of Darth Vader's grapple moves in SoulCalibur IV.
- Nu, Lambda and Mu's throws and Tager's Astral Heat in the BlazBlue series.
- 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.
- In Mortal Kombat X Kotal Khans god ray move involves him lifting his opponent above his head and blasting them with a sun beam. If its a Brutality their victim body will explode.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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 "Thor's Might" 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Justice League:
"Super or otherwise, you're merely a man. And I...am a God."
- 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.
- 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 (1985):
- 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.
- 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]
- The Transformers has Galvatron do this to Ultra Magnus in the Season 3 episode, "Webworld".
- In Kim Possible "Mad Dogs and Aliens", Warmonga holds an unconscious Shego (who used to be a hero) above her head.
- 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.
- 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 Spiderman.
- 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.
- 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.
- Harley Quinn (2019): 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.
- 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!"