Who Has The Best Spinebuster?
Updated: Apr 27
Arn Anderson. Thank you for reading. No, seriously though, I'd like to take a deeper look at the Spinebuster's history and evolution in wrestling. The Youtube video of this article is here: https://youtu.be/Q6CmE0KTdkg
Although variants of a spinebuster has no truly recorded origins within wrestling, all-time great and squared circle icon Arn Anderson is widely recognised as the man to bring the spinebuster to prominence.
Today, Arn Anderson is featured in numerous wrestling hall of fames. His career highlights including becoming World Tag Team Champion for WWE, WCW & NWA, pairing with the likes of: Tully Blanchard, Larry Zbyszko & Bobby Eaton.
And most notably Arn is a founding member of one of the most iconic and important wrestling groups of all time The Four Horsemen, headed up by legendary performer Ric Flair.
Arn Anderson has earned his reputation as a no-nonsense, brutally efficient, hard-worker both in and out of the ring. A man not to be messed with, spent years perfecting the spinebuster throughout his tenure at several independent wrestling promotions in the ’70s and ’80s.
In 1999 Hunter Hurst Helmsley was coming into the start of his historic run as one of the era-defining stars for WWE.
He had the muscles, nose and pedigree for success and adopted the spinebuster perfectly against Shane Mcmahon.
Triple H has stated on numerous occasions how much Arn Anderson had inspired him as a child and how much of his wrestling technique was derived from good ole double A. Arn Anderson being the gentleman as ever was gracious in passing the spinebuster to Triple H, who uses the manoeuvre to this day, and has done so for the last 20 years from NXT to the main event of Wrestlemania.
Pro wrestling wiki states: “The wrestler starts by facing his or her opponent. He or she then grabs the opponent around the waist, lifts him or her up, and tosses him or her forward on to his or her back or slams him or her down while standing on top of him or her. It is usually performed against a charging opponent, using the opponent's own momentum to make the throw more powerful.”
Double leg slam
The Alabama Slam, double leg slam variant used famously in the 90’s by Hardcore Holly a man equally remembered for his power and brutality as this variation on the spinebuster.
Also known as the water-wheel slam, Hardcore Holly would perform the move by grabbing his opponents as they passed over his head, as to catch them with his attacker facing his back with their legs over Holly’s shoulders in a belly to back position, before being suddenly thrust overhead and rotating to slam back-first in a spinebuster on the mat.
Holly was also known to invert this move and have his unlucky foes land face first.
This standing variant of the spinebuster seemingly worked best in wrestling history when used by larger more physically dominant performers.
Ron Simmons & JBL of APA both had fairly successful careers using this brutal slam. Ron’s version being remembered as particularly vicious.
Like all else Arn Anderson attempted in the ring, his version of the spinebuster was buttery smooth, quick and powerful. The seamless transition from an oncoming opponent, Arn would gracefully have his attacker off their feet, span around and planted deep into the canvas.
The 180° version of the spinebuster has been used to position an opponent to lead into a finishing sequence. Most famed for this is Dwayne The Rock Johnson’s electrifying spinebuster which more often than not lead into his legendary People’s Elbow finish.
In wrestling physics, sometimes an unexplained and often unquestioned principle can be seen in effect. For instance, if you slam an opponent to the ground whilst also sitting down at the same time, the aforementioned move will in fact cause more damage than if the move was performed sans said sitting down. I don’t know why, but I accept it.
So, as is with the spinebuster. A Rydeen Bomb or sitting spinebuster is one of the most common versions of the manoeuvre and allows for a quick transition into a pinfall by continuing to hold an opponents legs up and shoulder to the mat.
The double leg variant and the original Arn Anderson style spinebuster were combined by larger wrestlers such as Dave Batista who adopted the slam whilst under the tutor ledge of Paul Levesque or Triple H.
The lifting spinebuster involves more verticality as the attacker picks up their opponent, grabbing around their waist or upper thigh and forcefully slamming them down into the ring, either falling down with them or staying on their feet to immediately follow up on their attack.
Wrestlers from Ryback to Angelo Dawkins have used it in recent times, through the independent wrestling scene, in the states, Europe and Asia, from local shows in front of 30 people to matches viewed by millions of fans around the world – the spinebuster is unexpected and sudden, it is fast and efficient at demonstrating power.
It is a move that will never have the same lustre of the rose-tinted Arn Anderson’s masterful displays in the ’90s, but none the less will continue on in many a wrestler’s arsenal and in many fans hearts as a special wrestling move.
The Youtube video of this article is here: https://youtu.be/Q6CmE0KTdkg