50 Most Acrobatic Wrestlers in WWE History
The men and women on this list cause an audience to gasp collectively as they flip through the air or cartwheel across the ring.
Lou Thesz may not have envisioned the brand of wrestling these superstars perform, but the sport in recent years has bordered on being a circus of flying flesh.
Beyond simply being a high-flyer, the wrestlers listed here would make circus performers and Chinese acrobats jealous of how deftly they execute every move.
American Cruiserweights, Luchadors and Japanese wrestlers fill this list. From legends who only briefly graced a WWE ring to up and comers with seemingly limitless potential, the following are the 50 most acrobatic wrestlers in the company's history.
One of the few big men on the list, Kane earns his spot with his surprising agility. From flying clotheslines to enzuigiris, the Big Red Machine's moves are impressive for anyone, but factoring in his size makes his athletic feats that much more amazing.
Savage was capable of more athletic moves, but apart from his near-perfect flying elbow drop, preferred for the most part to stick with a more traditional offense. Still, his incredible agility helped make his matches that much more phenomenal.
In his later years, Steiner became a mess of veiny muscles, chain mail and mumbling promos. In his early years though, he dazzled crowds with some quite acrobatic moves. He made the frankensteiner popular in the U.S.
WWE fans don't usually expect more out of female wrestlers than showing some skin and looking good. Lita was never satisfied with that.
On her way to becoming one of the most popular Divas, Lita performed diving hurricanranas and moonsaults on both male and female opponents.
Today Eve has adopted the moonsault as a finisher, but Lita's was always far more precise.
She earns a spot here because of the athleticism she displayed in her matches, but only lands spot number 50 because of her comparatively limited repertoire.
If a man who springs in and out of the ring as much as Christian is this low on the list, you know the wrestlers above him must be pretty spectacular.
Christian first burst onto the national scene as Edge's tag team partner where they were involved in many a circus-like TLC match.
As he’s grown as a singles competitor, Captain Charisma has utilized pendulum kicks, planchas and super hurricanranas. He blends these athletic moves seamlessly into his matches.
48. Jamie Noble
For a guy as small as Noble to make it for as he long as he did in WWE, he has to have some major skills to offset his height.
Noble made technical wrestling look far more acrobatic by cartwheeling and bouncing in and out of holds.
Not as high a leaper as some of the guys yet to come, Noble moves were extremely crisp. His missile dropkicks and diving leg drops were stunning.
A Sheamus powerbomb outside the ring injured his back and forced him to retire in 2009.
Hakushi's brief run with WWE in the in the mid '90s included many a match with various jobbers and on the opposite end of the spectrum, battles with Bret Hart
Not quite as fast as other guys, Hakushi was extremely smooth as he rolled and dived about the ring.
Hakushi's WWE tenure predated our love affair with the Mexican-inspired style of wrestling and so perhaps his lack of staying power was partly because he was ahead of his time.
He was more famous for his painted on "tattoos" than his gorgeous handspring back elbow smash and standing moonsault.
46. Bam Bam Bigelow
Quite possibly the most agile big man ever, Bam Bam cartwheeled and moonsaulted during his career as if he were a cruiserweight. At 387 lbs. there is no way he should have been able to perform half of the moves that he did.
But he didn't just perform the moves, he performed his many circus-inspired moves with precision.
He was a marvel who refused to stick to the sideslams and clotheslines that other guys his size were doing. We as fans are thankful for that.
45. Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes' first claim to fame was his lineage, being the son of the great Dusty Rhodes and Goldust's half-brother. In due time, he’ll be known for his own accomplishments as his star rises rapidly.
Rhodes is not mainly a high-flyer, but when he performs acrobatic moves, he does them expertly.
There is a smoothness to everything he does in the ring, especially when he leaves his feet. His repertoire includes a moonsault, an excellent dropkick and the aptly named Beautiful Disaster.
44. Koko B. Ware
No way should he be in the Hall of Fame, but Koko B. Ware was one of WWE's most acrobatic superstars.
In the '80s, Ware made a name for himself with his pet macaw, Frankie and his Barry White voice. Many fans may just remember the flash, but Ware leaped around the ring quite skillfully.
