The Most Dangerous Wrestling Move Ever Attempted

Longtime fans of the WWE will no doubt be familiar with these six words: “Please don’t try this at home.” Even recreating something as simple as the infamous “finger poke of doom” sequence in which Hulk Hogan defeated Kevin Nash for the WCW title by gently tapping him on the chest could be dangerous. As Bleacher Report notes, performing a “flat back bump” (throwing yourself back-first onto the mat) like Nash requires executing “a whiplash motion where even the slightest error can very easily cause a concussion.” Wrestlers have died from maneuvers gone wrong or suffered career-ending injuries. Given the high risk involved, some moves are probably better left untried whether you’re at home or not. 

Don't try this wrestling move anywhere

Bleacher Report’s Chris Mueller ranked five of wrestling’s most perilous maneuvers. Among them was the moonsault. The moonsault is mostly straightforward — well, technically it’s over and backward — requiring a backflip and ending with the wrestler landing stomach first on an opponent. It’s not hard to imagine how that might go terribly wrong. Sadly, you don’t have to imagine because Deadspin gives the example of indie wrestler Charade, who broke his skull when he landed head-first during a moonsault attempt.

Another brutal maneuver is the powerbomb, which is so catastrophically botch-able that it used to be banned. Associated with famous big men like Kevin Nash and Batista, the move entails hoisting another person into the air so that their legs rest on your shoulders and then slamming that person back-first on the mat. As Fox Sports describes, Darren Drozdov, a former NFL player and “one of WWE’s brightest prospects,” was left quadriplegic after a powerbomb gone wrong.

Piledriving the point home

The piledriver tops Chris Mueller’s list of the riskiest wrestling moves. A wrestler holds their opponent upside down and then either drops to their butt or knees to create the impression that they’re spiking a person’s head into the mat. Unfortunately, it’s not always a false impression. The legendary Owen Hart accidentally broke Stone Cold Steve Austin’s neck with a botched piledriver. Yet, for as potentially disastrous as that move is, there might be one that’s even more dangerous.

It’s called the Burning Hammer, which sounds like a Norwegian rock band, but Fox Sports Asia explains that it’s a Reverse Death Valley Driver. A wrestler hoists an opponent across their shoulders with the wrestler’s face facing up. Then the defenseless wrestler gets “driven face- and shoulder-first into the mat.” The move is so unsafe that the wrestler who invented it, Kenta Kobashi, only performed it seven times during his 25-year career.

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