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Aerial techniques are maneuvers, using the ring and its posts and ropes as aids, used in professional wrestling to show off the speed and agility of a wrestler. These moves are mainly done by smaller, quicker wrestlers who are unable to do most of the power moves. There is a wide variety of aerial techniques in professional wrestling. Due to injuries caused by these high risk moves, many promotions ban or limit the use of some maneuvers. During 2005, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) banned the use of the shooting star press for fear of injury, although WWE commentator and former executive Jim Ross stated in 2006 that he was unaware of such a policy. Evan Bourne, who is currently wrestling on the Raw brand, uses the shooting star press, explaining he was not forced to comply with the ban.
Moves are listed under general categories whenever possible.
Arm twist ropewalk chop
The wrestler grabs a hold of one of the opponent's wrists and twists that arm. The wrestler then climbs up the corner turnbuckles and walks on the top rope, before jumping down and clubbing the opponent on their chest or back of their neck. The Undertaker uses this maneuver and has named it Old School.
Also known as a Double Axe Handle, Double Axe Handle Smash or Double Sledge, this is accomplished by jumping from the top turnbuckle to the mat or floor and striking the opponent with two fists held together in the fashion of holding an axe. This is usually done on a standing or rising opponent, not a prone one.
This move is a jawbreaker performed by an attacking wrestler from an aerial platform. This move involves the attacking wrestler standing on a platform (i.e. the second turnbuckle, or sitting on the top turnbuckle) and facing the back of a standing opponent while applying an inverted facelock. From this position the attacking wrestler leaps forward, somersaulting, to roll the inverted facelock into a three-quarter facelock, as they fall the wrestler drops to a seated position and driving the opponent's jaw into their shoulder for a jawbreaker, or, the wrestler falls back-first forcing the opponent's face into the mat/shoulder for the bulldog.
This is a bulldog performed by a wrestler from an elevated position. A bulldog is a move in which the wrestler applies a headlock or face lock to his opponent and leaps forward, so that the wrestler lands on his back or in a sitting position, driving the opponent’s face into the mat. A standard diving bulldog sees a wrestler jump down on an opponent from an elevated platform and apply any version of a headlock to take down the opponent to the mat.
This is a bulldog performed after springboarding (bouncing) off the top rope of the ring ropes. In some cases a headlock is first applied before the wrestler bounces off the ropes. Another version is the springboard bulldog is seen where a wrestler will springboard off the ring ropes before applying the headlock. While flying towards an opponent, a wrestler catches his opponent in a headlock and then drives the opponent into the ground as the wrestler falls to the mat. A great example is Trish Stratus's "Stratusfaction."
This move is used by many, usually light, wrestlers and is often known as a diving crossbody, or a cross body block which is the elevated version of the crossbody maneuver. To perform the move, a wrestler jumps from an elevated position (usually the top turnbuckle) onto an opponent, landing horizontally across the opponent's torso, forcing them to the mat and usually resulting in a pinfall attempt. There is also a reversed version, named reverse crossbody, where the wrestler faces away from the prone opponent before executing the crossbody maneuver.
Diving elbow drop
A diving elbow drop is executed by diving onto a supine opponent with one's elbow cocked, driving the elbow into the opponent's shoulder, chest, or head. In a less common variation, known as the diving back elbow drop, the wrestler stands on the top turnbuckle facing away from the opponent then leaps backwards, extending and cocking one elbow. A diving reverse elbow also possible on a standing opponent.
Axe handle elbow drop
The wrestler sits on the top turnbuckle with a foot on each second rope, facing a supine opponent. The wrestler then leaps towards the opponent, clasping their forearms together, and lands on their knees, driving both elbows into the shoulder or chest of the opponent.
Diving fist drop
A fist drop is a move in which a wrestler jumps down from the turnbuckle on an opponent driving his fist into the opponent's chest or head. When doing a diving fist drop, wrestlers have their front four knuckles out, and their thumb to the side.
