The majority of the WWE fandom is familiar with the fact that wrestling is scripted. Long gone are the times when fans really bought into the stories – most can’t be easily tricked these days since they have a better understanding of the industry. But they also realize that accidents happen no matter how scripted the show is, and some moves are more dangerous than others.
Even the simplest of maneuvers could lead to injuries if botched, but those don’t require nearly as much experience or precision as some other moves. For that very reason, WWE only fully trusts a few individuals on the roster, granting them permission to use them. We have seen several wrestlers coming from the independent scene being unable to perform their signature moves due to WWE not giving the green light.
Over the years, the company has developed a list of banned moves that have been deemed too dangerous – and they most likely caused injuries in the past or threaten the health of the performer. Today, there are still several moves that aren’t completely safe and could be potentially harmful. Some of them are performed on a regular basis by Superstars while others are rarely used – and we can’t help but wonder whether they will be available for long as WWE begins to protect its performers more than ever.
Many of these moves are loved by fans, and we would hate to see them go but it wouldn’t exactly be shocking. Here are 15 wrestling moves that need to be banned from WWE.
The slingshot has existed for so long that nearly every Superstar has probably used the move at one point. If you aren’t familiar with the name of the move, it’s the one where a wrestler positions an opponent as seen above and throws them towards the turnbuckle. It is one of the least dangerous moves on the list but has become outdated for various reasons.
It doesn’t look painful at all since the turnbuckles are protected, not to mention that the receiver blatantly jumps towards a safe landing. There are several moves that were innovative at the time but have been slowly used less year by year, and the slingshot could have that very same fate.
The only time it makes sense to use it these days is during a reversal or if it involves an even bigger spot. Otherwise, the move just looks silly at this point while also being overused so not many would be sad to see it banned.
The name alone should convince you that the Brainbuster needs to be banned from the WWE. No Superstar is currently using it, and it is thought to be unofficially banned by the company, though we have seen some Superstars perform the move in recent years, as rare as it may be. In the past, it was a common move performed by some of the top Superstars, such as Eddie Guerrero who was arguably the master of the move.
When the move is well-executed, it looks truly extremely painful and damaging, but the opponent is always protected. That’s what separates the likes of Guerrero from those who have given the Brainbuster a bad reputation, which has resulted in reduced usage. But it seems like the risk isn’t worth taking for the WWE, and the move will probably remain unofficially banned with someone using it every now and then.
13. Springboard Stunner
During his match against Rusev at WrestleMania 31, John Cena debuted the Springboard Stunner to shock all fans in attendance and watching at home. It was an innovative spin on one of the most popular finishers of all time, known as The Stunner and performed by Stone Cold Steve Austin.
While the new version is an intriguing concept, it was terribly executed by Cena with the move being performed at a very slow pace while the bump would be very minimal. The potential of the move was ruined almost immediately with the opponent kicking out every time he has performed it, reducing the impact of the move.
While it could be a great finisher for a different wrestler – perhaps someone much more athletic than Cena – it should be banned for being terribly performed by Cena while discrediting the impact of the original Stunner.
12. Coup De Grace
Finn Balor’s finisher is one of the main reasons behind his success in the WWE – it’s a unique move that looks truly painful. What most fans may not notice is that it’s not nearly as painful as it looks, thanks to the way Balor bends his knee to reduce the impact.
But it can be very painful depending on how it’s performed as things can wrong very quickly. It is a dangerous move to an extent since it requires extreme precision to connect, as well as make sure that you protect the opponent as much as possible.
When it comes to health matters, WWE has significantly decreased the risk factor by taking on as little risk as possible. If Balor were to botch the finisher, it may result in a severe injury to the opponent or even himself. Since the move is pretty straightforward for kids to copy and perform, WWE may opt to ban it as they previously did with Seth Rollins‘ Curb Stomp.
Piledriver is one those moves that are unofficially banned with only a few Superstars having the permission to use it. In most recent times, we have seen The Undertaker, Kane and CM Punk deliver piledrivers – albeit they modified the move to make it safer for the opponent.
And while it’s completely understandable, it does take away plenty from the move to the point where it doesn’t look like just a painful bump. We have seen the original piledriver banned from the company, and even today, WWE only trusts few to deliver it.
We may see a newer Superstar using the piledriver in the future, although it will certainly be the safer version. But is it really worth it? It is one of the best moves from the older era, but things can go wrong quickly just as we saw in an incident involving Owen Hart and Stone Cold.
10. Turnbuckle Powerbomb
A move that we have seen often in recent years, the turnbuckle powerbomb looks devastating when it comes to impact. Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins have performed the move since joining the WWE, but it appears to be one of those cases where only a few wrestlers are allowed to use it.
Just watching the move you always get the feeling that someone may get hurt. Since it’s a powerful move and the wrestlers’ views are mostly blocked, it doesn’t guarantee a safe landing. It’s unlikely to be officially banned from the WWE but you probably won’t see it very often as the move could lead to serious injuries if it were botched.
9. Diving Headbutt
Diving Headbutt is one of the most popular moves from the top rope. We have seen some top Superstars adapt it over the years despite it being deemed a dangerous move. In fact, Harley Race once stated his regret about creating the movie since it has led to someone serious injuries.
Former Superstars such as Dynamite Kid and Chris Benoit suffered serious injuries during their careers, and there’s no doubt that the Diving Headbutt was partially responsible. Daniel Bryan is another Superstar who performed the move although he landed differently to reduce the impact on his head.