The speedy Ware took down opponents with mighty dropkicks and headscissors takedowns. Though he was mostly a mid carder and a glorified jobber, Ware was quite the athlete.
43. Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka
The Godfather of aerial specialists, Snuka quite often lived up to his nickname. His performances teemed with a dancer's grace.
On a list of high-flyers, Snuka ranks much higher. In terms of acrobatics, he had less of a varied toolbox than some of the others on this list.
Snuka mastered any move involving diving, gliding from the top rope as cameras clicked.
It's hard to compare Snuka with many of the superstars that came after him as some of the moves they perform hadn't been created yet, but Snuka's career influenced a good number of those same guys as well.
42. Matt Hardy
Not quite as quick or graceful as his brother Jeff, Matt Hardy was still quite acrobatic in the ring.
He first gained notoriety for the dangerous spots he pulled off in the famous TLC matches at WrestleMania. Hardy went on to hold numerous championships in WWE and a have a solid career.
The troubled star had excellent balance and often soared through the air. Whether he was pulling off a diving elbow or leg drop, moonsault, or a Twist of Fate from the top rope or the top of a ladder, Hardy amazed.
You might not initially think acrobatic when you think of Edge, because he's so good at everything else, but he always displayed great agility during his career.
Edge was a key component to the circus of violence that was the consecutive TLC matches at WrestleMania 16 and 17.
He made well-executed somersault planchas, diving crossbodies and missile dropkicks regular parts of his move set. He flew across the ring with his crazed eyes and blonde mane, thrilling fans worldwide.
40. Marty Jannetty
While his former tag partner went on to become the far more famous and successful one, Marty Jannetty was a solid performer himself.
He displayed an energetic, high-flying style during an era dominated by big muscle bound strong men.
His matches were a blur of tassles and neon.
Dropkicks, crossbodies and sunset flips were a regular part of this move set. His speed and agility helped the Rockers' popularity grow and made Jannetty a driving force of the golden age of tag teams.
39. CM Punk
Springing Knees, spinning kicks, slingshot clotheslines and suicide dives are all regular parts of a CM Punk match.
While not the prototypical high-flyer, Punk uses plenty of acrobatics in between his grappling and shoot-style kicks. He's not as fast or as much of a leaper as some of the other wrestlers on this list, but uses his agility and timing quite well.
And while his smart mouth and quick wit have certainly helped him rise to the top in WWE, it's also the athletic flair of his ring work that has made him so popular.
38. Tyson Kidd
The super athlete that is Tyson Kidd has all the quickness and smoothness you want in a wrestler.
Why then hasn't he skyrocketed to stardom yet? It's not for lack of athleticism and acrobatic maneuvers. You might call it the Shelton Benjamin syndrome, where talented wrestlers are dragged down by a lack of the "it" factor.
Kidd performs superb versions of the springboard elbow drop, enzuigiri and a springboard frankensteiner. His buzzing energy and speed make for exciting matches.
37. Gail Kim
Gail Kim's tenure as a WWE Diva was so frustrating for her that she left the company on a sour note by eliminating herself in a battle royal.
When she was there though, she elevated the Divas division with her impressive agility and skills.
With a move set that includes a tilt a whirl headscissors armbar, missile dropkick, and springboard arm drag, Kim's matches are always full of "wow" moments.
Vince McMahon is not the most forgiving man on the planet, but should he decide to reinstate Kim at some point, the Divas division will benefit greatly from her acrobatics.
36. Daniel Bryan
While he is certainly well known for his great technical ability and creative submission holds, Daniel Bryan is also quite the acrobat in the ring.
His athleticism helps him glide around the ring. Bryan also manages to turn technical wrestling into a visual spectacle by rolling in and out of holds and deftly hopping up from the mat.
Bryan brings to the table a suicide dive, a jumping high knee and one of the smoothest missile dropkicks in the business.
35. Shawn Michaels
There are many reasons Shawn Michaels is known as The Showstopper and many of those have to do with how artistically dexterous he was in the ring.
Whether he was performing suicide dives, diving elbow drops or hopping off the mat onto his feet theatrically, Michaels always put on a show.
Had he not been forced to deal with so many back injuries, we have seen even more high-flying and circus-like maneuvers from him over the years.
