What a maneuver! But who did it better?
Each WWE Superstar has a set of mastered maneuvers that they employ inside the squared circle. From CM Punk’s Go to Sleep to John Cena’s Attitude Adjustment, some of these moves are distinctive to a particular competitor. But there have been Superstars throughout wrestling history who utilized the same maneuvers, sometimes with different names. The execution may be exactly the same, or a Superstar will add their own unique variation.
WWE Classics looks at 10 of these signature maneuvers used by two different Superstars. It’s up to you to comment on Facebook to decide who did it best.
RKO vs. Diamond Cutter
Former WCW Champion Diamond Dallas Page has said that he encouraged Randy Orton to use a variation of the Diamond Cutter as The Viper’s finishing maneuver. DDP’s three-quarter face lock bulldog was the trademark tactic that allowed him to reach success in WCW and WWE. DDP could strike at any moment and few Superstars could escape the impact.
Comparisons between the Diamond Cutter and the RKO have been made over the years, but Randy Orton has made his signature tactic one of the most feared maneuver’s in WWE history. WWE’s Apex Predator takes the concept of the Diamond Cutter and adds an extra level of impact, jumping into mid-air and slamming his opponent to the mat. The Viper has taken opponents down in mid-air and off the top rope.
Like the Diamond Cutter, the RKO can strike in the blink of an eye with extreme prejudice, but Orton brings a faster velocity and higher impact to stop his opponents.
Boston Crab vs. Walls of Jericho
The Boston Crab is often considered to be a maneuver to weaken an opponent, rather than one that ends a contest. However, two Superstars have executed the move with such perfection that the devastating submission hold ultimately became their signature moves. Rick Martel and Chris Jericho are masters of the Boston Crab. They each know how to apply the right amount of pressure on their opponent’s lower backs and pull their legs with the correct amount of leverage to maximize effectiveness.
The Walls of Jericho, however, utilizes a specific variation of the submission hold. When the hold is applied, Jericho stands further back, elevating his opponent higher into the air, creating an added layer of pressure to the recipient’s back. In WCW and ECW, Jericho used another variation of the maneuver popularly known as "The Liontamer." He occasionally uses this version today, where he holds his opponent up even higher and pushes his knee into the back or the head. Between Martel and Jericho, the innovation and creativity the Ayatollah of Rock n’ Rolla has brought to the submission hold makes him the true master.
Winner: Walls of Jericho
Razor’s Edge vs. High Cross
The crucifix powerbomb is a maneuver that requires strength, balance and speed executed with pinpoint precision for maximum impact. Razor Ramon and Sheamus are two of the only Superstars in WWE history to truly master the proper execution of this crushing move.
Razor Ramon made The Razor’s Edge his trademark move in the early 1990s and continued to use it successfully in WCW, redubbed as The Outsider’s Edge. Ramon’s resilience often allowed him to wear down his opponent long enough to allow a little extra arrogance before executing the move.
Although Sheamus employs the High Cross, his Brogue Kick has become the most explosive maneuver in his arsenal. The Celtic Warrior’s execution of the move uses all of the elements required to make it successful, but Razor Ramon’s added style and use of it as his only finishing move gives him an edge.
Winner: Razor’s Edge
Camel Clutch vs. Steiner Recliner
The Camel Clutch is one of the most commonly applied submission maneuvers in sports-entertainment. Revolutionized by Gory Guerrero, the hold is designed to apply pressure to an opponent’s neck, back and head in an effort to make them submit or weaken them. There are a handful of Superstars who have performed the move properly and with enough power that they utilize the hold as their finishing move.
The Iron Sheik became a feared competitor because he executed the Camel Clutch with great ferocity. Tying in his military background with his Olympic experience as a Greco-Roman wrestler, the Iranian-born WWE Hall of Famer often threatened to break rival’s backs with frightening conviction.
When Scott Steiner adopted the moniker “Big Poppa Pump,” he embraced his transformation into a pure powerhouse. “The Big Bad Booty Daddy” used his impressive physique and strength to decimate his opponents and employed a variation of the Camel Clutch. Opponents were pulled higher in The Steiner Recliner, resulting in more tension on the back than The Camel Clutch. Big Poppa Pump had the right combination of power and technical skills to inflict pain on his opponents and ensure their defeat.
Winner: Steiner Recliner
Frog Splash vs. Five Star Frog Slash
Rob Van Dam and WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero achieved success outside of WWE in ECW and WCW before reaching the pinnacle of sports-entertainment and becoming WWE Champions. On their way to achieving greatness, both competitors utilized the high-flying maneuver known as the Frog Splash.