8. Burning Hammer
Before crossing over to the WWE, The Burning Hammer was used by several Japanese wrestlers. It is definitely one of the most impactful finishers and a memorable one to have – but there is a reason why it has never been performed on regular basis in the WWE.
We have seen some wrestlers modify the move to make it safer but it simply loses its magic as minor changes end up being significant. When The Burning Hammer is performed, the receiver can’t do anything to make sure he is safe so it all ends up being the performer’s responsibility to perfectly connect, or else the move may end in a disaster.
Either way, the opponent is going to his head through the mat first, which is something the WWE shies away from. We have seen Brian Kendrick perform the move in recent times, but it’s probably better off being banned for the safety of all workers.
7. Bronco Buster
The Bronco Buster should be banned for the mere fact that it’s a ridiculous move. Thankfully, it is rarely performed these days as all wrestlers have finally caught up to how silly it really is.
Originated and made famous by X-Pac during the 90s, we have seen several wrestlers adopt the move since then, especially Divas who couldn’t wrestle prior to the Women’s Revolution in WWE. The move worked during a certain time when the industry was significantly different than it is today, but it grew old rather quickly and has become laughable at this point.
6. The Rear View
There’s no way around it: The Rear View is a terrible finisher. Naomi has several moves that should be replacing it, but the WWE went into a different direction. It’s one of the worst finishing moves and degrading to an extent, but that hasn’t stopped WWE from keeping the finisher.
Not to mention that Naomi has no control over what happens since her back is turned so it could go wrong – especially given her reputation to botch during matches. Although she has improved since breaking into the scene, she does have a tendency to screw up moves from time to time.
The Rear View should certainly be banned by the company and never used again. The appeal of the finisher is clear but it’s not really worthy of being a part of a Superstar’s move set let alone a finisher.
5. Closed Punches
Throughout wrestling history, regardless of the company, closed punches have always been looked down upon for two reasons. The first one being related to kayfabe around the harm that may be caused while the second one is as a safety measure.
It’s rare for wrestlers to throw closed punches, but we do see two Superstars doing it at the moment: Big Show and Roman Reigns. The impact of their punches is severely less than it could be if they were to fully connect, but still dangerous enough to hurt an opponent.
The Superman Punch comes off as a weak finisher since punches aren’t exactly taken seriously in the wrestling industry, but the company would be wise to completely eliminate all forms of closed fist punches to protect the safety of Superstar. Fans would much rather see any other move over punching, so it makes sense to completely eliminate them.
4. Styles Clash
Put your fandom aside for a moment. It doesn’t matter how much you love the move or AJ Styles, the Styles Clash is one of the most dangerous moves in WWE today. It isn’t a case of taking measurements to avoid an injury since we can compile a list of wrestlers who have been previously injured by the move.
While AJ Styles used it in TNA and the independent scene, Michelle McCool borrowed it during her WWE run – and it was presumably banned for years before AJ joined the company. Chris Jericho claims that he convinced Vince McMahon to lift the ban during his feud with AJ, but the boss may soon change back his mind.
Many will argue that AJ Styles is the best wrestler in the world today and more than good enough to be trusted, but the move can be easily botched by the receiver which adds even more danger. Most fans would absolutely hate to the Styles Clash banned from the WWE, but it would certainly be a justified decision.
There is often confusion among fans when it comes to the difference between the Frankensteiner and the Hurricanrana, and many believe that it’s the same exact move – but Scott Steiner would beg to differ. The former was popularized by Steiner and he refuses for people to refer to it as a Hurricanrana since it’s different.
After having popularized the moves, many have modified Steiner’s moves over the years and it has somewhat changed. The original move is supposed to have an opponent land on his head, while those hit by a Hurricanrana will fall on their back.
Many still perform The Frankensteiner in WWE, but you can hardly tell the difference between the two moves these days. Perhaps it’s for safety-related issues since Hurricanrana tends to be slightly less impactful while avoiding head contact for the most part, so it would be no surprise if the WWE continued to slowly phase out the once popular Frankensteiner.
2. Moves Through Announce Tables With Monitors On
In 1995, we witnessed the first case of a WWE announce table being broken during a match when Diesel pushed Bret Hart into one at Survivor Series. Since then, we have seen hundreds of announce tables being used as a prop for a variety of moves. While the Spanish table tends to be used more than any other, we have seen matches where several tables were destroyed.
But if you are a fan, you have surely noticed that Superstars usually take out the existing monitors before performing any of their moves through the announce tables. It’s a safety measure to avoid landing on the monitors and protect the head from any further damage.
But that’s not always the case; we have seen the tables being put to use without clearing them up which puts Superstars in a more dangerous situation which doesn’t really add anything to the move – it would be wise for WWE to make sure that monitors are always removed.
1. Suicide Dive
When was the last time you saw a crowd freaking out over a suicide dive? It’s one of those moves that were once innovative and impressive, but that’s hardly the case today. Not to mention that many wrestlers perform it somewhat sloppy – putting their opponent at risk of catching an accidental knee. When wrestlers dive over the top rope, they have little control where they land with several factors coming into play.
The opponent must be positioned well and do their part in taking the bump. But it gets more complicated when someone performs the move on several wrestlers, as they may completely miss while possibly injuring someone on the way down. With all the variations of the outside dives, it would probably be the WWE’s best interest to retire this one, or at least make it only available to specific Superstars rather than all of them.
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