Aerial techniques are used in professional wrestling to show of the speed and agility of a wrestler. These moves are mainly done by smaller quicker wrestlers that are unable to do most of the power moves.
There is a wide variety of aerial techniques in pro wrestling. Many moves are known by several different names. Professional wrestlers frequently give their "finishers" (signature moves that usually result in a win) new names. Occasionally these names become popular and are used regardless of the wrestler performing the technique.
Moves are listed under general categories whenever possible.
A top-rope axe handle is accomplished by jumping from the top turnbuckle to the mat or floor and striking your opponent with two fists held together in the fashion of holding an axe. This is usually done on a standing or rising opponent, not a prone one. Many wrestlers include this move in their repertoire, though one particularly famous version is done by Randy Savage.
A Banzai drop is a move in which a wrestler jumps down from a raised platform and drops his Buttocks on the opponent's body. This move was originated by Yokozuna. Rikishi also used this move, dubbing it the Rump Shaker.
A crossbody (or "cross body block") is a maneuver in which a wrestler jumps onto his opponent and lands horizontally across the opponent's torso, forcing them to the mat and usually resulting in a pinfall attempt. This can be accomplished from the top rope or by going over the top rope to the outside. In lucha libre, this is called a "pescado" when the top rope is used as a slingshot, though the term "plancha" has been popularly accepted in American wrestling for the same maneuver. In Mexico, a plancha is any move which uses the chest or abdomen.
This is another move used by many wrestlers, usually of lighter weights. Ricky Steamboat was well-known for his excellent crossbody.
Diving Elbow Drop
A diving elbow drop is executed by diving onto a prone opponent with one's elbow cocked, driving the elbow into the opponent's shoulder or chest. Variations of this move have been used as signature maneuvers by Bret Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Randy Savage, Test and Shawn Michaels.
Shane McMahon used this move as a deadly maneuver. First, he place his opponent on an announcer's table. He then climbs onto the top-rope before leaping off and driving his elbow into the opponent's chest, as the announcer's table breaks in two. He calls this finisher "The Leap of Faith".
Diving Fist Drop
A fist drop is a move in which a wrestler jumps down from a raised platform on an opponent driving his fist into anywhere on the opponent's body. This move was used by RAW color commentator Jerry "The King" Lawler as a finishing maneuver.
A diving headbutt is exactly what it sounds like: a "swan dive" style headbutt delivered from the top rope to anywhere on the opponent's body. The most popular version today is used by Chris Benoit as one of his trademark spots.
This move is executed by jumping forward with legs apart, landing on a standing opponent straddling his shoulders, and using the momentum to execute a hurricanrana. WWE diva Lita employs it as a finisher, dubbing it the "Litacanrana."
In this variant of the diving hurricanrana, the attacker performs a front flip from the top rope before executing the technique. The technique is named by and after the wrestler "Dragon Kid", pupil of Ultimo Dragon, who invented the maneuver.
A move in which the wrestler jumps up and springboards off the top rope from the outside of the ring, performs a hurricanrana in to a pin. Rey Mysterio uses this as a finisher when combined with the 619 and calls it a West Coast Pop.
Diving knee drop
A move in which a wrestler will jump from a raised platform (the top rope, the apron, etc) and land his knee on a prone opponent.
Diving leg drop
A move in which a wrestler will jump from a raised platform (the top rope, the apron, etc) and land his leg across an opponent's throat or face. Also called a "guillotine legdrop," and used by popular luchadore Psicosis as a finisher.
This is a version of a diving leg drop, it involves the attacker droping his leg across the back of the head of an opponent whos is leaning forward. Named by "Mr. Ass" Billy Gunn.
A move in which a wrestler bounces off the ropes and lands his leg across an opponent's throat or face. Currently used by wrestler Rey Mysterio who referres to it as Dropping the Dime, as a finisher when combined with the 619.
Diving shoulder block
This is a Diving Shoulder Block Takedown a move in which a wrestler will jump from a raised platform i.e. top-rope and drive their shoulder into the victims stomach and force them down to the mat.
A move in which a wrestler will jump from a raised platform (i.e. the top rope or turnbuckle) and perform a clothesline to a standing opponent. The Undertaker's version of the move, called "Old School," has Undertaker twist the opponent's arm, then use it to balance himself as he walks across the top rope before performing the move. It is referred to as "Old School" now because Taker has used this move for over ten years.
Shelton Benjamin and Hardcore Holly has recently been using a version of this move, called a Flying Lariat which is similar but involves the wrestler wraping his arm around the opponents head.
also known as a Flipping Neckbreaker are neckbreaker techniques involving the attacker jumping from a raised platform (usually the middle/second rope at the turnbuckle) and throwing the opponent to the ground by twisting the victim's neck.
This is a top rope headscissors takedown. With the attacker's legs scissored around the opponent's head while they face each other, the attacker performs a backflip to swing through the opponent's open legs, dragging the victim into a forced somersault that distances the attacker from the victim and lands the opponent on his back. The name "Frankensteiner" comes from Scott Steiner, who popularized the move in the United States after learning the technique on a tour of Japan.
