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A piledriver is a wrestling driver move in which the wrestler grabs his opponent, turns him upside-down, and drops into a sitting or kneeling position, driving the opponent's head into the mat.

The most common piledrivers are the basic belly-to-back, or Texas piledriver, and the belly-to-belly tombstone piledriver popularized by The Undertaker, but many more intricate variants are in use.

Piledrivers are generally considered to be one of the more dangerous maneuvers in wrestling because of the impact on the head and compression of the neck; if even slightly botched, the move can cause serious injury, even paralysis. A standard kayfabe piledriver properly done has the head barely touching the ground, if at all.

A standard piledriver is banned in WWE, although they are still used on rare occasions. It is also considered an automatic disqualification in pro wrestling matches held in Memphis, Tennessee, as the move is banned in that city. (Jerry Lawler, a wrestler and promoter in that city, uses a piledriver as one of his finishing moves.) In some promotions in the United Kingdom, the move can result in not only a disqualification, but a fine. In Mexico, the piledriver (called a Martinete) is an automatic disqualification. A Martinete generally refers to the tombstone piledriver and/or its variations, but it is also used for other variations.

VariationsEdit

Argentine piledriverEdit

The move is executed from a Argentine backbreaker rack (face up, with the neck and one leg cradled) position. The wrestler pushes the opponent forward while holding the opponent's leg with one arm, and the head with the other arm, and then sits down, driving the opponent head first down to the floor.

This move was popularized by Super Dragon under the name the Psycho Driver. He also occasionally used a cut-throat variation of this move.

Back to belly piledriverEdit

The wrestler faces the opponent, places his head between the hold of them. He then stands up, lifting the opponent upside down. The wrestler then either sits down or drops on to his knees, driving the opponent's head down to the mat. Innovated by Takao Ōmori who calls this move the Axe Guillotine Driver.

A variation on this which is sometimes known as the Sunset Driver sees the attacking wrestler hook the opponent's legs underneath his / her arms while holding the opponent up in the back to belly position. From here, the wrestler drops to his / her knees, driving the opponent's head into the mat. This move will often see the attacking wrestler hold the move after landing for a rana style pinfall attempt. maa ki chod

Cradle piledriverEdit

The Cradle Piledriver, largely popularized by Jerry Lynn as his finisher and innovated by Karl Gotch, is a variation on standard piledrivers which sees the attacking wrestler grapevine the opponents leg with their arm.

The most common of which is similar to a Texas piledriver and was popularized by the legendary wrestler Karl Gotch. This move sees the attacking wrestler, from a position in which the opponent is bent forward against the wrestler's midsection, reach around the opponent's midsection and lifting them so that they are held upside down facing in the same direction as the wrestler, the wrestler then hooks his / her arms around one leg of the opponent before dropping to a sitting or kneeling position with the opponent's head falling between the wrestler's thighs down to the mat.

This variant can be used on other types of piledriver; most notably the Cradle tombstone piledriver variation, instead of wrapping both of his arms around the waist of the opponent, the wrestler wraps one arm around the waist and places his other arm between the opponent's legs, grabbing hold of his other arm. The wrestler then drops down on his knees, driving the opponent down to the mat head first.

Cross-arm piledriverEdit

From a position in which the opponent is bent forward against the wrestler's midsection, the attacking wrestler crosses the arms of this opponent for a straightjacket hold on the prone opponent before then lifting the opponent up into a vertical position and driving them down between the attacking wrestler's legs.

Double underhook piledriverEdit

In this piledriver a wrestler will bend his / her opponent forward, placing the opponent's head between the wrestler's legs (a standing head scissors), and hooks each of the opponent's arms behind the opponent's back. He / she then pulls back on the opponent's arms lifting him/her up so that the opponent is held upside down facing in the same direction as the wrestler, the wrestler then drops to a sitting or kneeling position dropping the opponent's head into the mat.

The version which sees the attacking wrestler fall to a seated position was popular with several wrestlers based around independent promotions on the west coast of the United States, where it is known as the Tiger Driver '98.

There's also a variation known as double chickenwing piledriver, where the wrestler just put his/her opponent into a double chickenwing instead of a double underhook.

Flip piledriverEdit

The move, which is also referred to as a front flip piledriver, begins in a position in which the opponent is bent forward against the wrestler's midsection, the wrestler grabs around his / her opponent's midsection latching onto the opponent's back, with his / her head to one side of the opponent's hips, keeping his / her legs around the opponent's head. From this position the wrestler pushes off the mat with his / her legs to flip the opponent over.

