#29: Backflip Kick

Posted: January 15, 2011 in Strikes
Tags: , , , , , , ,

An effective and powerful manoeuvre, the Backflip Kick is a move used by wrestlers with an aerial and acrobatic expertise. It sees the wrestler with their back towards the opponent perform a backflip, with one leg outstretching slightly to kick the opponent on top of the head.

The move is more commonly known as a Pele Kick due to its use by AJ Styles. He called the move this due to its similarity to soccer legend Pele, who once hit a Backflip Kick to score a goal in a World Cup contest. This strike is used all over the wrestling circuit, with it being popular in Japan and along the US independent circuit too. However, AJ was the wrestler to popularise the move, and therefore is seen in the video below hitting a nice variation to Douglas Williams.

To start off the move, the wrestler’s back has to be towards the opponent. Usually, to do this, the wrestler will first duck an incoming clothesline attempt from the opponent, and wait for them to turn around. This will be a pre-set manoeuvre discussed between the opponent and wrestler in order to make the move look smooth and surprising.

Now with the wrestler’s back towards the opponent, they will swing their arms to hit a backflip manoeuvre similar to a Standing Moonsault. However, as a difference to this similar move, the wrestler will flick out one of their legs so that it is within distance to kick the opponent on top of the head. The wrestler will also not usually go all the way over onto their stomach, as they will usually use their hands to balance the kick.

Just milliseconds after executing a flip, the wrestler will stretch their hands out so that they land on them. This will then allow the foot to connect with the opponent’s head, which will drop them to the floor.


  • Also known as: Pele Kick/ Standing Moonsault Kick
  • Famous users: AJ Styles, Kota Ibushi, Johnny Margera, Tyler Black, Helios
  • Finished off: Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, El Generico
  • H&B Rating: 8


Watch more variations:

Kota Ibushi’s Backflip Kick– A great variation where not one, but both of Kota’s feet strike the top of his opponent’s head.
Tyler Black’s Backflip Kick– Maybe this can be categorised more as a Swinging Enziguiri, however, Black sometimes performs this move very similar to a Pele Kick. Skip to 0:59 of the video and you’ll see what I mean.
Helios’ Rollback Backflip Kick– With the opponent standing, Helios hits a backward roll onto his feet and then flips backwards high in the air, planting the opponent with the kick.
Kota Ibushi’s Handspring Backflip Kick– An incredible acrobatic variation, Kota runs forward, hits a cartwheel and then plants a Backflip Kick right on El Generico’s head, who is standing prey on the top rope.


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