Wrestling evolves. Tastes change. What is acceptable to fans and the WWE front office (Vince) changes. We used to have scantily clad women and cursing on Raw. Now it is a show suitable for all ages to watch. Something that has changed dramatically over time is the acceptable moves wrestlers can do. About ten years ago you could hit someone in the head as hard as you could with a chair and then drop someone on their skull soon after. But times have changed. We’re evolving as a society, so we want our wrestling to be less violent.
That’s why these moves are no longer allowed in the WWE.
As you’ll see with the other moves on this list, WWE wants their wrestlers to avoid head trauma at all costs. The piledriver, even when done correctly can severely damage the recipient’s neck and head. There are exceptions, though. The Undertaker is still allowed to do the Tombstone Piledriver. CM Punk piledrove John Cena during a match on Raw in 2013. Michael Cole’s reaction tells you everything you need to know about the severity of it
Chairshots to the head
With WWE facing concussion lawsuits this one just makes sense. Headshots are a stunning effect, but they are dangerous and unnecessary. Now that we know what repeated concussions can do to a person’s brain, chair shots will never be directed at a person’s head again. Watching old chair shot videos now, I cringe and think of the irreparable damage done to the brains and bodies of wrestlers.
The PG-era means a lot of violent looking moves get removed. It has happened to top stars on today’s roster…
This move was allowed to be Seth Rollin’s finisher for some time. He even used it to cash in his Money in the Bank at Wrestlemania 31. Soon afterward, Rollins was forced to give up the move. WWE has gone as far as to edit the finisher out of past matches entirely.
While the move is cool looking and was done safely without any documented injuries, Vince McMahon felt uncomfortable about the move.
All of the preceding moves have something in common, head trauma. This one also involves the head but is less about avoiding concussions and more about avoiding gore. For most of pro wrestling’s history “Red=Green.” Wrestlers would get a bit of “color” by cutting their forehead after a hit to the head or a smash against a railing or steel cage. Ric Flair and others became infamous for their bleeding.
It was a tactic that always got the fans involved and added a bit of realism. It all changed in 2008 with one match. During their infamous feud, Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho bled a bit too much, and Vince decided enough was enough:
“Yeah, they’re no longer allowed to have blood because I got too much that night. Before the match, I begged Vince and told him ‘I have to bleed for this angle. You gotta let me get some color up over my eye,’ and he said ‘Okay, just get a little.’ For the record, I sincerely only meant to get a little. But I did it, and I hit that bad boy, and it was so awesome!”
Wrestling will survive without these moves. We don’t need blood and collisions to the head to tell a great story. A lot of older fans miss the old realism days, but the safety and longevity of a wrestler’s career are more important than a brief bit of entertainment.