A move in which a wrestler executes a backflip and lands on an opponent. A basic moonsault is generally attempted from the top rope, though myriad variations exist. Much of its popularity in America can be attributed to the Great Muta, also known as Keiji Mutoh.
Origionally called La Quebrada this is a move in which a wrestler springboards (bounces off ropes) then executes a backflip and lands on an opponent. It was invented by the Luchador Fantasma de la Quebrada and is also known as a Lionsault, particularly when executed Chris Jericho.
When a springboard moonsault is performed onto an opponent on the floor outside the ring, rather than one in the ring, it is called an Asai moonsault, named after the man who popularised its use in modern wrestling Yoshihiro Asai, better known in the United States by his stage name Ultimo Dragon.
A twisting moonsault in which the attacker stands on an elevated platform, such as the top rope, and performs a moonsault with a 180° rotation, landing as if performing a senton. This manuever was innovated by female japanese wrestler Chaparrita Asari, it is also used as a signature manuever by Jack Evans and Hector Garza. Kid Kash uses a varation of this move dubbed the Money Roll, which is best described as an Asai Twisting Moonsault.
A moonsault variation in which the performer jumps to the top rope, but before moonsaulting drops down so that his legs split and flips back using his thighs. Rob Van Dam uses this as a trademark maneuver. Also used by CM Punk who has dubbed it the "Crooked Moonsault". Also slingshot or springboarding variations have been used by Rey Mysterio and Jeff Hardy.
A move in which a wrestler, who is standing next to an opponent laying on the ground executes a backflip and lands on him.
A dropkick from a elevated surface such as a turnbuckle, a table or a ladder to a standing opponent. Booker T used this move as a finisher in WCW.
A move in which a wrestler bounces off the ropes and performs a dropkick, either to the outside or into the ring.
A senton is similar to a splash, except that instead of impacting stomach first, the attacker lands back first across the opponent.
This variant on the seated senton is performed by fliping forward off a raised platform on to the shoulders of a standing opponent forcing them to the ground, generally named after WWE diva Molly Holly its technical name is a flipping seated senton.
This variant on the senton is performed by jumping forward off a raised platform or springboarding on to the shoulders of a standing opponent forcing them to the ground. A variation of this move, springboarding from the top rope, is used regularly by Rey Mysterio.
This variant on the senton is performed by leaping from the top turnbuckle (or other raised surface), flipping forward 270°, and landing on the opponent back-first in the standard senton position. Jeff Hardy employs a variant of this as his finisher, dubbed the "Swanton Bomb", in which he waits until the last second to execute the flip, so that he just barely completes the flip when impacting with his opponent.
A basic splash involves a wrestler jumbing forward from a raised platform and landing stomach first across an opponent lying on the ground below. This move can also be performed without the attacker being on a raised platform this is referred too as a Big Splash and is mainly used by heavier wrestlers like Big Daddy. WWE superstar Val Venis use the move "The Money Shot" as a finisher with a little variation of a Splash.
Flipping forward 450° from a raised platform, landing on the opponent in the splash position. Wrestlers like Too Cold Scorpio and Juventud Guerrera popularized the move in the United States. Paul London has also used this move.
Star Dust Press
This is a Corkscrew 450° splash and is performed when a wrestler (facing backwards to the ring from the top turnbuckle) jumps, turns 180° and does a 450° splash. This move was popularized by the Japanese wrestler Hayabusa, who called it a "Phoenix Splash." Jack Evans currently uses it as well.
This move is performed by leaping from the top rope, stretching out to a horizontal position, and bringing your feet and hands inward and outward before landing. This is Eddie Guerrero's finishing move, as well as Rob Van Dam's, though he calls it the "Five Star Frog Splash."
Split Legged Splash
Simular to the Split Legged Moonsault, only instead of moonsaulting, the attacker turns arounds and hit a splash
Shooting star press
The attacker jumps forward, executing a backflip in mid-air, landing on the opponent in the splash position. Billy Kidman uses it as his finisher. Paul London, Teddy Hart and AJ Styles can often be seen performing it as well. Brock Lesnar badly missed a shooting star press in his match with Kurt Angle at WrestleMania XIX. He was performing it for the first time in WWE, and nearly broke his neck when he did not achieve adequate rotation and landed on his head; this botched version of the move has been jokingly nicknamed the "Shooting Star Self-Piledriver" by fans. Lesnar has, however, succesfully landed this move in the past.
Imploding Star Press
A reverse Shooting Star Press. The attacker gets on a higher ground, and executes a 450 Splash inwards. Sonjay Dutt has used this move at an indy show.
Standing Shooting Star Press
A move in which a wrestler, who is standing next to an opponent laying on the ground jumps forward, executing a backflip in mid-air, lands on the opponent in the splash position. This has been used by Amazing Red, Jason Cross and Johnny Nitro as finishers.
Some moves are meant neither to pin an opponent, nor weaken them or force them to submit, but are intended to set up the victim for another attack.
Springboarding invovles a wrestler using any of the ropes to bounce off of, most high-flying techniques can be performed after a spring board i.e. Springboard leg drop, Springboard dropkick.