A diving headbutt is delivered from the top rope or turnbuckle to anywhere on the opponent's body. The move was accidentally innovated by Harley Race. He adapted it as a signature move, and it was then adapted and further popularized by The Dynamite Kid. It was later discovered that this move could cause spinal damage, as well as head, legs, or chest injuries and brain damage. Chris Benoit's brain damage found after his death has been attributed to the move.
Also known as diving huracanrana, this move is executed by jumping forward off the top rope with legs apart, straddling a standing opponent's shoulders, while using the momentum to snap off a hurricanrana.
In this variant of the diving hurricanrana, the wrestler first performs a front flip from the top rope before executing a true hurricanrana into a pin. The technique is named by and after the wrestler Dragon Kid, pupil of Último Dragón, who invented the maneuver.
The variant sees a wrestler, on the ring apron, first use the top ring rope to springboard (bounce) towards an opponent in the ring, straddling the standing opponent's head so the wrestler is seated on the opponent's shoulders, while using the momentum to snap off a hurricanrana.
Diving knee drop
A move in which a wrestler jumps from a raised platform (the top turnbuckle, the apron, etc.) and lands his or her knee or knees across a prone opponent. There is also a variation where a wrestler jumps from a raised platform and lands his knees across the shoulders of an opponent.
Diving leg drop
Also called a guillotine leg drop, this diving attack sees a wrestler jump forward from a raised platform (i.e. top turnbuckle, the ring apron, etc.) landing the bottom side of his/her leg across an opponent (usually on the throat or face).
Diving leg drop bulldog
This is a diving version of the leg drop bulldog, that sees the wrestler springboarding off one of the ropes or jumping from the top turnbuckle and dropping their leg across the back of the head of an opponent who is leaning forward.
Moonsault leg drop
This variation sees the wrestler perform a top turnbuckle moonsault but instead of landing on the opponent in a splash position the wrestler would continue the rotation to drive his leg across an opponent who is lying on the ground.
Somersault leg drop
The wrestler, standing on an elevated position, jumps, flips forward and lands his leg on the opponent lying beneath him.
Diving shoulder block
The wrestler dives from an elevated position, tucks his arms, and strikes the opponent with one of his shoulders to the upper body.
This is a diving shoulder block takedown, also known as a spear. A move in which a wrestler will jump from a raised platform such the top turnbuckle, and drive their shoulder into the opponent's torso, forcing them down to the mat.
When a wrestler jumps down from a raised platform on an opponent dropping his foot onto any part of an opponent's body. A variation known as a diving double foot stomp is when a wrestler jumps down from a raised platform on an opponent driving both his feet into anywhere on the opponent's body, usually the chest.
Moonsault double foot stomp
This variation sees the wrestler perform a moonsault but instead of landing on the opponent in a splash position the wrestler would continue the rotation so that he/she would be able to drive both feet into an opponent who is lying on the ground.
While situated on the middle rope of a turnbuckle, a wrestler will jump over a charging wrestler, pressing his feet off their back to push them into the turnbuckle with more force, before landing on their own two feet. The technique's name is a reference to the stomping attacks used by video game character Mario, often on Goombas (Mushroom Enemies) and Koopa Troops (Turtle Enemies).
A move in which a wrestler will jump from an elevated position and perform a clothesline to a standing opponent. A version of this move, called a flying lariat which is similar but involves the wrestler wrapping his arm around the opponents head.
Flying back elbow
A move in which the wrestler will jump from an elevated position (usually the top turnbuckle or the middle rope) and strike a standing opponent with the back of his or her elbow.
A neckbreaker in which the attacking wrestler jumps from a raised platform (usually the second turnbuckle) and grabs an opponent's neck while in midair, thereby taking them down with a neckbreaker. The most common variation of this is the flipping neckbreaker or Blockbuster which is a neckbreaker where the attacking wrestler performs a somersault, and while flipping, catches the opponents head ending in a falling neckbreaker.
Flying spinning heel kick
A move in which the wrestler will jump from an elevated position (usually the top turnbuckle) and strike a standing opponent with spinning heel kick in mid-air.
