In every great match there are always those particular moments that ultimately end up living on through endless replays and video montages. In professional wrestling, these moments are referred to as spots. A spot is a preplanned move, which is designed to get a particular audience reaction or determine the pace of the match. Spots can be anything from an Irish Whip at a certain time, to a series of spots, for example a succession of reversals. Wrestlers who choreograph their matches before the show will usually decide on an opening spot and an ending, as well as several other spots to use throughout the match. The remainder of the match will be divided between transition moves and general offensive and defensive moves.
Throughout the history of the business there have always been certain spots that seem to be greater or more impactful than the rest. They result in evoking a particular reaction from the audience (typically shock or awe), have the ability to inspire thousands if not millions, and in some cases they actually help define an era entirely.
This is all based on personal opinion. There are obviously numerous other viable candidates that definitely deserve to be mentioned so please feel free to comment with any spots you feel should have been included. I’d like to start by giving an honorable mention to the following spots that didn’t make the top 10: Kurt Angle giving Shane McMahon multiple belly-to-belly suplexes through the glass at King Of The Ring 2001, Randy Orton missing the RKO onto a bed of thumbtacks against Foley at Backlash 2004, and Stone Cold passing out in Bret Hart’s Sharpshooter covered in blood at WrestleMania 13. These spots were all amazing moments, but they simply didn’t make the cut for the top 10 greatest spots in wrestling history.
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10 The Shooting Star RKO
Randy Orton has become extremely well know for hitting his finishing move, the RKO, from "out of nowhere." However none of those instances come remotely close to the time he did it to Evan Bourne on an episode of Monday Night Raw. Orton was lying supine on the mat halfway across the ring as Bourne climbed the corner turnbuckles to go for his aerial finishing maneuver, the shooting star press (appropriately named Air Bourne). As Bourne made his descent, Orton popped up from the mat, catching Bourne mid-air with the RKO. The spot is definitely Orton’s best counter RKO to date and one of those magical moments that requires a couple replays just to grasp how flawlessly it was executed.
9 Undertaker Throws Rikishi Off The Cell
The main event match of Armageddon 2000 was a six-man Hell In A Cell match for Kurt Angle’s WWE Championship. The challengers were The Undertaker, The Rock, Triple H, Rikishi, and Stone Cold Steve Austin. While all of the carnage was occurring, Vince McMahon, Pat Patterson, and Gerald Brisco were working together to stop the match by attempting to demolish the cell with a truck. They had just torn down the cell door when WWE Commissioner Mick Foley ordered the trio to allow the match to run its course. The trio ignored Foley, and the Commissioner sent the police to escort McMahon out of the arena as he fought Patterson and Brisco. Meanwhile, chaos had broken out as all the participants involved had exited the cell and some had actually begun climbing up the structure. Rikishi and The Undertaker battled on top of the cell, until The Undertaker grabbed him by the throat and chokeslammed him off the cell into the truck below.
8 Shane McMahon’s Leap Of Faith
During a Last Man Standing Match at Backlash 2001, Shane McMahon performed a spot that would later become known as the Leap Of Faith. In the grueling bout with the Big Show, the two would eventually make their way over to the entrance ramp. While the Big Show was preoccupied by Test’s interference, Shane McMahon climbed to the top of the Titantron. At this point, Test had laid out Big Show adjacent to the Titantron. Shane McMahon then leapt off the Titantron’s scaffolding in an attempt to hit Big Show with an elbow drop. He succeeds but both of them look to be a little worse off after the insane stunt. The spot was so great that after the Test is seen marking out in the background.
7 The Ring Collapses
The Big Show makes the list again but this time the spot comes from a match from 2003 with Brock Lesnar. During the episode of SmackDown, The Big Show grabbed Lesnar by the throat, led him towards the corner turnbuckles in preparation for a devastating chokeslam from the top rope. Lesnar broke free from The Big Show’s grasp and prepared The Big Show for his own devastating maneuver, a Superplex. The sheer force of the Superplex caused the ring to implode. This resulted in two of the ring posts being removed and three of the rows of ropes coming down.
