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Telephone Polearm

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Steroid use in track and field athletes has gotten out of control.

Straight line of the year: "Face me, Hulk." says Hercules in Hulk #404, "Without benefit of shrubbery!" There's only one correct response to THAT challenge: Ni!
— '''Marvel Year In Review 1993'

The use of extremely long and thick objects as blunt weaponry carried one-handed over the shoulder but swung two-handed in a devastating arc: think telephone poles, street lamps, trees, cabers... Basically, Big Freaking Stick.

Usually an indicator that the wielder has Super Strength. Usually an Improvised Weapon, often seen directly plucked and lifted.

See also Improbable Weapon User, Blade on a Stick, Carry a Big Stick, Drop the Hammer, and Epic Flail.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Fate/Zero: Berserker's abilities allow him to use the midsection of a streetlight as a pole-arm, to devastating effect against Saber.
  • Bleach: During Chad's first fight against a Hollow (which he can't even see at the time), he rips a telephone pole out of the ground and sweeps it around until it hits something. This is before he gains any powers whatsoever; he's just that badass.
  • Thorkell in Vinland Saga uses tree-sized sharpened stakes as either melee or ship-sinking ranged weapons.
  • Within the anime of Ranma ½, Ryoga uproots a concrete utility pole and swings it at Ranma after Nabiki convinces him the pills she gave him grant super-strength.
  • This is occasionally used by Durarara!!'s Shizuo Heiwajima — Sometimes with actual telephone poles, and other times with equally unwieldy objects like roadside guardrails.
    • Including, memorably, the use of a large motorway signpost, complete with sign, that he used to slice the top off a van.
      • Don't forget the tree he completely uprooted. The poor sap in the tree certainly didn't.
  • A Filler Arc in the Naruto anime included a boat trip for the protagonists. When, during an attack, their ship becomes unseaworthy, Sakura rips out its mainmast to use as a giant club. Especially notable in that, until this point in the series, Sakura had done very little in combat that had proven even mildly useful. It could also count as foreshadowing, since after the Time Skip Super Strength becomes her primary ability and her combat-effectiveness skyrockets.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency: During Joseph's chariot race against Wamuu, the first weapon is a large hammer hanging from a pillar. Joseph thinks he's got the advantage when he manages to take the lead and snatch the hammer, only to realize that Wamuu is able to use his Super Strength to take the pillar itself as an even more powerful weapon.
  • One Piece character Urouge wields a giant wood pillar. Word of God states that it is actually a pencil...and he's looking for a sharpener.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Ku Fei gets one of these as her signature weapon after her Pactio. It's explicitly based on the Ruyi Jingu Bang from Journey to the West, and consequently its most memorable appearance is when she uses it as artillery support.
  • Early in My Hero Academia, during a training exercise, Uraraka uses her zero gravity powers to grab a column ripped from the floor, and uses it to smack a bunch of floating debris at Iida. Appropiately, she calls it "Improvised Special Attack: Home Run Comet!"
  • In the Dust Spurt/Wasted Minds miniseries by Rumiko Takahashi, Yura, a psychic with Super Strength grabs a pole and goes after an enemy agent who saw her strength and called her a "gorilla woman". The agency she works for is strapped for cash and the damages she caused with it led them to ask if she was actually on their side.

  • A common occurrence in Superhero comics due to the abundance of people with the strength to pull this off. The Thing will often employ this against stronger opponents, especially the the Hulk, to keep his distance while still doing some damage.
    • In one X-men comic, X-men are trapped in another dimension and forced to take part in a large battle. Colossus (for who the whole arc is a serious case of It's Personal) goes to battle swinging a tree. The narration lampshades how horrified he would be at the damage if he wasn't so angry.
  • Jason X Special features Jason killing a couple by ripping a tree out of the ground and crushing them with it.
  • Archie Comics: Archie found himself using a lamp post in this manner, though he didn't intend to. When he was confronted by a collection of oily thugs who called him and Jughead "fun on the run," Jughead signaled Archie to turn in his direction, which resulted in the whole gang being poleaxed. He finishes off the leader by landing the head of the post into his stomach, also unintentionally.

    Fan Works 
  • In With Strings Attached, Paul batters his way up the steps to the Heart of Evil while swinging a six-foot length of fallen rock pillar. Does a nice job of clearing off the undead in the way... until he reaches the intangible wraiths.
    • In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, Paul does this with a convenient log when a bunch of dirt golems attack him. Unlike other examples of this trope, the log doesn't last very long because he's so strong, and so not-good with his strength, that he rapidly squeezes the log into pieces, though it holds out long enough to take care of the golems. (At least until the guy making them starts making more.)
  • In The Artist and the Faker, Nero uses a lamppost as a club. Archer asks how in the world she's so strong, since she's less than five feet tall and has no visible muscle mass.
  • In Son of the Sannin, during the battle against Kakuzu and Hidan to retake Takigakure, Fu grabs one of the toppled trees scattered around and uses it as a club. She later decides to keep it as her personal weapon of choice, naming it "Arbor-chan".

