The dropkick is one of the oldest moves in professional wrestling. It’s commonly believed that both the standing front dropkick and missile dropkick was innovated by “Jumping” Joe Savoldi although some claim it was developed even sooner. The move is a fairly common move in a wrestler’s arsenal, especially for babyfaces, but some versions of the move have become signatures and even finishers. The following list takes a look at the most devastating variations of this move.
3. Running front dropkick
Dropkicks commonly involve the performer twisting sideways during the jump to execute the maneuver and landing on his or her stomach after the kick. The front dropkick, however, finds the performer jumping without a twist so that her or she lands on the back after the kick. Running towards the opponent before this dropkick adds a lot of momentum and impact to the move and not twisting makes the extension of the legs more apparent and increases the ferocity behind the dropkick. It can be performed whether the opponent is standing, kneeling, or sitting up. This version was innovated in Japan and has become more fashionable in America due to its use by Finn Balor, Dean Ambrose, Kalisto, and a number of other WWE superstars.
Tyson Kidd performing the running front dropkick on a kneeling opponent
Finn Balor performing the move on both Owens and Rusev
2. Missile dropkick
The missile dropkick is the top rope version of the move. Most use a traditional dropkick with a twist for the missile dropkick although a few will deliver a front dropkick. The height that some wrestlers are able to reach and the distance they can cover in the ring makes the move look like it could send any opponent flying from the ring. Many athletic types and cruiserweights would use the move in the 1980s and 1990s, but some heavyweight practitioners, such as Booker T and even Paul Wight, have performed the maneuver.
Daniel Bryan performing a front missile dropkick
Angelico with perhaps the most insane missile dropkick of all time
1. Corner-to-corner missile dropkick
This move takes place from the top rope just as a traditional missile dropkick. However, the twist is that the opponent is placed in a sitting position against the turnbuckles opposite the performer but on the same side of the ring. Rob Van Dam was the innovator of this variation and placed a chair against the opponent’s head (or his manager, Bill Alfonso, hold the chair for him in front of the opponent). He would then leap across the ring with a missile front dropkick, crushing the chair into the opponent’s head in a move he called “the Van Terminator.” Shane McMahon’s version, “the Coast-to-Coast,” is the most widely known by WWE fans. This is an impressive move athletically due to the distance being covered in the ring, but the distance contributes to the force against the dazed opponent.
Rob Van Dam performing a few different Van Terminators
Shane McMahon performing the Coast-to-Coast