The suplex, especially the vertical suplex, is one of the most common moves in professional wrestling history. The root of the word, “suplex,” even dates back to early Greco-Roman wrestling. There are numerous categories of the move – belly-to-belly versions, belly-to-back versions, and side versions – and each of those categories have seemingly endless variations. Any suplex off the second or top rope usually has the “super-” prefix in front of it. This list is the most impressive superplex variations in the business.
5. Superplex into Falcon Arrow
This move is impressive for its sheer athleticism and flourish. This combination of suplexes seems to be innovated by Seth Rollins. He performs a traditional vertical suplex from the second rope but ends with a rolling non-release then stands up and lifts the opponent into a Falcon Arrow, a vertical suplex where the performer twists the opponent in front of them and slams them while sitting. In kayfabe terms, this variation does major damage to the opponent by disorienting them and taking back damage from two devastating suplexes in a short amount of time.
Seth Rollins performing the move on John Cena
4. Avalanche Falcon Arrow
This version is impressive due to its sheer impact. The move is typically performed by an opponent when they are sitting on the top turnbuckle and counter a move by the opponent. They lift the opponent as if they are plan to superplex them to the outside, but then twist them, jump from the second rope, and slam their back onto the canvas. In kayfabe, the impact is the equivalent to taking a powerslam off the top rope but with more pizzazz and flash, which its innovator, Hayabusa, was known for.
Kenta giving a top rope Falcon Arrow
Chavo Guerrero showing how much strength this move can take
3. Top Rope Fisherman Buster
This variation combines a fisherman suplex, where the performer hooks one of the opponent’s legs and performs a vertical suplex, with a brain buster, which is a suplex but where the opponent is dropped on his or her head instead of the back…and it’s done from the top rope. Innovator Jushin “Thunder” Liger, a cruiserweight legend in both Japan and America, would perform the move while he and the opponent stood on the top rope, which adds more height and impact than standing on the second rope. In more recent years, stars like Kenta – Hideo Itami, in America – and Kevin Owens have used the move as a counter where their opponent was preparing to perform a superplex on them, but they reverse by hooking the leg, dropping while turning in mid-air to execute the move.
Jushin Liger performing the move more traditionally
Kevin Owens performing the variation as a counter, the better version
2. Apron Superplex
This variation is impressive due to the incredible strength of the performer. It involves the opponent standing on the apron of the ring near the turnbuckles. The performer gets up on the second rope, locks the opponent in a front facelock to set up for the suplex, and lifts the opponent into the air to suplex him. This doesn’t sound too impressive on the surface, but because the performer is so much higher than the opponent, they must lift a 200-plus pound opponent from a lower position and bring him down into the suplex. This increases the momentum of the move and causes the landing to be more forceful than any traditional superplex. Cesaro has executed this on a few occasions, and possibly innovated it, which adds to the tales of his legendary strength.
Cesaro performing the move on two different opponents – Cena weighing a shoot 250 and Swagger a shoot 275
1. Top Rope Dragon Suplex
Japanese legend, and one of the few Japanese wrestlers in the WWE Hall of Fame, Tatsumi Fujinami innovated the dragon suplex, which is where the performer places the opponent in a full nelson lock and throws them backwards, almost as if executing a German suplex. The opponent lands on the neck traditionally. The move looks painful when performed by two performers standing on the mat. However, when the move is executed off the top rope, it looks absolutely deadly, and for good reason: it could be. Only the most skilled wrestlers, both the one performing the move and the one taking the move, attempt this because it is so risky. Misawa, another Japanese legend, and Kenny Omega, from his famed match earlier in the year with Kazuchika Okada, are seen below performing the dangerous maneuver.
Although mislabled as a tiger suplex, this is Misawa performing a dragon suplex in a safer way by flipping the opponent completely onto his stomach
Omega performing the move on Okada in a much more dangerous way