    Films — Animated 
  • Manfred the mammoth in Ice Age uses a tree trunk against the saber-tooths in the climax of the first film.
  • Megamind: Megamind uses a light pole as an impromptu sword during a fight with Titan (who is also using a light standard or telephone pole as a weapon).

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Done in several Discworld books, usually by Detritus or the Librarian, both of whom are strong enough to improvise clubs from all sorts of improbably large objects (enemy mooks are a favourite).
  • In The Magician's Nephew, when Jadis visits London she rips the sticky-out pole thing provided for the lamplighter to lean his ladder against off a lamp-post and uses it as a club.

  • The video for Otava Yo's Sumetskayanote  shows off the Russian version of this, which involves a strongman and a possibly three-metre length of substantial tree-trunk.

    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS Supers (4th edition) has rules for using such polearms, based on their length and how hard it is to hold them in hand.
  • Prometheans in Promethean: The Created can learn a transmutation specializing in making the body stronger, allowing them to pick up objects as though their strength rating was twice what it actually is. A second transmutation lets them use such objects as melee or thrown weapons. (Two further transmutations increase this effect to triple strength — for those times when they really need to hit people with a minivan.)
  • If your 'Mech has hands in BattleTech, you can pick up and use almost anything as a improvised club—this can include pieces of other 'mechs, whole trees, or whatever else you can get your giant metal mits on.

    Video Games 
  • In Saints Row 2 the Boss can use various items of scenery as improvised weapons, including street signs.
  • Taurens in Warcraft III use their totems (essentially enormous, decorated logs) like this.
    • The Mountain Giant night elf units can uproot a tree and use it as a club, giving them siege damage and increased range until the tree eventually breaks.
    • The Taunka in World of Warcraft use these totems as well. The Mountain Giants can also use trees as giant clubs. Jojo Ironbrow, after his mighty brow fails to break a jade pillar, starts wielding said pillar as a weapon.
  • In one verse during the sixth chapter in Bayonetta, the titular witch has to swing a streetlamp to kill several angels. Granted, it is one of the least impressive things she uses as an Improvised Weapon, but still...
  • Crude Buster had this as standard. Larger poles were picked up and thrown while smaller ones were used as clubs. You could also throw cars.
  • Hualin (one of the shopkeepers from Soul Calibur III and a bonus character) uses an enchanted staff that can shift length and thickness to fight, and often shifts it to telephone pole dimensions for stronger attacks. It's based on the staff from Journey to the West, which could change length and width. See also, Goku's Power Pole.
  • 'El Gigante' in Resident Evil 4 can wield a tree at you. Roughly the same thing happens with the Ndesu in Resident Evil 5, only he uses an actual telephone pole this time.
  • Joachim in Shadow Hearts: Covenant uses mailboxes and pillars as his weapons. He loves his Improvised Weapons.
  • Some characters in Freedom Force could rip poles right out of the ground and swing them. You could bring down a building by throwing enough trash cans at it or pounding it with light poles.
  • This is possible in the Hulk video games.
  • The Minotaur enemies in Castlevania: Bloodlines will grab sections of a marble column to swing at you. They'll even break it over your character if the swing connects.
  • Also possible in several Transformers games.
  • In Time Crisis 2 the second stage boss is a huge Scary Black Man who fights you by bear-hugging a nuclear missile by the business end and beating you over the head with it in the second stage of the fight.
  • The Gargantuar from Plants vs. Zombies can use a telephone pole as one of its weapons to instantly smash one of your plants. Sometimes, it may instead use a street sign or even another zombie.
  • In Fallout 3, the Super Mutant Behemoth enemies carry an improvised club consisting of a fire hydrant at the end of a water pipe. It's also larger than any other in-game fire hydrant by a factor of two, making it about as big as the player without the pipe...
    • It's larger than in-game hydrants because the Behemoth was meant to be rather less big. It got changed late in the game by punching up the stats and increasing the size of the model, resulting in the huge hydrant, not to mention the shopping trolley it uses as a backpack being a lot larger than what you'd expect.
    • Fallout: New Vegas also has the super mutant favorite Rebar Club, a trio of steel rebar beams, still attached to a large chunk of concrete. The player can also utilize it to full effect, through it takes a nearly maxed out strength score to make the most of it.
      • The unique version is added in Gun Runners' Arsenal DLC, called Nuka Breaker, which is a Nuka Cola neon sign. This itself is a Shout-Out to Fallout: Nuka Break.
      • Old World Blues has the X2 Antenna, and Lonesome Road has the Old Glory flagstaff.
  • Nexus War allows characters with the Cloak of Steel skill (or its upgraded variations) to do this with telephone poles, streetlamps, and uprooted trees. While it's possible to splatter a maximum-level character in three or four hits this way, such weapons are usually much less accurate than normal-size melee weapons.
  • Karok in Vindictus wields a battle pillar. It isn't improvised, but it's certainly big enough.
  • The larger characters in Power Stone are able to make use of street lights and telephone poles as weapons.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Black and White introduces Timburr, which fights by using a piece of wood that's enormous when compared to it, and it even juggles it on a regular basis. Its evolutions are also examples, but to a lesser extent, though only because they're bigger in comparison: Gurdurr and Conkeldurr, who swing around girders and concrete support beams, respectively.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon: According to legend, thieves once encroached on Tapu Bulu's temple, only to wisely book it in the opposite direction when they were met with the guardian deity swinging trees around as clubs. Unsurprisingly, Tapu Bulu learns the move Wood Hammer.
  • Flint gets to use Lighter's four-by-four in Mother 3. That same weapon is later used to knock Flint out. Ouch.
  • Some large creatures in Disciples use ripped out tree trunks as weapons.
  • Trolls in The Battle for Middle-earth can rip out trees to use them as clubs.
  • So has the RuneScape troll Dad, who fights with a tree trunk. A justifiable case, as he's much larger than most other trolls - the average mountain troll is more human-sized and uses weapons like large clubs, hammers, or bones.
  • In Dynasty Warriors 6: Empires, Meng Huo wields a large stone pillar.
  • One of the weapons in Dark Souls is a club fashioned out of a World Tree branch. Think of that what you will.
  • From the same maker, Armored Core V features, as one of its so-called "Ultimate Weapon", a rocket-powered concrete pillar. As if that's not badass enough, one of the Story mode bosses fashions one out of rubble after being beaten. Befitting its name, getting hit once, and only once, is enough to destroy damn well anything slow enough to get hit.
  • Many weapons available for the City of Heroes Titan Weapon powerset qualify, such as the "Concrete Mallet".
  • Wan Fu's weapon of choice in Samurai Shodown 2 is a stone pillar about as tall as he is.
  • One enemy in the arcade version of Ninja Gaiden wields a spiked log.
  • Doable in the first Darksiders, breaking off the non-straight parts of the pole. Though as it turns out mortal steel can't hold up to the strain the protagonist puts on his weapons and his foes are really too tough to make improvised weapons practical, this isn't good for more than a bit of minor Sequence Breaking before you have a ranged weapon.
  • In Hyrule Warriors, one of Link's special attacks while using the Gauntlets is to pull a huge pillar note  out of the ground, swing it around, then throw it onto the enemies.
  • In Undercover Cops, you can use steel beams and concrete columns as weapons.
  • The Unclean Giant from Darkest Dungeon wields a small tree for a club. Its main attack, Treebranch Smackdown, is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and is easily one of the most damaging attacks from a non-boss. Woe betide thee if it crits, because even a fully healed tank-ish character like the Leper or the Crusader can be sent to Death's Door. Mortality clarified in a single strike, indeed.
  • Mike Shadow: I Paid for It!: Street Weapons Lvl.3 has Mike beat the machine with a street light that he pulls from the ground.
  • Late into Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure, the pirate ship Zack is on gets attacked, and its mast falls over in the process. Undeterred, Zack picks up the mast and starts attacking stuff with it. He's a bit slower than usual while holding it, but it doesn't otherwise seem to bother him at all.
  • Gene from God Hand can uproot lamp posts and similar objects and clobber enemies senseless with them.

