In 2017, the level of athleticism in professional wrestling is at an all-time high and only keeps getting higher each year. In a time where “flippy shit” reigns supreme, the powerbomb seems almost antiquated. Nevertheless, the move has a long history from its innovation by great Lou Thesz to its use by nearly every big man of the 1990s to its innumerable variations from Japan and indies across the globe.
While each variation of the powerbomb, like any other move, has its master practitioners – Scott Norton for the traditional powerbomb, for instance – the following three variations are the most brutal no matter who is performing the move.
- Flying Sunset Flip Powerbomb
This variation of the move is performed by a wrestler from a higher vantage point – usually the top turnbuckle or a ladder but sometimes from the ring if the opponent is outside – by jumping through the air and flipping behind the opponent as if attempting a sunset flip but instead it brings them crashing down with a powerbomb. Perhaps the best, and most well-known version, is the one Eddie Guerrero used to execute in ladder matches. The quickness of the flip combined with the powerbomb almost always causes the opponent’s head and neck to snap. When this is combined with the speed in which they hit the mat, this is devastating.
Eddie Guerrero performing the move on Edge
El Generico doing the same to Kevin Owens
- Elevated Powerbomb
The variation is performed when a wrestler holds the opponent in a traditional powerbomb style but then extends their own arms upward to lift the opponent even higher in the air before slamming them down. This is best known as The Last Ride, as popularized by The Undertaker during his biker phase, although his version is one of the weaker ones. This version, when performed quickly enough, looks like a powerbomb should look – all the impact goes into that back, shoulders, and neck region, which makes seem perilous for the opponent.
The Undertaker performing his version on Shawn Michaels
Kota Ibushi with his version, The Golden Bomb, a sitdown variation
- Vertical Suplex Powerbomb
This is also widely known as the Orange Crush, which was innovated by legend Kenta Kobashi. In this variation of the move, the wrestler lifts the opponent into a vertical suplex before pushing the opponent away from their body straight out and bringing him or her down into a sitting powerbomb. No matter who performs this version, it’s one of the most fascinating, and brutal, to watch.
Kenta Kobashi performing the Orange Crush
El Generico performing the Orange Crush