34. Ricky Steamboat
Steamboat moved around the ring with an uncanny natural ease. Dropkicks, skin the cats and crossbodies featured prominently in his matches.
With the height he reached when leaping off the top rope, it’s easy to see why he earned the nickname, "The Dragon."
It's also easy to see why Steamboat was one of the most beloved stars of the '80s, as he performed such impressive acrobatic moves at a time when that style was very uncommon in the U.S.
33. Dynamite Kid
The Dynamite Kid's blend of technical wrestling and high-flying made him a perfect fit for his bouts in Japan. In WWE, he primarily wrestled as Davey Boy Smith’s tag team partner forming the British Bulldogs.
The Dynamite Kid is one of a few wrestlers on this list who could turn grappling into an acrobatic show.
In addition he performed a beautiful swan dive headbutt and missile dropkick.
He was a highly influential wrestler and consistently entertaining.
32. Sean Waltman
Sean Waltman had two runs with WWE, one as the spunky underdog the 1-2-3 Kid and later as X-Pac, a member of Degeneration X.
As he wasn't the biggest guy around, Waltman had to make up for his lack of size with swift kicks and aerial moves.
Whether performing a running leaping clothesline or a moonsault, Waltman filled with matches with a high-octane offense. Though some of his moves were awfully goofy (Bronco Buster!) almost everything he did in the ring was a great display of agility.
31. Chris Jericho
A key component of the success of the WCW cruiserweight division, Chris Jericho brought his skills to WWE in 1999 and grew tremendously.
He went on to become one of the company's biggest stars in no small part because of his amazing high-flying style.
His work in the ring boasts an infusion of Lucha Libre and Japanese-inspired moves including his Lionsault, springboard plancha and missile dropkick.
The WWE Universe no doubt wants Jericho to return to let us watch his mastery on the mic and his swift, crisp and thrilling brand of wrestling again.
30. Chavo Guerrero
Chavo might forever be obscured by the shadow of his legendary uncle, Eddie. Regardless, Chavo is a great acrobatic wrestler.
Despite the foolish choice of WWE giving him the Kerwin White gimmick, he managed to succeed in the Cruiserweight division displaying his great agility and footwork.
His repertoire is very Lucha Libre-inspired and includes frankensteiners, planchas and tilt-a-whirl headscissors takedowns.
While today he is making a name for himself by trashing John Cena, Chavo for a long time made his name in the ring using his incredible speed and skills to entertain.
29. Brian Pillman
While WWE got the post-ankle surgery version of Brian Pillman, fans still saw an extremely agile and amazing athlete.
Pillman had great elevation on his dropkicks, and performed super quick versions of the tornado DDT, springboard clothesline and spinning heel kick.
Unfortunately "Flying" Brian might be remembered more for his role in the controversial "Pillman’s got a gun" angle and his death at 35 instead of his fantastic in-ring performances.
Pillman was one of the first American wrestlers to bring Mexican-style moves to the states and one of the best high-flyers of his generation.
A wild man with little regard for his own body, Sabu developed a loyal following with his reckless style.
Sabu's stay with WWE was brief, but from his booking it's clear that they thought highly of him. He was put into matches against Rey Mysterio and John Cena right off the bat.
Nearly every move he performed was some sort of dangerous dive. With his speed, it often seemed like he had been shot out of a cannon.
Sabu did various moonsaults, super frankensteiners, and somersault leg drops, often assisted on these moves by a steel chair or a table.
27. Mil Mascaras
One of the most famous and most successful Mexican wrestlers of all time, Mil Mascaras's high-flying Luchador style made him a star in Japan and the U.S. as well.
He only briefly appeared in WWE, mostly wrestling against then-champ, Billy "Superstar" Graham.
Younger fans may know him as Alberto Del Rio's uncle. Older fans (or wrestling history junkies) remember him for exciting matches that saw him utilize suicide dives, a flying cross chop (which he innovated) and a headstand headscissors.
26. Owen Hart
Owen Hart's career was tragically cut short by an accident in 1999. Had he not died at such a young age, who knows to what great heights his career would have reached.
Besides being one of the best technical wrestlers of his generation, he was also a great high-flying wrestler.
