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Diving Into the Frog Splash: Sasha Banks’ Brutal WWE Finisher Is Rich In Wrestling History
Sasha Banks' hero, the late, great Eddie Guerrero, knew a thing or two about pulling off the perfect Frog Splash.
If humans ever set foot on Mars, Sasha Banks wants to make sure the WWE is along for the ride. The Legit Boss recently said on an episode of Logan Paul’s "Impaulsive" podcast that she dreams of becoming the first female wrestler to set foot on the Red Planet, and has even plotted which of her signature moves she’d pull off first.
Fans acquainted with Banks’ athletic abilities likely don’t need more than three guesses to figure out where this is going: In keeping with her lifelong admiration for the late, great Eddie Guerrero, Banks said she’d bypass her Bankrupt and Bank Statement finishers and head straight for the squared circle’s top rope to deliver maximum Martian devastation.
“It has to be a Frog Splash!” she said, surprising probably no one who’s been following her career since she stormed onto the WWE’s main roster in 2015. Of course, she’s talking about the go-to move she often whips from her bag of tricks to wreak match-ending havoc: Just check out the 3:00 mark in the clip above for a textbook example of Banks splashing down hard — on a hapless Zelina Vega — during Banks’ electrifying SmackDown return last July.
Fans of The Boss hardly need an explainer to know a Frog Splash when they see it. But how did the move end up making it to the top of the rotation as Banks’ best-known signature finisher?
It all goes back to Banks’ childhood wrestling hero, the late, great Eddie Guerrero. As a kid, Banks said she glued herself to the TV set whenever Guerrero was in the ring, taking notes from her idol on how to lie, cheat, and eventually steal the win — which usually meant ending things with a picture-perfect Frog Splash, the move Guerrero (along with Rob Van Dam) made famous during the proto-WWE days of the 1990s and early 2000s.
"I always wanted to make everybody feel how Eddie Gurrero made me feel,” Banks confessed on her recent episode of Peacock’s "WWE Evil." “Unstoppable.”
However, when Banks pulls the Frog Splash as an homage to her hero, it’s more than superficial genuflecting. She’s tending the flame for a move with some serious old-school origins; one that Guerrero himself — though he made it popular — tapped as a key part of his own wrestling upbringing. Following in the steps of his own famous Mexican-American wrestling family, Guerrero cut his teeth in the ring early with a 10-year stint in Mexico, steeped in the luchador style where the move — known by other names — was already in common use.
Credit for the move itself — an aerial dive from the top rung onto a prone opponent, spiked in midair with a frog-like outward thrust of the arms and legs — conventionally goes to La Fiera, the late luchador legend who began performing it at least as early as the 1980s. In Mexican pro circles, the high-impact finisher picked up increasing exposure through the 1980s before another iconic luchador, Guerrero’s tag-team partner Art Barr, would claim it as his signature.
From here, things get a little more murky. Barr is said to have actually first picked up the move from Guerrero, who was already calling it the “Jackknife Splash,” before Barr decided to make it his own. Citing Guerrero biography "Cheating Death, Stealing Life — The Eddie Guerrero Story," Barr’s Wikipedia entry credits wrestling colleague 2 Cold Scorpio with remarking that Barr “looked like a frog” when he performed the move, ultimately inspiring Barr to christen the Frog Splash with its now-famous name.
If there’s a lesson amid all the history, perhaps it’s simply that some things take on a life of their own. In every generation since it was first created, the Frog Splash has been handed down from one wrestling titan to another, with each star recognizing the athletic majesty of a soaring, indisputably eye-popping move that routinely crashes down from 10 feet (or more) above the mat. If Banks eventually does manage to carry the Splash all the way into outer space, it’ll mark one giant leap that’s more than just for show. Call it Banks’ ultimate homage to an old-school wrestling lineage whose Earthbound roots date back decades.