WWE's 10 Most Amazing, Thrilling Highlights of 2011
One of the great things about professional wrestling is that it's filled with moments you'll never forget.
Whether it's the return of someone like Chris Jericho or Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels embracing in the ring, you will always remember where you were when some of the greatest moments in WWE history took place.
Not to get all emotional here, but some of these moments hit you in the heart, while others make your jaw hit the floor.
For me, the things that will always stick in my mind are the amazing spots that feature WWE stars taking flight. I grew up watching the Hardys, the Dudleys, Edge and Christian and those TLC matches, and it's bouts like those that I'll still look back on when I'm 80.
For the fans of today's WWE, however, they'll look back on 2011 and recall their own favorites.
Ones like these, the 10 most amazing, thrilling highlights of 2011.
10. Justin Gabriel's 450 Splash off a Ladder
SmackDown's Money in the Bank match featured a surprising participant in the form of Justin Gabriel.
We all knew that there was a zero-percent chance he would actually win the match, so we figured he was just there to hit his signature 450 splash.
And that's exactly what happened.
We witnessed the most impressive 450 splash of Gabriel's WWE career when he jumped off a ladder that was stretched out horizontally over the top rope.
Essentially, this wasn't much different from his typical finisher, but something about it taking place off a ladder made it that much more special.
Plus, it's a 450 splash, one of the most exciting moves we get to see in the WWE.
9. The Biggest Glam Slam Ever
Even though the Divas division was as bad in 2011 as it's ever been, I've still gotta give Beth Phoenix and Eve some props here.
Their Divas Championship match itself at Survivor Series only got about five minutes, but they made the most of it.
Beth finished off a dominating performance over Eve with a huge top-rope Glam Slam, which was probably the most impressive move I've seen a Diva hit in the last several years.
The Glam Slam usually looks great when Beth hits it, but she made sure that this one would look absolutely devastating.
Congratulations, Beth. It did.
8. Sheamus Destroys Sin Cara
If Justin Gabriel's 450 splash wasn't the most must-see moment from SmackDown's Money in the Bank match, then this was.
Sheamus picked up Sin Cara and absolutely demolished him with a power bomb from the ring apron onto a ladder stretched between the ring and the announce table.
The second I saw Sheamus nearly break Sin Cara in half, I actually found myself clinching my back as well. Yeah, that's how destructive that power bomb looked.
Of course, we would later learn that Sin Cara was written off TV in such unflattering fashion because he was suspended for failing a wellness test.
Let this be a lesson to you prospective wrestlers out there—if you're going to test positive on your WWE drug test, you probably shouldn't do it around Money in the Bank time.
7. The Big Show Takes Flight at Survivor Series
A top-rope elbow drop is a common move when you're someone like CM Punk or Shawn Michaels and you only weigh a little more than 200 pounds.
But a top-rope elbow drop becomes extraordinary when executed by The Big Show.
The man weighs somewhere between 400 and 500 pounds (depending on what the WWE is billing him at this week), and it takes a ton of athleticism and agility for someone of his size to hit that move.
What's even more impressive about Big Show's huge elbow drop is that—despite taking about an hour to get to the top rope—he hit it so smoothly.
He looked like he's done that move a thousand times before, and the Madison Square Garden crowd ate it up, making it even better.
I bet Big Show had himself a few Red Bulls before his match.
6. Randy Orton RKO's Christian on the Steel Steps
Randy Orton and Christian competed in a phenomenal series of matches in 2011—arguably the best we've seen this millennium.
The Viper and Captain Charisma tore the house down on four pay-per-views and multiple episodes of SmackDown, but if there's one thing about this rivalry that sticks out in my mind, it's the finish to their match at SummerSlam.
Orton has become famous for hitting the RKO out of nowhere, and he did it once again here.
As Christian leaped off the turnbuckle, The Viper uncoiled, caught Christian mid-flight and smashed him into the steel steps with a monstrous RKO.
That was all she wrote, as Orton picked up the victory in what would be the last PPV match of the best WWE feud of the year.
Man, I could literally watch Orton vs. Christian all day.
5. The Undertaker's Suicide Dive at WrestleMania 27
The Undertaker isn't around that much these days, but when he is, he lays everything on the line.
At WrestleMania 28, Undertaker faced Triple H as The Game attempted to end "The Streak" for a second time, and despite being in his mid-40s, executed what has become a staple of his WrestleMania matches.
With Triple H reeling on the outside of the ring, Undertaker ran the ropes, leaped over the top rope and nailed Triple H with a massive suicide dive.
We've seen Taker do this before, but it never really gets old seeing a man near the end of his career nearly break his neck trying to entertain the fans.
Who wants to bet that we see Undertaker hit another suicide dive at WrestleMania 28? I've got $100 on it.
4. John Morrison Is Spider-Man
There is no other way to put it—John Morrison is a freak of nature.
He may be gone from the WWE now (and some fans may not want him back), but I'm not sure there's anyone currently on the WWE roster who could have pulled off his amazing spot at the 2011 Royal Rumble.
Morrison got pushed off the ring apron by William Regal, but using his incredible parkour skills, he actually caught himself on the ring barrier, tight-rope walked it, leaped back into the ring and managed to prevent himself from getting eliminated.
Had Booker T been calling the match at the time, I'm 99-percent sure we would have gotten a classic "What da hell?!" from him, because that was my reaction as well.
At the time, I remember thinking that I really couldn't believe what I just saw and that Morrison would probably make Peter Parker jealous.
3. Evan Bourne Hits a Shooting Star Press off a Ladder
The Shooting Star Press is the most awe-inspiring move in the WWE.
No matter how many times I see Evan Bourne do it, I can't help but be impressed at the sheer athleticism it takes to pull off such a feat and make it look so easy.
It's one thing for Bourne to launch himself off the top rope for a SSP, but it's a whole different ball game to see him do so off a 20-foot ladder onto five other superstars.
Yet Bourne did so at the 2011 Money in the Bank pay-per-view and made it look like a walk in the park.
Too bad the guy never gets on TV anymore, because no one can take flight quite like he can.
2. Mark Henry Channels His Inner Brock Lesnar
I've heard people criticize this move by saying things like this: "Dude, that superplex wasn't even that impressive. It was a ripoff of Brock Lesnar."
Yeah, so what?
If we complained every time we saw something we've already seen happen in the WWE before, then that's all we would do during every TV broadcast, because just about everything we see on TV has happened at some point in the past.
I, for one, loved seeing Mark Henry hit The Big Show with that monster superplex and implode the ring, largely because we hadn't seen it in eight years.
If we see it again in 2019, I won't be complaining then, either.
Regardless of whether the whole superplex, ring-implosion thing has happened before, it's still one heck of a sight to see.
1. Ricardo Rodriguez's Massive Table Bump
The WWE Championship match that this spot took place in was great in and of itself, but the craziest spot took place when Alberto Del Rio's personal ring announcer bit the dust in a big way.
As Ricardo Rodriguez climbed to the top of the ladder and attempted to grab the WWE title for Del Rio, The Miz and CM Punk decided that Rodriguez needed to go.
And by go, I mean go through a table that was set up on the outside of the ring.
What resulted was a truly unforgettable table spot that reminded me of the maniacal moments we used to see during the first TLC matches.
Ricardo, I applaud you not only for your comedic skills, but for your willingness to take that huge bump at WWE TLC as well.