Spoilers for Spiderman: No Way Home below
Pro-wrestling has become a staple within the world the pop culture for the past few years. With the rise of companies like AEW and certain wrestlers making their way to Hollywood, it’s no surprise that people see more of pro-wrestling in other pieces of media. One such case comes from Spider-Man: No Way Home, which includes several pro-wrestling moves during fight scenes. The last place that I would have expected for pro-wrestling moves to make an appearance is in Spider-Man: No Way Home. However, it shouldn’t be surprising given that the titular characters’ origin has been rooted in him taking part in a wrestling match when he first got his powers. While having conversations with another contributor for the site, he suggested that I compile a list of films and shows in which pro-wrestling moves have appeared. In making this list, I chose films and shows from various genres that have come out within the past 25 years. I also did not want to include films or shows that were specifically about pro-wrestling as it would’ve been more difficult to choose from.
Spider-Man: No Way Home – Spinebuster & Powerbomb Combo
While two pro-wrestling moves appear in this film, I decided to include them as one move since they are executed in quick succession. Many pro-wrestling moves are often combined to have a bigger effect on the person receiving the moves. The Spinebuster is a move in which one wrestler grabs another by the waist and lifts them, followed by slamming the elevated wrestler on their back while landing on top of them or tossing the wrestler forward to their back. The Powerbomb is a move in which an opponent is lifted into the air and then slammed back-first to the mat. There have been different variations of the move over the years, each equally devastating on anyone on the receiving end.
In Spider-Man: No Way Home, Goblin manages to execute this combo move on Peter during their second fight inside the apartment building. Goblin delivers the Powerbomb, even after Peter continuously punches him. The Spinebuster comes a few seconds after, in which Goblin manages to slam Peter through several floors until they reach the lobby of the building. Up to this point in his career as Spider-Man, Peter hadn’t faced an opponent quite like Goblin, who was willing to do anything to kill him. Accompanied by Goblin teasing him about his sense of morality, audiences see Peter completely defeated. This put into perspective how dangerous the situation was for Peter, especially regarding him still being a teenager. It also displays just how terrifying Goblin can truly be and the power that he has.
The Mandalorian – Tornado DDT
The DDT is a pro-wrestling move that was innovated by WWE Hall-of-Famer Jake “The Snake” Roberts and popularized by hardcore-wrestling legend Tommy Dreamer. The move is performed by putting the opponent’s head underneath the attacker’s arm in a front face-lock and then falling back, driving the opponent’s head into the mat. The Tornado DDT is a variation of the move in which a wrestler goes to the top rope and applies a front facelock to an opponent from an elevated position. The wrestler then jumps forward and swings around to fall backward and drop the opponent’s head into the mat. The Tornado DDT can be executed in different ways, for example, sitting on the top turnbuckle against an opponent standing on the mat or from the apron against an opponent standing on the ground.
I was surprised to find out that WWE wrestler Sasha Banks would be appearing in The Mandalorian season 2 as a young Mandalorian known as Koska Reeves. Other current and former wrestlers have made cameos or recurring appearances in other media outside of wrestling, so it made sense for Banks to join the list. It was even more surprising to see her in the season 2 finale, “Chapter 18: The Rescue,” and taking on one of the most popular characters within the Star Wars franchise, Boba Fett. Putting aside how their fight began and the result, as a long-time fan of pro-wrestling, I lost my mind when I saw Banks pull off a Tornado DDT. Granted, her character did use a jet pack to pull off the move, but it was still incredible to watch this unfold.
Hobbs & Shaw – Spear
The Spear also referred to as a Shoulder Block Takedown, is a pro-wrestling move in which the attacking wrestler charges towards a standing opponent. The wrestler then jumps and brings their body parallel to the ground, driving their shoulder into the opponent’s midsection, tackling them, and forcing them down to the mat. The Spear has been popularized by various wrestlers, such as Goldberg, Edge, Bobby Lashley, and Roman Reigns. This pro-wrestling move is often used as a finishing move to end a match.
Given that The Rock would be returning to the Fast and Furious franchise as Hobbs in a spin-off film, I wasn’t surprised that several pro-wrestling moves would be included in Hobbs & Shaw. While I could have included any of The Rock’s moves in this movie, I wanted to give attention to someone else. Roman Reigns, The Rock’s cousin, makes a special appearance in the film as Mateo. During the final fight, Mateo and the rest of Hobbs’ family work to protect their home. In one specific scene, Mateo pulls off the Spear on a random henchman.
Charmed – Scissors Kick
The Scissors Kick is a pro-wrestling move in which the attacking wrestler jumps from a standing or running position, which leads to them using one leg for momentum and drives the other leg into the back of the head and the neck of the opponent. The Scissors Kick is rooted in various forms of martial arts, including Judo, Taekwondo, and Vovinam. Booker T., a WWE Hall-of-Famer, had been credited for popularizing this pro-wrestling move.
The original Charmed show is the last place anyone would expect to include pro-wrestling moves, let alone an entire episode centered around a pro-wrestling match. In Season 3, Episode 12, “Wrestling With Demons,” the Charmed Ones learn that a former boyfriend is being led down the path to becoming a demon, and the sisters must risk their lives in an underworld wrestling ring to save his soul. In one of the more nonsensical moments of the match, Booker T. manages to hit the Scissors Kick on one of the Charmed Ones. This is by far one of the most underrated episodes of the show for how close it captured the feeling of a typical pro-wrestling match during the 90s.
