15 WWE moves that have been banned
Many attributes make up a WWE Superstar. A top-tier wrestler will often have an impressive physique, a striking appearance, incredible athleticism, and unmatched charisma. Other attributes also mean a lot, such as the ability to talk on the microphone.
Another key to the success of many professional wrestlers is their moveset. Exciting finishing moves such as the RKO or Stone Cold Stunner can take an already popular star and make them even more beloved. Flashy moves immediately capture the interest of an audience.
Of course, some moves are more dangerous than others. In fact, some can be so risky that World Wrestling Entertainment has banned them at some point in time. While some eventually became acceptable later on, this article will look at banned moves from both the past and present.
Below are 15 WWE moves that have been banned.
#15. The Brainbuster isn't used
The Brainbuster is a move that has been around for decades with numerous variations. The general gist of the move sees a wrestler lift his opponent for a suplex before dropping their opposition on their head & neck. It was arguably made famous by Tully Blanchard.
Sami Zayn was a regular user of the Brainbuster while wrestling as El Generico on the independent circuit. In fact, he often even used the move on top of the turnbuckle. Upon joining World Wrestling Entertainment, he no longer used the Brainbuster. This likely comes down to inherent danger.
#14. The Stomp was banned for quite some time
Variations of stomping an opponent have been used in WWE for decades, but The Curb Stomp rose in popularity thanks to Seth Rollins. With momentum and a leap, Rolls stomps down a wrestler's back, neck, or head and smashes them into the mat.
The move was briefly taken out of Seth's repertoire, however. Rumors at the time suggested that it was too dangerous to be used, but other theories claimed that the name had ugly connotations and was easily replicated by children at home. The move, now known as just "The Stomp," returned after a few years.
#13. The Muscle Buster was banned in WWE after an injury
The Muscle Buster is one of the most visually impressive powerhouse moves in pro wrestling. It was popularized by Samoa Joe, who would fold wrestlers in his arms and hit a more impactful version of the Fisherman Suplex.
Unfortunately, when Samoa Joe hit the move on Tyson Kidd, the Canadian star suffered a severe neck injury that ended his career and nearly his life.
WWE then banned the move from being used. Whether WWE was justified in the decision or not could be up for debate, but Joe has resumed using it away from the company.
#12. Chris Jericho helped get The Styles Clash unbanned
The Styles Clash is the popular finishing move of WWE's AJ Styles. The Phenomenal One holds his opponent up as if for a Piledriver but instead sets his legs in front of his opponent's arms and slams forward.
While the move is very popular and often used today, it was briefly banned. According to Chris Jericho, the move was on the banned list when Styles first joined WWE, but Y2J helped get it cleared. AJ has been using it regularly ever since.
#11. The Wings of Love, aka The Implant Buster, was banned
The Wings of Love, or The Implant Buster, is a devastating finishing move. A wrestler hooks their opponents' arms like they're going for a Butterfly Suplex and lifts them before slamming down forward, similar to the aforementioned Styles Clash.
Michelle McCool used the move in WWE, but her finisher was later changed to a variation of the Styles Clash instead. This could have been due to the possibility of a breast implant being damaged from the impact.
#10. The Burning Hammer was banned
The Burning Hammer is one of the coolest finishing moves in all of pro wrestling. A superstar lifts their opponents onto their shoulders as if they're going for a Torture Rack and then slams them down like an inverted Death Valley Driver.
Gabbi Tuft, who once wrestled in WWE under the name Tyler Reks, has claimed that the move wasn't banned because it was dangerous. Instead, the move was banned since it seemed too similar to John Cena's Attitude Adjustment. Whether that's true or not has never been confirmed.
#9. Choking was banned following the Chris Benoit tragedy
For a long time, many moves in wrestling were based around the act of choking. Not a short choke, such as in a Chokeslam or Chokebomb, but heels would choke babyface wrestlers to get heel heat. Choking is rarely done in WWE today, however.
The reason that strangling-style chokes are banned comes down to the horrific Chris Benoit tragedy that took place in 2007. The ban has been so severe at various points that Daniel Bryan was once fired for choking ring announcer Justin Roberts with a belt. 16 years after the tragedy, today's wrestlers don't typically take their hand and choke an opponent.
