The fourth installment in our Top Ten series looks at the best innovations in wrestling made by women. The following moves have allowed these 8 women to leave the mark of their own careers in those of their contemporaries and peers. Some of these moves have been adopted by men and women alike in order to pay homage to their originators, while others are a spectacle only to be performed by their innovator. Let’s take a look….
#10 Accordion Rack
Kong’s vicious submission builds upon the already-painful Torture Rack.
After lifting her opponent with ease and applying an iron-clad Torture Rack, Kong takes it one step further. She bends her victim’s spine around her own head, forcing her opponent to kick themselves in the head while forcibly contorting their spine to an unnatural angle.
#9 Kudo Driver
The Kudo Driver, a.k.a the Vertabreaker, is a back-to-back double underhook piledriver.
The danger in Megumi Kudo’s eponymous move is due to the fact that the defending wrestler has no control over their bump, which is a precarious one on their neck and head. WWE officially banned this move in April 2003.
Currently, indie darling and former PWI Women’s #1 Cheerleader Melissa uses the move as her secondary finish.
#8 Voodoo Drop
On to a safer, yet gnarly-looking move: Nikki Roxx’s hammerlock guillotine drop, the Voodoo Drop. We previously covered this move in our Top Ten: Finishers list. The move has been Roxx’s go-to wherever she has wrestled, it served her well right up until her retirement in 2013.
#7 Death Valley Driver
The Death Valley Driver has been a favourite of wrestlers and fans alike for years, cropping up now and again, relatively unaltered, in mainstream and independent wrestling. The tried and tested classic is the brainchild of Joshi wrestler, Etsuko Mita.
The main difference between the Death Valley Driver and the Fireman’s Carry Slam is that the DVD impact is focused on the neck and one shoulder, making it a potential effective use of in-ring psychology and not looking weak as fuck.
#6 Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex
Perennial G.O.A.T and Joshi legend Mamami Toyota’s iconic bridging straightjacket electric chair suplex is in at #6. The Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex is a thing of beauty and has transcended culture and country, being included in WWE’s video game series for years under the fitting homage of ‘Queen Suplex’.
The vertical suplex powerslam gained notoriety in Atlanta’s WCW under the man himself, Goldberg. The move saw Goldberg claim the victories in his legendary 173-win streak. However, the move originated in Japan (surprise!) under legend and noted badass Jaguar Yokota as a cornerstone of her hard-hitting arsenal.
#4 Victory Star Drop
Toyota’s second contribution, the Victory Star Drop, is an avalanche bodyscissors inverted back-to-back kneeling piledriver. This move is particularly dangerous as the person taking the move has very little control over the move and has to completely trust Manami. So dangerous is the move that, after scouring the internet, I have only found one instance of Toyota using the move: in her 1994 five-star classic against Aja Kong.
This shows the amount of trust and respect between these two competitors, with Kong trusting the Flying Angel to basically backflip her onto her own neck from the top rope.
Seriously Japan, what is it with you and necks?
#3 Northern Lights Bomb
Akira Hokuto’s devastating Scoop Brainbuster breaks the top five.
Originating in Japan in the late 1980’s, the now-popular move netted her several of her numerous accolades in Japan and Mexico. The move is a reputed match-ender, with a devastating-looking impact that’ll make its user a stand-out inbetween the ropes.
#2 Spider Twist
This complex looking submission proves the ingenuity and finesse of it’s creator, Mariko Yoshida.
Yoshida’s trusty submission finish is a headscissors crucifix choke and, while not winning her many championships, has won her a lot of matches and has tortured many more competitors, being almost inescapable when applied correctly.
The move is currently in use by WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion, Naomi.
#1 Air Raid Crash
Yoshida’s innovations are second only to her own, with the Spider Twist falling behind another of her own creations, the iconic Air Raid Crash.
Yoshida’s iconic finish has gotten her the majority of her accolades in wrestling, as well as being an impactful and effective crowd-pleaser.
The over-the-shoulder belly-to-back piledriver is probably the safest variation of a piledriver, and as such has remained unbanned in mainstream wrestling. The move is popular all over the world, being performed by stars the likes of; Sheamus, Jessicka Havok, Cheerleader Melissa, Gail Kim, Cima and Fit Finlay.
What do you think of the list? Were you surprised by any of these innovations? Or were you just expecting to see other moves on this list? Let me know in the comments below.