The wonderfully diverse world of pro wrestling features a vast range of different styles and move-sets. Over the years, fans have witnessed many of the biggest stars in the sport’s history utilise kicks in various forms in order to ware down and ultimately defeat their opponents. But out of the hundreds of wrestlers competing around the world today, who are using their legs in the most visually impressive and physically effective ways possible?
After turning to Twitter with a mammoth 32 entrant tournament in order to decide the best leg-based strike out there in modern pro wrestling (you can follow me @HairyWrestling by the way), now it’s my turn to rank my own personal favourites – here are the Top 10 Kicks in Pro Wrestling Today.
10. Mike Bailey – Roundhouse Kick
I could have put pretty much any Mike Bailey kick on here – he is a genuine artist when it comes to striking, and I’ve actually felt a spinkick from Speedball hit my hand at a live show, so I can vouch for how deadly they really are (my wrist still ached the next day). Of all the impressively skilled and flashy weapons in Bailey’s arsenal though, it doesn’t get much more deadly than his simple yet beautiful Roundhouse Kick to the head.
9. Jack Gallagher – Running Dropkick
Perhaps I am being a little bit bias, given how much I love this fellow countryman, but Jack Gallagher’s dropkick is a painful work of art. What separates Gallagher’s leaping strike from most other dropkicks that it looks like it legitimately hurts. Gallagher sprints full force before throwing his feet directly into his foe’s face, sending their head hurtling back. It’s not the prettiest dropkick of all (still absolutely beautiful though), but it’s certainly the one I’d least like to experience for myself.
8. Sami Zayn – Helluva Kick
Sometimes a straight up boot to the face is as effective as it can get. What makes this move so impressive, along with Dakota Kai’s Kaio-Kick, is the fluidity and smoothness of the transition between running and striking. Sami Zayn manages to hit his Helluva Kick in the same motion as his sprint towards his opponent. There is no gap between the lead up to the move and the delivery of it, making it all the more impressive and impactful.
I will never get my head around Zayn’s ability to launch his foot that high in the air mid-stride at that speed. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for Sami so we can see this great finisher on our screens again.
7. Will Ospreay – Cheeky Nandos
The Superkick is one of the most popular and widely-used moves in wrestling today, and for good reason. It’s impressive and impactful, yet something that separated Will Ospreay from everyone else when he first started to rise to fame, along with all the inhuman things he’s capable of doing, was where his Superkick was delivered.
Rather than to a standing opponent, Ospreay places his opponent’s head beneath a turnbuckle, and delivers a Superkick right to the face between their legs, knocking their skull into the steel turnbuckle. The unique placement of this move not only adds more of a unique visual, it also makes the move more effective, and is the perfect set up for an aerial finisher to follow.
And of course, what really earns this manuever extra points is it’s charmingly British name. Of all the things Ospreay could have dedicated this move to, he decided to go with his undying love for Peri Peri Chicken. Now we even have Japanese commentators shouting, “CHEEKY NANDOS!”, and it is delightful.
6. Meiko Satomura – Scorpio Rising
Meiko Satomura is one of the best independent wrestlers in the world today. A major figure in the joshi wrestling scene for many years, with a career that dates back to appearing in WCW at the age of just 17, Satomura’s popularity recently exploded in the British independent scene, with appearances for ProWrestlingEVE and Fight Club Pro, where she recently won their main championship.
Satomura is known for being an absolute force between the ropes, most notably her devastating strikes, the best of which is her Scorpio Rising axe kick. Compared to others that have used this move, Satomura actually climbs up her opponent, uses their own leverage against them, and falls with her leg striking against the top of their head for maximum impact. With moves like this, it’s clear that Satomura still has a lot left to give after twenty years inside the ring.
5. Penta El Zero M – Superkick
Now, as mentioned earlier, the Superkick is an extremely popular move at the moment, performed by hundreds of wrestlers around the world. As such, it’s almost impossible to pick who has the best, and I couldn’t just put the move itself onto the list without someone specific delivering it, so I went with the man who really looks like he’s causing damage with his, Penta El Zero M.
