In WWE, every move can be considered 'high risk'. The simplest fall or bump can lead to a serious injury - or worse.
Still, some of the promotion's most dashing and daring performers re-wrote WWE history with their heroic feats. Often a star can be born with one amazing aerial maneuver or a gutsy fall. Despite the danger, the audience appreciates their courage.
These types of occurrences usually happen at major events like WrestleMania or SummerSlam. But in the high-impact WWE Universe, things are moving faster than a comet. So a random act of bravery can happen on RAW, SmackDown, or even at smaller shows.
Here are five WWE Superstars who instantly became legends based on one big move.
#5 - Shane McMahon
Shane O'Mac battled Kurt Angle at King of the Ring 2001 in a wild Street Fight. The boss' offspring had hardly any experience at that point, and most of his early matches were marked by interference from The Mean Street Posse.
However, this night was different. McMahon impressed a skeptical crowd by giving the former Olympic Gold Medalist everything he had. At one point in the bout, the fight spilled to the outside.
For someone who has become known for his amazing dives, Shane McMahon pretty much became a star when he was suplexed through a window by Angle. Even worse, the glass didn't break originally, so Shane had to get suplexed multiple times for good measure.
Angle went on to become a WWE Hall of Famer and one of the greatest technical wrestlers of all time. From this stunt, Shane would springboard into becoming a legitimate threat on the roster. The only downfall here was that both men suffered several legitimate injuries in this battle.
#4 - Kofi Kingston
This is much more light-hearted than the other maniacal maneuvers on this list. Mainly because it's from the lovable Kofi Kingston, but also because it's done more for fun than it is for fighting.
Kofi's original 'tightrope walk' to avoid elimination at Royal Rumble was both creative and comical. Like watching a cartoon character escape from a trap, this wascally wabbit always managed to survive by the skin of his teeth. Or, more accurately... with his hands and feet.
Kingston continued versions of the stunt every year in the Rumble match, and it became somewhat of a regular occurrence at the event. Unfortunately, the former WWE Champion missed a jump during his 2022 performance. It marked the only time that Kofi wasn't able to Houdini himself out of certain elimination.
#3 - WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka
One of the most celebrated events in the 80s involved legendary high-flyer Jimmy Snuka, perched to leap from the top of the cage onto Don Muraco. It's not just a historic WWE memory, but one of Madison Square Garden's most celebrated moments as well.
Its place in wrestling lore cannot be overstated. While leaps from a cage are common in the modern era of sports entertainment, this move was out-of-this world for its time. Images of the Superfy Splash, like Snuka was hurdling through the stratosphere, were plastered all over magazines and TV screens.
#2 - Jeff Hardy
Another performer with too many nail-biting moments to count, The Charismatic Enigma redefined fearless flying during his time in WWE. He's a former world champion and a decorated superstar. He was also one of the company's most popular performers for years, likely because of his live-on-the-edge, rock star style.
Hardy was always an electric risk taker. However, the iconic swanton dive that he did during the legendary TLC match at WrestleMania 2000 was the first time we really saw him begin to climb higher and test more boundaries.
It came during a three-way dance between the Hardys vs. the Dudleys vs. Edge and Christian. Due to match stipulations, there was plenty of hardware in play. Jeff executed a spectacular swanton from the top of a ladder that seemed to reach the the roof. But he did so flawlessly and beautifully.
Jeff Hardy would spend a career taking bigger and bigger risks, both in and out of the ring. But it was this moment that really put him on the map and started people talking about his potential. Not just as a tag team champion, but as a potential singles star.
#1 - WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley
Who else could be at the top of this list than WWE's greatest Fall Guy? Mick Foley's falls are legendary, and he showed little regard for his body during the course of a brutal career. The damage he inflicted on his own body would have likely crippled most human beings.
Foley drew inspiration from the aforementioned Jimmy Snuka, as he was in the Garden that fateful night when Superfly flew from the top of the cage. It shaped his life and career.
Many of his dangerous bumps in WCW and WWE were eye-popping. But, come on... there's only a single moment that can be number one.
The 1998 Hell in a Cell match with The Undertaker has now taken on a life of its own, expanding outside of wrestling and into pop culture. It made Foley a hero from that point forward, whether he was Mankind, Cactus Jack or Dude Love.
Both of his dives had to be included here, as they came so close together that it was almost unbelievable to witness. It was also punctuated by Jim Ross' iconic call, which just added to the magical moment.
That moment made Foley a household name and rocketed him to superstardom. It's one of the most iconic moments in WWE history, and a moment that is frozen in time.
Recommended: Five WWE Superstars featured in superhero franchises