Chris Jericho and the 7 WWE Superstars with the Best Moonsaults Today
Chris Jericho's Lionsault is among the most gorgeous moves in wrestling today and is one of the best among his WWE Superstar brethren's stunning variations of the moonsault.
Acrobatic and artistic, the moonsault is essentially a backflip onto an opponent. Some versions have the attacker climb the turnbuckles, while others deliver the move from a standing position or, in Jericho's case, by springing off the ring ropes.
It's a move perfected and popularized early on in the U.S. by both Lanny Poffo and The Great Muta. The Asai Moonsault, where a wrestler takes his flight from the apron to the floor, is an invention of Ultimo Dragon.
The best will be ranked here on the artistry, grace and precision displayed during the move.
Including those wrestlers injured or inactive but still on the roster, here are WWE's top moonsault magicians. NXT prospects Sami Zayn, Adrian Neville and Samuray Del Sol will soon give them all competition.
Justin Gabriel delivers a springboard moonsault.
Justin Gabriel not making the list isn't a knock on his moonsaulting skills as much as it is a nod to the greatness of the other men's versions. His moonsault is a fine sight but is just a touch below the top versions in terms of fluidity.
Alberto Del Rio's flight from the turnbuckle to the mat is often impressive but isn't as smooth as the men above him.
Del Rio’s moonsault often lacks the grace of the best in the business, as his legs do not stay as straight and he does not evoke the image of a world-class diver like his peers do.
7. Sin Cara
Cody Rhodes gets a close-up view of Sin Cara's moonsault.
Whether it's with the Asai moonsault or the moonsault side slam, Sin Cara has impressed crowds with his agility.
His version of the move is powered by his great leaping ability.
An issue with his moonsault, like Sin Cara's in-ring performances in general, is that he lacks consistency. He doesn't always land as flush onto his opponent as he should and doesn't always hit the move with the maximum grace he's capable of.
Injured a large portion of his WWE run, Sin Cara has yet to develop a strong fanbase. Should he stick around for an uninterrupted stretch, it will be his moonsault and other high-flying moves that will earn his entry into fans' hearts.
Hunico as Sin Cara with a great springboard moonsault.
When Hunico replaced Sin Cara in 2011, he displayed nearly the same level of artistry in the air while also surpassing Sin Cara in terms of consistency.
Hunico delivers his springboard moonsault with confidence and crispness. Beginning the sequence with a swanton bomb adds excitement, but it's the moonsault itself that is the true work of art. He soars toward his opponent, making the move look easy.
Since the Sin Cara vs. Sin Cara feud ended, Hunico doesn't get nearly enough ring time.
That means that his fantastic moonsault is too often kept in a holster when he could be firing off the move again and again to the delight of crowds.
5. Tyson Kidd
Tyson Kidd hits a moonsault on Curtis Axel.
When Tyson Kidd returns from injury sometime this year, his stunning moonsault is just one of many moves fans will be glad to see again.
Kidd's moonsault is among the most fluid versions of any present-day WWE Superstar. He gets great height on it, and when he hits it on a standing opponent, his legs whip around to smack his foe, adding an added destructive factor.
He hits the Asai version from the top rope and consistently nails that difficult move. His speed plays a factor in improving his moonsault as well, and it takes some fabulous versions to top his.
4. Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio nails Cody Rhodes with the moonsault.
Take Tyson Kidd's moonsault and slightly turn the knob on both the speed and grace dials and you have Rey Mysterio's version.
It's a version fans haven't seen in a long while, as Mysterio is battling knee problems, but its a move that he can deliver in fantastic fashion even at this late stage of his career.
His Asai moonsault is among the best in the company. Like many of his high-flying moves, there is an artistry about his movements that draws in the eye and refuses to let go.
Here's hoping he recovers quickly and gives fans at least a few more glimpses of his Lucha Libre-inspired repertoire, including that beautiful moonsault.
3. Chris Jericho
Sheamus tastes the Lionsault.
Whether it's his famed Lionsault or the standard moonsault from the top rope, Chris Jericho's moonsaults make up for their lack of precision with speed, energy and drama.
Seeing Jericho sprint toward the ropes can get a crowd on their feet because they know what's coming next. Jericho has been launching himself in the air and delivering a springboard moonsault infused with passion for years.
Like his wrestling ability as a whole, Jericho's moonsault has improved over time, aging like fine wine.
2. Evan Bourne
Evan Bourne delivers a standing moonsault to Sin Cara.
How do you top one of the most iconic moonsaulters in WWE history?
If you're Evan Bourne, you do it by performing a version of the move teeming with beauty. Like he does when he takes flight for his Air Bourne finisher, Bourne turns the moonsault into a gorgeous act of athleticism.
His standing moonsault has him reaching an incredible height without the assistance of the ring ropes.
Few guys have more energy or grace in this or any other move, but Bourne's trouble has never been his in-ring execution. Rather, it's been his inability to stay in the ring.
WWE suspended him for 60 days in 2012, and he's spent much of the time since his reinstatement recovering from a foot injury. One has to question whether fans will ever see Bourne or his moonsault in a WWE ring ever again.
1. Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes shows off his moonsault against Wade Barrett.
Cody Rhodes may not be the first Superstar that comes to mind when one thinks of high-flying moves, but Rhodes' moonsault is near-perfection.
His version is fluid, graceful and what you might expect to see in a wrestling training video. Rhodes evokes images of an Olympic diver heading into the water with barely a splash.
His body control is top-notch, and when he leaves his feet, his body becomes a paintbrush and the air above the ring becomes his canvas.
Regardless of his win-loss record, Rhodes can take comfort in the fact that he is WWE's king of the moonsaults. This fan summed it up best:
— Jen (@jenjen0413) February 28, 2013