The 10 coolest moves in WWE right now
Sports-entertainment is constantly evolving with plenty of stylistic flourishes being added on a weekly basis in the ring. While Bruno Sammartino’s bearhug might no longer be en vogue, that doesn’t mean it didn’t thrill Madison Square Garden audiences during the ‘60s and ‘70s. The ’90s saw the emergence of Swanton Bombs, Stone Cold Stunners and even a guy stuffing a sock in his opponents’ mouths.
But what about 2014? From Brock Lesnar’s canvas-pummeling German suplex to Adrian Neville's gravity-defying Red Arrow, WWE.com staffers took a close look at the current landscape to pick the 10 coolest moves being performed in WWE rings right now.
Brock Lesnar's German suplex
Brock Lesnar launches his victim over his head with complete disregard, sending them to the mat on the back of their neck. The Beast Incarnate keeps his hands tight and rolls back to his feet, deadlifting his weakened rival for another brutal German suplex. Then he repeats … and repeats … and repeats without loosening his grip. One leaves enough damage, but Lesnar doesn’t show that kind of compassion, hitting as many as he wants — like 16 on John Cena at SummerSlam — until his opponent can’t stand anymore. By the time the WWE World Heavyweight Champion finally frees his challenger from the barrage of suplexes, he’s left them looking like they just crawled out of a car wreck. — JEFF LABOON
Luke Harper's gator roll
“Simple but effective” — that’s the charm of Luke Harper’s gator roll. Flash and grace are all good and well, but if you’re looking for a move that has true substance, look no further than the bearded brawler’s suffocating grind, which finds its inspiration in the animal kingdom. Much like the way an alligator latches onto its lunch, Harper grabs an appendage belonging to his prey — in this predator’s case, the head, in a version of a front chancery — and aggressively rolls over. The end goal, clearly, is to separate head from body. Harper hasn’t yet reached that desired result, but it might just be a matter of time. — JOHN CLAPP
Kalisto's Salida del Sol
To put the impressiveness of Kalisto’s finisher into perspective, let’s look at WWE history.
Former WWE Tag Team Champion Brian Kendrick ended matches with Sliced Bread #2. Kendrick would apply a facelock, run to the corner and rebound off the top rope over his opponent into an inverted DDT. It’s an athletic, acrobatic and aesthetically astounding maneuver.
Kalisto? He does it without the corner. His version is poetically delivered via standing backflip in the center of the ring; Kalisto himself landing in a seated position. It’s a thing of beauty that, for now, can only be seen in WWE NXT. — MIKE MURPHY
The superkick is a maneuver that has been utilized by many Superstars over the course of WWE history, but none have done it quite like Rusev. What makes the Russian mauler’s strike so devastating and awesome is more than just the simple fact that such a large competitor can perfectly execute the move. It’s that he can hit it at any time and completely level his opponents. Although Rusev prefers to finish his victims with The Accolade, the superkick is the ideal set-up and The Super-Athlete often puts enough force behind the blast to prevent any challenger from fighting back against his debilitating submission maneuver. — KEVIN POWERS
Stardust's top-rope springboard kick
Stardust is all about the mysterious and bizarre. He’s flown up to the cosmos and come back to bring a whole new level of the fantastical to WWE, and his arsenal is anything but typical. The perfect example might be Stardust’s top-rope springboard kick. It looks as though we’ve seen it before, but there’s an additional flourish that makes it completely new. He bounces onto the middle rope, but then hops up to the top, and sails back to his opponent with a shattering kick to the skull. It’s truly a disaster for any competitor experiencing it. And with Stardust, you never know what’s coming next. — ZACH LINDER
The Ascension's Fall of Man
The Ascension have firmly established themselves as one of the most dominant duos in all of WWE. Konnor and Viktor bulldozed over NXT’s tag team division, exhibiting what they call Total Maximum Carnage.
There’s no better example of the chaos The Ascension creates than their devastating double-team maneuver, the Fall of Man. Any poor sap that finds themselves in Konnor and Viktor’s crosshairs has nowhere to run as the monstrous team charges at him from both sides. Konnor dives low and takes out their legs from behind, while Viktor leaps high, spinning into a European uppercut that knocks their foe loopy, figurative and literally. The force of The Ascension’s double-edged blow leaves their opponents in a heap and everyone else wondering what it takes to stop Konnor & Viktor. — BOBBY MELOK
Roman Reigns' Superman Punch
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s an airborne, tattooed juggernaut aiming his knuckles at some unfortunate dude’s jaw. Although Roman Reigns has put away countless foes with his ring-shaking Spear, it’s his Superman Punch that consistently serves as a stunning prelude to victory. The hard-to-master maneuver, which can be found in Muay Thai, kickboxing, Taekwon-Do and mixed martial arts, allows Reigns to get some serious height before bringing his fist down on his opponent’s skull for an impact that could potentially stagger its Kryptonian namesake. Whenever Reigns cocks his arm like a loaded weapon, prepare to witness a feat that’s truly superheroic. — JAMES WORTMAN
Sami Zayn's between-the-turnbuckles dive DDT
Innovation is as much a part of Sami Zayn’s identity as it is a means to his survival. And the NXT standout’s most vital creation may be his tornado DDT on the arena floor. As a routinely outsized opponent, Zayn’s offense hinges on his ability to make his enemies realize that they’re never safe around him — even when they’re on the other side of the ring. By finding unique ways to catch rivals off guard, he creates chaos. And it’s within this chaos — that precarious balance on the edge of a razor — that Sami Zayn thrives. — RYAN MURPHY
Seth Rollins' Curb Stomp
The Curb Stomp is as breathtaking as it is brutal. When Seth Rollins executes the devastating maneuver on a fallen foe it’s as if he is jumping in slow motion with his foot finding the back of his opponent’s head. Then, like snuffing out a cockroach, The Architect thrusts his foot down, smashing the unfortunate recipient’s face straight into the ground below.
The high-flying Rollins could easily pull off a stunning top-rope maneuver, but instead he chooses to stomp his adversary’s head into the ground. It may not be pretty, but it sure is cool. — SCOTT TAYLOR
Adrian Neville's Red Arrow
I’m going to dispense with the lead-in here and cut to the chase: This is the coolest wrestling move I’ve ever seen, and I don’t know how Adrian Neville does it. Well, I know how hedoesit, propelling himself off the top turnbuckle into a shooting star press before corkscrewing his body around like an Olympic diver without interrupting the maneuver’s original loop-the-loop, finally hitting paydirt in his prone opponent juuuust after he rights himself. But I don’t know how a man can shrug off Newton’s Laws like some kind of metaphysical vigilante, weaving and twisting his way through the force of the Earth itself to create the most epic finishing maneuver currently marinating down in Full Sail, a place that has no shortage of eccentric personalities or epic finishing maneuvers. One peep at the Red Arrow and you’ll believe … ah, hell, you’ll believe a man can fly. — ANTHONY BENIGNO