As both wrestlers flip the attacking wrestler uses his / her body weight to land in a seated position driving the opponent's head down to the mat between the wrestler's thighs. It is most famously used by Petey Williams as the Canadian Destroyer.

A double underhook variation exists in which the arms of a bent over opponent are placed in a butterfly prior to performing the flip.

Jumping piledriverEdit

Also known as a spike piledriver, stuff piledriver or a belly-to-back piledriver, from a position in which the opponent is bent forward against the wrestler's midsection, the wrestler grabs around their opponent's midsection and lifts so that the opponent is held upside down facing in the same direction as the wrestler, the wrestler then jumps in the air and drops to a sitting position. Paul Orndorff's version is widely considered to be the best example of this move.

Kryptonite KrunchEdit

The Kryptonite Krunch, also known as an over the shoulder back-to-belly piledriver, begins with the wrestler facing his opponent. From there, the wrestler will pick up the opponent and place them over his / her shoulder so that the opponent's head is dangling over the wrestler's back by the waist of the wrestler. The wrestler then holds the opponent in place by holding his / her leg with one arm and applies a headlock to the opponent with his / her other arm. The opponent is now bent into a circle. The wrestler then drops to a seated position, driving the head of the opponent into the ground.

The move was utilized nationally across the United States most often under the name Kryptonite Krunch by Nova, although it has been done for years under many other names like the Reality Check as used by Michael Modest and the Schwein as used by CIMA.

Another method used when performing this over the shoulder piledriver sees the attacking wrestler lift the opponent over one shoulder but bring him / her across the wrestler's back and place the opponent's head under the other arm. This version is best known as Mariko Yoshida's Air Raid Crash, a name which is often wrongly used when referring to the Kryptonite Krunch. Colt Cabana uses a neckbreaker variation of the position of the Air Raid Crash where he drops down to a kneeling position, and lands the opponent onto his knee. Finlay uses a running variation called the Celtic Cross.

Package PiledriverEdit

A Package piledriver is almost the same as a Texas piledriver, but instead of grabbing the waist of the opponent, the wrestler puts their arms underneath the opponent's arms and grabs their legs by the knees. The wrestler then stands up, lifting the opponent until they are upside down, and drops to a sitting position with the opponent's head between their thighs.

An arm butterfly variation has been popularized lately by independent wrestler Kevin Steen. Japanese female wrestler Aja Kong can be seen using it at least a decade ago, notably in her classic match with Manami Toyota on March 26, 1995 in All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling (Zenjo).

Pumphandle reverse piledriverEdit

This variation sees an attacking wrestler first lock an opponent in the pumphandle hold before then using the hold to raise the opponent up over the shoulder of the attacking wrestler. From here the attacking wrestler brings the opponent down into the belly-to-belly position before then sitting down for a reverse piledriver with the opponent's head impacting the mat between the legs of the attacking wrestler.

Delirious performs a double pumphandle reverse piledriver, named the Chemical Imbalance II, in which he stands behind a bent over opponent and threads both of the opponent's arms between their legs. He then grabs both of the opponent's wrists with both hands and lifts up, forcing the opponent to flip forward. The opponent then lands on their head in the piledriver while Delirious falls to a sitout position.

Scoop side piledriverEdit

Facing his opponent, the wrestler reaches between their opponent's legs with their right arm and reaches around the opponent's neck from the same side with their left arm. They then lift the opponent up on their chest so that they are facing downwards. The wrestler then moves their left arm from around the opponent's neck to around the opponent's torso. They then turn the opponent so that they are upside down on one side of the wrestler. The wrestler then jumps up and falls down to a sitting position, driving the opponent down to the mat neck and shoulder first.

Scoop slam piledriverEdit

Facing their opponent, the wrestler reaches between his opponent's legs with their right arm and reaches around the opponent's neck from the same side with their left arm. They then lift the opponent up and turn them around so that they are held upside down, as in a Scoop slam. The wrestler then drops down to their knees, driving the opponent down to the mat neck and shoulder first.

Steve Corino uses a slight variation of this move where he first lifts the opponent up to a Fireman's carry. From that position Corino swings the opponent to his front with the move continuing like a regular Scoop slam piledriver.

Spike piledriverEdit

A spike piledriver can refer to either jumping piledriver, aided piledriver, or reverse tombstone piledriver.

