Even though the majority of professional wrestling is scripted, the risk of injury remains real. Every move that a pro wrestler executes is often practiced, calculated, and carefully executed. Over time, there have been thousands of moves from different competitors, with some growing in popularity. From the diving elbow drop to the Powerbomb and Sharpshooter, wrestling fans have seen them all. However, some are considered too risky and no longer performed. Can you remember any of them? Well, here is a reminder of 11 famous wrestling moves that have since been banned.

1. Chair Shots to the Skull

During the famous Tables, Ladders, and Chairs (TLC) matches, chair shots to the skull were very popular. WWE fans loved hearing the sound of a chair hitting the head of a wrestler. However, this move was banned after the passing of Chris Benoit, a former WWE superstar. It was thought to cause severe head and brain injuries.

2. The Burning Hammer

Inspired by a Japanese wrestling game, the Burning Hammer entailed placing a wrestler on another’s shoulder and then throwing them to the ground with their necks and backs landing first. While it was entertaining for the viewers, the move was very dangerous and sometimes deadly.

Although some other wrestlers performed the burning hammer, Kenta Kobashi, a former Japanese professional wrestling promoter, popularized the move. However, he only did it 7 times as the move was banned for safety reasons.

3. Sit-Down Version of the Piledriver

Pile driver refers to a professional wrestling move where one competitor grabs another, turns them upside down, and then drops into a kneeling or sitting position. While different versions of the pile driver move are available, the sit-down version was abolished after it sent Stone Cold into months-long injury. The most famous sit-down version, however, was conducted by Owen Hart against Steve Austin in the 1997 Summer Slam.

4. Shooting Star Press

In the shooting star press move, the athlete backflips mid-air before landing on his opponent. Even though it creates a highlight reel moment every time it is performed, the shooting star press is very dangerous, so it was banned. Brock Lesnar is among the wrestlers who have been on the wrong end of the move. AJ Styles and Shane McMahon were popular users of the shooting star press.

5. The Diving Head Butt

Other than chair shots to the head, Chris Benoit’s death also marked the end of the diving head butt wrestling move. WWE executives banned it as a precaution for severe head injuries. Even so, some pro wrestlers still use it today.

6. Curb Stomp

For about three years, Seth Rollins was banned from executing his finisher – the curb stomp. The move entailed stomping on the opponent’s back, forcing their head to hit the mat with a loud thud. As much as fans loved it, Mr. Vince McMahon (WWE’s CEO) asked Seth to stop doing it. However, the ban lasted from 2015 to 2018 before a safer version of the curb stomp was adopted.

7. The Punt Kick

Besides the famous RKO, pro wrestler Randy Orton is popular for his punt kick move, which has since been banned. It was said that it caused concussions to multiple opponents, including Vince McMahon. In truth, Randy Orton didn’t really kick his opponents on the head. The move was only banned because WWE thought it influenced its fans too much, causing significant injuries. The punk kick hasn’t been used since 2012.

8. Brainbuster

The brainbuster is a modified version of the Suplex, but the opponent lands on the neck or head instead of the back. Even from the description, you can tell that it is quite dangerous; it can cause significant neck and spine injuries. Although the brainbuster was banned, some pro wrestlers have adopted a gentler version.

9. Pedigree

While most WWE fans associate the pedigree move with Triple H, many don’t know it has been banned for a while. Apparently, the finisher skill caused severe injuries to some WWE superstars, including Marty Garner, who was nearly crippled by Triple H in 1996. Recently, a safer version of the pedigree has been adopted – wrestlers are required to release the opponent’s hands before landing to minimize injury risk.

10. Vertebreaker

Vertebreaker sounds like a really cool name, but the action isn’t. Popularized by Shane “Hurricane” Helms, the move entails dropping an opponent with their head first on the mat. It was banned because the wrestlers would carry their opponents upside down on their backs, minimizing awareness and making it dangerous.

11. Eye Gouging

While eye gouging doesn’t specifically apply to WWE, other wrestling organizations, such as the MMA, have banned it because it is outright dangerous. It is a grave offense that can lead to disqualification and a ban. Eye gouging often leads to eye blindness and can be fatal in extreme cases.

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Last Update: April 23, 2024