WWE superstars might be highly trained athletes, but some of wrestling’s most devastating moves are too dangerous even for them.
Sun Sport rounds-up some the of most controversial moves seen in WWE rings – some of which are so risky they’ve been banned outright.
This was Seth Rollins’ original finisher, which he used during his time in the Shield and even for part of his run as WWE Champion.
The move saw Rollins drive his opponents face-first into the mat with the full force of his boot.
But it was phased out during his title run in 2015, after he adopted his mentor Triple H’s Pedigree instead.
Presumably, it’s a move that WWE wants to discourage kids from attempting at home – due to the fact it’s legitimately dangerous – and could be a major concussion risk.
Hence it was removed from WWE television and is unlikely to ever be used again.
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There’s nothing like a good botch to get a move struck off the WWE approved list – even one as visually impressive as the top rope 450.
Justin Gabriel badly mistimed the move in a match against Randy Orton, leaving the Viper visibly irate with Gabriel.
The Shooting Star press is also rarely seen after Brock Lesnar’s infamous botch at WrestleMania 19.
Now it seems only trusted high flyers like Neville are allowed to execute such daredevil moves.
CM Punk used this finisher on the independent scene – essentially a Pedigree from the top rope – but swapped it for the GTS instead when he started with WWE.
Many fans speculate the Pepsi Plunge it was pulled from Punk’s repertoire to spare Triple H’s ego.
And there’s no love lost between Punk and Trips, of course – so there could be truth in that rumour.
But to WWE’s credit, the Plunge is a huge neck injury risk if the person taking the move lands on their head.
Also known as the “double underhook back-to-back piledriver”, this involves holding an opponent upright behind your back and dropping them on their head, neck, and shoulders.
It was performed by Shane “The Hurricane” Helms is WWE – though it’s a wonder the company ever permitted him to use the move.
It’s one of many innovative piledriver variations – such as the Canadian Destroyer – that are considered just too dangerous for modern WWE.
The Orton Punt
Around 2008, Randy Orton adopted a ruthless, no-nonsense approach to hurting his opponents – punting them in the head.
But with increased understanding of the long-term effects from concussions, WWE has been careful not to spotlight any moves that could legitimately (or even just appear to) concuss its superstars.
Orton does still tease the punt on big occasions, but the Viper stopped using a regular move not long after he first introduced it.
Though not banned by WWE, fans were shocked when AJ Styles used the move after debuting in WWE – they were sure it would be outlawed.
In theory the Styles Clash should be extremely safe to take – a flat face bump that doesn’t require Styles’ opponents to do anything.
The problem is that wrestlers are trained to tuck their chins for almost all other moves, so the Styles Clash goes against every instinct.
The move has injured several wrestlers who instinctively tucked their chins and landed of their head – and legitimately broke the necks of both Yoshitatsu and Lionheart.
James Ellsworth almost made the same mistake when he took the move on SmackDown, but Styles managed to save him from serious injury.
Another move that feels like it could have been banned, the Famouser is an elevated leg drop to the back of the head that forces an opponent face-first into the mat.
Billy Gunn used it as his finisher and it’s now a signature move of Dolph Ziggler, but was originally used by Marty Jannetty and known as the “Rocker Dropper”.
It’s a controversial move because in 1990 Jannetty executed the Rocker Dropper on an inexperienced jobber named Charles Austin.
Austin landed on his head and was instantly paralysed.
A court later ordered WWE to pay Austin and his family $24.8million in damages.
Chair Shot To the Head
Not a wrestling “move”, but during the Attitude Era is was as important to any wrestler’s arsenal as a headlock.
But with effects of concussions casting a shadow over WWE – specifically the events of the Chris Benoit murder-suicide – chair shots to the head were banned outright as part of the company’s wellness policy.
Looking back at the Attitude Era now, some of chair shots are sickening to watch – especially The Rock’s infamous assault on Mick Foley at the Royal Rumble 1999.
Triple H and Undertaker were reportedly fined for breaking the ban when Trips cracked the Deadman on the head with a chair at ‘Mania 27.
Once a staple of WWE television, the piledriver was banned at some point in the early 1990s/2000s.
The move – which essentially spikes a wrestler directly on their head – is genuinely dangerous in the wrong hands.
The most notorious botch came at SummerSlam 1997, when Owen Hart dropped Steve Austin on his head with a sit-down Tombstone piledriver and broke his neck – temporarily paralysing Stone Cold.
In modern WWE, Undertaker and Kane are the only superstars permitted to use their version of the piledriver.