In wrestling a neckbreaker is any throw or slam that focuses its attack on the opponent’s neck.
One type of neckbreaker involves the wrestler slamming an opponent's neck against a part of the wrestler's body, usually the knee, head or shoulder. Many uses of the word "breaker" apply to this sort of action, including: Facebreaker, Backbreaker, etc.
The other type of neckbreaker is a slam technique in which the wrestler throws an opponent to the ground by twisting the opponent's neck. This also refers to a back head slam where a wrestler drops to the mat while holding an opponent by their neck, without having to twist it.
The wrestler lifts the opponent up so that he or she is laying across the wrestler's shoulders and hooks the opponent’s neck and leg. The wrestler releases the opponent's legs and pushes the opponent's body so that it swings out straight behind the wrestler's body. As the opponent's body is moving out, the wrestler keeps hold to the opponent's neck and falls down, executing a falling neckbreaker.
Arm trap neckbreaker
This version of a shoulder neckbreaker occurs when an attacking wrestler takes hold of an arm of an opponent, then moves to a back to back position, so that the opponent's arm hooks across and round the opponent's own head. At this point the attacking wrestler falls backwards to the ground, forcing the opponent's own arm to drag them to the mat. William Regal popularized this move and calls it the Regal Cutter.
In a straight jacket version of this move, often known as a Cross-arm neckbreaker, a wrestler can hold both arms across on opposite sides of the opponent's neck before dropping down, often in a seated position, to drag the opponent to the mat. The tag team Gymini have been known to use the double team version of a Cross-arm neckbreaker where they both trap one of the opponent's arms (crossing them over) calling it the Cross-Trainer.
Also known as a standing somersault neckbreaker, this move sees the attacking wrestler place the opponent in a side headlock and perform a somersault forwards, then falls down supine, using the momentum of the flip to twist the opponent's neck and back into the ground. This move was popularized by Chris Hero, calling it the Cravate Buster, and John Morrison, calling it the Moonlight Drive.
An elevated neckbreaker refers to any neckbreaker performed on an opponent who is held on an elevated position. Normally a wrestler places the opponent on the turnbuckle so that they face away from the ring. The wrestler takes hold of the opponent by their neck, and from this position performs many variations of the neckbreaker, like falling to a sitting or kneeling position, or just running forward and pulling the opponent away from the corner, and dropping them in a standard neckbreaker.
There are double team variations.
Elevated cradle neckbreaker
In this variation of a Muscle Buster, which focuses more of the attack on the neck, a wrestler holds his or her opponent upside-down, with both legs hooked and with the back of the opponent's neck against the wrestler's shoulder, then drops to a kneeling or sitting position so that the opponent’s neck hits against the shoulder. It is usually performed against an opponent who is sitting on the top turnbuckle.
Gutwrench elevated neckbreaker
A move in which the attacking wrestler performs a gutwrench and lifts the opponent so that their back rests across one of the wrestler's shoulders. The wrestler then reaches forward with both hands and grabs the opponent under the chin. At this point, the wrestler would drop down to the mat backwards, causing the opponent to drop from an elevated height and land on the back of their neck.
Fireman's carry neckbreaker
Popularized by Billy Kidman, this moves sees a wrestler take an opponent across their shoulders in a fireman's carry. Once there the wrestler does a fireman's carry slam, extending the knee adjacent to the opponent's face and neck. The opponent then lands neck-first across the extended knee, snapping their neck in a similar manner to a Shoulder Neckbreaker.
See flying neckbreaker.
Inverted facelock neckbreaker
Also known as an Inverted facelock backbreaker, this is a move in which a wrestler places their opponent in an inverted facelock. The wrestler then drops to one knee while maintaining the hold, bending their other knee in the process, and driving the back of the opponent’s neck and upper spine down on to the bent knee.
Also known as a Falling neckbreaker. This move sees the attacking wrestler stands back to back with their opponent, then reaches over their shoulder and seizes the opponent by the back of their neck or head. The wrestler then falls to their back while maintaining the hold, dragging the opponent down with them to drive their back into the ground. This move is often used by a wrestler who ducks under an attempted attack by the opponent, e.g. a clothesline, and is thus back to back with their opponent.
A slight, but common, variation of this, also known as a Jumping neckbreaker, sees the attacking wrestler jump up after seizing the opponent's head so that they fall to the mat from a greater elevation and with more force. Mickie James uses a variation of this in which she first traps the arms of her opponent, and then hits the slam. The Miz also has used this move as his finisher which is usually preceded by a running knee lift he would then slam his opponent to the ground.
Popularized by Curt Hennig, the attacking wrestler stands behind and facing a sitting opponent before then running toward them and performing a somersault over them. As the wrestler falls, they grab the opponent by the back of the head or neck, pushing it downwards as they drop to the mat. This causes the opponent to jerk their neck backwards, snapping it to the mat. Currently, TNA wrestler Robert Roode uses this move regularly in honor to Curt Hennig himself.