Flying thrust kick
Executed when a wrestler jumps from a raised platform (usually the top turnbuckle), and hits a standing opponent with a thrust kick in mid-air.
This is a hurricanrana executed on an opponent sitting on the top turnbuckle. With the attacking wrestler's legs scissored around the opponent's head while they face each other, the wrestler performs a backflip to swing through the opponent's open legs, dragging the opponent into a forced somersault that distances the wrestler from the opponent, who lands on his or her back. A handstand variation can also be used. With the opponent seated on the top turnbuckle facing the ring, the wrestler performs a handstand on the bottom turnbuckle, wrapping his or her shins or feet around the neck of the opponent. The wrestler then bends his or her legs forward towards the ring, pulling the opponent over and flipping him or her down to the mat onto his or her back.
Also known as an inverted frankensteiner, this is a hurricanrana executed on an opponent sitting on the top turnbuckle. However, unlike a standard frankensteiner, the opponent is facing away from the ring on the top turnbuckle thus the opponent backflips over and lands on his or her chest rather than his or her back. This move can also be performed to the outside of the ring if the opponent is facing the inside of the ring or sitting on one edge of the corner turnbuckle facing the audience with both legs on the outside of the ring on the same side. There is also a standing variation of this move in which the wrestler jumps onto the opponent's shoulders from behind and then flips backwards driving the opponent's head and/or chest onto the mat.
A move in which a wrestler executes a backflip and lands on an opponent. A basic moonsault is generally attempted from the top turnbuckle, though myriad variations exist.
A senton splash (also known as Back Splash) is similar to a normal splash. Instead of impacting stomach first, the wrestler lands back first across the opponent.
The wrestler jumps to the top turnbuckle or jumps onto the ropes, facing away from the ring, and executes a 450° backflip, landing in an ordinary senton position.
The wrestler performs a senton, flipping 630 degrees forward before landing, i.e. one full rotation (360 degrees) following by a somersault senton (270 degrees). A corkscrew can also be added to the move. In this variation, the wrestler, facing away from the ring and situated on the top turnbuckle, performs a 180° turn in mid-air and then performs a 630° senton onto a lying opponent.
Imploding senton bomb
This variant on the senton which sees the wrestler use his/her tailbone and lower body in a seated position to force the opponent to the mat rather than using their whole back. This seated senton is performed by jumping forward off a raised platform or springboarding on to the shoulders of a standing opponent forcing them to the ground. This can also be performed onto an opponent prone on the mat.
A variation of this move known as a Banzai Drop, sees a wrestler who is standing above a fallen opponent, go up onto the second turnbuckle (facing away from the ring) and jump down dropping his/her buttocks on the opponent's body (usually the chest or stomach). This move is basically a butt drop from a raised platform.
This variant on the seated senton, which is technically described as a flipping seated senton, is performed by flipping forward off a raised platform on to the shoulders of a standing opponent forcing them to the ground in a pinning position. The move gained its name through the use of its creator, Molly Holly.
In this variation of the senton, the attacking wrestler executes a quick front somersault off the top turnbuckle, before landing on the opponent back-first as in a regular senton. It can also be performed from a standing position.
High-angle senton bomb
A variant of the senton bomb, which sees an attacking wrestler leaping off the top turnbuckle keeping their bodies straight and arms out-stretched, making it resemble a swan dive, and then waiting until the last moment to execute the flip, so that they just barely complete it when impacting with the opponent with their upper back/shoulders.This move was innovated by Jeff Hardy who had name it the Swanton Bomb.
The shiranui (or sea fire in English) is a springboard backflip three-quarter facelock falling reverse DDT. This move has a wrestler put the opponent in a three-quarter facelock and run up a vertical surface, usually the corner turnbuckles, and jump backwards, performing a backflip in the air, and landing face down to the mat, driving the opponent back-first down to the mat. In a slight variation the wrestler lands instead to a seated position, driving the opponent's head between his legs.
