Piledriver (professional wrestling)

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This piledriver onto the ring apron that Mike Bennett (left) executed on B.J. Whitmer in 2013 resulted in Whitmer suffering a neck injury.[1]
A professional wrestler performs a piledriver on his opponent.

A piledriver is a professional wrestling driver move in which the wrestler grabs his opponent, turns him upside-down, and drops into a sitting or kneeling position, driving the opponent head-first into the mat.[2] The most common piledrivers are the basic belly-to-back, or Texas piledriver, and The Undertaker's tombstone piledriver, but many more intricate variants are in use. It was innovated by "Wild" Bill Longson.

The name is taken from a piece of construction equipment, also called a pile driver, that drives countless massive impacts on the top of a large major foundation support, burying it in the ground slowly with each impact. The act of performing a piledriver is called "piledriving." Someone who has recently been the victim of a piledriver is said to have been "piledriven" (e.g. "The wrestler was piledriven into the canvas").

Danger and precautions[edit]

The piledriver is generally considered a dangerous maneuver in wrestling because of the potential impact on the head and compression of the neck. A properly executed standard piledriver has the opponent's head barely touching the ground, if at all.[3] When the head is not in the proper position, serious injury or paralysis can occur.[4] Perhaps most famously, at the 1997 WWF SummerSlam pay-per-view, Owen Hart botched a reverse piledriver in his match against Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin suffered a broken neck and, while he would still go on to his main event push, the injury ultimately contributed to Austin's in-ring retirement in 2003.[5] CM Punk delivered one against John Cena in 2013 for the No.1 Contender spot against The Rock for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 29,[6] likely with prior permission.

The piledriver was banned in WWE in 2000, unless the wrestler has special permission to use the move.[4] In a discussion in 2007, Stephanie McMahon said that only two wrestlers were allowed to use the move, "two of the stronger guys", Undertaker and Kane.[7] In fact, The Undertaker's tombstone piledriver continues to be his finishing move.[8] The piledriver is also banned in many other promotions and certain cities. It is also considered an automatic disqualification in professional wrestling matches held in Memphis, Tennessee, as the move is banned in that city.[9] In some promotions in the United Kingdom, the move can result in not only a disqualification, but a fine.[10] In Mexico, the piledriver (called a martinete) is an automatic disqualification.

Because of the dangers of the piledriver, it is classed as a foul and is illegal in mixed martial arts under the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts.[11]

Variations[edit]

Argentine piledriver[edit]

The move is executed from a Argentine backbreaker rack (face up, with the neck and one leg cradled) position. The wrestler pushes the opponent forward while holding the opponent's leg with one arm, and the head with the other arm, and then sits down, driving the opponent head first down to the floor.

This move was popularized by Super Dragon under the name the Psycho Driver. He also occasionally used a cut-throat variation of this move.

Back-to-belly piledriver[edit]

Kazarian performing a back-to-belly piledriver on Shannon Moore.

The wrestler bends forward or crouches in front of their opponent, grabs hold of the opponent around the legs and stands up, lifting the opponent upside down facing the wrestler's back. The wrestler then either sits down or drops on to his knees, driving the opponent's head down to the mat.

A variation on this which is sometimes known as the sunset driver sees the attacking wrestler hook the opponent's legs underneath his / her arms while holding the opponent up in the back to belly position. From here, the wrestler drops to his / her knees, driving the opponent's head into the mat. This move will often see the attacking wrestler hold the move after landing for a rana style pinfall attempt.

Cradle piledriver[edit]

The cradle piledriver, also known as the Gotch-Style Piledriver used by Minoru Suzuki, is a variation on standard piledrivers which sees the attacking wrestler grapevine the opponents leg with their arm. The most common of which is similar to a Texas piledriver. This move sees the attacking wrestler, from a position in which the opponent is bent forward against the wrestler's midsection, reach around the opponent's midsection and lifting them so that they are held upside down facing in the same direction as the wrestler, the wrestler then hooks his / her arms around one leg of the opponent before dropping to a sitting or kneeling position with the opponent's head falling between the wrestler's thighs down to the mat.

This variant can be used on other types of piledriver; including the cradle tombstone piledriver variation, instead of wrapping both of his arms around the waist of the opponent, the wrestler wraps one arm around the waist and places his other arm between the opponent's legs, grabbing hold of his other arm. The wrestler then drops down on his knees, driving the opponent down to the mat head first.

Cross-arm piledriver[edit]

From a position in which the opponent is bent forward against the wrestler's midsection, the attacking wrestler crosses the arms of this opponent between their legs (a double pumphandle) before then lifting the opponent up into a vertical position and driving them down between the attacking wrestler's legs.

