If wrestling history has taught us anything it’s that a wrestler rarely gets credit for the moves they invent. Occasionally, you get someone who is smart enough to apply their own name to the move’s branding (such as Taka Michinoku’s Michinoku Driver), but for the most part, many wrestling moves are assigned a non-specific name that doesn’t give us a real indication as to who invented it. As a result, it’s incredibly easy to simply give the first wrestler you ever saw perform a particular move credit for being its inventor.
But while it can often be difficult to identify a move’s creator given the long history of professional wrestling and the speed at which word of some new incredible move travels around the industry, that’s not always the case. Actually, various fans and wrestlers over the years have done an incredible job of keeping up with who, exactly, is responsible for the creation of some of wrestling’s greatest moves. If there’s one thing that these records are good for, it is making you realize that the people you used to give credit to for coming up with your favorite moves are not actually the true innovator. Instead, these are the 15 wrestlers who shockingly created wrestling’s most famous moves.
15 Paul Heyman/911 - Chokeslam
If you’re a professional wrestler that’s around seven feet tall, then there is a good chance that you’ve got a chokeslam in your arsenal. The sight of watching a towering performer grab their opponent by the throat and slam them down to the mat is such a simple, but devastating, move that you probably assume that it’s been around ever since a really big wrestler realized that he could manhandle any weakling that stepped-up to him. Surprisingly, that is not the case. In fact, this move was actually created by the 5-foot-11, stocky Paul Heyman.
14 Scott Steiner - 450 Splash
You really do have to stop and remind yourself just how gifted of an athlete Scott Steiner was before he (allegedly) started to consume steroids like they were multivitamins. Back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Scott and Rick Steiner were revolutionizing the tag-team scene with their own unique brand of innovative matches and double-team maneuvers. However, Scott’s innovations are not limited to tandem moves performed with his brother. If you go back to 1987 and watch some of Scott Steiner’s singles matches, you’ll actually find a couple instances of him taking to the top rope and performing the incredibly dangerous 450 splash.
13 Chris Adams - Superkick
12 Dynamite Kid - Superplex
11 Sam Sheppard - Mandible Claw
10 Diamond Dallas Page - Styles Clash
9 John Laurinaitis - Diamond Cutter/RKO
Speaking of the Diamond Cutter….
8 Etsuko Mita - Death Valley Driver/Attitude Adjustment
7 Mando Guerrero - Moonsault
6 Jaguar Yokota - Jackhammer
5 Abe Coleman - Dropkick
When is the last time you really stopped to appreciate a dropkick? Unless you so happen to be a Kazuchika Okada fan that regularly gets to bear witness to the finest dropkick that the world has ever known, then you likely stopped making a big deal out of this relatively common move. Still, considering that it’s not like people go around dropkicking each other on the streets every day, someone had to be the first person to actually use this move in a wrestling match. That someone is a man by the name of Abe Coleman.
4 Black Gordman - DDT
3 Lou Thesz - Powerbomb
Lou Thesz may be an innovative performer who is usually recognized as one of the first major stars of the professional wrestling world, but people would never typically associate him with a move as flashy as the Powerbomb. Thesz was much more of a traditional mat wrestler whose mov eset typically revolved around getting his opponent to the ground via a variety of suplexes and takedowns. He rarely did anything as brutish as the Powerbomb, which is why it’s usually so surprising to learn that he actually created the move.
2 Riki Choshu - Sharpshooter/Scorpion Deathlock
1 Andre The Giant - Tombstone Piledriver
Whenever you hear people talk about Andre The Giant during his prime, they tend to focus on the monstrous size of the man or maybe his larger-than-life personality. What tends to get lost in the conversation is that Andre The Giant was actually a pretty capable in-ring performer in his heyday. Though he was obviously extremely limited due to the dangers associated with his size, back when Andre was still able to move around with relative ease, he could deliver some truly punishing maneuvers. Actually, back in the ‘70s, Andre performed the first confirmed instance of the Tombstone Piledriver.
Piledriver innovator Karl Gotch reportedly pulled off a tombstone variant of his famous cradle piledriver from time to time, but there’s no footage or verifiable reports of these instances. That’s not the case with Andre who performed the move regularly in front of cameras during the ‘70s. If you’ve ever wondered why Gorilla Monsoon had the name “Tombstone Piledriver” ready to go when The Undertaker hit his for the first time, you’ve got Andre to thank.
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