Just for Kicks: WWE’s top 10 kicks
Every Superstar and Diva does it.
Regardless of a competitor’s ring style, body type or ethical code, the kick is a standard in all arsenals. Yet, not every kick is created equal, and over the years, many Superstars have spiced up the otherwise rudimentary attack, creating strikes that are far from plebeian.
Though some basic boot-to-body blasts do little more than distract, here are 10 uniquely crushing kicks that are downright debilitating.
Kofi Kingston - Trouble in Paradise
Known primarily as a fast-paced high-flyer, Kofi Kingston balances his staggering aerial attack with an impressive assortment of canvas-based maneuvers. Most dangerous among them is, unquestionably, Trouble in Paradise, a move that can turn a match around on a dime.
Just like an unexpected storm during a tropical island vacation, Kofi’s lightning-fast roundhouse kick can ruin any opponent’s day. Both devastating and graceful, Trouble in Paradise may just be the move that elevates Kofi through the ranks of singles competition.
Tamina – Side Kick
For anyone still foolish enough to believe the Divas can’t hold a candle to the physicality of their male counterparts, try pleading that case to Tamina Snuka. Or, better yet, try convincing one of the Divas who have felt Tamina’s boot smash into the side of their face.
No move has put the pearly whites of the “Total Divas” cast more at risk than Tamina’s merciless side kick. The second-generation Diva has hauled off on everyone from Natalya to The Bellas, and even though her “Superfly” Splash is head turning for its splendor, the simple brutality of Tamina’s side kick is plain head jarring.
Trish Stratus - Chick Kick
Arguably the greatest Diva of all time, WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus’ vast contributions to WWE were rightfully recognized when she was voted Diva of the Decade. A seven-time WWE Women’s Champion, Trish has earned her place amongst the greatest ring-warriors of all time.
The perfect mix of beauty, brawn and brains, Stratus’ heralded in-ring ability was buoyed by the Chick Kick. A quick, painful maneuver that was responsible for dumping more Divas than Daniel Bryan, when Trish connected with the blast to the back of her opponent’s head, the end was undoubtedly in sight.
Booker T - Scissor Kick
One of the most beloved Superstars of all time, Booker T has found success wherever his career has taken him. Many of his in-ring accomplishments can be owed, in large part, to his balanced offensive strategy, which was made instantly lethal thanks to the scissor kick that he used so often over the course of his WWE Hall of Fame career.
With an opponent dazed in the middle of the ring, Booker often utilized a kick that was all legs and dreadlocks flying through the air and crashing down on the back of his opponent’s head. Usually followed up by the equally impressive Spinaroonie, Booker’s scissor kick helped him slice his way to six world titles.
Hulk Hogan - Big Boot
The scene couldn’t be more iconic.
In a flash of yellow and red, a big boot connects and sends an opponent crashing to the mat, setting him up for one of the most legendary maneuvers in WWE history. Moments later, a leg drop and a cover would seal the deal and Hulk Hogan would walk out of the squared circle with yet another victory.
Hogan’s boot to the face has brought crowds in arenas the world over to their feet, and its place in WWE lore is just as cemented as Hogan’s in-ring immortality.
There is no Leg Drop if there is no big boot to precede it, and for that reason, it’s included on this list.
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin - Stompin' a Mudhole
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin had a simple mantra that he followed each time he entered a WWE arena. It went like this: “Arrive. Raise hell. Leave.” Night after night, in arenas all across the globe, The Texas Rattlesnake did just that.
A perfect snapshot of the Attitude Era, any member of the WWE Universe in the late 1990s will recall the following as if it were yesterday:
Austin, dressed in his classic black boots, black knee braces and black tape wrapped around his wrists. His hands gripped tightly to the top rope as he drove that right boot into the heart of his opponent, who sat prone in the corner. Jim Ross’ voice through the television set told us all that Austin was "stompin’ a mudhole" and taking care of business the only way he knew how.
When he was done, he’d flip a choice finger in his opponent’s direction, and continue on his way to victory.
Sheamus - Brogue Kick
One of the most devastating maneuvers in all of WWE, the Brogue Kick has quickly become the great equalizer. If Sheamus connects with that big right boot, you can turn out the lights because the party is most definitely over. Monsters from Big Show to Mark Henry have felt its wrath, and the Brogue Kick was responsible for one of the most incredible victories in WrestleMania history — an 18-second flattening of then-World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan.
Rob Van Dam - Van Daminator
When you think of Rob Van Dam, the word “daredevil” immediately jumps to mind. A fearless flyer, RVD is sure to to wow audiences every time he enters the WWE ring. Van Dam’s move set showcases a plethora of karate kicks and chops, but RVD perhaps uses his lower half better than any other Superstar over the past two decades.
For a competitor whose repertoire features a dozen moves no one had seen performed before Van Dam attempted them, it’s only fitting that one of his signature maneuvers was all at once beautiful, brutal and loud. Dubbed the Van Daminator, RVD’s leaping finisher — in which the Michigan native sidekicks a chair into his opponents’ skulls — floors fighters and causes crowds to gasp in unison.
Randy Orton - Punt
Unlike other moves on this list, Orton’s Punt is neither graceful nor particularly jaw-dropping. Instead, it’s just head-splitting, simply doing the job it’s intended to do — knock opponents out cold.
The physical manifestation of what the voices in Orton’s head whisper to him when he goes to that disturbing place in the ring, the Punt has proved a move of pure, unfiltered aggression.
Shawn Michaels - Sweet Chin Music
The Showstopper is also the list-topper, coming in at No. 1 with an overture of Sweet Chin Music.
Michaels’ signature super kick shares certain traits with other moves on this list — it’s lightning-fast, it can come out of nowhere and it has the ability to stop a competitor dead in his tracks. But Sweet Chin Music is set apart because of the man behind the kick.
Arguably the greatest in-ring performer in history, when Shawn Michaels “tuned up the band,” the end was near for whoever stood opposite him. The No. 1 spot on this list had to be reserved for HBK, a WWE Hall of Famer who has risen to the occasion time and again to deliver classic match after classic match.
Michaels may have hung up the boots, but as he reminds us all on occasion, Sweet Chin Music has a timeless quality.