5 WWE moves even gymnasts look at in awe
Seth Rollins at the Royal Rumble this yearProfessional wrestling is a complex world. There are supposed superheros, crazy villains, big, hairy guys, small, fast guys, and everyday objects such as chairs that are used to hit people with. And that’s just the base of it. There are quite a few styles of wrestling, and each has its own fan base. From conventional mat wrestling to all-out brawling, professional wrestling has it all. This article focuses mainly on high-flying wrestling. Traditionally, high-flyers are smaller guys, but as of late, that has changed. Anyone can be a high-flyer. Look at Kevin Owens. Owens does things that, a couple of decades ago, a man of his size could only dream of doing. So, let’s take a look at five moves in the WWE that could indeed take gymnasts by surprise.
#1 Phoenix Splash - Seth Rollins
It’s a given that Seth Rollins hasn’t actually hit the Phoenix Splash properly in the WWE yet. It’s clear that it’s a move used only on special occasions. Funnily enough, the only target so far is John Cena, who was hit with it (only just) at the Royal Rumble, and avoided the move twice in his losing effort against Rollins at SummerSlam recently.
There is indeed a reason for this move to be treated with such care. It’s a visual masterpiece. It is also worth noting that it was a regular move used by Tyler Black (Seth Rollins’ Independent name) when he was wrestling in the Indies. Historically, it is known as a Corkscrew 450 Splash, and originated and was first implemented by Hayabusa.
Rollins lays his opponent out in the middle of the ring, and climbs on to the top rope. Unconventionally, he begins the move with a backflip, and proceeds to somehow to a flip and corkscrew at the same time, and make impact with the opponent in the same way a frog splash would. Visually, it is so stunning that it’s apparent WWE are saving it up for huge occasions. Even Rollins winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and his winning the United States Championship while still holding the former weren’t big enough.
#2 The 450 Splash - numerous wrestlers
This is a move that has been in wrestling for quite a while now, so much so that it has gone mainstream in some parts. The 450 Splash was first made popular by WCW wrestler 2 Cold Scorpio, and it hasn’t looked back since. Also known as a firebird splash, the 450 Splash is named after the supposed angle at which the wrestler performing it rotates in mid-air, which in itself can be seen to be more than a complete turn. Unlike the Phoenix Splash, the wrestler faces the ring this time before beginning the maneuvre, and without any corkscrew involved, flips forward in an angle which is supposedly 450 degrees. The impact is also similar to that of a frog splash.
The 450 splash can be so dangerous, in fact, that it has been banned by WWE, for several reasons. The first is that controlling impact can be quite difficult considering so much work has to be put into flipping so much in the first place, and so it puts the receiver in danger. Paul London once knocked Chavo Guerrero out with the move in 2004. The second reason is that it’s risky for the wrestler performing the move as well. One wrong step and everything can go wrong.
One wrestler who uses a variation though – the corkscrew 450 splash – is Neville, who calls it the Red Arrow. It is also worth noting that exceptions have been made in the past - in the same way that The Undertaker and Kane are allowed to use piledrivers - such as Justin Gabriel (video above).
#3 Corkscrew 630 senton - PAC
To be fair, this isn’t a move used by anyone in the WWE, but it was used by Neville, or PAC, as he was known as in the Independent circuit, before he was signed by WWE.
First off, the normal variation of this move is complex on its own. It's like an expanded version of a 450 splash. A wrestler is required to do a 360 degree rotation, followed by a 270 degree rotation, which in itself is known as a somersault senton. Following this dizzying sequence, of course, comes the impact.
Now, there is an altered version of this, which I am focusing on. It was used by Neville when he was known as PAC back in the Independent Circuit, and it is basically a corkscrew version. This time, the wrestler begins facing the other way, the same way as in a Phoenix Splash, and then proceeds to turn 180 degrees immediately following the leap, and then go on to perform the 630 senton. Imagine all of that!
#4 Corkscrew shooting star press - Neville
There is something about a corkscrew, isn’t there? It takes a visually appealing and dangerous move, and makes it more visually appealing and dangerous.
The shooting star press isn’t the most complicated of top rope moves. It is a backflip, in which the wrestler contracts his body mid-flip. It is often used in a standing form as well. The shooting star variation is used in many ways, including a leg drop, arm drag, elbow drop and so on. Perhaps the most famous shooting star press of all time, ironically, was a botched one, in which Brock Lesnar was momentarily paralysed and suffered numerous neck injuries at WrestleMania XIX.
The origins of the move lie with a recent competitor at NXT Takeover Brooklyn, and all time legend, Jushin Thunder Liger. Due to Lesnar’s incident, WWE banned the move in 2005.
However, the corkscrew version is still used in the WWE, by Neville (who is once again being mentioned), as his finisher, which he calls the Red Arrow. It’s a move in which the wrestler flips in the normal way of a shooting star press and twists at the same time. Neville truly is the man that gravity forgot, apparently.
#5 Split-legged corkscrew moonsault - John Morrison/Johnny Mundo
Rounding off this list, is yet another corkscrew move. However, his move appears to be an upgrade within an upgrade.
The base move, of course, is the moonsault, used popularly by the likes of Chris Jericho. This involves the wrestler generally using the top rope as a catapult, and bouncing off it using their legs. This turns into a backflip, which leads into the impact.
The primary variation is the split-legged version. This is done in the corner of the ring. The wrestler performing the move used the top rope on either side of the turnbuckle, and presses their thighs or calves off of it. This leads into a back flip, as usual with a moonsault, and then into the impact.
This leads into the version that Mundo uses. As seen in the video above, he performs a split legged moonsault, but even in the very little time he has, he adds a corkscrew to the mix. In the WWE this was known as Starship Pain, and one of the most famous ones was one which he did off the top of a steel cage against John Cena and The Miz at Extreme Rules 2011. The video is below.