Known as Pentagon Dark currently in Lucha Underground, Penta seems to throw his Superkick with extra malice and violence compared to others. Perhaps it’s just his vicious persona that creates a placebo effect with my perception of this move, yet if I had to pick my favourite Superkick in the world today, at least for the moment, I’m going with Penta El Zero M’s.
4. Minoru Suzuki – Single Leg Dropkick
Minoru Suzuki is a fifty year old legend with a thirty year career in pro wrestling and MMA – he should not be able to hit a Single Leg Dropkick as crisply and as cleanly as he does, yet here is, still wowing viewers around the world. There’s just something about seeing this ground-based punisher pull out such a gorgeous leaping strike that makes for amazing viewing every single time.
3. Roderick Strong – Sick Kick
Another single leg dropkick here, yet Roderick Strong delivers it like nobody else, hence why it’s called the Sick Kick. With little run-up necessary, Strong can hit this boot to the face with an inhuman amount of velocity. Not only does it look fantastic every time he hits it, it always makes me wince due to how savagely he delivers it. Roderick is known as The Messiah of the Backbreaker, but between the Sick Kick and his ridiculously impressive leaping knee, I think he deserves an extra moniker.
2. Kazuchika Okada – Dropkick
There’s a reason Okada is known for his dropkick. Dropkicks are pretty simple and basic moves usually, but Okada’s is special. Crowd’s excitement during five-star quality matches have been focused around seeing The Rainmaker hit this one move. At Wrestle Kingdom 9, his bout with Tanahashi built and built and built until Okada finally hit that signature dropkick, and the crowd went crazy. No dropkick in history can elicit excitement from a crowd more than Okada’s. The height and finesse the 6’3 sensation can execute this move with is astonishing, and without question is the best dropkick in the world today. If I had to give it a rating, it would definitely be seven stars.
Rusev – Machka Kick
Sami Zayn – Helluva Kick
Sheamus – Brogue Kick
Billie Kay – Shades of Kay
Moose – Dropkick
Kazuchika Okada – Dropkick
Kenny Omega – Dropkick
Trevor Lee – Dropkick
Drew McIntyre – Claymore
Kofi Kingston – Trouble in Paradise
Young Bucks – Superkick
Marty Scurll – Just Kidding
Carmella – Superkick
Kevin Owens – Superkick
Dolph Ziggler – Superkick
The Usos – Superkick
Kenoh – Roundhouse Kick
Karl Anderson – Rocket Kick
Travis Banks – Springboard Enziguri
Dakota Kai – Kaio-Kick
Harper – Running Big Boot
Daniel Bryan – Yes Kicks
Randy Orton – Standing Dropkick
AJ Styles – Pele Kick
Zack Sabre Jr. – Penalty Kick
Asuka – Spinning Roundhouse
Kota Ibushi – Roundhouse Kick
- Aleister Black – Black Mass
Black Mass – simple, yet very effective. Calling upon his legitimate kickboxing pedigree, a discipline he’s trained in since childhood, Black has incorporated many deadly strikes into his move-set, gaining him the reputation as a devastating striker. It’s this reputability that gives the Black Mass spin kick the deadly impact that makes it so damn effective.
Black Mass is beautifully diverse in that it can be hit on standing opponent, a kneeling opponent, it can be hit suddenly out of nowhere, or with plenty of theatrics and set up, similar to the RKO or Sweet Chin Music. Black can toy with an opponent and literally pick them up by his foot, or he can strike when they’re least expecting it with this destructive strike.
Sure, we have seen Black slip up in the past with his finisher, yet the vast majority of the time, Black can hit this with complete precision, impressive technique, and devistating speed. Much like Aleister himself, Black Mass is everything you could want in a finisher, and that’s exactly why it’s my favourite kick in pro wrestling today.
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