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5 wrestling moves that are banned for being life threatening

While audiences love to see flashy and dramatic moves in wrestling, some moves can kill or leave a person disabled
UPDATED MAY 14, 2023
Professional wrestling is known for its flashy moves but some have been banned for being life threatening (Getty Images)
Professional wrestling is known for its flashy moves but some have been banned for being life threatening (Getty Images)

In the ring, wrestling moves serve as narrative-building pieces that are supposed to convey a tale. The maneuvers a wrestler can execute sets them apart from other competitors, assuring crowds of their utmost physical prowess, toughness and speed.

However, there are a few wrestling moves that are banned for being life-threatening. Despite being flashy and very dramatic, these moves can do more harm than good. Here are the five moves that have been banned.


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1. Piledriver

The piledriver, which entails a wrestler hoisting an opponent upside down and spiking them on the mat, is ascribed to "Wild" Bill Longson. By lowering the opponent on their head, you run the risk of compressing their spine.

In 2000, the WWE outlawed all piledriver variants. Stephanie McMahon said that just two wrestlers—likely The Undertaker and Kane—were exceptions when questioned by the House of Representatives in 2007. She added that those "who have done these maneuvers for a longtime, really know how to do them safely."


2. Curb stomp

Naomichi Marufuji invented the curb stomp, which is running at a fallen opponent and stomping their foot behind their neck to knock them to the ground. In both NXT and the main roster, Seth Rollins used the Marufuji move as his finishing move.

The maneuver was forbidden when Rollins held the title of WWE World Heavyweight Champion in 2015. Rollins experimented with a number of various finishes in its place, such as the Pedigree and the fan-dubbed Rain-Trigger.


3. Moonsault

The moonsault press, in which the performer faces away from their opponent and does a backflip onto them, is attributed to Mando Guerrero. Lanny Poffo and The Great Muta popularized the move, and many other people—including Ultimo Dragon—created their own versions.

Earlier, Japan's FMW's ace Hayabusa's career was cut short following a failed moonsault from a springboard onto Mammoth Sasaki. Hayabusa launched himself off the ropes, but was unable to fully spin, landing on his head. After this, he spent the most of his life in a wheelchair before recovering his ability to walk in 2011 following a successful procedure.


4. Punt kick

One of the earliest uses of a punt kick was by Arn Anderson against Buzz Sawyer in 1985. Anderson remarked on his show that while he intended to jail Sawyer, he didn't want to permanently disable him. Anderson gave it to Randy Orton while serving as a WWE agent.

The Legend Killer booted Mick Foley down a flight of stairs for the first time in 2003. In 2007, Orton frequently kicked Shawn Michaels in the head to dismiss him from TV.


5. Diving headbutt

The diving headbutt is ascribed to Harley Race, who accidently used it after falling from the top rope but added it to his repertoire after observing the audience's reaction. Dynamite Kid, Chris Benoit and Bryan Danielson are other notable users of this move.

Throughout his career, Benoit, in particular, did death-defying stunts like headbutting from cages and ladders. Tomoaki Honma executes a Kokeshi variation of the technique in which he stiffens up and falls on his adversaries.