10 Moves Banned by The WWE

Last updated on April 2nd, 2022 at 11:08 am

In the world of kayfabe, many wrestling moves are often created to look devastating without having any sort of effect on the opponents. From the figure 6 lock to the Jack Hammer to the Diamond Cutter many of these wrestling moves often got a reaction from the crowd. 

In some instances, some of the best WWE finishers such as The People’s Elbow and the Stone Cold Stunner often forced the crowd to jump on their feet.

While many of these wrestling moves are created with safety in mind, there are those moves that the WWE deemed unsafe.

Some of these moves were deemed unsafe for use on other wrestlers and on other occasions, the WWE had to ban some moves due to the fear of these moves being wrongfully replicated by kids and teens back at home.

On the other hand, there are those moves that the WWE banned mainly due to their somewhat unpleasant past. That said, these let us look at the moves banned by the WWE.

10. Wings of Love

Mostly used by Michelle McCool, Wings of Love was banned by the WWE back in 2008. Despite the fact that the move was quite a spectacle, the WWE considered the move quite devastating for use in the women’s division.

Another major reason by the WWE to put a ban on the move was the fact that a botched Wings of Love could result in severe head and neck injuries on the receiver.

While Michelle McCool is responsible for popularizing the move, there are also other wrestlers such as Awesome Kong who used the move in other promotions.

Many wrestling purists and analysts believe that there was more to the ban than what met the eye. The argument brought forth was that the move was quite nasty, which was beyond what the WWE had in mind for the women’s division.

9. 450 Splash

Arguably one of the most breathtaking moves to watch, the 450 splash is another move that the WWE banned. Although the 450 splash is highly entertaining to watch, the WWE considered the move a liability after a botched attempt by Justin Gabriel saw Randy Orton out for several weeks.

The 450 splash dates back to 1987 and has been banned by various promotions due to the threat that it poses to the recipient. 

When executed properly, the move can look quite impactful.

Apart from Justin Gabriel, the 450 splash is a move that has been used by various wrestlers over the years. Some of these wrestlers include Jeff Hardy, Scott Steiner, Juventud Guerrera, Cold Scorpio and many others.

8. Vertebreaker

Popularized by Shane Helms, the Vertebreaker is undeniably one of the most dangerous-looking moves in the world of pro-wrestling. Like most moves on this list, the vertebreaker boils down to perfect timing.

When executed properly, the vertebreaker is undoubtedly one of the most devastating move to watch. However, because the move requires perfect timing, the WWE had no option but to ban the move.

There were also concerns about the performer not being able to see the wrestler directly, which meant little to no control. If botched, the move could cause serious neck injuries.

Thus, in 2003 the WWE had no option but to ban wrestlers from using the vertebreaker.

7. Brain Buster

Considered to be a more brutal version of the suplex, the brainbuster is another highly devastating move to watch. Despite being invented many years ago, the brainbuster was brought back by Samoa Joe during his stint on NXT.

Dick Mudrock founded the move and is responsible for bringing back the move to popular use. While Samoa Joe used the move as his finishing maneuver, a botched attempt would see Jason Kid suffer a career-threatening injury.

Thus, the WWE had no option but to ban the move. As a result, Samoa Joe had to rely on the coquina clutch ever since then.

6. Burning Hammer

One of the most talked-about moves in pro-wrestling, many wrestling fans believe that the move has a special mystique. Although the move was invented by Kyoko Inoue, Kenta Kobashi is responsible for immortalizing the Burning Hammer.

Due to the lack of visual oomph, the move might appear to be less dangerous. However, the burning hammer is undeniably one of the most dangerous moves in wrestling.

Some of the major concerns about this move include the lack of protection of cushioning and the locking of the recipient in a helpless position.

While various wrestling promotions banned the Burning Hammer, we’ve seen several wrestlers use variations of the burning hammer. Some of these wrestlers include Tyler Reks and Michael Eglin.

5. Original Pedigree

For many years, the pedigree has been Triple H’s go-to move. Over the years, Triple H has used the move to end most of his matches.

Some of the seasoned wrestlers who have been on the receiving end of the pedigree include The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Shawn Michaels and many others.

However, after a series of isolated incidents, the WWE had no option but to ban the move.

The original pedigree involved locking the recipient’s arm, while the head was spiked onto the mat. Due to little or no control over the move by the recipient, the move became a high risk for head and neck injuries.

While the move is back in the WWE, performers such as Seth Rollins are allowed to use a modified version. Instead of locking the wrestler’s arms, the performer now releases the recipient’s arms, which gives the wrestlers some sort of control over the move.

4. Shooting Star Press

Despite being a work of art, the shooting star press still remains one of the most controversial wrestling moves ever. The move requires some aerial abilities from wrestlers who often rely on the ropes and ring posts for support.

Over the years, many wrestlers such as Bill Kidman and Brock Lesnar often relied on the shooting star press. Like most moves on this list, a botched attempt would result in injuries on the receiver and the performer. 

At Wrestlemania XIX, Brock Lesnar tried to execute the move only to injure himself. A year later, Billy Kidman would accidentally injure the receiver Billy Kidman after a botched attempt. 

Thus in 2005, the WWE officially banned the move. It’s important to point out that the WWE is not the only promotion to ban this highly controversial move.

Despite banning the move, the WWE still allowed various wrestlers such as John Morison and Mark Andrews to use variations of the move. 

3. Orton Punt

In the late 200s, Randy Orton was not only one of the biggest draws in the business but also had two of the most lethal finishers in the business; the RKO and the Punt. In 2007, Orton began to heavily use the punt kick on wrestlers that he wanted to take out of the business. 

While the move was quite “lethal”, Randy Orton hardly used this move in matches. In 2012, the WWE made a decision to decommission the move mainly due to the risks that surrounded the move. 

A punt kick required strong coordination between both wrestlers and any miscommunication between the wrestlers would result in concussion-related injuries. In 2009, a botched punt kick attempt on one of the richest wrestlers in the world and WWE chair Vince McMahon resulted in a concussion and a slight cut on the head.

From then onwards, many wrestlers became reluctant to take the kick. 3 years down the line, the WWE officially banned the move. 

2. Piledriver

For many years the piledriver was the go-to move for many professional wrestlers. Wrestlers such as Jerry “The King” Lawler, Bret Hart, Harley Race and Owen Hart heavily relied on this move during matches.

However, in 2000 the WWE had no option but to ban the move after a botched attempt by Owen Hart. The result of this botched attempt saw Stone Cold Steve Austin break his neck in turn forcing the wrestler into early retirement.

Despite the WWE putting a ban on this move, there are several wrestlers who were granted special permissions to use the move. Due to their level of experience, the WWE allowed The Undertaker and Kane to continue using the move during matches.

Moreover, both these wrestlers had already established the tombstone which is a kneeling belly-to-belly variant of the piledriver. 

1. Curbstomp

Considered to be one of the most dangerous WWE moves of all time, the curbstomp was seen as a high-risk move by the WWE. Some of the concerns by the WWE were based on the fact a botched curbstomp maneuver would not only result in concussion but head injury as well. 

The other concern by the WWE was about kids trying to emulate this move back at home. On top of that, the WWE also had serious concerns about the violent past and violent connotation of the move.

Looking back in history this move was mostly associated with violent and hate crimes. Hence the WWE did not want its brand tainted with this dark history or associated with this move. 

Thus in 2015, the WWE officially banned the move and thus Seth Rollins had no option but to look for a more acceptable finisher. 

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