Reverse piledriverEdit

Also known by the term belly-to-belly piledriver, a wrestler first stands facing an opponent before then grab the opponent's waist and turns them upside-down, holding them against their torso. The wrestler then jumps up and drops down to a seated position, driving the opponent's head down to the mat between the wrestler's thighs.

The wrestler may also place the opponent on over his shoulder and fall to a seated position, driving the opponent's head to the mat between his legs. This move is often known by the name Fire Thunder, or Fire Thunder Driver as named by Mr. Gannosuke.

Mike Quackenbush innovated a cross-legged variation, named the Quackendriver II, which sees him after positioning his opponent in the belly to belly position lift one of his arms up and cross the opponents legs over each other and bend them downwards. While holding the opponents legs in this position he falls to a sitting position.

Another variation used by AJPW wrestler TARU sees the opponent lifted into a reverse piledriver how ever before he drops down he spins 360 degrees and then drops the opponents head int the mat.

Tombstone PiledriverEdit

This variation of a belly-to-belly piledriver refers to any belly-to-belly piledriver that involves the wrestler holding the opponent in a belly-to-belly position, then falling to a kneeling position.

The name "Tombstone Piledriver" was popularized by The Undertaker and later Kane. It was also used by Finlay back then. However, the move had been used under many names by other wrestlers years beforehand. Justin Credible currently uses a spinning variation named That's Incredible!

Reverse tombstone piledriverEdit

A belly to belly piledriver where instead of dropping to their knees, the attacking wrestler sits like a standard pildriver. Owen Hart was well known for using this variation.

Texas piledriverEdit

Also called a traditional piledriver, or simply piledriver, this is the classic and original piledriver technique. From a position in which the opponent is bent forward against the wrestler's midsection, the wrestler grabs around his / her opponent's midsection and lifts so that the opponent is held upside down facing in the same direction as the wrestler, the wrestler then drops to a sitting position with the opponent's head falling between the wrestler's thighs down to the mat.

A slight variation on this piledriver, often used by Mick Foley and Terry Funk. And known as a Stump-Puller Pilediver, sees the wrestler not lift the wrestler upside down, but rather pulling the bent opponent forward while the wrestler sits back, pulling the bent opponent's head down to the mat between the wrestler's thighs.

VertebreakerEdit

From a position in which the opponent is standing behind the wrestler, the wrestler underhooks his/her arms under the opponent's arms. Then the wrestler twists his / her body around so that the wrestler is facing the ground and the opponent is standing with his / her back resting against the wrestler's back. Then the wrestler stands while the opponent is in an upside down position while both the opponent and the wrestler's arms are still hooked and then the wrestler then drops to a sitting position. Another way to get the opponent into the position is to approach a standing opponent from behind, hook the opponent's arms, bend forward under the opponent, and then rise up, raising the opponent upside down.

This technique is extremely dangerous, as the receiver's arms are restrained and his / her head is not placed between the wrestler's legs, giving him / her little to post against. The wrestler receiving the technique is almost entirely dependent on the wrestler's strength and coordination to avoid serious neck injury.

Though the move is often referred to as a reverse gory special piledriver, or a back to back double underhook piledriver, it is best known in Japan as a Kudo Driver, a name in reference to the move's original inventor, Japanese female wrestler, Megumi Kudo, who actually called it the Kudome Valentine. "Sugar" Shane Helms popularized the name Vertebreaker, a reference to a character from the comic book Spawn, in America after using the move under that name in WCW.

TNA wrestlers Homicide and Raisha Saeed currently use this move as their finisher. Homicide's version is dubbed Da Gringo Killa in TNA and Da Cop Killa in the Independent Circuit.

Vertical suplex piledriverEdit

Better known as the screwdriver or Pile-Plex / Plex-Driver. The wrestler applies a front facelock to the opponent and hooks the opponent's near arm over their shoulder and lifts them into a vertical suplex position. They then turn the opponent 180°, force the opponent into the reverse piledriver position, then drop to a sitting position, dropping the opponent on their head. Scott Steiner popularized this move in the U.S. after he learned it in Japan.

Wheelbarrow driverEdit

Similar to a wheelbarrow facebuster but instead of dropping their opponent face first, they drop their opponent so that the opponent lands on their upper back and neck between the legs of the wrestler, facing towards them usually resulting in a pin.

See alsoEdit

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