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THE SPECIALISTS
TOP 10 MOVES OF THE WEEK (1/17-1/23): Debut column ranks the top moves & moments of the past week in WWE & TNA

Jan 25, 2011 - 1:21:18 PM
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By Mike DeNucci, PWTorch Specialist

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Top 10 Moves of the Week! This new addition to PWTorch is where I will spotlight the top moves of the week. With the landscape of pro wrestling constantly changing to a more storyline-driven form of entertainment, the amazing athleticism and creativity wrestlers bring on a nightly basis can sometimes get lost in the shuffle.

Many things will be taken into account when compiling this weekly Top 10 list, such as the significance of the moment, the impact of the move, the innovation the wrestler brings to the move, and the technical expertise which the move was performed. Sometimes sheer brute force and physicality could land a wrestler on this coveted list (Ezekiel Jackson's powerslam on Big Show, for example).

The week obviously will commence on Monday, and each edition of Top Moves will include all televised events from Raw to a Sunday Pay-Per-View (if one is offered). With over a dozen matches to choose from each week, narrowing down the list to just 10 will not be an easy task, but it also will be the fun part.

Without further ado, enjoy the inaugural Top 10 Moves list tracking the top moves for the Week of January 17, 2011 (Jan. 17 - 23).

#10- Daniel Bryan & John Morrison attempt cross-body block and collide mid-air
Monday Night Raw 1/17

In a highly-competitive and entertaining match, both men traded missing clotheslines while getting a full head of steam running off the ropes. Not slowing down one iota, both men bounced off the ropes and attempted a cross-body block leading to a violent collision in mid-air. This match was filled with some Top Move Nominees, but I had to narrow it down to this brutal collision and...

#9- John Morrison hits Running Knee to the Face of Daniel Bryan for the pinfall
Monday Night Raw 1/17

In a match filled with vicious kicks, German Suplex reversals, huracanrana reversals, and Flying Chucks, this was the most significant, and perhaps the most vicious of them all. There has been a shift in some matches away from the predictable sequence of a wrestler signals fo rhis finisher, hits his finisher, and gets the pin to wrestlers winning matches with a number of maneuvers, John Morrison being the most evident. Besides Starship Pain, Morrison has finished wrestlers off with the Flying Chuck kick, Moonlight Drive, the crazy backflip move he hit on Tyson Kidd, and most recently this stiff Running Knee to the face. I'm sure this will not be the last time John Morrison is featured on Top Moves.

#8- Miz & Alex Riley throw Randy Orton through Timekeeper's Barricade
Monday Night Raw 1/17

This technically wasn't during an official match, and technically it is not a move, but you cannot deny the impact this had physically and personally between the Champion and Challenger. Until last Monday's Raw, the program between Randy Orton and The Miz had been missing something, and this brutal attack gave it a jumpstart. After The Viper's competitive match with Dolph Ziggler on Raw, Miz and Riley saw an opportunity to send a message, and they were successful. Although the ringside barricade spot has been overdone lately, it was made noteworthy by involving the WWE Champion and the #1 contender. A more physical Miz was the objective of this attack, as WWE cannot get by with him losing to announcers and winning by the skin of his teeth.

#7- Drew McIntyre runs to top rope and super Belly-to-belly throws Trent Barreta for the pinfall
Friday Night Smackdown 1/21

Another entertaining and competitive match between these two, as they seem to have chemistry together in the ring. A move more famously recognized with Kurt Angle, McIntyre prevented Barreta's high-flying maneuver by sprinting to the top rope and throwing Barreta over his head making him crash to the ring. Earlier in the match, The Chosen One hit Barreta with a devastating powerbomb after Trent attempted a springboard maneuver from the top rope. Trent was able to kick out of that move, but unable to kick out of McIntyre's impressive top rope suplex.

#6- Beth Phoenix reverses Layla's short-arm scissor into back slam
Friday Night Smackdown 1/21

Usually remarkable feats of strength are reserved for the men, but Beth Phoenix has been the exception to that rule, and this was no different. Layla, who has vastly improved in her own right, had a simple short-arm scissor on The Glamazon while both Divas were on the mat. Phoenix then began to get to her feet while lifting Layla up on her shoulders solely by her left arm. Pausing at the pinnacle of the move for the crowd to appreciate the display of power, Beth then slammed Layla hard to the mat. The only female wrestler out there that can match power with Beth Phoenix has to be Awesome Kong...and I'm sure their two paths will cross some time down the road.