This move can be performed when an opponent is face down on the mat. This version was popularized by Shane Douglas.
John Cena uses another version where he would run towards a bent over opponent from behind and then perform a somersault over them driving the face of the opponent into the mat with his hands. He calls this move the Throwback.
This is a version of a swinging neckbreaker where the attacking wrestler would use a leg rather than hands to perform the twist. With the opponent bent forwards (presumably from a kick or just getting up), the wrestler would hook his or her inside leg over the opponent's head, grabbing the nearer of the opponent's arms. The wrestler leans back before falling to hands and knees as the opponent is spun around, neck landing on the inside of the wrestler's knee. Originally popularized by current "Primetime" Elix Skipper in WCW known as Play of the Day, and is now used by former WWE superstar Montel Vontavious Porter as his finisher, the Playmaker.
A move described as a Reverse overdrive is another version of a swinging neckbreaker, in which the attacking wrestler would use a leg (in this case a knee) rather than hands to perform the twist. In this move a wrestler would first place one knee (the one closest to an opponent) against the base of the opponent's neck, who is leaning forward, while underhooking one of the opponent's arms (the furthest one) before falling backwards down to the mat as the opponent is spun over, landing neck-first on the attacking wrestler's knee.
This move was used by Matt Striker for a short while, who called it the Golden Rule.
Reverse Twist of Fate
Also known as an Extreme Twist of Fate and a Reverse of Fate, this is a move in which a wrestler places their opponent in an inverted facelock and then pivots at 180° and catches the opponent's head with their free arm (or both arms) and then drops to a sitting position or lands on his back. This move was innovated by Steve Corino and later used by Jeff Hardy and Lita.
See Lariat takedown.
Better known as a hangman's neckbreaker and also known as a kneeling neckbreaker or a sitout neckbreaker. From a back to back position, the attacking wrestler reaches back and pulls the opponent's head over their shoulder, then drops to a sitting/kneeling position, causing the back of the opponent's neck to impact on the shoulder of the attacking wrestler. Rick Rude used this move as his finisher calling it the Rude Awakening
Melina innovated another variation of the shoulder neckbreaker, rather than dropping into the normal seated or kneeling position, she performs the straddle splits crashing the back of her opponent's head into her shoulder.
Another version of this move is similar to the neckbreaker slam which sees both wrestlers fall to their backs with the opponent's neck being forced down to the mat instead of onto the attacking wrestler's shoulder.
This elevated shoulder neckbreaker, also known as a Gory driver, first sees the attacking wrestler lift an opponent into a position where the opponent and the wrestler are back to back with the opponent's head pulled across the shoulder of the attacking wrestler and their legs hooked over the wrestler's legs (the Gory special). From this position the attacking wrestler drops to a sitting or kneeling position, driving the back of the opponent's neck into the shoulder of the attacking wrestler and the knees of the opponent into the mat. This move can also see the opponent's neck placed over the attacking wrestler's head instead of their shoulder. This is collectively known as a Widow's Peak, as popularized by Victoria and Blue Destiny, as popularised by Kotaro Suzuki in Japan.
The attacking wrestler applies a front facelock while he places their heads side by side under each other shoulder and uses their free hand to grab hold of the opponent's far hand before then swinging over the opponent and down to the ground, in a semi-circular motion, so that both the wrestler and the opponent fall to the ground back-first causing the back of the opponent's neck to impact on the shoulder of the attacking wrestler. The Honky Tonk Man popularized this move in the late 80s, calling it the Shake, Rattle, and Roll.
One variation, known as a swinging neckbomb, sees the attacking wrestler fall to a seated position slamming the opponent's neck into the mat between their legs.
Another version that sees the attacking wrestler swing inward, throwing the opponent over and to the ground, is often referred to as a whiplash.
The standard version of this move is in a style similar to that of a swinging neckbreaker, in which the wrestler holds them in a front facelock, keeping their heads side by side under each other shoulder. At this point the attacking wrestler swings inward as they dive to the ground, twisting on the opponent's neck and in the process, driving their neck and shoulders into the ground.
The elevated whiplash first sees the attacking wrestler raise an opponent off the ground, often using a suplex lift, to place the opponent's leg on the top ring rope so that they are face-down while the wrestler holds them in a front facelock, keeping their heads side by side under each other shoulder, making the wrestler the only other thing than the ring ropes keeping the opponent off the ground. At this point the attacking wrestler swings inward as they dive to the ground, twisting on the opponent's neck and in the process lifting the opponent's entire body off the rope, driving their neck and shoulders into the ground.
There is also a double team version of this move.
Another slight variation of the (standing) whiplash move sees the attacking wrestler hook both the opponent's legs (as in a cradle suplex) while keeping both their heads side by side under each other shoulder before then performing the whiplash. This version is often known as a muscle twister.