6 Edge Spears Foley Through A Flaming Table
Mick Foley has always been known for taking risks and massive amounts of punishment and at WrestleMania 22 it was no different. At the event, Mick Foley battled The Rated-R Superstar, Edge (who was accompanied by Lita) in a brutal Hardcore Match. To close the violent match, Foley had set up a table and attempted to light it on fire at ringside. However, Lita hit Mick between the legs with a barbed wire baseball bat and proceeded to light the table on fire herself. As Mick stood stunned on the apron, Edge charged towards Foley and speared him through the table, sending both men into the flames and crashing to the floor below as commentator Joey Styles screamed “OH MY GOD!”
5 Snuka Off The Top Of The Cage
In one of the most legendary matches in WWE history, Jimmy Snuka faced off against Don Muraco for the Intercontinental Title in a Steel Cage Match emanating from Madison Square Garden in October 1983. The match ended in a loss for the Superfly, but afterward he dragged Muraco back into the ring and connected with the most famous Superfly Splash of his career. After laying out Muraco with a suplex, Snuka climbed the cage and dove off the top of the cage, delivering a Superfly Spalsh from the top of the 15-foot structure. Future wrestling stars Mick Foley, Tommy Dreamer, Bully Ray (Bubba Ray Dudley), and The Sandman were all in attendance at the event and cite this match as the reason they decided to aggressively pursue professional wrestling.
4 Hogan Slams Andre
At WrestleMania III, in what was billed as the "biggest main event in sports entertainment," WWF Champion Hulk Hogan defended his title against Andre The Giant. Approximately two minutes into the match, Hogan attempted to bodyslam Andre, but was unable to lift The Giant and nearly lost the match when Andre fell on him. After the match had battled back and forth, Andre gave Hogan an Irish whip to the far side of the ring and attempted a big boot on Hogan, but Hogan ducked it and came off the ropes to give Andre a clothesline to take him off his feet for the first time in the match. Hogan then "Hulked Up" and scoop slammed the 520-pound Giant before hitting the ropes and executing atomic leg drop to get the win and retain the championship.
3 Elix Skipper Walks The Cage
The main event of TNA Turning Point 2004 was a Six Sides of Steel Cage Match between America’s Most Wanted (Chris Harris and James Storm) and Triple X (Christopher Daniels and Elix Skipper) with a pre-match stipulation that the losing team would disband. Towards the end of the match, Chris Harris climbed up to the top of the cage. As Harris sat on the top of the cage, Elix Skipper climbed up another corner and walked across the top of the cage (similar to someone walking a tightrope) and performed the New School (Skipper’s version of the Frankensteiner). To this day TNA Turning Point 2004 is remembered for the disbanding of Triple X and Primetime Elix Skipper pulling off this spot on Harris.
2 Edge Spears Jeff Hardy Off The Ladder
WrestleMania X-Seven featured a match dubbed TLC II between the Hardy Boyz, Edge and Christian, and The Dudley Boyz. The match contained many dangerous spots involving the weapons involved. Respective associates of each tag team, Spike Dudley behalf of the Dudley Boyz, Rhyno on behalf of Edge and Christian and Lita on behalf of the Hardy Boyz, interfered during the match. With Spike and Rhyno both lying on the tables outside the ring, Jeff Hardy set up a huge ladder beside them and performed a Swanton Bomb onto them through the tables. Jeff tried to go for the belts but has his ladder pulled off his feet by Bubba Ray Dudley leaving Jeff hanging onto the belts in the air. After climbing onto a bigger ladder, Edge jumped off it and speared Jeff to the canvas below.
1 Undertaker Throws Mankind Off The Cell
At WWE King Of The Ring 1998, The Undertaker and Mankind battled in the most well known Hell In A Cell match in history. The match began with Mankind tossing a chair on top of the cell and climbing to the top where he patiently awaiting the entrance of The Undertaker. After making his entrance, The Undertaker climbed the cell and battled with Mankind until he ended up throwing him off the cell, crashing through the Spanish announcers' table below. This resulted one of my favorite quotes from announcer Jim Ross who famously shouted, "Good God almighty! Good God almighty! That killed him! As God as my witness, he is broken in half!" Foley remained motionless underneath debris, while the Undertaker remained on top of the cell staring down. Eventually Foley was placed on a stretcher and wheeled out of the arena. Moments later, there was commotion on the entrance ramp as Foley got up from the stretcher and proceeded to make his way back to the cage and continue one of the greatest matches of all time. Although the match would result in countless other amazing spots, the vision of The Undertaker tossing Mankind off the cell is by far the greatest and most memorable.
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