Double underhook piledriver[edit]

In this piledriver, a wrestler will bend his / her opponent forward, placing the opponent's head between the wrestler's legs (a standing head scissors), and hooks each of the opponent's arms behind the opponent's back. He / she then pulls back on the opponent's arms lifting him/her up so that the opponent is held upside down facing in the same direction as the wrestler, the wrestler then drops to a sitting or kneeling position dropping the opponent's head into the mat. The sitting variation of this move is also called Tiger Driver '98.

Flip piledriver[edit]

Best known as "The Canadian Destroyer" made popular in the United States by Petey Williams. The move, which is also referred to as a front flip piledriver, begins in a position in which the opponent is bent forward against the wrestler's midsection, the wrestler grabs around his / her opponent's midsection latching onto the opponent's back, with his / her head to one side of the opponent's hips, keeping his / her legs around the opponent's head. From this position the wrestler pushes off the mat with his / her legs to flip the opponent over.

As both wrestlers flip the attacking wrestler uses his / her body weight to land in a seated position driving the opponent's head down to the mat between the wrestler's thighs. A double underhook variation exists in which the arms of a bent over opponent are placed in a butterfly prior to performing the flip.

Jumping piledriver[edit]

Also known as a spike piledriver, stuff piledriver or a belly-to-back piledriver, from a position in which the opponent is bent forward against the wrestler's midsection, the wrestler grabs around their opponent's midsection and lifts so that the opponent is held upside down facing in the same direction as the wrestler, the wrestler then jumps in the air and drops to a sitting position.

Kneeling piledriver[edit]

A variation of the Spike piledriver where instead of dropping to a sitting position as in the basic Texas piledriver, the wrestler drops to a kneeling position.

Kryptonite Krunch[edit]

CIMA performing the Schwein

Technically described as an over the shoulder back-to-belly piledriver and originally named the Air Raid Crash, this move begins with the wrestler facing his opponent. From there, the wrestler will pick up the opponent and place them over his / her shoulder so that the opponent's head is dangling over the wrestler's back by the waist of the wrestler. The wrestler then holds the opponent in place by holding his / her leg with one arm and applies a headlock to the opponent with his / her other arm. The opponent is now bent into a circle. The wrestler then drops to a seated position, driving the head and upper back of the opponent into the ground.

Package piledriver[edit]

A package piledriver is almost the same as a Texas piledriver, but instead of grabbing the waist of the opponent, the wrestler puts their arms underneath the opponent's arms and grabs their legs by the knees. The wrestler then stands up, lifting the opponent until they are upside down, and drops to a sitting position with the opponent's head between their thighs.

There is also an inverted version of the move in which an attacking wrestler reaches between an opponent's legs with one arm and reaches around that opponent's back from the same side with his other arm before lifting their opponent upside down into a belly-to-belly position. The attacker then grabs the opponent's legs by the knees, jumps up, then drops to a sitting position with the opponent's head between their thighs.

Pulling piledriver[edit]

Also known as a stump piledriver. This is a variation of the Texas piledriver where, instead of wrapping their arms around the opponent's waist, a wrestler grabs onto the back of the waistband of an opponent's tights to lift them upside down before dropping into a sitting position.

Pumphandle reverse piledriver[edit]

This variation sees an attacking wrestler first lock an opponent in the pumphandle hold before then using the hold to raise the opponent up over the shoulder of the attacking wrestler. From here the attacking wrestler brings the opponent down into the belly-to-belly position before then sitting down for a reverse piledriver with the opponent's head impacting the mat between the legs of the attacking wrestler.

Reverse piledriver[edit]

Also known by the term belly-to-belly piledriver, a wrestler first stands facing an opponent before then grab the opponent's waist and turns them upside-down, holding them against their torso. The wrestler then jumps up and drops down to a seated position, driving the opponent's head down to the mat between the wrestler's thighs.

Tombstone piledriver[edit]

The Undertaker preparing to execute a Tombstone piledriver on Edge.

As some people call it kneeling inverted (or reverse) belly to belly piledriver, The wrestler places their stronger arm between the opponent's legs and their weaker arm on the opposite shoulder and lifts the opponent onto their stronger shoulder, similar to a scoop slam lift, and into a reverse piledriver position. The wrestler then falls or jumps to his knees, driving the opponent's head into the mat. Better known as a Tombstone piledriver, this move is mostly linked to The Undertaker and Kane , which fits their gimmick. The move is more frequently used by bigger and stronger wrestlers, due to the risk of injury if executed by smaller wrestlers. An example is the neck injury to Stone Cold Steve Austin during WWE's (then WWF) annual event, Summerslam in 1997. The move was executed by the smaller Owen Hart.

