Top 10 Most Dangerous Wrestling Moves Ever

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Top 10 Most Dangerous Wrestling Moves Ever

VOICE OVER: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: George Pacheco
Do not try these at home. For this list, we'll be ranking the maneuvers in professional wrestling that could cause the most physical damage, should they be performed incorrectly. Our countdown includes Tiger Driver '91, Doomsday Device, Vertebreaker, and more!
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Top 10 Most Dangerous Wrestling Moves


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Dangerous Wrestling Moves.

For this list, we’ll be ranking the maneuvers in professional wrestling that could cause the most physical damage, should they be performed incorrectly.

Know of any we missed? Let us know in the comments!

#10: Tiger Driver ‘91

Heads up! Literally, actually, because if there’s going to be one consistent thread running through this list, it’s the risk wrestlers put to their heads, necks, and shoulders. It’s also what makes the Tiger Driver ’91 so dangerous because it directly targets these areas with a vicious spike. Japanese wrestling legend Mitsuharu Misawa perfected this variation on a traditional (but still dangerous) Tiger Driver by adding this exclamation point to a move that’s already a nightmare version of Triple H’s pedigree. From the double underhook to the final, squirming impact on the canvas, Misawa’s Tiger Drive ’91 was no joke.

#9: Steiner Screwdriver

The vertical suplex is one of the most common moves in pro wrestling. But what if that suplex was modified with a sudden and dangerous drop? This is the basis behind the Steiner Screwdriver, a finisher Scott Steiner had developed back before his Big Poppa Pump days. It showcased Steiner’s strength, as he held his opponent vertically in the air, before bringing him down swiftly in a vicious, Tombstone Piledriver motion. The speed with which this move is performed makes it prone to error, although to be fair, Steiner always seemed to execute this finisher with lightning quick precision. However, this doesn’t make the Steiner Screwdriver any less dangerous.

#8: Doomsday Device

It’s known as one of the wrestling finishers that NO ONE wanted to take, but that didn’t stop countless tag teams from falling before the might that was the Doomsday Device. This is because this finisher belonged to one of the most dominant tag teams of all time, the Road Warriors, a.k.a. The Legion of Doom. It’s not the most technical of maneuvers, but it doesn’t give whoever’s taking it much control during their descent. This is because they’re placed on the shoulders of the opposing team before the other member takes them down with a flying clothesline. It sure does look cool, though, doesn’t it?

#7: Canadian Destroyer

Speaking of moves that look cool, is there any maneuver that excites the crowd quite like a Canadian Destroyer? It’s an outlier on this list, in that it’s usually performed safely, but there’s always this element of danger involved since it requires so much cooperation. The traditional Canadian Destroyer is a combination Sunset Flip into a modified Piledriver, whereby both wrestlers need to make sure their timing is on, and that enough air is achieved to make the move look good. Thankfully, this is normally the case, but we can’t help but hold our breath every time.

#6: Package Piledriver

Some moves look dangerous, but are really super safe. Others look safe, but are actually terribly risky. Our next entry looks dangerous because it IS dangerous. It’s the Package Piledriver, developed by Aja Kong and popularized by Kevin Owens during his indie days as Kevin Steen. The move starts off like a pedigree, and almost looks like a muscle buster when it’s in mid-air, as Steen holds his opponents behind the knees in the double-underhook position. Then, he brings them down in a squished piledriver motion, and the results frankly look devastating. The risk to the head and neck is obviously high, and this is probably one of the reasons why Owens took to the Pop Up Powerbomb in WWE.

#5: Burning Hammer

The word “protected” is used often in the wrestling industry to describe a finisher that almost always leads to a pinfall victory. Kenny Omega’s One-Winged Angel is a great example of this, as is our next entry, Kenta Kobashi’s Burning Hammer. The move was only used seven times by Kobashi and always finished off his opponents. This was why it was so surprising to see The Brian Kendrick bust out the Burning Hammer in the 2016 WWE Cruiserweight Classic. Not only because it’s supremely dangerous, but because Kendrick’s opponent, Kota Ibushi, actually kicked out! Imagine Nikki Bella’s Rack Attack finisher, only turn the victim upside down, and drop them on their head. Yeah, it’s as scary as it sounds.

#4: Vertebreaker

The Vertebreaker is yet another modified piledriver that utilizes a double-underhook, but make no mistake: this finisher is anything but ordinary. It can’t be performed on everyone, because it requires so much strength and cooperation, but was popularized by Shane Helms during his cruiserweight days, and it still looks awesome today. The fact that the Vertebreaker brings the opponent upside down, back-to-back with the person performing the move requires a lot of trust while the end results could prove disastrous if this doesn’t occur. However, we just can’t help but raise our fists and yell every time Helms and his opponents pulled off the Vertebreaker in style.

#3: Ganso Bomb

We know what you guys may be saying: “how is a power bomb so high up on this list? It’s basically a transitional move at this point.” Trust us when we tell you that you’ve never seen a power bomb quite like this one. The Ganso Bomb was made infamous by Toshiaki Kawada during a match with the aforementioned Misawa, when a countered head scissor attempt turned into a sickening, free-falling power bomb. It’s a perfect storm of sorts, where the wrestler taking it receives a few seconds to question their choices before being mercilessly dropped on their head, neck and shoulders with authority.

#2: Diving Headbutt

The professional wrestling world of today is much more concerned with the effects of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a.k.a. CTE. This wasn’t always the case, however, as evidenced by the multiple wrestlers that have used the Diving Headbutt over the years. From the originator Harley Race, to The Dynamite Kid and Bryan Danielson, wrestlers just can’t help launching themselves through space, head-first down to the canvas. The Diving Headbutt is dangerous because there’s no easy way out: it causes damage whether you hit or miss. This is why the move has been criticized as being extremely dangerous for both short term and long-term health, and why you don’t really see it as often as you used to back in the day.

#1: Styles Clash

Pro Wrestlers are trained professionals who know how to take bumps and falls as safely as possible while on the job. The issue with the Styles Clash is that it goes against all of those instincts by requiring the person taking it to stick their neck out, as opposed to tucking it in. The finisher popularized by AJ Styles actually isn’t too dangerous beyond this, but that hasn’t stopped numerous wrestlers from suffering horrendous injuries while taking the move. Yoshi Tatsu broke multiple bones in his neck after tucking his chin, while British wrestler Lionheart almost had his career ended after taking the move. It’s scary, frightening, and, yes, dangerous stuff. Do NOT try this at home.
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