10.) Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake’s Sleeper Hold
Getting a little shaggy? Got a mop top? How bout a trim? There’s just one thing: you’ll be unconscious when it happens. Although many wrestlers would use a sleeper at some point during a match, an opponent was usually able to withstand it or break out of it. But not when Beefcake slapped it on. In fact, Beefcake’s opponents were rendered so completely unconscious that he was able to go to his corner, get a sack full of scissors and shears, and take a little off their tops…and the sides…and completely buzz them if he so chose. The ref ALLOWED this. To an unconscious person. There used to be a lot of controversy about whether wrestling was real or fake. Imagine this scenario: LeBron James goes up for a rebound and catches Kobe with an elbow to the head, knocking Kobe out. Then, with Kobe unconscious on the hardwood floor, LeBron goes to the bench, grabs barbershop clippers, and proceeds to give Kobe a Kid ‘N Play high fade while everyone (including the ref) stands by and watches. Still wondering if wrestling is real?
9.) Greg “The Hammer” Valentine’s Figure Four Leg-Lock
Holy f*ck did this hurt! I once did this to my friend Trevor in 7th grade gym class and he basically started crying. Then I did it to my friend Dave, but he immediately rolled over into push-up position to “reverse” the hold and then I was the one screaming for my life. But when Valentine did it…lights out! Because of an “injury,” Valentine was allowed to wear a “protective” shin-guard. When he wasn’t too busy actually beating his opponent over the head with it when the ref was distracted, he would turn it around on his leg to add extra oomph when he strapped on the figure four. People have gone to prison for less.
8.) The Camel Clutch By The Iron Sheik
He climbs into the ring and yells “Iran # 1. Russia # 1. USA (he spits).” Awesome. He then proceeds to damn near break your back in a move where he sits on his opponent’s back, who is face down on the mat. Then he reaches around for a chin-lock and leans back, pulling the dude’s neck and torso. Excruciating. This long-time heel used this move to briefly become the WWF champion, before losing the title to Hulk Hogan. The Sheik, along with Nikolai Volkoff, was also one-half of the tag team champs when they won the title at the first WrestleMania. Show respect while Volkoff sings the Russian national anthem!
7.) The DDT By Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Sometimes I wonder why wrestlers weren’t routinely paralyzed — and this move is one of the reasons why. Truly devastating. Standing up, Jake would wrap his arm around the opponent’s head and neck, who was bent over and facing Jake. Then Jake would just drop – bringing all his weight down and smash either the dude’s face or top of head into the mat. It’s a good thing the mat had some give, or watching former Jake the Snake opponents wrestle would have been like watching Christopher Reeve wrestle Stephen Hawking.
6.) The Shake, Rattle, And Roll By The Honky Tonk Man
Perhaps the greatest Intercontinental champion of all-time, the Honky Tonk Man’s signature move was a combo neck and back breaker. With his opponent bent over and facing him, Honky would wrap his arm around the guy’s neck. Then he’d rock back and forth before rotating his whole body and sweeping his own feet off the mat, which would spin the opponent over and have his head, neck and back come crashing down. And if that didn’t work he’d smash his guitar over you. Plus, Honky was managed by the Jimmy “the Mouth of the South” Hart, who often managed to sneak his megaphone into the ring so that Honky Tonk could smash his opponents over the head with it while the ref was distracted.
5.) The Tombstone Pile-Driver By The Undertaker
For starters, the Undertaker was a mountain – standing at 6’10’’ — so when he’d pick up a person, hold him upside down, and then slam his head and neck down onto the mat, there was a long way to fall. (Note: this could also have gone to Kane and his chokehold. The “half-brothers” were physically dominating. I give the edge to the Undertaker, however, because he was managed by Paul Bearer who brought an urn to every match which gave the Undertaker powers from the great beyond.)
4.) The People’s Elbow By Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Good guy, villain; villain, good guy. Back and forth the Rock went until his overwhelming popularity made him a “face.” A multi-time champion with undeniable charisma. He had some epic battles with Stone Cold Steve Austin and Mankind. No one – I mean no one – cut better promos than the Rock. And his referring to himself in the third person? Genius. “The Rock says…” “Can you smell what the Rock is cooking!” Big man with a crushing elbow to his opponents. Without a doubt one of the most popular wrestlers of ever to get into the squared circle.
3.) Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka’s Superfly Splash
Snuka introduced high-flying acrobatics to early 80s wrestling. He was a magician…and a maniac! Perched on the top rope – and sometimes even on top of the steel cage – Snuka would fly across the ring and splash down on his already laid out opponent. One time he even stood on top of Andre the Giant’s head to pull off his signature maneuver. No one was more exciting. And no one sounds more like a punch-drunk Mohammed Ali these days when giving an interview.
2.) The Rude Awakening By Ravishing Rick Rude
Let me paint you a picture: burlesque music plays as an incredibly ripped and cocky man with an 80s feathered perm struts to the ring in a silk robe. He grabs a microphone and says the following, “What I’d like to have right now is for all you fat, ugly, outta shape redneck hicks to sit down and shut up while I take my robe off and show the ladies what a real man’s supposed to look like.” After disrobing, a beautiful woman is selected “at random” from the audience. RRR then kisses her and, overwhelmed by his machismo and sexiness, she faints. The Rude Awakening was a neck-breaker where RRR stood his opponent up, spun him around so they were back-to-back, and then dropped down. Instead of hooking the leg for a three count, RRR would either stand on, or lie across, his unconscious opponent while striking sexy poses. Two words: simply ravishing!
1.) Hulk Hogan’s Leg Drop
Hogan was unquestionably the biggest and most popular star during the heyday of wrestling — the mid-to-late 80s. With his “I Am A Real American” theme song and his regiment of “training, prayers, vitamins,” the Hulkster was a tour de force fan favorite who beat (and managed to body slam!) the biggest of the bigs: Andre the Giant, the Big Boss Man, Akeem the African Dream, Big John Stud, Zeus, etc. Hogan’s signature move came when things always seemed to be at their bleakest. Usually in a submission hold, it looked like all was lost for Hogan. The ref would raise the Hulkster’s arm and let it fall limply. The ref would raise it again with the same outcome. Strike two. Once more and the match would be over. The ref would raise Hogan’s arm. And it would fall…but not so fast! About halfway down, Hogan would somehow muster the strength to stop his arm from falling, wiggle his finger like “Oh no you didn’t!”, and then find his second wind. He’d then punch and clothesline his opponent several times and then body slam him to the mat. Then he’d run and bounce off the ropes, get major air, and let his leg fall across his opponent’s head and neck. Game. Set. Match. No one ever recovered. All the Hulkamaniacs rejoiced.