WWE/TNA: Kurt Angle and the Top 10 Moonsault Masters of All Time

Kevin BergeFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2011

WWE/TNA: Kurt Angle and the Top 10 Moonsault Masters of All Time

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    Aerial moves have excited and mesmerized the crowd for years.

    As I showed in my previous articles on the 450 Splash and the Shooting Star Press, some moves can be unbelievable in the right hands.

    The moonsault is one of the most impressive yet widely used aerial moves ever invented.

    No one is completely sure where it originated from, but it has been used and modified for years.

    People have changed the move in wild fashion at times from the standing moonsault to the split-legged corkscrew moonsault John Morrison has made famous lately.

    Ahead of time, I would like to apologize for some of the video quality. With a larger list of candidates and wanting to represent them all, I had to resort to videos that were not universally clear.

    In the following slides, I will look into the greatest men in WWE and TNA history to make the classic moonsault press look even more amazing than it is.

The Inventors

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    This is mainly to recognize the innovators of the move. The following guys were some of the first wrestlers to execute a moonsault and innovate its variations, though others have made the move great.

    Lanny Poffo: Poffo should probably be credited as the first man to ever perform a moonsault. He made the move happen though he was wary of the top rope, taking a while to get to the top turnbuckle.

    The Great Muta: In general, I have tried to avoid putting up names who have not been a part of mainstream wrestling in either WWE or TNA, so I could limit my list. The Great Muta, however, is an exception (though he did have a short stint in WCW). The Great Muta is the main reason the moonsault became popular. When he came to North America, he caused the move to gain a huge following, which would eventually lead to many wrestlers performing the move.

    Chavo Guerrero Sr.: The father of Chavo Guerrero Jr., Chavo "Classic" would be one of the first men to begin looking at variations of the moonsault. He is known as the first man to use the moonsault body block, which is what many stars use today.

Honorable Mentions

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    Backed by some strong fan support, I have added a few notables that deserve mention.

    Chris Jericho: More widely known for his lionsault which is a springboard moonsault, Jericho has also, on occasion, thrown in a moonsault press. It is a well structured move that is nice, but lacks the finesse of his lionsault.

    Zach Gowen: For those who don't know, Zach Gowen has only one leg and usually wrestles without his prosthetic limb.The guys pulls off a great moonsault on one leg. It deserves mention because that is breathtaking in and of itself.

    Bam Bam Bigelow: I have mentioned before that this big man could do amazing things for a man his size. This is just another move in his repertoire as he defies gravity almost as easily as a cruiserweight.

    Essa Rios: A talent that left all too soon from the WWF, Rios can fly just as easily as many others on the following list, his technique is impressive and direct.

10. Bull Nakano

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    Starting off with a woman unlike any "diva" today, Bull Nakano was an amazing athlete and talent who showed amazing athleticism in the ring.

    Not many videos show her aerial prowess, but she was able to fly.

    The video to the left shows many of her moves, but the main point is to watch her hit the moonsault at 1:22.

    Her whole body flows into the move as she launches off the top.

    Nakano was an incredible star, and her moonsault is just one of the moves that made her great.

9. Victoria

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    Another female wrestler with incredible athletic prowess, Victoria pulls off a great moonsault on occasion.

    Now known as Tara in TNA, Victoria has been known to miss with it more than hit with it (as a booking decision), but it doesn't make the move any less amazing to watch.

    Watch at around 20 seconds to see her moonsault.

    Victoria is one of the greatest women wrestlers of all time, and her moonsault is top-notch.

8. Matt Hardy

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    Yes, lately Matt Hardy has been incredibly stupid in his personal life.

    He should probably not be allowed into another major company ever again.

    However, that does not change the fact that Hardy can pull off an amazing moonsault press.

    When Matt was in the WWE, no matter how overweight he seemed as his time passed, Matt still showed off some great aerial moves, though he would typically be overshadowed by his even more athletic brother, Jeff.

     Watch his arch in the move. He can extend it a fair distance and still produce a nice impact.

    This was one of the few moves that Matt would do better than Jeff.

7. Lita

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    The Litasault!

    If there is one diva who is sorely missed today, it is Lita.

    She was possibly the most athletic female wrestler ever to step foot into a WWE ring.

    Her moonsault is just breathtaking to watch as it looks amazing in the air, and she lands with a full impact.

    She also had the luxury of using this move as a finisher, so she made it her own, making it more personal and specialized.

    Watch the video to see the set up and execution of the greatest female moonsault in WWE history.

6. Bill DeMott

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    Bill DeMott is a huge guy.

    He is truly massive.

    The idea of him flying from the top rope is a bit frightening.

    DeMott's finisher is truly No Laughing Matter as he glides through the air, and you fear that he has crushed his opponent when he lands.

    Watch and be amazed by this 280-pound man's frightening aerial attack.

5. Kurt Angle

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    Warning: the following video does contain blood for those who get a bit squeamish over it.

    Kurt Angle has done so many great things in this industry.

    He is one of the greatest technical wrestlers ever to compete in a wrestling ring.

    This guy won a gold medal with a broken neck!

    Seriously, is there anything he can't do?

    Well, he can certainly use the moonsault, as shown by his breathtaking display as he flies in the video.

    There are not many times where he makes contact with the move, but he does an amazing job in flight and does a great job selling when he does or does not make contact.

    His technique in the air is incredible to watch, even if he is a technical wrestler at heart.

4. Shawn Michaels

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    The headliner, the showstopper, Mr. Wrestlemania.

    No matter what you call him, Shawn Michaels is still one of the greatest in-ring competitors of all time.

    When he decides to fly, he truly soars.

    Not known for his moonsault, Michaels still pulls it off with ease, even in his final match in the WWE.

    We still miss you, Shawn.

3. Vader

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    Vader has not always been perfect with his performance of the moonsault.

    It can be a bit sloppy and, at times, he has had trouble climbing up to the top turnbuckle.

    But does it matter?

    Does it really matter?

    Absolutely not.

    Vader is 6'5" and 450 pounds!

    He is one of the biggest men to ever step into the squared circle.

    And he can do a moonsault.

    Simply incredible....

2. 2 Cold Scorpio

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    The more I do these lists, the more I realize just how amazing this man was.

    He always seemed to be at home in the air.

    It always seemed he could do even more.

    Scorpio was an amazing athlete, and, until now, I did not realize just good his skill in the ring was.

    The video attached is a bit of a cheat as it shows off 2 Cold Scorpio's moonsault into a leg drop (which is even more amazing), but he could do an amazing moonsault as well.

    His ability to float in the air just shows how aware of himself he was as he flew.

1. Christopher Daniels

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    Was there any other possibility?

    It is called the Best Moonsault Ever for a reason.

    His moonsault, which is almost a springboard move, is just perfect.

    After watching all these other videos of moonsaults, you should be able to appreciate the subtlety of how well he performs this move.

    He needs no rest or set up. His arch is perfectly orchestrated, and the impact is well-placed.

    The BME is truly the best moonsault ever.

Thank You!

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    Some aerial moves become a part of every athletic man's repertoire.

    The moonsault is one of those moves; however, don't underestimate how difficult and impressive the move is.

    To end, I leave you with a video of one of WWE's biggest stars, Jeff Hardy, trying to pull off a springboard moonsault, which he has done many times before, this time with unfortunate results. Not sure what was going on there, but it is not pretty.

    Comment and tell me if you felt I missed anyone.