Some moves in wrestling are impressive due to the amount of skill, training, and dedication a performer must put in, in order to execute said moves safely and effectively.
Some moves in pro wrestling alight the crowd through the connection to a beloved storyline or favourite character.
There are some moves in pro-wrestling however that stand out through their brutal power and shocking, sudden impact. One such move is the spear.
Pro Wrestling Wiki states: “Also known as a shoulder block takedown, this is an attack where an attacking wrestler charges towards a standing opponent, jumps and brings his body parallel to the ground, driving their shoulder into the opponent's midsection, tackling them and forcing them down to the mat.”
The simplicity of the spear means that it has been easier to adopt for newcomers to pro-wrestling, especially athletes who have made the transition for their respective sports, predominantly American football.
The lineage of the move is almost impossible to trace, due to the fact that in many combat sports and martial arts, some form of the shoulder tackle takedown is used.
One thing is for certain, large men and women have been pounding one another into the ground with a forceful spear-like takedown for centuries.
One such former American footballer is Bill Goldberg, who’s finishing combination saw him explode onto the WCW wrestling scene on September 22, 1997, on an episode of Nitro.
Goldberg was a complete unknown at this point, the crowd visibly shocked at his quick and decisive victory over the more established Hugh Morris.
Using the spear and the jackhammer suplex, Goldberg went on a streak between 1997 and 98 of 173 wins. Now, this number is hugely inflated, with several wrestlers even stating that they know the huge win streak to have been inflated.
However, the fact still remains that Goldberg was incredible dominant in his first year in WCW with the use of his version of the shoulder takedown, which he gave the name, to which we now today all recognise the move – the spear.
When I think of the spear, the first instance of it’s use, arguably the most famous spear in all of pro-wrestling history was performed by rated R superstar Edge.
Coming off the success of the first-ever TLC match at Summerslam in 2000, WWE booked a follow-up match at Wrestlemania 17 between The Hardys, The Dudley Boys & Edge and Christian.
During the match, Jeff Hardy had ascended a ladder in the middle of the ring, fumbling to unhook the belts.
Bubba Ray Dudley, the perennial ring general, had the wear-with-all to pull the ladder from under the feet of Jeff Hardy, leaving one half of team extreme limply dangling from the belt, like one of Vince McMahon's grapefruits.
Simultaneously, Edge awaits Jeff's momentum as Hardy is swung closer to Edge, who himself is now perched atop another ladder.
In a historic and death-defying moment, Edge makes the leap of faith and catches Jeff Hardy with a perfectly timed spear, sending both combatants plummeting to the ring in front of an exploding Wrestlemania crowd.
On the now famed moment, Edge said; “The margin for error was so razor-thin, I still marvel at the fact that we pulled that off the way we did. So much of that is Jeff just trusting me and letting go, and putting, basically, his life in my hands.”And trusting that I would get him as flat as I possibly could, because if he fought it, then we land a whole different way.”
Both men were understandably battered after the move, Edge managing to give himself a DDT in the process, but leaving an unforgettable mark of Wrestlemania 17 and the whole of pro-wrestling history.
I’d be remised if I didn’t mention the Gore. 90’s and 00’s peripheral character Rhyno’s brutal version of the spear. Rhyno had a great run in ECW with his bull-in-a-china-shop approach to decimating his opponents by running through them with a sharp powerful gore.
He planted opponents to the mat with his form of the shoulder takedown in WWE and although never climbed to the top of the mountain there, Rhyno’s Gore will go down in wrestling history as one of the most beautiful and devastating versions of the move.
Before James Bond & Guardian’s of the Galaxy fame, Batista adopted the spear as a move during a rivalry with Edge, but never seemingly used the move as his definitive finisher – more a starter for his would-be main-course the Batista bomb.
The Big Show had sporadically used the spear. A move usually reserved for men a lot smaller, Big Show had no problem heaving his huge mass at an opponent, landing on them with his enormous weight always seemed to add to the impact.
In today’s WWE one main is most synonymous with the spear. The big dog, Roman Reigns.
Who has consistently had matches at the top of the card, headlining multiple Wrestlemanias all whilst putting down his opponents, or at least setting them up, with a spear.
Mixed in with a beautiful sit-out powerbomb, an oooo-ahhh or two, the superman punch and a couple of weird arm wanks – the spear is one part of Roman Reigns’ arsenal which is powerful, agile and effective at keeping him in a position as one of the most successful wrestlers in the world.
Around the modern world of pro-wrestling, the spear has become somewhat of a forgetful move, used by many as transitions into something bigger, the spear is not a move you’d likely see a wrestler win a match with.
None-the-less, the spear holds a place in history for its use in iconic moments which will not soon be forgotten.