Well-executed diving splashes, moonsaults, spinning heel kicks and enzuigiris were a regular part of his high-octane matches. Few wrestlers have been as graceful and precise in the ring as Owen.
25. Eddie Guerrero
From his stunning frog splash to planchas and hurricanranas, the late great Eddie Guerrero gave us plenty of reasons to be considered one of the best high flyers in WWE history.
Guerrero helped popularize the Lucha Libre style in the U.S.
Were this strictly a list of best high-flyers, Latino Heat would rank higher, but I don't think Guerrero was quite as acrobatic in the ring as those above him.
It wasn't that he was incapable of some of the maneuvers these other guys did, but because he excelled at technical wrestling and in-ring storytelling he focused less on the visual spectacle and more on a well-rounded performance.
24. Justin Gabriel
The 450 splash had been banned in WWE for some time, but seeing how expertly Justin Gabriel performed the move, Vince McMahon has allowed him to use it. Though it is what Gabriel is most famous for, he is much more than this majestic maneuver.
His impressive arsenal includes the Swanton Bomb, the moonsault, hurricanrana and the Gabriel Special which he innovated.
Gabriel is a phenomenally gifted athlete and rising star. The WWE Universe should be able to witness his breathtaking performances for the foreseeable future.
23. Billy Kidman
Billy Kidman made his name with WCW, but became a prominent superstar in the WWE Cruiserweight division.
Incredibly quick and daring in the ring, Kidman usually strung together thrilling combinations of moves. Kidman’s acrobatic arsenal included the shooting star press, frankentsteiner and a slingshot leg drop.
According to Kidman from an interview in the UK's Sun, he says he was fired for speaking up about cost-cutting tactics and being treated poorly. If that is was got fired or if it was something else, WWE fans lost one of its best acrobatic wrestlers.
22. Kofi Kingston
Kingston is blessed with a mind blowing leaping ability and has left fans with their mouths hanging open from day one.
His matches feature his flying forearm smash, S.O.S. and Trouble in Paradise. He is even able to add an acrobatic flair to his leg drop.
Kingston is a spectacular athlete who springs around the ring like a cartoon character. His performances in the ring are reminiscent of the soaring of a trapeze artist.
While Tajiri is most famous for his scintillating buzzsaw kicks, he's also an overall brilliant athlete and quite the acrobat in the ring.
His handspring back elbow is a marvelous sight. In addition, his flip-over DDT and springboard moonsault are near perfect.
Tajiri entertained WWE fans from 2001 to 2005 following the closure of ECW. He was twice the WWE Cruiserweight Champion and always a thrill to watch.
The first of three Mexicools to appear on this list, Psicosis is certainly acrobatic, but not as smooth as his former partners.
Despite being held back by a lawnmower riding stereotype heavy gimmick, Psicosis still managed to show briefly show WWE fans what Lucha Libre is all about.
Soaring leg drops, corkscrew sentons and tilt a whirl headscissors takedowns were a regular part of his exciting matches.
19. Sin Cara Negro/Hunico
Hunico is the man who replaced Sin Cara when he was suspended for violating the WWE Wellness Policy. He also had the same ring name in Mexico as the original Sin Cara, Mistico.
Some fans argued that the replacement Sin Cara was better than the original, but I think that is because Hunico is stronger and a better complete wrestler.
And though Hunico is all-world athletic, I don’t think he's on the same level with Sin Cara Azul.
Hunico's Spanish Fly and springboard senton are quite impressive. Hopefully, the WWE creative team finds a way to keep him relevant not that he's been unmasked.
18. Brian Kendrick
From 2005 to 2008, WWE teamed two of the most acrobatic superstars together. Paul London appears later on this list. The Brian Kendrick earns his spot here with his unorthodox and highly entertaining offense.
Kendrick's move set includes not only some of the most impressive moves, but some of the most ridiculously named ones as well.
He performs the Left Turn at Albuquerque (a turning frog splash) and Dr. Smoothe's Secret Recipe (a corner backflip kick) among others.
17. Evan Bourne
Kington's tag partner may not get as high off the ground, but Bourne is equally athletic and has startling speed.