Furious 7 – Rock Bottom/Sideslam
The Rock Bottom is one of the most popular pro-wrestling moves in the world of pro-wrestling. More commonly known as a Sideslam, the wrestler begins standing face to face with the opponent slightly to their side. Then, the wrestler tucks their head under the opponent’s near arm, reaches across the opponent’s chest and around their neck with their near arm, and places the other arm against their back. The wrestler then falls forward, either flat on their chest or into a kneeling position, and forces the opponent back-first onto the mat. There are multiple variations of the Sideslam, which more often deals with the wrestler who performs the move. The Rock Bottom was named in relation to The Rock’s name.
Before they were frenemies, Agent Hobbs and rouge mercenary Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) fought against each other in Furious 7. In a fight that demands audience members to suspend their disbelief, Hobss and Shaw hold nothing back. During the fight, Hobbs performs the Rock Bottom on Shaw and puts him through a glass table. To make the scene more impactful, the camera begins to turn as Hobbs performs the move. The Rock performs at least one of his wrestling moves in almost every film or show he has been in. However, the stakes of this fight and the choreography made this moment stand out from the rest.
Smallville – Chokeslam
The Chokeslam is a body slam in which the wrestler grasps their opponent’s neck, lifts them, and slams them to the mat, causing them to land on their back. The move is used by numerous wrestlers, often larger ones who portray “monster” characters. Wrestlers who have popularized this move include The Big Show, The Undertaker, and Kane.
In Episode 17 of Smallville Season 6, “Combat,” Clark (Tom Welling) faces off against Titan (Glenn Jacobs), an alien escapee from the Phantom Zone who has been hosting a deadly fight club and posts the fights online. In one of the fights that have been posted online, Titan can be seen performing a Chokeslam on a random opponent. Kane is one of the scariest characters in the world of pro-wrestling, and his character on Smallville is no different, but the Chokeslam is still a dangerous move for anyone who receives it.
Spider-Man (2002) – Macho Man Elbow Drop
The Elbow Drop is a pro-wrestling move in which a wrestler jumps or falls on an opponent driving their elbow into anywhere on the opponent’s body. A common elbow drop sees a wrestler raise one elbow before falling to one side and striking it across an opponent. The “Macho Man” Randy Savage would climb to the top-turnbuckle and leap across the ring to hit the Macho Man Elbow Drop on his opponents.
Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man portrayed Peter’s (Tobey Maguire) comic book origin story by including his decision to earn money while participating in a pro-wrestling match. His opponent is Randy Savage, who plays a fictional wrestler known as Bone Saw McGraw. Before their match, Randy Savage hits the Macho Man Elbow Drop on his opponent. While compiling this list, I discovered that this was the last taped Elbow Drop that Savage performed before his death in 2011. Watching him hit this particular Elbow Drop was incredible, especially since it played a part in this version of Spider-Man’s origin story.
Blade: Trinity – Running Powerslam
The Powerslam is a pro-wrestling move in which the wrestler performing the technique falls face-down on top of their opponent. The Running Powerslam sees the attacking wrestler pick up their opponent on their shoulders, run in any direction while in or outside the ring, and fall face-down on top of their opponent. This move is often performed by wrestlers who portray the “monster” characters and heavyweights.
With an action-packed film like Blade: Trinity, it’s no surprise that pro-wrestling moves would be included in the fight choreography. During a one-on-one fight between Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds) and Jarko Grimwood (Paul Levesque), the two hold nothing back. There were several wrestling moves and holds in that fight, but the one that stands out the most is the Running Powerslam. Jarko picks up King and hits a devastating slam that marks a pivotal point in their fight. The non-stop action and incredible wrestling moves captured the spirit of a traditional pro-wrestling match.
The Longest Yard – Clothesline
The Clothesline is also another one of the most popular pro-wrestling moves. It is a move in which one wrestler runs towards another and extends their arm out from the side of the body and parallel to the ground, hitting the opponent in the neck or chest and knocking them over. While this is a more typical wrestling move, certain wrestlers have used a variation of the Clothesline as a finishing move.
In perhaps one of the funniest scenes of The Longest Yard, the Clothesline is used by one of the convicts on the guards. Switowski (Bob Sapp) completely lays out Dunham (Steve Austin) to get payback for another of his teammates. The Clothesline Switoski delivers is reminiscent of JBL’s finishing move, which often delivers an incredible impact on the opponents. It also serves as justice for the mistreatment that the convicts are getting from the guards throughout the film. The move is accompanied by a memorable quote that I’m sure many fans of the film often quote.
The Waterboy – Powerbomb
The Powerbomb makes a return to the list, this time appearing in yet another Sandler comedy. Throughout The Waterboy, Bobby Boucher is constantly mocked by people in positions of power within the world of college football. When he joins The Mud Dogs football team, he channels his anger in becoming an outstanding linebacker. In the final game of the season, he can get revenge on one of his biggest bullies by performing a Powerbomb on him. Watching this scene as a 6th grader for the first time was such a memorable experience. Seeing him stand up for himself without any malice by performing a pro-wrestling move was such a unique move on his part.
There were many other films and TV shows that I could have chosen from, but the ones included on this list played important roles in the media that they were in while also capturing the feeling of what makes these scenes stand out. Whether the moves were done by wrestlers or not, the scenes are continuously entertaining to watch and resemble the feelings that pro-wrestling matches can evoke. Here’s hoping that more films and TV shows find ways to include pro-wrestling moves into their fight choreography.