This move sees a wrestler jump forward from an elevated position followed by executing a backflip in mid-air. Many techniques can be performed after a shooting star; the most well known is the shooting star press but there are other variations like the shooting star legdrop and shooting star elbow drop.
Shooting star press
A shooting star press is a technique invented by Jushin Liger. In a standard shooting star press, the wrestler jumps forward from an elevated position and presses knees to chest, executes a backflip in mid-air, and lands on the opponent in the splash/press position. In kayfabe, the move is considered a more impactful version of a splash, since the wrestler utilizes rotational speed, as if he were a circular saw. A corkscrew can also be added to the move by doing either a 180°, 360°, or more in mid-air, ending in either a senton or press.
Shooting star leg drop
This move sees a wrestler jump forward from an elevated position followed by executing a backflip in mid-air and continue the rotation (doing a full 360° or more rotation) ending by drive his leg across an opponent who is lying on the ground.
Shooting star elbow drop
This move sees a wrestler jump forward from an elevated position followed by executing a backflip in mid-air then landing elbow first on an opponent who is lying on the ground.
Shooting star DDT
This move sees a wrestler jump forward from an elevated position followed by executing a backflip in mid-air while grabbing the opponents head in mid-air, ending into a DDT.
Shooting star senton
This move sees a wrestler jump forward from an elevated position followed by executing a backflip in mid-air and continue the rotation (doing a full 360° or more rotation) plus adding an additional 90 ending in a senton.
The basic splash, which is also known as a press, involves a wrestler jumping forward from a raised platform (usually the top turnbuckle) and landing stomach first across an opponent lying on the ground below.
The 450° splash involves flipping forward 450° from a raised platform, landing on the opponent in the splash position. A corkscrew can also be added to the move. In this variation, the wrestler, facing away from the ring and situated on the top turnbuckle, performs a 180° turn in mid-air and then performs a 450° splash onto a lying opponent.
Imploding 450° splash
This move sees the attacking wrestler stand on the top turnbuckle facing away from the ring. He or she then jumps backwards and executes a 450° splash inwards (facing the turnbuckle) onto a downed opponent laying on the mat.
Corner slingshot splash
The wrestler places the opponent so he or she is lying supine and with his or her head and feet facing opposite corners of the ring. The attacking wrestler then approaches an adjacent turnbuckle, places his or her hands on the top rope and climbs to the first or second rope. The wrestler then bounces on the ropes before throwing their legs and body outwards and releasing the ropes, thus flying outwards and downwards and connecting with the torso of the opponent.
This move is performed by leaping from the top rope, stretching out to a horizontal position, and bringing one's feet and hands inward and outward before landing.
The original, and slightly different, version of the frog splash, as innovated by Art Barr and named by 2 Cold Scorpio, sees the wrestler bring their hands between their legs and kick up with their feet before drawing both arms and legs back outwards. Barr's tag team partner, Eddie Guerrero, used the more common variation as a tribute to Barr after Barr's death in late 1994.
Rob Van Dam performs a turning variation named the Five-Star Frog Splash where the opponent is not placed perpendicular to the corner. Instead Van Dam turns in mid-air to land on the opponent in the splash position, regardless of which direction the opponent is lying in. He also uses a regular version, generally going halfway or more than halfway across the ring to hit his opponent.
This is a pinning move where a wrestler and his opponent face each other, with the wrestler on higher ground (such as the top turnbuckle). The wrestler dives over the opponent, catches him in a waist-lock from behind, and rolls into a sitting position as he hits the mat. As the wrestler rolls over, he pulls the opponent over backwards so that he lands on his back in a pinning position. This move is credited in popularity to wrestler Dinty Parks, it was named after the Sunset Motel and Cottages he owned in North Bay, Ontario.
Some moves are meant neither to pin an opponent, nor weaken them or force them to submit, but are intended to set up the opponent for another attack.
The wrestler jumps onto an opponent from an elevated platform as the opponent is standing up, so that the opponent falls to his knees with his head between the legs of the wrestler. This move is generally used to set up for a powerbomb.
