Who invented the RKO? The innovators behind sports-entertainment’s best maneuvers

Page 5 of 9
March 26, 2013

Who invented the powerbomb?

The footage is grainy now, but the moment is unmistakable. In a match from the early 1950s in New York City’s Madison Square Garden, storied grappler Lou Thesz grabs Italian highflier Antonino Rocca around the waist, yokes him into the air against his will and unceremoniously dumps his confused and overpowered opponent back on the mat.

In that instant, the powerbomb was born.

The bread and butter of ’90s big men like Kevin Nash, Vader and Sid, the debilitating throw has long been associated with super heavyweights. But it was the 228-pound former NWA Champion and pro wrestling cornerstone Thesz who innovated the maneuver.

A tireless trendsetter, the St. Louis native was also responsible for the creation of a pair of holds that carried two of WWE’s top Superstars to the WWE Title — “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s Thesz Press and John Cena’s STF.

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