#5- Matt Morgan delivers a Carbon Footprint to Rob Terry for the pinfall victory in under Five seconds
TNA Impact 1/20

Once the introductions for this match were finished, I was expecting the same old Immortal interference where Terry would get the win via heel antics and a beat down would ensue...or a competitive and yet awkward match (with Terry being involved) where Morgan would win, and then a beat down would ensue. But, I couldn't have been more surprised. The bell rang, Terry turned away from Flair's instructions, and took a lethal Carbon Footprint by the DNA of TNA. Morgan covered him and it was over before you could blink. A man that size should not be able to pull off a move as athletic as that devastating pump kick, which captures his versatility as a big-man. This was a nice change of pace by TNA to actually build some more momentum for Morgan to continue being featured as a top babyface after moving away from the title picture. But, after the match, a beat down did ensue...

#4- CM Punk hits Reverse STO on John Cena, then applies "Crossface Head Scissor"
Monday Night Raw 1/17

Now this is the definition of a "Top Move Nominee!" Once Punk applied this innovative submission maneuver, I said to myself, "That's on the list no matter what." Submission wrestling is becoming more and more prevalent in today's matches and the leader of Nexus illustrates that here. After hitting the now overused Reverse STO, Punk made up for the hackneyed maneuver by applying a creative submission move that I could honestly say I've never seen before. Now I'm calling it a "Crossface Head Scissor," but if somebody knows the proper name for it please feel free to e-mail me and correct me. Not releasing Cena from his grasp after hitting the move, Punk wrapped his legs around the neck of Cena in some sort of...well, "Crossface Head Scissor." The only thing that put a little bit of a damper was the fact that it was being incorrectly screamed the Anaconda Vice by Michael Cole the entire time it was locked in. But, even Cole couldn't stop this from being a Top Move.

#3- Justin Gabriel 450 splash on Edge / RVD 5 Star Frog Splash on James Storm
Friday Night Smackdown 1/21 / TNA Impact 1/20

It's a tie here at number three for two incredible athletes performing outstanding classic aerial maneuvers. This isn't the first time we've seen these moves performed, and certainly won't be the last, but you still have to marvel at the fact that Gabriel and RVD execute these moves with such ease. 15 years ago, a fan would have seen these moves and been blown away, but the fan nowadays treats it as just another finisher. Not here. These two classic and unbelievable moves share the #3 spot of Top Moves of the Week.

#2- Mason Ryan sit-down uranage on John Cena
Monday Night Raw 1/17

Another moment that wasn't technically in a match, but its significance cannot be questioned. When WWE wants to make a debut memorable and effective, it has the tools to do so, and here is a prime example. For most WWE fans who weren't aware of Mason Ryan, they just saw a monster of a man interfere in last week's Raw main event and destroy Cena wit a devastating power move. The uranage has long been one of my favorite maneuvers and there have been different variations over the years since The Rock has moved on to Hollywood, but this was the first time I can recall seeing a sit-down variation. It almost looked like a Side Effect, but without the opponent jumping for no reason. This monster used his power and lifted an already exhausted Cena making a resounding statement that he has arrived and he is going right after the top draw.
OrtonRandyArt_130GG_74.jpg

#1- Randy Orton RKOs Dolph Ziggler from a Zig-Zag attempt
Monday Night Raw 1/17

Now this is one of the main reasons why Top Moves was invented in the first place: the unpredictability of the RKO. The most beautiful thing about the RKO is its suddenness. It could be hit from just about anywhere and here was an innovative example of its instantaneous execution. Every time you think you've seen every possible variation of the cutter, Orton figures out a way to still impress. Here, Dolph was in control of the back-and-forth match after Ziggler applied the sleeper. Orton was able to get to the ropes to break the hold and Dolph waited behind Randy to hit the Zig-Zag for an upset win. As Dolph went for the back of Randy's head, Orton grabbed Ziggler around the head and planted him with an RKO for the win. It wasn't the smoothest execution of his finisher, but the creativity was still evident and it illustrated why the RKO is one of the best finishing maneuvers in the business.

-- Don't hesitate to e-mail me your thoughts on the inaugural list and if you feel certain moves should be higher than others. If there was a move(s) that you felt was definitely a "Top Move Nominee" and it didn't make the cut, e-mail me at mjcocozza@gmail.com with why you feel that it should have been included.

Also, with another week of shows on the horizon, as you watch Raw, Impact, etc. and see a move that just made you jump out of your seat, nominate it for Top Moves and check every week to see if it was good enough to make the cut!

[Torch art credit Grant Gould (c) PWTorch.com]


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