    Web Animation 
  • In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, Marneus Calgar (The Ultramarines' chapter master) once picked up a Necron Pylon (read: a crescent-shaped structure about 10 times his size usually used as an artillery piece) and used it to devastate hordes of Necrons that were swarming him.
  • In Death Battle, Superman uses a street lamp on Goku. Needless to say, Goku is barely scratched and Superman is still nowhere near using his full strength at that point.

  • Ping yanks a streetlamp out of the ground and swings away with it in Megatokyo. Not only has she used a telephone pole as a weapon/tool on more than one occasion, at least once she has fixed it back in place afterwards (and thanked it).

    Web Original 
  • Used against Tennyo in the Whateley Universe story "Boston Brawl" when the Arch-Fiend rips up a streetlight and lets her have it. On the other hand, smashing Tennyo into the pavement doesn't stop her.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Caber tossing comes pretty close.
  • Ever seen a Renaissance pike? The largest could be up to 7.5 meters/25 feet long, and weigh up to 6 kg/13.2 lb.
    • These in turn are in direct line of descent from the Greek hoplite spear, the dori, which found its greatest expression in the Macedonian sarissa used by Alexander the Great's heavy infantry. The sarissa could be up to 22 feet in length and took real upper body stregth to wield effectively.
  • Some students of Japanese swordsmanship develop their strength and control through practice swings with a furibo, a wooden practice sword built to be heavier than normal. Some will go so far as to make a huge furibo out of a thick piece of lumber, which may be 6 ft. 4 in. long and weigh 17 pounds.
  • Rods from God, a conceptual weapon that consists of satellites orbiting earth, which can drop telephone pole sized tungsten rods like giant darts on any targets below. At falling speeds of up to Mach 10, an impact would have as much energy as more than 100 tonnes of TNT. In essence, weaponized Colony Drop.


Video Example(s):


Mike Shadow - StreetWeaponsLv3

Street Weapons Lvl.3 involves Mike pulling out a street lamp and using it to whack the machine.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / TelephonePolearm

Media sources:

Main / TelephonePolearm