Bourne earns a high ranking because of a extremely versatile Lucha-inspired inventory, but also because of the grace and beauty evident in all those moves.
Does anyone have a more gorgeous version of the shooting star press? In addition, Bourne performs a superb diving double knee drop, headscissors takedown, standing moonsault and many other similar moves.
His exciting style, incredible balance and fluidity have helped make him a very popular superstar.
16. The Hurricane/Gregory Helms
When Gregory Helms wrestled as the Hurricane with green hair and a ridiculous superhero costume, it was hard to take him seriously. In spite of the outfit, Helms was an incredible athletic marvel.
When WCW folded, Helms was one of the many wrestlers who came over to WWE.
His tenure included many battles in the Cruiserweight division where he fought against similarly agile men like Jimmy Wang Yang and Psicosis.
He moved around the ring with a natural ease and got great air every time he left his feet. His signature moves included the somersault plancha, diving crossbody and the Shining Wizard.
15. Super Crazy
Super Crazy is another member of the Mexicools who briefly had a chance to shine in the WWE spotlight. Super Crazy did outlast his partners eventually moonsaulting his way into singles competition.
Some of his best matches in WWE were tag team battles with him and Psicosis against Brian Kendrick and Paul London.
As he's a bit chunkier than some of his fellow cruiserweights, Super Crazy doesn't quite look the part of the wrestling acrobat, but he sure acts the part.
Besides his gorgeous moonsault, Super Crazy's other acrobatic moves includes a corkscrew plancha and a springboard missile dropkick.
14. Juventud Guerrera
"The Juicy One," Juventud Guerrera had a brief run in WWE along with Psicosis and Super Crazy as the Mexicools. It’s purported that he was fired for refusing to tone down his aerial moves including the then-banned 450 splash.
Regardless of how much of a headache he allegedly was backstage, Juvi put on an incredible show every night.
Few men fly higher and more gracefully than him. Some of his best moves included a top rope somersault leg drop, the aforementioned 450 splash and one of the better hurricanranas around.
*Note: The last line in the video might offend some folks. Earmuffs!
13. Yoshi Tatsu
Yoshi Tatsu is constantly abuzz with energy and glides through the air with a natural ease.
He’s spent about a year each on the ECW and Raw brands before being banished to NXT. Is it his annoying J-pop entrance theme that holds him back? It certainly isn’t his acrobatic performances.
Every diving spinning heel kick or somersault that Tatsu executes is a joy to watch. His lightning quick feet help to ramp up the pace of all his matches.
12. John Morrison
John Morrison's performance in the ring is pure artistry. Corkscrewing through the air and leaping high above the ring, few men can do the things that Morrison does.
After success in the tag team ranks, Morrison has gone on to singles glory until his recent slide out of the spotlight. Why he's not featured more is beyond me.
Many of Morrison's moves are ones that most American fans had never seen before. His Starship Pain, Flying Chuck and shooting star plancha are amazing sights to behold.
11. Paul London
Primarily a tag team specialist, Paul London consistently impressed audiences with his high-risk style.
Speedy and agile certainly didn't hurt him, but London's creativity in the ring really propelled him and earning him the nickname, "The Excellence of Innovation."
Before Justin Gabriel and Evan Bourne came along, London was doing the 450 splash and the shooting star press. He even threw in a backflip into his entrance.
London held the WWE Tag Team titles with Brian Kendrick for 331 days primarily because WWE knew fans wanted to see their acrobatic ways, night in and night out.
10. Shannon Moore
Though he never quite broke out with WWE, Shannon Moore brought a dazzling blend of speed and nimbleness to the ring.
Moore had two stints in WWE, one from 2002 to 2005 and one from 2006 to 2008. As either Matt Hardy's lackey or Jimmy Wang Yang's tag team partner, he never got much of a chance to show the WWE universe all the acrobatics he had to offer.
Moore's impressive repertoire features a corkscrew senton, diving hurricanrana and a somersault neckbreaker.
9. Shelton Benjamin
Benjamin has long been considered one of WWE's most athletic performers. It certainly wasn't his deftness in the ring that stalled his career.
Had he been a touch more skilled on the mic and had more star power, he'd be one of their top stars today. As it stands, his phenomenal acrobatic ability is undeniable, but wasn’t enough to keep him with WWE.