Although RVD and Guerrero both performed the finishing maneuver, the execution of each respective Frog Splash differed. Guerrero hammered opponents with pinpoint accuracy, carefully plotting his point of impact. RVD’s Five Star Frog Splash added velocity to the mix and he still rarely missed his mark.
ECW’s former play-by-play commentator Joey Styles witnessed both Superstars perform the move several times and did not hesitate when explaining which Superstar had the better variation.
“Quite frankly, RVD has the greatest frog splash in sports-entertainment history, that’s why I named it the Five Star Frog Splash,” Styles told WWE Classics. “No one could get higher than him, and if his opponent wasn’t lined up correctly, he could make the adjustment in mid-air.”
Winner: Five Star Frog Slash
Ankle Lock vs. Angle Lock
When MMA fighter Ken Shamrock made his way to WWE in the late 1990s, he brought his own brand of intensity and style of competition to the squared circle. Shamrock also introduced the WWE Universe to his finishing move, The Ankle Lock.
A few years later, Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle made his WWE debut and adopted the hold, calling it the "Angle Lock." Angle added his own variation to Shamrock’s innovative maneuver, wrapping his own leg around his opponent’s and dropping to the mat. The Olympic Superstar’s addition to the move prevents other competitors from rolling out of the submission or crawling to the ropes.
Although Shamrock innovated the move, Angle’s variation of the ankle lock gives him a clear advantage, one that any Superstars continuing to use the maneuver should study.
Winner: Angle Lock
Million Dollar Dream vs. Cobra Clutch
WWE Hall of Famers Sgt. Slaughter and "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase are bonafide legends inside the squared circle. Both competitors achieved great success in WWE and both used the same finishing hold to build their accolades. Sarge’s Cobra Clutch and DiBiase' Million Dollar Dream served as both a submission and a variation of the sleeper hold.
From a technical standpoint, both WWE Hall of Famers executed the move perfectly and anyone caught in the hold was surely going to end up on the losing end of a contest. It’s tough to definitively state who performed the move better, but the maneuver has become synonymous with Sgt. Slaughter.
In the 1980s, Sgt. Slaughter issued The Cobra Clutch Challenge, daring anyone brazen enough to try and break the hold. Pat Patterson, Rick McGraw and Barry Windham all failed to break the former Marine’s trademark submission hold.
Winner: Cobra Clutch
Spear vs. SPEAR! SPEAR! SPEAR!
Goldberg and WWE Hall of Famer Edge are two of the most popular Superstars of all time. Both ring warriors utilized two different styles of competition but shared a common link, the Spear.
Each respective competitor’s execution of the move was fast and powerful. Goldberg used it to knock the wind out of his opponents as he prepared for his finishing move, the Jackhammer. Edge, however, actually used the Spear as one of his finishing maneuvers.
Still, Goldberg’s spear cut down 173 consecutive opponents, big and small. That doesn’t even include the numerous times he fended off The nWo or would-be interferers from ending his streak with the powerful tackle. Since Goldberg first used the move, Superstars including Batista and Bobby Lashley have followed the former WCW Champion’s lead in using the devastating takedown, making him the true master of the attack.
The Book End vs. The Rock Bottom
The Rock and Booker T are icons of sports-entertainment and have faced off in the ring numerous times. In 2001, the two Superstars battled for the WCW Championship – and more personally – over their similar finishing maneuvers, The Rock Bottom and The Book End.
At first glance, the maneuvers are nearly identical. Both are set up and performed in the same manner, but the main difference comes with the impact. When executing The Rock Bottom, The Great One extenuates the impact by slamming his opponent to the mat at full force. Booker T’s Book End is executed differently because Booker T drops to his knees as he drives the opponent to the mat. Both moves have been used to secure victory, but the force and the speed of The Rock Bottom make it the more devastating of the two. Just ask Hulk Hogan, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and John Cena, who have all been taken down by the move.
Winner: Rock Bottom
The Scorpion Death Lock vs. The Sharpshooter
The most controversial debate on this list revolves around the devastating Sasori-gatame. A heated debate was unleashed at WWE.com between those who favor The Scorpion Death Lock and editors who favor The Sharpshooter. Some argued that argued WCW’s face-painted franchise, Sting, applied the hold properly and with a bit more style – holding his hand in the air and calling for fans to cheer in support. Others asserted that WWE Hall of Famer Bret “Hit Man” Hart made the move popular and is the most identified with the hold.
The two legends battled in 1998 and 1999, because of this very argument. The matches both have questionable endings and there was never definitive certainty over who applied the submission better. After lengthy arguments, point and counterpoints and running in circles, WWE.com decided this argument is best left to the WWE Universe.