Scoop side piledriver[edit]

Facing his opponent, the wrestler reaches between their opponent's legs with their right arm and reaches around the opponent's neck from the same side with their left arm. They then lift the opponent up on their chest so that they are facing downwards. The wrestler then moves their left arm from around the opponent's neck to around the opponent's torso. They then turn the opponent so that they are upside down on one side of the wrestler. The wrestler then jumps up and falls down to a sitting position, driving the opponent down to the mat neck and shoulder first.

Scoop slam piledriver[edit]

Facing their opponent, the wrestler reaches between his opponent's legs with their right arm and reaches around the opponent's neck from the same side with their left arm. They then lift the opponent up and turn them around so that they are held upside down, as in a scoop slam. The wrestler then drops down to their knees, driving the opponent down to the mat neck and shoulder first. There is also a seated version of this move.

Spike piledriver[edit]

A spike piledriver can refer to either jumping piledriver, aided piledriver, or kneeling piledriver.

Texas piledriver[edit]

Also called a traditional piledriver, belly-to-back piledriver or simply piledriver, this is the classic and original piledriver technique. From a position in which the opponent is bent forward against the wrestler's midsection, the wrestler grabs around his / her opponent's midsection and lifts so that the opponent is held upside down facing in the same direction as the wrestler, the wrestler then drops to a sitting position with the opponent's head falling between the wrestler's thighs down to the mat.

Vertebreaker[edit]

"Cop Killa" redirects here. For other uses, see Cop Killer.
Cheerleader Melissa performing her Kudo Driver (Vertebreaker) finisher on Wesna.

Technically known as a back to back double underhook piledriver or dubbed by some wrestlers as a Cop Killa, Gringo Killa or Kudome Valentine, Kudo Driver, this move is executed from a position in which the opponent is standing behind the wrestler, the wrestler underhooks his/her arms under the opponent's arms. Then the wrestler twists his / her body around so that the wrestler is facing the ground and the opponent is standing with his / her back resting against the wrestler's back. Then the wrestler stands while the opponent is in an upside down position while both the opponent and the wrestler's arms are still hooked. The wrestler then drops to a sitting position. Another way to get the opponent into the position is to approach a standing opponent from behind, hook the opponent's arms, bend forward under the opponent, and then rise up, raising the opponent upside down.[12]

This technique is extremely dangerous, as the opponent's arms are restrained and their head is not placed between the wrestler's legs, giving them little to post against. The move was banned by WWE in April 2003, except for in cases where the wrestler received special permission to use the move.[13]

Vertical suplex piledriver[edit]

Also known as the Screwdriver. The wrestler applies a front facelock to the opponent and hooks the opponent's near arm over their shoulder and lifts them into a vertical suplex position. They then turn the opponent 180°, force the opponent into the reverse piledriver position, then drop to a sitting position, dropping the opponent on their head.

Wheelbarrow driver[edit]

Similar to a wheelbarrow facebuster but instead of dropping their opponent face first, they drop their opponent so that the opponent lands on their upper back and neck between the legs of the wrestler, facing towards them usually resulting in a pin.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "ROH news: B.J. Whitmer injured taking piledriver at Saturday's show; Sources - ROH star signs long-term deal". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "234-pound wrestler injures Andy Kaufman in grudge fight". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2009-11-24. [dead link]
  3. ^ Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Terry Bolea's autobiography, pg 202. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-7434-7556-9.
  4. ^ a b Powell, John (July 20, 2000). "Piledriver ban handicaps everyone". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-11-24. 
  5. ^ Steve Austin - a biography of wrestling superstar "Stone Cold" Steve Austin Eric Cohen, About.com Guide
  6. ^ CM Punk banned piledriver to John Cena - 2-25-2013 RAW
  7. ^ "Committee on Oversight and Government Reform interview of Stephanie McMahon". p. 120. Retrieved 2011-09-27. 
  8. ^ "Amazing But True..". WWE Magazine (16): 13. October 2007. 
  9. ^ Andy Kaufman vs. Jerry Lawler Eric Cohen, About.com Guide
  10. ^ Frontier Wrestling Alliance#Rules
  11. ^ http://www.abcboxing.com/unified_mma_rules.html
  12. ^ "What a manoeuvre! 15 moves that really exist". WWE. 2012-11-30. Retrieved 2014-03-13. 
  13. ^ Madigan, TJ (April 5, 2003). "Forget me not". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-11-24.