Ricochet and the 10 Greatest High-Flyers in WWE History
High-risk, high-flying moves in professional wrestling are incredible to watch on television, but they are even better to watch live and in person. Nothing like the height these performers jump from, coupled with the sickening thud they make with the ground upon impact, demonstrates how brutal this business can be.
And for the professional wrestlers who specialize in high-flying maneuvers, the common refrain isn't an exaggeration; they are sacrificing their bodies for our entertainment. There is no way to safely fall off a 30-foot ladder and crash through a wooden table. Damage piles up over the course of years.
Here are the 10 greatest high-flyers in WWE history—the human highlight reels who risked life and limb to give the audience its money's worth. Put some respect on their names.
'Superfly' Jimmy Snuka
Big but agile, "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka's best-known high spot was against Don Muraco at Madison Square Garden in 1983, when he dived off the top of the steel cage on to his opponent. That evening, a young Mick Foley was in the audience, and the match helped to spark and solidify Foley's love of professional wrestling and unnecessary danger.
'Macho Man' Randy Savage
Widely known as having had the best elbow drop in the business, Randy Savage delivered his finisher with clinical perfection, right across the opponent's upper chest and throat. What made this move great was its form. Savage never flailed or looked awkward; he soared through the sky in the same locked-body position for the entire duration of the move.
The Heartbreak Kid relied on lots of athletic kicks at a time at a time when most WWE Superstars were brawling and wrestling with their hands. His aerials moves were setups to those kicks—the elbow drop followed by Sweet Chin Music, for example. Later in his career, his moonsault to the outside of the ring became another staple.
In any logical universe, Jeff Hardy wouldn't be able to walk after the stuff he has put his body through. But the younger of the Hardy Boyz has managed to endure. His most dangerous spot might have been on Raw in 2008, when he faced Umaga and performed Whisper in the Wind off the top of a steel cage. His spot during WrestleMania X-Seven, when Edge speared him off the dangling cable holding the tag team titles, was even more iconic.
Rey Mysterio is impressive at any age. But if you think his moves look cool now, you should watch his earlier matches, before his knees gave out. Back then, instead of delivering the splash for his finisher after the 619, he would use the West Coast Pop, a springboard hurricanrana that transitioned directly into a pin.
The man under the Sin Cara mask, Mistico, was one of Mexico's biggest stars and one of Triple H's first high-profile signings. Unfortunately, he fought an extreme, aerial style, and the people he was working with didn't know how to adjust to his rhythms, which resulted in a few too many botches. Mistico was released, and Hunico took his place as the Sin Cara character. Thankfully, we still have these original Mistico clips. Watch, reminisce and wonder what could have been.
Shelton Benjamin was a standout, natural talent from the start; he didn't have to do the risky, high-flying moves in order to get over. But every year at the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania, he would pull off something death-defying. His spot at WrestleMania XXV, when he performed senton dive off a 30-foot ladder, relied on his fellow workers to catch him before he hit the hard floor.
Rob Van Dam
Eddie Guerrero had a great Frog Splash, but Rob Van Dam upped the athleticism; he could turn his body, mid-air, and hit a crossbody splash if need be. That, combined with his coast-to-coast steel chair antics, make Rob Van Dam one of the greatest—and most dangerous—high-flyers in history.
Like Shelton Benjamin and Randy Savage, AJ Styles is a high-flyer who doesn't need to climb to the top rope to get over. But every now and then, he will do something incredibly athletic and remind you what he's capable of. The above video has some great footage of aerial moves Styles used to do, when he was younger and more reckless.
The most high-flying member on the WWE roster, Ricochet has the entire package. His moves look effortless, and he seems in control of his body the entire time, especially when he performs his 630 senton from the top rope or his slingshot head scissors off the ring apron. He's embroiled in a feud with AJ Styles for the United States Championship. A veteran high-flyer versus a young high-flyer, we can expect great matches from these two for the foreseeable future.