For decades professional wrestling, especially in the American style, has been perceived as a big man's sport. A physical spectacle where the size of the competitors was directly linked to the size of the crowd. These giants would pummel their competition with hard hitting blows, power slams, and a few choice submission moves.
The 1980s brought Americans the first nationally syndicated look at a different style of wrestling. One that relied more on speed, agility, and quickness, than the raw power of a muscle bound giant. Wrestlers like Jimmy Snuka, Ricky Steamboat, and Randy Savage were the new faces of what wrestling could be. This group of stars would not only use the turnbuckle to trap their opponent, but also as a springboard to launch themselves into superstardom.
Most fans now wouldn’t consider an elbow drop, or a cross body to be an insane, but in the context of the 1980s...it was. A group of nationally televised high flyers, inspired the Cruiserweight division of the 1990s, which has in turn inspired a new breed of daredevils.
The following article will take a look at what elbow drops have evolved into, and rank the top 20 craziest high flying moves.
20 Cross Body
19 Elbow Drop
17 Suicide Dives
No the Suicide Dive doesn’t kill the user, but depending on how a wrestler lands on his opponent, it can be dangerous. The idea of running head first towards the ropes and then jumping through, or over them is pretty crazy. The only reason that this dive is even allowed, is that most times the diver's opponent catches them, and essentially saves them from getting hurt. Some performers take it to the next level by adding in flips and twists, or by missing altogether, landing on the ground.
16 Flying Headbutt
15 Leaps of Faith
This is a broad category, and doesn’t have a specific move associated with it. It does however usually have the phrase “Oh my God!” attached to it. The Leap of Faith is any high flying move across a distance that hasn’t been seen before, or in a long time. This started with Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka jumping off of the cage in Madison Square Garden in 1983, which Mick Foley (a daredevil in his own right) has stated inspired him to get into the business.
14 Big Man Moonsault
This could be considered to be a bit bias, but it takes a lot more skill for a 250 plus pounder to do a flip off of the top rope than it does for a cruiserweight. With that being said, when a big man climbs to the top turnbuckle, it gets the whole building's attention. When that same big man doesn’t turn around and proceeds to do a back flip into a splash onto his opponent, everyone is standing.
13 Five Star Frog Splash
12 Corner-to-Corner Missile Dropkick
10 720 DDT
The DDT itself can be dangerous if the neck is torqued at the wrong angle during the maneuver. Take the normal DDT and imagine the degree of difficulty it takes to springboard off of the ropes backwards, while grabbing your opponents neck and then spinning an extra rotation.
9 Suicide Bomb
The Suicide Bomb is a Moonsault that is rotated into a seated Senton that is used by MIKAMI. This move is dangerous for two separate reasons, the first being that you are backwards on the turnbuckle before the flip.
8 Shooting Star Press
7 450 Splash
This high risk stunt is performed by having a wrestler standing on the top turnbuckle, facing the opponent on the mat. The splash is done by performing a front flip with extra forward rotation, so that the performers chest lands on his opponents.
6 Avalanche Moonsault Side Slam
This move has most recently been used by Sin Cara in the WWE, and when done correctly is considered to be one of his best moves. Think of the Rock Bottom set up, now imagine that pose on the top rope.
5 630 Splash
This move has a rotation of one and three quarter front flips off of the top rope facing the opponent. When the performer lands, their back will slam into their opponent's body. Jack Evans, of ROH and TNA fame, seems to have had the most success with the move, frequently using it as his finisher.
4 Double Rotation Moonsault
3 540 Corkscrew Senton
2 Corkscrew Shooting Star Press
1 Phoenix 630
It would make sense for the Phoenix 630 to be on this list, if the normal 630 is too. The variation of this flipping aerial maneuver is that a corkscrew is added in the first rotation. It would seem that Jack Evans is the only person who can actually land this splash, as it requires an extra three quarters of a rotation after the initial corkscrew.
Don’t agree with the list? That’s okay, sound off in the comments and let us know your opinion of what number one should be.
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