The Saturday Slam: Neckbreakers


(Well, you know what they say: With friends like these... Find a decent neurosurgeon.)

Isn't the neck such a wonderful part of our bodies? I mean, think about all the responsibility it has! Not only is it the very start of our spinal column, that lovely shield of vertebrae that protects our spinal cords, the epicenter of neural function, but it also houses the adam's apple, which protects the walls and frontal section of our larynx, which houses our vocal chords that make speech possible. If it wasn't for our necks, we'd be pretty nonfunctional as humans, if not dead! Truly, a body part to be not only respected, but protected...

So, let's detail all the ways we can ruin them! Today on the Saturday Slam, we're talking about the Neckbreaker!

To reiterate the point above, the very first thing any professional wrestler should learn: PROTECT YOUR NECK. Ironic, yes, considering the vast quantity of moves that involve the neck in some shape or form, but a trained professional can properly tuck or cover their neck when necessary, to ensure the least amount of blunt force to their body. If you can't properly do that, you have no business in a ring.

While doing research for this particular SS, I came up short on the actual, formal history of the neckbreaker, part of the reason this edition is so late. If I could theorize, I would say it was simply another variation of a headlock (Of course, any help in the comments would be greatly appreciated). I've found that moves like neckbreakers or suplexes (Yes, we'll get to suplexes eventually) have a bit of a blurred history, as in the early days of professional wrestling it was all about the territories and things may very well have been lost in translation. Regardless, let's get into the technical side of the move.

Your bog standard neckbreaker begins with both wrestlers back to back. The attacking wrestler grabs hold of their opponent's head, wrapping their arm underneath the chin, as you would with a headlock. The attacker then falls onto their back, bringing their opponent down with them, back of the neck first.


(Hip gyrations are of course optional.)

The idea is to daze your opponent, not necessarily finish them off. It's very rare for a neckbreaker to finish an opponent off these days, but it's still an effective move. The impact on the neck and back of the head, if done with enough force, is what's dangerous here. Despite this being the "safer" variant, all things considered, it can still do damage if executed wrong.

As with any other move, it has its variations. And sweet Black Betty, are their a lot of them! It's a maneuver that can be performed in a number of ways, making for an effective tool to wear an opponent down. One consistent I've noticed, one that intrigues me, is many of them involve a swinging motion of some sort.




(Swinging neckbreakers, or corkscrew neckbreakers. And say what you will about Elias Samson, that neckbreaker looks vicious.)

There's a reason for this: The whiplash effect. For those unaware, whiplash is a neck injury caused by any rapid, back-and-forth movement of the neck (Brutally, this received its name from the sound your neck makes when it snaps, like the crack of a whip). It is very common amongst athletes, and not pretty at all to suffer. You can barely move your neck without any stiffness or pain, blistering headaches, constant dizziness. From a technical perspective, these would disorient your opponent enough to get a victory. Not to say you should actively seek the means to legitimately hurt someone, but that's just something I feel a decent ring psychologist would pick up on.

As shown in the opening picture (That variant is a pumphandle neckbreaker, don't delete it this time), a neck breaker doesn't always have to involve standing. Some variants, like the fireman's carry or the argentine, involve the attacker hoisting their opponent onto their shoulders to execute the move.


(Fun fact, this particular move in AJ Styles' arsenal, called Ushigoroshi, was adopted from Japanese puroresu star Hirooki Goto. The name means "Bull Killer" in Japanese, and was named after Goto defeated and injured Hiroyoshi Tenzan, the "Raging Bull," with this very move.)

And I would be remiss if I failed to mention two of wrestling's most iconic neckbreakers: The Rude Awakening and the Shake, Rattle and Roll. Used by Rick Rude and The Honky Tonk Man respectively, these are iconic in the sense that so many people recognize them. Rude and Honky Tonk Man have finished many an opponent with them, and have both held the Intercontinental Championship in their careers (Although their respective finishers never actually won those matches). Rude's variant, a hangman's neckbreaker, is especially brutal because the back of his opponent's neck would land directly onto his shoulder, jamming the shoulder blade into them. Honky Tonk Man's variant, also a swinging neckbreaker, was more about the theatrics, though both had their fair share.


(Couldn't find a GIF of Honky Tonk Man's finisher, unfortunately. Again, the hip swiveling is completely optional.)

Though a neckbreaker may seem simple, it's just as effective as any move. As I've said before, the simplest move, like a DDT, can be just as effective as a Styles Clash, it's about how you execute the move. Wrestling is about dissecting your opponent to secure a victory, you need to know what to hit and how to hit it. A well placed, well timed neckbreaker may not finish the job at first, but it can certainly do enough to take you to the finish.

And that's issue eight in the books! When next we meet, we'll be traveling to the world of American football and seeing how your average tackle could potentially win a world championship. Until then, Cagesiders!

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.