He briefly used the 450 splash as a finishing move. His diving clotheslines and springboard moves are picture perfect.
8. Jimmy Wang Yang
Too bad Jimmy Wang Yang was saddled with the idiotic grinning Asian cowboy gimmick because people may remember him more for that than his spectacular acrobatic skills.
Yang was one of the smoothest and quickest performers to step inside a WWE ring.
Others use corkscrew moonsaults, enzuigiris and head scissors takedowns, but Yang did them with an unbelievable smoothness.
Would Yang have been still been released from his WWE contract had he not violated the Wellness Policy in 2008? Maybe they would have found a better gimmick and niche for him to show off his skills.
7. Jeff Hardy
Some wrestling purists have scoffed at Jeff Hardy for being a spot monkey. His offensive toolbox does resemble a stunt man's far more than Bob Backlund’s.
Hardy has developed a following largely because of this daredevil approach to wrestling.
From Swanton Bombs off ladders to planchas, Hardy tore up his body with moves that were both insane and beautiful.
His uniqueness may be dividing, but his acrobatic skills are undeniable.
6. TAKA Michinoku
The first ever WWF Light Heavyweight Championship was a freak of nature. Michinoku bounced around the ring with a frenzied energy.
His leaping ability is rivaled by few others. Sometimes when he is soaring over the top rope, it seems as if he might hit his head on the ceiling.
For just a few years in the late '90s, American audience got a taste of what Michinoku had to offer. His repertoire included a hurricanrana, various moonsault variations and his glorious no handed over the top rope suicide dive.
5. Rob Van Dam
Tumbling, soaring, leaping; Rob Van Dam’s offense was by no means traditional.
His creative approach in the ring made him extremely popular. He's one of the few WWE superstars that could earn a spot with Cirque du Soleil.
Whether he was performing Rolling Thunder or a Van Terminator, Van Dam thrilled audiences again and again.
It's easy to understand why his entrance song is "One of a Kind."
The NXT Season 2 winner is one of the fastest and most athletic men to ever compete for WWE.
Watching him leap from the top rope or cartwheeling across the ring is a mystifying spectacle. Fans may question whether he has springs in his legs.
His tenure with WWE only lasted a year. If WWE decided to bring him back, Kaval could play a huge role in reviving the Cruiserweight division.
From his diving double foot stomp to his rolling wheel kick, Kaval's moves are startlingly acrobatic and a blast to watch.
3. Rey Mysterio
Arguably the greatest high flyer in WWE history, Mysterio has been one of the most popular wrestlers on the roster since joining WWE in 2002.
His career started in Mexico and the Lucha Libre influence on his style is obvious. The super quick and agile Mysterio darts around the ring in a blur.
His inventory of acrobatic moves includes various crossbody variations, various headscissors moves, countless springboard moves and one of the best hurricanranas in the business.
2. Sin Cara
As Mistico in Mexico, he was one of the biggest draws in wrestling. As Sin Cara, he's a rising star in no small part due to his acrobatic ways.
Flipping, diving, and spinning his way through his matches, American have quickly discovered what made him so popular in his home country.
One of the quickest men on this list, Sin Cara's tilt-a-whirl headscissors into a takedown and Fujiwara armbar is simply a gorgeous move.
Nearly everything he does in the ring is equally as picturesque. He regularly uses moonsault, hurricanranas and a slingshot corkscrew crossbody.
1. Ultimo Dragon
Warning: Ultimo Dragon’s dizzying speed and majestic moves may cause vertigo for some fans.
Having spent many years in Mexico, he adopted many exciting aspects of the Lucha Libre style. His matches were fast-paced displays of his extreme athleticism.
He not only performs every acrobatic move in the book, he's created some of his own. He innovated both the Asai moonsault and the standing shiranui.
Add a tiger feint kick, the Dragonsteiner and a corkscrew moonsault and you have one of the most awe-inspiring move sets in wrestling.
Why he only spent one year with the WWE is a perplexing question. Is the reason they couldn't find a permanent place on the roster for him because of his lack of size or that WWE historically doesn’t promote Japanese talent well?