Springboarding involves a wrestler using any of the ring ropes to bounce upward. Most high-flying techniques can be performed after a spring board, i.e. springboard legdrop, springboard dropkick. Sometimes wrestlers will bounce off one set of ring ropes then off another to perform a move, this is referred to as a double springboard, the most notable double springboard move is a version of a springboard moonsault in which a wrestler bounces off the rope to elevate himself/herself to the top-rope from where he/she bounces off to perform the moonsault.
Another version of a springboard is the rope run/climb in which a wrestler would run up the ring ropes, effectively springboarding with one foot off each ring rope. This is often used in a version of a Tornado DDT in which a wrestler applies a headlock runs up the ropes (often at the turnbuckle), still holding onto the opponent, spins off from the elevated height to hit the DDT.
A slingshot involves a wrestler, who is standing on the ring apron, pulling on the top rope and using its momentum to hurl themselves over the ropes and into the ring. Many high-flying techniques can be performed after a slingshot.
The term corkscrew implies adding a spiral (resembling) a corkscrew to a maneuver. The term could also refer to the motion when a backflip (Moonsault) is twisted around so that the attacker faces the inside of the ring instead of the outside when the maneuver ends.
An accepted term in American wrestling for a slingshot crossbody where the wrestler goes from the inside of the ring over the top ring rope to the outside. In lucha libre, this is called a Pescado when the top ring rope is used for a slingshot, though the term plancha has been popularly accepted in American wrestling for the same maneuver. In America a move from the top turnbuckle to a standing opponent on the outside where the chests impact each other is also commonly referred to as a plancha. Plancha is also used in America to refer to any attack from the ring to the outside in which the wrestler impacts their chest against the opponents chest. For example, a shooting star press to the outside onto a standing opponent is referred to as a shooting star plancha.
The term ropewalk is used to refer to any move which first sees the attacking wrestler walks along the top rope before performing a move. (for example: Undertaker's Old School)
The term standing is used to refer to any move which is being performed at the same level as the opponent, usually on the ring mat. This is rather than most aerial moves which are performed from a raised platform like the top turnbuckle.
The term somersault is used to describe a simple front-flip used to modify aerial techniques. Many techniques can be made to accompany a somersault, including sentons, leg drops, and splashes. A corkscrew can also be added to the somersault to further modify moves.
The term suicide or suicida is placed before any move that goes from the ring, the ring apron, or the turnbuckles to the outside of the ring. The most obvious is a suicide dive also known as a topé suicida, which is simply a jump through or over ring ropes to the outside.
When a front flip is performed after leaping through the ropes, or by jumping over the top rope and performing a front flip, to land on the opponent back first, the move is known as a suicide senton or Topé con Hilo. Although it would appear as if Hilo is the Mexican name for the move, in Mexico the move is referred to as a Topé con Giro. Giro (Spanish for spin) was mistranslated as Hilo in Japan and the name Hilo (which in Spanish actually means thread) has remained outside of Mexico.
The term super (the terms diving, avalanche, and top-rope are also used) is placed before any move (normally performed on the mat) which is being performed off the top- or second rope. For example, if a Samoan drop was performed from the top turnbuckle it would be called a "Super Samoan Drop". Many move variations performed off the top rope use the term "Avalanche" instead of "super", especially in Japan. Suplexes performed from the top or second rope are referred to as superplexes; while Powerbombs performed from the top or second rope are referred to as superbombs.
A Topé, like the Plancha, is a move most often performed by jumping from the inside of the ring and out, but instead of going over the top rope, the Topé is performed by diving through the ropes to strike the opponent with the head. In Mexico, the Topé also refers to any leaping move where the head strikes the opponent, be it by jumping off the middle rope or a handspring into a headbutt.
- Professional wrestling holds
- Professional wrestling throws
- Professional wrestling attacks
- Professional wrestling double-team maneuvers
- List of professional wrestling terms