In July 2016, Samer Kalaf of Deadspin.com produced a piece in which he called “The Stone Cold Stunner” the most important wrestling move of all time. In the article, Kalaf provides an excellent history of the Stunner, a move that began before Steve Austin was ever “Stone Cold” and before Austin became one of the biggest draws in all of North American pro wrestling. No knowledgeable wrestling fan should understate the importance of the Stunner to the industry. A wrestler is just a guy, after all, unless he has a memorable finishing move. Austin, Diamond Dallas Page and Randy Orton are just three of the wrestlers who had finishing moves that could be completed seemingly out of nowhere and that won matches against some legends of the industry.
Kalaf’s excellent post got us to thinking: What are the most important wrestling moves of all time? Any such list would have to include some of the basics that are witnessed in matches that take place in independent promotions that draw hundreds of fans, and also moves seen on World Wrestling Entertainment television on a weekly basis. We also, obviously, had to include finishing moves such as the Stunner and others that fans have mimicked while fake-wrestling in their backyards or while playing certain video games. We may not all agree that the Stunner is, in fact, the most important wrestling move of all time, but the topic does make for an interesting debate among passionate wrestling fans.
9 Tombstone/Standard Piledriver
The piledriver, however it is executed, is one of the most important finishing moves in the history of pro wrestling for many reasons. We rarely see it in the WWE today because the move is dangerous in real life. Don’t forget that the career of Steve Austin was legitimately shortened by years in part because of a botched tombstone that occurred in a match involving Austin and Owen Hart.
8 German Suplex
6 Figure Four
3 Hogan Leg Drop
2 Elbow Drop
You can tell that this piece is produced in the summer of 2016. All jokes and sarcasm aside, the superkick has become a pro wrestling phenomenon of its own thanks to a variety of wrestlers. Shawn Michaels made “Sweet Chin Music” a finishing move copied by would-be pro wrestlers around the world. We now see “Superkick Parties” executed by The Young Bucks and copied by The Usos in the WWE. The superkick can be a set-up that leads to a finishing move. It can also end a match, as was the case when Dolph Ziggler defeated A.J. Styles during an edition of SmackDown in late July 2016. Some veterans of the business may not like all of the kicks that they see in matches today, but they’d better get used to it. The superkick is not going anywhere anytime soon, and thus we are calling it the most important wrestling move of all time.
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