#8. The Diving Headbutt was also temporarily banned
The Diving Headbutt is a simple move but quite beautiful. A wrestler climbs to the top rope and soars off with a headbutt, smashing their opponent on the mat. The likes of The Dynamite Kid, Harley Race, and Chris Benoit have used the move.
After the aforementioned Chris Benoit tragedy in 2007, the Diving Headbutt was banned out of fear of what it could do to the brain. WWE eventually relented on this ban, and Alpha Academy's Chad Gable routinely utilizes the Diving Headbutt on Monday Night RAW.
#7. Randy Orton's Punt was banned
The Punt is a move that doesn't require much explanation. When a wrestler is on their hands and knees, Randy Orton rushes over and kicks them in the head. It was simple and devastating. Unfortunately, it was also banned.
According to former WWE writer Matt McCarthy, the move being banned wasn't due to the dangers of somebody replicating it necessarily, but rather that if the move is to be done well, it must be legitimate.
Since WWE wants to protect their talent, Orton will have to work the Punt, which looks terrible. Thus, the move was banned.
#6. The Buckle Bomb wasn't used for a brief period
The Buckle Bomb is a scary move. A wrestler lifts their opponent for a powerbomb, charges the corner, and slams them against the turnbuckles. It can also be done in other places like the ringside barricade.
Seth Rollins popularized the move, but the Buckle Bomb was banned after he hit Sting with it, which led to a severe neck injury. While the move was banned, it has returned from time to time, as seen in the image above.
#5. The Shooting Star Press was once banned
The Shooting Star Press is one of the most breathtaking finishing moves in WWE history. A wrestler climbs to the top rope and lunges forward as if they're hitting a forward-facing Moonsault. Many stars, including Ricochet, use the move today, but the move was banned at one point.
Two key moments that likely caused the move to be banned in the first place. Billy Kidman's Shooting Star Press once went awry, and his knees hurt Chavo Guerrero. Additionally, Brock Lesnar once botched a Shooting Star Press, nearly breaking his neck, during the main event of WrestleMania XIX.
#4. The Piledriver is banned
The Piledriver is one of the most iconic moves in wrestling history. It has been used for decades, with the likes of Terry Funk, Jerry Lawler, Tommy Dreamer, and Paul Orndorff using it to great success. Unfortunately, the move is also risky.
A Piledriver involves a wrestler being dropped on their head. If done even slightly off, it can lead to a severe injury. This happened to Stone Cold Steve Austin when Owen Hart hit an inverted Piledriver on the Texan.
After that horrifying moment, the move started to be used far less frequently in WWE, and today isn't seen at all in its traditional form.
#3. The Tombstone was seemingly banned by all but The Undertaker and Kane
A twist on the Piledriver is a move made famous by The Undertaker. The Tombstone Piledriver sees a wrestler drive their opponent's head into the mat, but instead of the giver of the move landing on their backside, they drop down onto their knees.
Like with the original variation of the move, the Tombstone is very risky. As a result, only The Undertaker and Kane have been allowed to utilize the move in WWE regularly. With both retired, nobody does the dangerous maneuver at all.
#2. The Vertebreaker is banned
The Vertabreaker has to be seen to be believed. A wrestler twists their opponent, holds them upside down from behind with their backs facing each other, and then drops them onto their neck, head, and shoulders. The move is almost too complex to describe, so the video above will have to suffice.
The move was popularized by Shane "Hurricane" Helms in WCW and then WWE. While the move is incredible, it is hazardous and far too great of a risk. WWE banned the move, although it is still used in other promotions away from the Stamford-based company.
#1. The traditional Canadian Destroyer is banned
The Canadian Destroyer is another Piledriver variation WWE has banned. This move sees a wrestler flip forward, pulling their opponent with them, ultimately dropping them onto their head. A flipping Piledriver is impressive but also dangerous.
While the traditional version of the move created by Petey Williams isn't utilized in WWE, there have been ways that it has been incorporated. Rey hit a variation, as did Adam Cole, before leaving the company. The most frequent variation is the Code Red, a Sunset Flip Powerbomb.